The 12″ gauge steam loco at the National Steam Centre has a clouded pass. Some sources indicate that it was built by a Mr Roberts around 1933-35 in Melbourne and in 1937 commenced running in Myer, Bourke Street store basement.
However this has not been confirmed.
Other sources indicate that it was built in 1956 by Alan Lewis in Ballarat. Certainly by 1956 Alan certainly owned the loco and converted a Bedford bus with accommodation for 2 hammocks and a large door in the rear of the bus for storage of the locomotive. A trailer carried eleven sections of track which made up to a circle of 60 feet (20 meters) in diameter and for fold up carriages.
With this setup it was toured all around the country agricultural shows, it even attended a Governors Garden party and in the early 1960’s it was part of a Puffing Billy event! It then changed hands in the late 1960’s to a engineer who moved the equipment to Echuca.
In 1984 it was purchased by the Melbourne Steam Traction Engine Club and after a full restoration and modifying it to operate on conventional track ( the engine and carriages were originally designed to travel in a circle only!) it now operates on around a kilometer of track around the perimeter of the National Steam Center grounds. New carriages have also been created to provide a better and more comfortable ride!
Reference or Further Information:-
A guide to the National Steam Centre by MSTEC
The Story of Industrial & Agricultural Power by MSTEC