Walkers Limited

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Walkers Limited
SuccessorDowner Rail
FounderJohn Walker
ProductsRailway locomotives
Railway rolling stock
ParentEvans Deakin Industries

Walkers Limited was an Australian engineering company, based in Maryborough, Queensland. It built ships and railway locomotives. The Walkers factory still produces railway locomotives and rolling stock as part of Downer Rail.


"Mary Ann", the first steam locomotive built in Queensland, built by John Walker & Co, circa 1875
Preserved Queensland BB18¼ class at Enoggera in April 2009
Preserved Emu Bay Railway 10 class on the Zig Zag Railway in July 2011

In 1863 John Walker and three friends set up the Union Foundry of John Walker & Co in Ballarat. In 1867 a branch was opened in Maryborough.[1]

The Ballarat assets were disposed of in 1879 and in 1884, the business became a limited company under the title John Walker & Co Limited, being renamed Walkers Limited in 1888. The company produced most of the parts for machinery at sugar mills.[2]

In 1980 Walkers Limited was sold to Evans Deakin Industries. It was included in the purchase of Evans Deakin by Downer Group in March 2001 and today the Maryborough factory continues to operate as part of Downer Rail.[3][4]

In 2003 Bundaberg Foundry Engineers completed the acquisition of the Walkers Sugar Business and moved to change the operating name to Bundaberg Walkers Engineering in January 2008.[5]


In 1884, the firm began work on five hopper barges for the Queensland Department of Harbours & Rivers. During construction the decision was taken to convert them to also serve as auxiliary gunboats, which made them the largest warships built in Australia before federation. During World War II, Walkers constructed two River-class frigates, a Bay-class frigate and seven Bathurst-class corvettes, in addition to other smaller vessels. Post war naval contracts included seven Attack-class patrol boats in the late 1960s and eight Balikpapan-class landing craft heavy in the early 1970s. After the completion of the latter, Walker's Maryborough shipyard closed in 1974.

Royal Australian Navy ships[edit]


The company's first locomotive was built at Maryborough in 1873 for William Pettigrew's (now heritage-listed) Cooloola Tramway; it was called "Mary Ann" as it was the name of the daughter of William Pettigrew and also the name of the daughter of his business partner William Sim.[6][7][8] The first major contract for locomotives came in 1896, when an order for thirty B15 class steam locomotives was placed by Queensland Railways.[1] In the 1960s Walkers offered a diesel-hydraulic unit to Queensland's sugar operators. Although not successful, it did sell six to BHP, Whyalla from 1962. It had more success with its DH class shunter with over 130 built for Queensland Rail, the New South Wales Government Railways, Emu Bay Railway and Western Australian Government Railways.

Steam locomotives[edit]

Diesel electric locomotives[edit]

Diesel hydraulic locomotives[edit]

Electric locomotives[edit]

Electric multiple units[edit]

A former Kuala Lumpur Metro rolling stock of Adtranz-Walkers EMU

Tilt Trains[edit]


In 2017, Walkers Limited was inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame. Walkers Limited is regarded as being one of Queensland's greatest companies spanning 150 years in the engineering manufacturing sector.[10]


  1. ^ a b West, AM (1994). Made in Maryborough. Brisbane: Australian Railway Historical Society, Queensland Division.
  2. ^ "Maryborough". Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  3. ^ Evans Deakin Industries Limited Archived 6 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine delisted.com.au
  4. ^ Annual Report 30 June 2001 Archived 6 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine Downer EDI
  5. ^ History Archived 22 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine Bundaberg Walters
  6. ^ "MESSRS. PETTIGREW AND SIMS' RAILWAY". The Queenslander. 8 November 1873. p. 10. Retrieved 31 October 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "WALKERS BUILD LOCOS". Maryborough Chronicle. Qld. 14 August 1952. p. 2. Retrieved 31 October 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Pettigrew's Cooloola Timber Tramway Complex (entry 602819)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  9. ^ "EDI Wins Light Rail Order Extension" Railway Digest June 1995 page 9
  10. ^ "Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee Walkers Limited". Archived from the original on 17 March 2018.

External Links[edit]