The Steam Locomotive 299 was built in Maryborough as the first Queensland built loco for the Queensland Government in 1897, entering service at the end of January that year. She remained in service on a variety of freight and passenger duties across Queensland until she was finally retired in 1965.
299 was the first local construction of a series of 30 engines that had started construction in England in 1895 with a batch of 10 engines having been earlier sourced from the Yorkshire Engine Co in England. 299 was then one of a group of eventually 40 engines referred to as B15 Class.
299 was handed into the care of MELSA in a ceremony at the Maryborough Railway Station on Thursday 14th March, 1985, when The Minister for Transport Don Lane, handed 299 to MELSA. Also present were the Member for Maryborough Gilbert Alison and The Mayor of Maryborough Jock Anderson. President of MELSA at that time was Bob Kimber who gladly accepted the responsibility on behalf of MELSA.
Over the ensuing years, MELSA members spent many hours on the restoration of 299. The tender was rebuilt and bogies refurbished.
The loco was steamed for the Bi-Centennial in 1988 and on several occasions after that – including a starring role in the movie “The Delinquents” in 1989 which co-starred Kylie Minogue in her first movie.
Unfortunately, 299 has not steamed for several years since the boiler certificate expired and the need for major maintenance on the engine became more obvious and pressing.
All she needs is a generous benefactor – the labour is willing and waiting.
On Saturday 24th September, 2016, MELSA handed the care of 299 to the Maryborough Whistlestop organisation who operate the Mary Ann Locomotive. Given changes in the membership of MELSA over the years, it became necessary to accept that MELSA was very unlikely to complete preservation of 299.
Copies of the Book about 299 are available from Maryborough Whistlestop