Pleystowe Mill No.5

Durundur Railway, Woodford


This photo is courtesy of Graham Watkins, who has provided the following caption:

"ANGRMS cane loco, ex Pleystowe No.5 went to Nambour during August 1999 for the sugar festival.

It worked cane trains between the mill and the yard on the edge of town.

Here it is struggling up the steep climb to the mill."


Bundaberg Foundry Engineers Ltd

(now Bundaberg Walkers Engineering Ltd)

Builder’s Number & Year

5 of 1952

Wheel Arrangement



The Bundy Fowler locos

The well-known manufacturer John Fowler & Co, Leeds, UK built many steam locomotives for the Australian sugar cane industry, where their products were held in high regard. In 1935, John Fowler & Co made a strategic decision to cease manufacture of steam locomotives in favour of internal combustion designs, leaving a market gap in the Australian sugar industry where demand for steam locomotives remained. Stepping in to fill this gap were Australian companies Perry Engineering in Adelaide, and Bundaberg Foundry Engineers Ltd (Bundaberg Foundry) who leveraged their established heavy engineering business serving the cane mills of Queensland’s Burnett Region and beyond.

By 1948, Bundaberg Foundry had obtained firm orders from various mills for 8 steam locomotives based on recent John Fowler & Co designs operating at Queensland mills, in particular 0-6-2T ‘Airdmillan’ (Fowler b/n 20763 of 1935), and with modernisations such as roller-bearing axles. It seems a licence was eventually negotiated with John Fowler & Co, but steel supply proved problematic in the post-war years and the first loco was not completed until 1952. A single 0-4-2T version was among the 8 constructed. These antipodean Fowler cousins became known as ‘Bundy Fowlers’ and were not only among the last steam locomotives built in Australia, but also among the last in revenue service – with all 8 Bundaberg-Fowler steam locomotives ultimately passing into preservation.

John Browning and Brian Webber have written a comprehensive and well-illustrated account of the various steam and diesel locomotives built and reconstructed by Bundaberg Foundry Engineers Limited in ‘Built by Bundaberg Foundry’ as referenced below. Rather than repeat the information provided in that authorative work, I have sought here to provide a brief background to the Bundy-Fowler steam locomotives and their preservation careers.

Pleystowe Mill No.5

The fifth-built Bundy Fowler loco was delivered to the Pleystowe Sugar Mill, located 18 kilometres west of Mackay on the Pioneer River, where it was known as No.5. Here it laboured hard during the harvest seasons, hauling heavy loads of cut sugar cane from the fields to the mill for processing and then returning to the fields with long strings of empties for refilling. Stablemates included Pleystowe Mill No.8 (Fowler 20764 of 1935) which represented the popular Fowler design adopted by Bundaberg Fowler. Pleystowe Mill No.5 was relegated to spare engine after 1964 and withdrawn from use by 1967.

Following withdrawal from service No. 5 was donated to the Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society (ANGRMS) in 1971. It was restored to operation by ANGRMS volunteers and has been a regular performer on their Durundur Railway at Woodford. Nicknamed ‘Bundy’.

No.5 has also had some interesting travels for periods of operation on sugar mill rail systems during its lively preservation career; the ANGRMS website includes a useful information page for Bundy-Fowler No.5 and describes of some of its travels. Their website also features an excellent photo gallery with many images of No.5 and other locomotives.

Mark Gough has kindly contributed this view of No.5 at the end of the Durundur Railway running line on 18th December 2011.

This was No.5 last day of steaming before being taken out of service for boiler tube renewal.

No.5 awaiting its next steaming at the Durundur Railway, Woodford on 12 April 2003.

(Protective covers have been placed over the headlight, safety valves & whistle.)



Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site

(Retrieved 3 November 2018):

'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' list by John Browning



Website for Bundaberg Walkers Engineering Ltd,

retrieved 12 September 2022


Browning J. & Webber B.

‘Built by Bundaberg Foundry’, published 2012 by the

Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society, Woodford QLD

ISBN 978-0-9596009-4-0


Information provided by Mark Gough via email 22 May 2012


ANGRMS website collections page,

retrieved 18 January 2021

Page updated: 11 December 2022

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