Maria Island Hudson

Campbelltown Steam& Machinery Museum


A black train engine

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The Maria Island Hudson / Hudswell Clarke loco, seen in the running shed at Campbelltown Steam & Machinery Museum on 17 January 2004.


Robert Hudson Ltd, Leeds

(Under licence from Hudswell Clarke & Co.)

Builder’s Number & Year

1423 of 1922

Wheel Arrangement



This locomotive was manufactured by Robert Hudson Ltd at their Gildersome works, Leeds, under a licence arrangement brokered in 1911 whereby Hudson manufactured narrow-gauge engines designed by nearby Hudswell Clarke Ltd. Presumably this arrangement provided a useful complement to Robert Hudson Ltd’s existing range of narrow-gauge railway equipment, suitable for industrial and construction purposes, while also providing Hudswell Clarke with an additional sales channel and stream of licence fees! Robert Hudson Ltd built a total of 188 locomotives under this licence arrangement, offering 16 standard designs (designated A to Q) ranging from 5hp 0-4-0 to 55hp 0-6-0 machines. Locomotives built by Hudson carried builder’s numbers in the Hudswell Clarke sequence, and so this loco is often reported as Hudswell Clarke b/n 1423 of 1922.

Robert Hudson / Hudswell Clarke b/n 1423 was originally purchased by National Portland Cement for their tramway system linking limestone quarries with a cement plant on Maria Island, off the east coast of Tasmania. The National Portland Cement tramway opened in 1923 and connected a quarry at Fossil Cliffs on the island’s east coast, and two other quarries towards the centre of the island, with the cement works and jetty at Darlington. Maria Island seems an unlikely place for a cement works – presumably transport was a high overhead - and the venture did not survive the Depression, closing in July 1930.

Presumably the little Robert Hudson loco languished unused for some years until it found a new use, being purchased by Corrimal Coal & Coke in the NSW Illawarra region around 1944. Here it apparently replaced a similar small 0-4-0WT locomotive (Krauss b/n 6927) working the narrow-gauge line that traversed the escarpment, linking mine adits to a rope haulage incline to the foot of the mountain. The little loco toiled in this duty until its retirement in October 1961.

I understand Hudson b/n 1423 was later saved for private preservation, moving to the southern Sydney suburb of Kirrawee in 1967. In 1972 it was relocated to the Southern Highlands Museum at Colo Vale, where it steamed in 1976 after rebuilding and restoration. The loco moved to a new museum site at North Menangle in 1979, now known as the Campbelltown Steam & Machinery Museum, where it operates on a demonstration line that has gradually extended around the museum perimeter.

The photos on this page date from my visit to the Campbelltown Steam & Machinery Museum (CS&MM) on 17 January 2004. Alas that visit did not coincide with a steam running day but recall being warmly greeted by museum members and shown the collection, including a large shed of packed with traction engines - with one enthusiast explaining he had somewhat compulsively just bought yet another one! I plan to visit the CS&MM again soon to photograph their Hudson loco in steam.

Maria Island, off Tasmania’s east coast, is noted for its convict sites and is a significant wildlife refuge. The entire island was declared a National Park in 1971 and the cement tramway routes now form part of the walking and mountain biking trails. The Fossil Cliffs quarry site is a popular destination for day walks; as the name suggests many fossils of corals and shells are clearly exposed in the 300-million-year-old limestone.

Ken Milbourne OAM has recently written a comprehensive book ‘Steam Locomotives of Tasmania’ which provides additional historical and technical details for this engine, together with two historical views showing it working at Maria Island. Ken’s book provides a fascinating account of the many and varied steam locomotives that once worked in Tasmania – recommended reading for ferroequinologists!

The best history I have found of the interesting rail operations and locomotives at Corrimal Colliery is the detailed and well-illustrated article by Ken McCarthy in 'Light Railways’ magazine, Number 60, April 1978, as referenced below.

A black train engine

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A second side view, somewhat squarer to the camera. 17 January 2004

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Front view of the Maria Island Hudswell Clarke / Hudson loco, as seen on 17 January 2004.

A small Simplex rail tractor can also be seen on the left track.


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The builder’s plate showing ‘Robert Hudson Ltd – Gildersome Foundry’. 17 January 2004

A green train on the tracks

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Also resident at the CS&MM is this vintage Fowler loco, b/n 16830 of 1926, which was originally a petrol-mechanical unit (now diesel-mechanical).

This machine gives context to Fowler’s strategic decision to cease steam locomotive manufacture after 1935, instead concentrating on internal combustion.

This photo is dated 17 January 2004.



McCarthy, K. 'Gazetteer of Industrial Steam Locomotives, Illawarra District NSW',

prepared by Ken McCarthy for the Illawarra Environmental Heritage Committee.

Published by Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Division), December 1983.


Milbourne, K, ‘Steam Locomotives of Tasmania’,

published by Ken Milbourne OAM, 2021. ISBN 1876261870


Wikipedia page for Robert Hudson Ltd,

retrieved 15 October 2021.


Wikipedia page for Hudswell, Clarke & Co. Ltd,

retrieved 28 November 2018.


Wikipedia page for National Portland Cement Limited tramway,

retrieved 14 October 2021.


'Light Railways - Australia's Magazine of Industrial & Narrow-Gauge Railways',

Number 60, April 1978. Feature article "The Corrimal Colliery Railway"

by Ken McCarthy. Published by Light Railway Research Society of Australia.

Page updated: 19 October 2021

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