In 1877, a seven-man commission was set up in the colony of Natal for the administration of the port of Durban, which was to coordinate the further development of the systems and processes for the increasing transport volume. Locomotives from the Natal Government Railways were previously used on the port's tracks when required, but no own locomotives existed. For this reason, a single shunting locomotive with a 0-6-0T wheel arrangement was ordered from Hunslet in Leeds, which was delivered in 1879. It was named after John Milne, an engineer who played an important role in the port's history.
The locomotive weighed almost 20 tonnes, carried a maximum of 1,680 pounds of coal in the driver's cab and held 450 gallons of water in a saddle tank. It had 36-inch wheels and a very short wheelbase. It was in service in the port of Durban for many years and was only supplemented by a second locomotive around the turn of the century. It is no longer possible to determine exactly when its service life ended. However, this must have been no later than 1912, since it no longer appeared in the lists of the South African Railways and must therefore have been either sold or scrapped before then.