G71 "Menzies"                         


The G class is a 30 ton locomotive with a 2 wheel front bogie and 6 driving wheels. A variation is the model with a 4 wheel bogie, and one of the latter is No 71 - a handsome machine built in Glasgow by Dubs & Co in 1897. Although initially employed in the eastern goldfields from where it derived its name "Menzies" (a sister engine was named "Kanowna"), this locomotive spent the greater part of its long life amongst jarrah trees and sawmills belonging to the Millar organisation.

  Used for hauling logs from bush areas to mill and moving the sawn product from mill to railway sidings , steam locomotives played a major part in the timber industry. Usually they were pampered machines, carefully painted, beautifully maintained and the pride of all residents in the mill areas where they served. Locomotive names, usually painted in gilt on the side of the tender, or occasionally carried on a brass plate fixed to the cab side, were household words among mill people. It was in the late 1930's when the decorators art was lost , that it was found necessary to introduce a system of numbering. Brass numerals were attached to cab sides and many well known identities were lost as names were hidden beneath fresh coats of paint.

  Although No.71 visited other milling centres (including a run over the Hotham Valley Railway for a short visit to the WA Timber Hewers Co-operative Mill at Holyoake in 1918) it was considered to be a Yarloop engine. As such it laboured long years on an extensive railway network which climbed into the Darling Range through a zig -zag system of five dead ends to Hoffman Mill (46 kilometers east of Yarloop) and Nanga Brook (72 kilometers north east) as well as associated logging spurs.

Because of the close proximity of Nanga Brook to Dwellingup there was always a strong social and trading association between the two communities. Milling at Nanga Brook ceased following the disastrous bush fire of 1961 when the town and mill were all but completely destroyed. The rail service into the area had given way to road transportation many years before then.

After "Menzies" finished its working life as a shunter in the Yarloop timber yard of Millars (WA) Pty Ltd, the company generously donated it to Hotham Valley and it arrived in Pinjarra in 1977. When funds permit it is intended to restore No.71 to working order.

Over the years since arrival at HVTR,  71 has been  dismantled with intentions of restoration although no progress has eventuated so far.  In more recent times  - September 2002, the parts from 71 have been gathered and the frames loaded onto a flat wagon to clean up the steam depot area at Pinjarra.

One day perhaps there will be the ways and means of bringing this locomotive back to its former glory. 




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