SSM No.2 is one of only two State Saw Mills locomotives existing today.
No.7 2-6-0 built by Martins of South Australia being the other, which is
currently situated in a park, on Brockman St, Pemberton, outside the sawmill.
In 1910 the South West Timber Hewer’s Co- Operative Society (the only producers of hewn railway sleepers in WA at the time – all other sleepers being sawn) of Collie and Holyoake, placed an order with locomotive manufacturers Beyer Peacock of Manchester U.K. for a “G” class type 4-6-0 engine of which there were already many similar types successfully operating in WA.
A kit of parts arrived in Fremantle in 1911 and was assembled at Midland Junction Workshops. The locomotive named “The Hewer” was trialled at Midland on the 20th July 1911 and then sent to work at the Lucknow Mill near Collie. In early 1912 “The Hewer” was moved to Holyoake, just east of Dwellingup where the SWTH had 3 concessions operating.
With the Lucknow Mill, being destroyed by fire on 12th
October 1912, all operations were then concentrated on Holyoake.
Formed in 1912 by Premier Scadden, the State Saw Mills
eventually took over the SWTH operation at Holyoake in 1920 and the “The Hewer”
was taken in to SSM stock. Whilst in for repairs at Midland Junction Workshops
in April 1942, “The Hewer” was numbered SSM No.2, in doing so, losing its
No.2 was then transferred to Deanmill in February 1943
where it worked up until March 1952 when it was transferred to Pemberton. After
a short stint in Pemberton, No.2 returned to Holyoake in September 1952. By the
10th October 1953 No.2 was back in Pemberton until being transferred
back to Deanmill in June 1960.
No.2 remained at Deanmill where it worked until January
1967 when it was withdrawn from service. Under it’s own steam No.2 was worked
to Manjimup in February where the fire was dropped for the last time. It stood
on unused sidings in Manjimup for a period of time before being mounted on
display at what is now known as the Manjimup Forest Products Centre.
In the late 1980’s the Pemberton Tramway Company registered an interest in locomotives SSM No.2 and SSM No.7 with the then current owners Bunnings Ltd.
In 2001 further enquiries were made to Bunnings which was
now renamed as Sotico. In May 2002 the General Manager of Sotico, Mr Ron Adams
advised that Sotico was prepared to donate SSM #2 to the PTCo.
The next problem was then how to move 40 ton of locomotive from Manjimup to Pemberton. The truck we used, is unique, in that it is fitted with a tilt tray specifically designed for moving large railway track maintenance vehicles by road throughout the state. Where the hire of cranes would normally be required to move a locomotive or wagon, the “Roll On – Roll Off” qualities of the tilt tray makes moving such equipment very quick and easy. This vehicle is owned by rail maintenance contractors “John Holland” and is reputed to be the only vehicle of its type available in Australia.
On the 4th of February 2004 at approx 5.30pm No.2 commenced being winched onto the trailer at FPC Manjimup. By 6.45pm No.2 was heading out onto South Western Highway, once again heading for Pemberton.
Due to darkness closing in, No.2 was left standing over night on the trailer in Pemberton Station yard where it was then unloaded at dawn the next day.
SSM No.2, a small part of Pemberton’s history, has returned.
As yet it remains to be seen what condition, the main components of this locomotive are in. It is hoped that one day it will be possible to restore No.2 to its former glory so that she may steam through the township and forests of Pemberton once again.
* History drawn from the book "Rails Through the Bush" by A. Gunzburg & J. Austin
Tel: +61 8 97761322