Mourilyan Mill No.7

Lake Macquarie Light Railway


Mourilyan Mill no.7 in steam on dual-gauge track within the NSWRTM loco workshop, 9 May 1998.

This photo was kindly contributed by Bruce Belbin.


Perry Engineering Co. Ltd,

Mile End, Adelaide

Builder’s Number & Year


Wheel Arrangement



Mourilyan Mill, situated south of Innisfail in a rich cane growing area on the floodplain of the South Johnstone River, clearly preferred steam locomotives of the 0-4-2T arrangement, running a fleet including several such machines predominantly supplied by John Fowler & Co. of Leeds. Fowler’s exit from steam locomotive construction in 1935 presented a challenge to Australian mills seeking additional steam motive power, and local builders stepped in with products similar to the popular Fowler designs. Against this background Mourilyan Mill provided Perry Engineering of Adelaide with an order for a 0-4-2T machine similar to their earlier Fowler units, which arrived in 1951 and became Mourilyan Mill No.7. A further loco was supplied by Bundaberg Foundry in 1952, the only 0-4-2T ‘Bundaberg Fowler’ built by that company, which became Mourilyan Mill No.8.

Mourilyan Mill began dieselisation in 1955, gradually building a fleet of five 0-6-0 Diesel Hydraulic locomotives from Clyde Engineering, Granville. No.7 was last used in 1962 after a short working life of 11 years, being made redundant by the arrival of the fourth Clyde-built diesel hydraulic loco. No.7 together with No.6 (Fowler 20713 of 1935) were stored serviceable at the mill until the arrival of a fifth Clyde-built diesel hydraulic loco in 1966, at which point both steam locos were formally withdrawn.

After a few years of storage at Mourilyan Mill, No.7 was purchased for preservation in 1972 by a young enthusiast and transported to St Ives in the Sydney suburbs. Alas fate was not so kind for No.6, which was cut down to the frames to become a mill roller transport wagon. Mourilyan Mill locos No.1 (Fowler 12025 of 1909), No.2 (Krauss 3267 of 1895), No.3 (Fowler 12967 of 1911), No.4 (Fowler 15916 of 1921) and No.5 (Hudswell Clarke 1556 of 1925) also met this ignoble end, although the Bundaberg Fowler No.8 was sold to Millaquin Mill in 1966 and eventually survived into preservation.

At St Ives, Mourilyan Mill No.7 was slowly restored to operation over the 1970’s and 1980’s. I recall an article in the local newspaper describing a proposal to establish a 2’ gauge railway near the St Ives Showground (not far from my childhood home), but that proposal apparently did not proceed.

Mourilyan Mill No.7 was leased to the Bulahdelah Logging Railway at Boolambayte, NSW from 1987 to 1996. I don’t know much about this operation, but understand it featured a short but very steep line and switchback as it climbed a hill. The name referenced earlier logging tramways which once operated in the Bulahdelah area. Photos show that Mourilyan Mill No.7 wore lined yellow livery at the Bulahdelah Logging Railway and was housed under a basic weather shelter that made do as the running shed. (Contribution of photos and further information about this operation would be appreciated.)

Mourilyan Mill No.7 was transferred to the NSW Rail Transport Museum (NSWRTM), Thirlmere in 1996, where it received a light ‘tone-up’ overhaul over a two-year period. The loco was repainted to lined green livery and given a couple of test runs on the short section of dual-gauge track in the workshop area. Subsequently it spent some time ‘stored serviceable’ under a heavy-duty tarpaulin outside the workshop before being relocated to the Lake Macquarie Light Railway, Toronto, NSW. Here it keeps company with two larger Perry 0-6-2T locomotives, North Eton Mill No.6 & No.7.

Since late 2019, Mourilyan Mill No.7 has been at K&H Ainsworth Engineering, Goulburn for an overhaul, including new tanks, new smokebox, a complete re-tube plus many lesser items such as ashpan repair and snifter valve replacement.

'Light Railways’ magazine of June 1998 contains well-illustrated articles by Bruce Belbin providing a full history for this locomotive and the story of its acquisition for private preservation, together with Mourilyan’s fleet of steam locomotives.

Unfortunately, Mourilyan Mill itself is now only a memory. Queensland’s tropical north is subject to Cyclones, with Mourilyan Mill being damaged by several such storms since its opening in 1884. Cyclone Larry significantly damaged the mill on 20 March 2006, including the high chimney which was blown down in the fierce winds. Mourilyan Mill was judged uneconomic to repair and has subsequently been largely demolished, with cane growers transferring supply to other mills in the area.

A side view of newly overhauled Mourilyan Mill No.7 on dual-gauge track at the NSWRTM workshop and running shed.

This photo is courtesy of Bruce Belbin and dates from 9 May 1998.



Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site
(retrieved 27 April 2021):

'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' list
by John Browning (


Wikipedia page for Perry Engineering Co Ltd,
retrieved 27 April 2021


Lake Macquarie Light Railway website,

retrieved 27 April 2021


Information provided by Bruce Belbin via email,

28 January 2006 and 11 May 2021.


'Light Railways - Australia's Magazine of Industrial

& Narrow Gauge Railways', Number 141, June 1998,

published by Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc.

Page updated: 24 June 2021

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