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Mt Barker to Strathalbyn

Strath to Sandergrove

Sandergrove to Gilberts

Gilberts to Goolwa

Goolwa to Victor



 Along the Line - Strathalbyn Station

Some History of the Line

The line southwards from Mt Barker Junction to Mt Barker was constructed by Messrs Walker and Swann who had previously built the Adelaide to Aldgate line. The section to Mt Barker was opened by the Governor on 27th Nov 1883 with considerable pomp and ceremony and the 500 workers then pressed on to complete the line to Strathalbyn by 15th Sept 1884.

Substantial stone station buildings were built at both Mt Barker and Strathalbyn and stations with sidings and passenger platforms at a number of other locations. Many of these were still in place into the 1970s.

Passenger services operated by Australian National on the line ceased in April 1984 and the line was closed to all trains in 1989. With widespread community support SteamRanger subsequently took over the line and now operates the “Highlander” and the "Southern Encounter" services southwards from Mt Barker to Strathalbyn, Goolwa and Victor Harbor.

An historic Scottish influenced town

Strathalbyn is a picturesque country town on the Angas River. The town was first settled in 1839 by the Rankine families who had emigrated from Scotland. The name is a combination of Strath - a Scottish word meaning a small river valley; and Albyn - a corruption of the word Albion which had been a name for Scotland in ancient times. It is believed that Dr John Rankine also held an interest in the Albion Iron and Steel Works in Glasgow, which could have also given meaning to the name! The railway arrived in 1884 and at first, passengers going further south then transferred to a horse tram!

Today Strathalbyn is a district centre for the surrounding wheat farming and pastoral districts and while the amount of urbanisation is on a smaller scale than Mount Barker, this has enabled it to keep a lot of its historic charm which is reflected in buildings such as the distinctive Presbyterian Church.

The Station Building

The station building was constructed from Aldgate freestone during 1883. It is a variation of a standard design used at a number of SA locations and included a Stationmaster's quarters within the main building at the southern end.

The building station has in recent years been lovingly restored to almost new condition. The front area has been continually beautified with garden plots since Thomas Adams came to the town as Station Master in 1871 and commenced planting four years later! Though some of his original work had to be compromised when the existing building was put up, much of the garden remains to this day and has now been named in his honour.

The building is now shared between SteamRanger and local Arts and Crafts organisations who operate a small shop, art gallery and local information centre

To glimpse the station as it appeared in earlier times click on each of the folllowing mice

Station scene in 1935
Strath yard in 1920s - with extensive gardens
Goolwa end of yard in 1890s

The Goods Shed

The stone goods shed, used by SteamRanger’s track maintenance team, was built in 1884 while until 1964, two tracks south of the station platform served a locomotive shed. A siding adjacent to these still provides access to the turntable which was recently restored and is used to turn smaller SteamRanger locomotives. Prior to November 1968 this small table was used to turn the Model 75 railcar which ran between Strathalbyn and Milang on the shores of Lake Alexandrina. A small galvanised iron gang shed at the turntable houses SteamRanger track maintenance vehicles. The large water tank is no longer in use, and locos are topped up these days from the town supply.

Yard Diagrams - through the years

As constructed

Along the line
to Mt Barker
Along the line
to Goolwa