interesting little saddle tank loco appears to be a standard design of
industrial shunter from Avonside Engine Co of Bristol. It initially worked
for the East Greta Coal Mining Company as No.2 on their roster. When South
Maitland Railways Pty Ltd (SMR) formed in 1918 to consolidate the railway
activities of the East Great Coal Mining Company and Hebburn Coal Mining
Company, the little Avonside saddle tank retained No.2 in the amalgamated
SMR No.2 was sold to Stanford Main No.2 colliery at Paxton for use as the
colliery shunter. J & A Brown acquired the colliery and its assets in
1931, at which stage the little Avonside saddle tank became No. 27 in
Brown’s loco fleet.
& A Brown No.27 spent its days shunting at various collieries and
industrial concerns around Newcastle and the South Maitland coalfields,
including a stint on the isolated Wallarah Colliery line linking to
Catherine Hill Bay jetty. At the end of its working days, it was sent to J
& A Brown’s workshop subsidiary Hexham Engineering and stored near the
coal loading staiths.
1973, Coal & Allied Industries (successors to J & A Brown) invited
tenders for disposal of their remaining steam locomotives, prompting
enthusiasts to scramble to save as many as possible. No.27 was among those
saved for posterity by the Hunter Valley Steam Railway & Museum, which
later became the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum (DSR&M) collection.
The little Avonside tank loco was collected from Hexham in 1975 and spent
some time at their Rhondda Colliery storage site. From memory it was one of
the first steam locomotives to be transported to Dorrigo, arriving by road
around 1983, and has since been transferred to the more recently
constructed display sidings – apparently the site of the intended public
display – where it remains in store with the Dorrigo collection.
most complete history I have found for this loco is that provided by John
Kramer in his documentation of the Dorrigo collection ‘The Dorrigo Steam
Railway & Museum – an Illustrated Guide’ as referenced below. Kramer
provides a good account of the loco’s movements through the years between
various owners and locations.
similar Avonside locomotives are also preserved in the UK and worldwide, as
listed in Wikipedia.