Mulgrave Central Mill No.6 ‘Pyramid’

Stored at ANGRMS Woodford


Pyramid in open storage at ANGRMS Woodford on 12 April 2003 and showing signs of its years in a Mareeba park.

The side tanks have rusted through at the base, a common ailment for plinthed locomotives.


Hudswell, Clarke & Co. Ltd, Leeds

Builder’s Number & Year

1521 of 1924

Wheel Arrangement



This locomotive is one of two identical Hudswell Clarke units delivered to Mulgrave Central Mill, Gordonvale in 1924, namely No.5 ‘Mulgrave’ (B/N 1522) and No.6 ‘Pyramid’ (B/N 1521). Mulgrave Central Mill is situated alongside the Mulgrave River in tropical north Queensland and in the shadow of the prominent local landmark ‘Walsh’s Pyramid’ – an iconic nearby peak with a distinct pyramidal appearance, 20 km south of Cairns, and clearly visible from aircraft approaching Cairns airport!  Surrounding the mill are many hectares of sugar cane being farmed on the river’s fertile flood plain.

No.6 ‘Pyramid’ worked in sugar cane haulage to Mulgrave Central Mill for 30 years until the loco fleet was dieselised in 1955. After a period of storage at the mill, Pyramid it was plinthed in the Rotary Park at Mareeba (on the Atherton Tableland, above Cairns) in 1959. Alas fate was not so kind to sister loco No.5 ‘Mulgrave’, which was scrapped around 1960.

Many sugar industry steam locomotives had been plinthed during the 1960’s while others could be found in open storage at the various mills. Alas time and the wet tropical environment were taking their toll, leading to a number being scrapped during the early 1970’s and against this background the Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society (ANGRMS) began acquiring locomotives under threat. Such was the case with No.6 ‘Pyramid’ which was donated to ANGRMS in 1976. The loco was transported to Brisbane in 1976 for an initial period of storage at Rocklea, before arriving at their Woodford site in 1979.

ANGRMS is based at Woodford station on the former QR Kilcoy branch, a portion of which has been re-laid to 2’ gauge for heritage train operations on what is now known as the ‘Woodford Railway’. A series of storage sidings at Woodford house No.6 ‘Pyramid’ and other steam locomotives saved for posterity by ANGRMS, but alas many are yet to receive any rehabilitation. ANGRMS has recently constructed spacious new three-road running shed at Woodford, but it seems a large, covered storage and display shed is required to provide a suitable environment for the various steam locomotives stored at Woodford.

A major user of Hudswell Clarke steam locomotives was the Colonial Sugar Refining Co Ltd (CSR) in Australia and Fiji, and an excellent book ‘Salute to the Hudswells’ by Ian Stocks, David Mewes and John Browning provides details and histories of these machines. This book also provides a summary of Hudswell Clarke locomotives supplied to non-CSR mills in Queensland and Fiji, including No.5 and No.6 at Mulgrave Central Mill. Sobering reading in this book is the fate of several steam locomotives that had been statically preserved in Fiji but became derelict and have been scrapped in recent years, including a rare 4-4-0 passenger version (Hudswell Clarke B/N 1118) used on the local ‘Free Train’ service and thought to have been scrapped as recently as 2006. The fate of these machines provides context for those saved by ANGRMS and remaining in storage at Woodford, where hopefully grant funding can one day be found for a suitable storage and display facility.

The ANGRMS collections page for Pyramid provides some useful historical and technical information for this loco.



Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site

(Retrieved 3 November 2018):

'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' list by John Browning



Wikipedia page for Hudswell, Clarke & Co. Ltd,

retrieved 28 November 2018


‘Salute to the Hudswells’ by Ian Stocks, David Mewes and John Browning

Published by Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society, 2014.


Page updated: 29 January 2019

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