By MICK ROBERTS ©
COUNTLESS children have clambered over the steam locomotive gracing Corrimal Memorial Park.
Known affectionately as ‘The Green Frog’, the South Bulli No 4 was manufactured in 1909 by the Avonside Engine Company in London, England before beginning her working life at the South Bulli Colliery, Bellambi.
During the Great War (1914-18) the South Bulli Colliery was extremely busy keeping up demand for coal to fire the blast furnaces at Port Kembla Steelworks. The South Bulli No. 4, along with two other locomotives, hauled the coal wagons between the coal depot at the foot of the escarpment, and the weigh bridge siding at the Bellambi Point sea jetty.
Older residents clearly remember the engine puffing along the tramway hemmed by Keerong Avenue and Bellambi Lane.
The loco, presently the logo for the Corrimal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was eventually put into retirement and withdrawn from service on April 5 1968 and shortly after was donated to the Corrimal Lions Club.
The Lions, in turn, had the old loco set-up as a static display in Corrimal Memorial Park as a reminder of the importance the coal industry played in the development of the northern Illawarra. There she sat for 30 years, until age and weather finally took its toll.
The loco’s sudden departure from the park in 2000 raised immediate concern from local residents, who thought the beloved landmark engine had been kidnapped. The concern was replaced with relief when The Green Frog was returned to its resting place after Wollongong City Council carried out much needed restoration work.
A plaque mounted on South Bulli Colliery No.4 states: “This locomotive was in service at South Bulli Colliery from 1909 to 1967. It was used to haul coal from the Colliery to the jetty at Bellambi Haven. This locomotive was donated by the Bellambi Coal Co. to the Lions Club of Corrimal for installation in this park as a community service project. It was officially presented by the club to the Council of the City of Greater Wollongong on 31 May 1969.”
With her new facelift, The Green Frog continues to show off to a new generation of curious Corrimal shoppers.