John Garaty

Hi John & all,
One of the few photos known of Burra as built and in service at Corrimal is available online through the Illawarra Coke web archive at


This 1934 photo with the original boiler appears to show the cast plates/strengtheners behind the rear driver supporting the firebox. My feeling is that "Burra" was built with "wide" firebox and these strengtheners were retained to carry the later Clyde boiler. My feeling is that the Clyde boiler was supposed to be a copy of the original boiler. I seriously doubt that you could build a boiler with smaller internal dimensions and still be able to move 30 tons of coal with every 8th axle spragged (as was done at Corrimal). The overall dimensions of the boiler and grate area are very small. I will check the grate area later today for you and get back with some dimensions this evening.

My understanding is that Clyde didn't get the boiler right first time which led to delays. Either impending boiler trouble with Burra or the delay in getting the new boiler almost certainly led to the purchase of the the Robert Hudson from Tasmania as a stop-gap during WW2. There is a comment about Burra's protracted boiler problems in Ken McCarthy's "Gazeteer of Illawarra Industrial Steam Locomotives". The dome on the current boiler is further back than the original and it impinged on the cab front. I don't know what other problems there may have been with the Clyde boiler. There are construction photos of the Clyde boiler available online through the Clyde Photograph Collection held at the Powerhouse Museum. A quick search of the Powerhouse website should turn them up.

I hope that this helps resolve the question from the UK.
John Garaty
ILRMS member

--- In, "John Browning" <ceo8@...> wrote:

British narrow gauge historian Mark Smithers recently raised a question on a
blog entry. It concerns the 2ft. gauge Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST BURRA of 1923
now at the Illawarra Light Railway in NSW, previously at Corrimal Colliery.
This locomotive now has a wide firebox and cast strengtheners on the rear
parts of the frames. I believe it received a new boiler from Clyde in 1946.
As built did it have a narrow firebox?


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