Open main menu


Preserved former Sydney Albion Venturer in Glasgow in October 2009
Preserved Mount Newman Mining MLW M636 diesel locomotive in April 2012
CityRail V set at Central in December 2007
Connex Melbourne Comeng in December 2005
Hong Kong Light Rail Phase I LRV in February 2009

Commonwealth Engineering was founded in 1921 as Smith & Waddington, in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown building bodies for motorcars and buses.[1] It was reformed after the Depression as Waddingtons Body Works and moved to Granville. The Government of Australia took control of the company during World War II to produce materials in the Granville factory. The government purchased a controlling stake in the company in 1946 and changed the name to Commonwealth Engineering.

In 1949 a factory was established in Rocklea, Queensland. This was followed in 1952 a plant in Bassendean, Western Australia and in 1954 by another in Dandenong, Victoria. In June 1957, the government sold its shares. In November 1982 Comeng was taken over by Australian National Industries.

The Granville factory closed in 1989 and has been demolished. The site, which sat between the Great Western Highway and Main Western railway line west of Duck River, has been replaced with new developments that include high rise housing and light industry.

The Dandenong plant was sold in 1990 to ABB Transportation and is now operated by Bombardier Transportation while the Bassendean facility was sold to A Goninan & Co.

The history of Comeng has been published by John Dunn:

  • Volume 1, 1921 – 1955 published in 2006[2]
  • Volume 2, 1955 – 1966 published in 2008[3]
  • Volume 3, 1967 – 1977 published in 2010[4]
  • Volume 4, 1977 – 1985 published in 2013[5]
  • Volume 5, 1985 – 1990 published posthumously in November 2013[6][7]


Commonwealth Engineering's products included:


Australian Capital TerritoryEdit

New South WalesEdit


  • 50 AEC Regal IIIs

Western AustraliaEdit

Diesel locomotivesEdit

New South WalesEdit


Western AustraliaEdit

Electric locomotivesEdit

Diesel multiple unitsEdit

Electric multiple unitsEdit


Commonwealth RailwaysEdit

Long Island Rail RoadEdit

New South WalesEdit




  1. ^ History of Prewar and War Single Deck Vehicles DGT Archives
  2. ^ Dunn, John (2006). Comeng: A history of Commonwealth Engineering: Volume 1: 1921-1955. Rosenberg Publishing. ISBN 1877058424.
  3. ^ Dunn, John (2008). Comeng: A history of Commonwealth Engineering: Volume 2: 1955-1966. Rosenberg Publishing. ISBN 1877058734.
  4. ^ Dunn, John (2010). Comeng: A history of Commonwealth Engineering: Volume 3: 1967-1977. Rosenberg Publishing. ISBN 9781877058905.
  5. ^ Dunn, John (2013). Comeng: A history of Commonwealth Engineering: Volume 4: 1977-1985. Rosenberg Publishing. ISBN 9781922013514.
  6. ^ Dunn, John (2013). Comeng: A History of Commonwealth Engineering. Volume 5: 1985–1990. Kenthurst, New South Wales: Rosenberg Publishing. ISBN 978-1-922013-52-1.
  7. ^ "John Dunn Obituary". Sydney Morning Herald. 5 January 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  8. ^ The Indian Railcar Contract Adam, Eric Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, December 1989 pp285-291

External linksEdit

  Media related to Commonwealth Engineering at Wikimedia Commons