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Kelly & Lewis 0-6-0DM 5957 of 1936

Historical Photo
Recent Photo

Status: Operational

In 1935, Rubicon sawmillers Clark & Pearce purchased the first diesel locomotive to be built in Victoria, Kelly & Lewis 4271.  With the annual output of the Rubicon Forest increasing, Clark and Pearce ordered a second diesel locomotive from Kelly & Lewis on 28 January 1936.  The new locomotive carried the builder's number 5957, was painted maroon, and cost £2600.  The first diesel had proved so successful that few changes were made.

The tramway on which this pair of highly successful diesel locomotives ran was closed in 1947, and the locomotives were retired.  The pioneer locomotive 4271 was stored inside the locomotive shed, while 5957 lay outside in the weather, partially dismantled for an overhaul that never eventuated.  In 1985, the Alexandra Timber Tramway & Museum was incorporated as the successor to the Alexandra & District Historical Society.  Locomotive 4271 was vested in the new body and 5957 was sold to collector Paul Simpson in NSW.  After many years of effort, Paul restored 5957 to working order, and then assisted the Alexandra Timber Tramway in the restoration of 4271.  The happy result was that, by 1992, both locomotives survived in operational condition, albeit many hundreds of kilometres apart.  Paul Simpson passed away on 23 June 2003.  The Alexandra Timber Tramway purchased 5957 from his estate with the aid of funds from a Commonwealth-funded “Regional Partnerships” grant, a grant from the Shire of Murrindindi, and transport donated by J. L Gould Sawmills Pty Ltd.  The ATT contributed materials and labour to extend the locomotive shed and to cosmetically restore 5957.  The locomotive arrived in Alexandra on 16 July 2004 and has since had a mechanical overhaul and a complete repaint, with many missing fittings being restored.

Both locomotives are of National Heritage Significance. They were the fourth and fifth diesel locomotives constructed in Australia, the first and second constructed in Victoria, and are the oldest extant Australian-built diesel locomotives.