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This O-4-2, 12 ton locomotive built by the Perry Engineering works of Adelaide in 1939, was built as a "one off" working for the Queensland sugar industries at Inkerman Mill.
After working for years hauling sugar cane, this locomotive was retired and placed in the playground of a kindergarten in Qld.
Some years later the locomotive was to be buried due to asbestos cladding becoming an issue. Fortunately a small group led by Malcolm Thompson stepped in "In the nick of time" and purchased the little loco. It was shipped to W.A. to the yard of "Thompson Pumps" where Malcolm and his band of friends set about restoration.
Malcolms wife Betty was very supportive of his project to restore the little locomotive, but unfortunately became ill in later years of its restoration. Betty urged Malcolm to continue work even though she was not well. Betty passed away some months prior to completion of the restoration and thus Malcolm bestowed her name on the engine he loved.
The 14th of September 1996 - "Enthusiast Day" was the day that "Betty Thompson" BT1 entered service on the BBR. Under instruction from a qualified BBR driver, Malcolm was permitted to operate his BT1 on its first day in service. A two coach train was hauled by BT1 carrying family and friends for a full journey around the BBR system before entering into the timetabled operations for the Enthusiast Day. Naturally Malcolm had a grin from Ear to Ear.
Sadly Malcolm passed away in January 1997, but his locomotive is a lasting legacy and has been the mainstay of BBR steam operations ever since.
Bennett Brook Railway
Webmaster N. Blinco