Australian Steam Locomotive Builders – Murray and Patterson
The engineering firm of Murray and Paterson of Coatbank Engine Works, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire was established in 1868 by three men, Strathern, Murray and Paterson, to build steam engines for industry.
These were not steam engines for railway use but were engines for boats, engines to power rolling mills in iron and steel works. The business also built heavy industrial machine tools as will as a variety of heavy machinery for coal mines.
Despite being heavily involved in building steam engines they only built two steam locomotives and the company doesn’t even rate a mention in James Lowe’s book of British Steam Locomotive Builders.
The Company remained in business until a rececession forced it to close in 1983
One of those two steam locomotives was built in 1886 and apparently carried Builders Number 205. It was a 12 ton, 3′ 6″ (1067mm) gauge 0-4-0 saddle tank loco fitted with 9-inch cylinders built for Lewis Thomas’ Aberdare Colliery near Blackstone in Queensland.
Photos of this loco are not easy to find but appears that, while the tank was a saddle tank, it didn’t look like most saddle tanks and at least one writer described it as an “inverted saddle tank”.
You might have a better idea of the shape if I suggested that the tank looked like an inverted ‘V’ without the sharp point at the bottom
This locomotive had an interesting life, in 1897 the Queensland Government took over the mine and associated equipment but the locomotive was not required by the new owners and it was apparently stored in the open for a number of years.
It was inspected in 1902 with a view to using on the Townsville Jetty but was found to be in poor condition and with some parts missing.
By 1907 it had passed into the ownership of the British Australian Timber Company Limited and was used as a construction loco by the company as they built their timber tramway out from the jetty at Woogoolga on the north coast of New South Wales and then to haul log trains along the line.
The British Australian Timber Company Limited closed their operation in 1914 and the loco was included in a sale of plant in 1916 but attracted no buyers.
In 1918 ownership of the loco passed to Hepburn McKenzie for use on his timber tramway on Fraser Island.
That business failed around 1925 and the loco was sold to a Pialba resident who attempted to move the loco to the mainland but unfortunately it fell off the punt in heavy seas and had to be retrieved from the water.
The Queensland Government restarted McKenzie’s timber operation on Fraser Island and acquired the locomotive. The tramway remained in use until 1935 but no record of the demise of the loco has been found and it is presumed to have been scrapped on Fraser Island.