Queensland Canefields Steam Era (BOOK)



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Queensland Canefields Steam Era (BOOK)

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Approximately 34 mills of the Australian Sugar Industry, dotted the coast from northern N.S.W. to far north Queensland, operated some 200 steam locomotives on over 200km of tramways, mostly 2' (60.9cm) gauge, the remainder being 3'6" (106.7cm) gauge.

In the mid 1950s diesels began making inroads amongst the steam fleet, gradually ousting them, until their final appearance in the late 70s at Qunaba Mill near Bundaberg. One Perry 0-6-2T lasted at the Marian Mill as a yard shunter until late 1982.

As with the current diesel locos, these steam locos worked daily shifts during the cane harvest, sometimes up to 36km from the mill and not always through Canefields but often through natural bushland as they travelled from one canefield to the next. During the non-harvest months the locos were serviced, repaired and stored.

The fascinating and colourful little steam locos have gone but the tramways have expanded and their operations modernised; even the earlier 'rod' diesels are now being superseded by bigger, more powerful bogie locomotives. Many of the old steam locos still exist in varying states of repair. Some ended up in coastal parks and literally rusted away. Fortunately many have been saved and preserved by individuals, groups and societies throughout Australia, a number are in working order.

We hope that what is presented here is a good representative selection of images of locomotives and the conditions in which they worked.

Captions are kept to a minimum, allowing the large format colour reproductions to tell their own story. Little information was supplied with many of the origina1 35mm slides, but with the help of some of our own records and consultations with various photographers we have been able to provide reasonably detailed and, hopefully, accurate captions.




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