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 SteamRanger's Heritage
Selected downloadable articles from our enthusiast publications

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Building, Operating, Closing and Reincarnation of the Victor Branch Line

These articles, many written in the 1940s and 50s record the negotiations to build the branch line, details of the line construction, descriptions of the two major station buildings and celebrations to mark the centenary and 121st anniversary of the line's opening.

Building the Victor Harbor line

  •    Goolwa and Victor Harbor       Bulletin, October 40
    A short history     Author: C.C. Singleton

  •    Broad Gauge Railways of South Australia 1847 to 1939      Bulletin January 1945
    Author: G. H. Eardley

  •    A Brief History of the (Adelaide) Hills Railway Construction     Recorder, April 77
    Author: A.D. Presgrove

  •    Early railway and tramway development in South Australia - Part 1
    (Author: Dr John Radcliffe)      Bulletin, August and September 88
    Covers both metro and regional railways and horse and electric tramways

  •    Construction of the Mount Barker Junction to Strathalbyn and Sandergrove
    to Milang Railway
    (Author: Graham Bull)      Catchpoint May, June and September 92
    Blow by blow history of the original construction of the line, including detailed statistics of engineering works.

  •    Centenary of the Goolwa - Pt Elliot Line      Bulletin May 54
    Lengthy illustrated article covering building and operation of the Strathalbyn - Victor line;
    From the horsetram to the steam era  (Author: Alan. A. Strempel)

  •    The Goolwa to Port Elliot Railway - Australia's First Public Railway
    Bulletin May 2004       (Author: W.H. Callaghan)
    Selected extrtacts from a longer illustrated article on the history of the Victor Harbour branch. This extract covers the early history of the Goolwa to Port Elliot section in the horsetram era.

The Building, Operating and Closure of the Balhannah to Mt Pleasant line

This article provides an interesting comparison between the contemporary building and eventual closure of the adjacent Mt Pleasant line and the Victor Harbor branch
  •    The Balhannah - Mount Pleasant Branch Line     B.J. Castle      Bulletin February 1964

Services on the Line before the SteamRanger Heritage Railway

These four selected articles give exanmples of Victor line services between 1880 and 1980 before its rebirth as a Heritage Railway
  •    The Mount Barker to Victor Harbor Railway;     1884 - 1971
    Bulletin May 2004     Selected extracts from article "The Goolwa to Port Elliot Railway"
    Author: W.H.Callagan (includes historic photographs)

  •    Summary of Victor Harbor Line Passenger and Goods Working
    - 1957 compared with 1972
         Recorder March 73

  •    By Train to Victor Harbor in the 1960s  (Author:- Chris Bridgeland)      Catchpoint May 92
    A mile by mile description of a trip on a Bluebird railcar in the 1960s

  •    Victor Harbor line train working in 1974      Recorder August 74
    Highlights of train movements in July 1974

  •    Major Timetable changes to Victor Harbor line services - Oct 81
    Recorder, November 81       Detailed "Bluebird" schedules from 22 Oct 1981

Commemorations and Re-enactments

  •    Pilgrimage to Goolwa         Bulletin August 54
    Report on excursion with DE905 and DE907 to celebrations at Goolwa for centenary of Goolwa - Pt Elliot line        Author: Dean L. Harvey

  •    121st Anniversary of opening of Pt Elliot - Goolwa Railway      Recorder, Oct 75
    Report and photo of Chairman, VR, unveiling plaque at Goolwa 28 Sepember 75
    Copy of front page of the special train brochure and full text of Mr Gibb's speech

  •    Rx191 moved to Victor Harbor for display in park      Recorder, July 64
    (Attachment from Victor Harbor "Times" describes 2001 further refurbishment later)

Line Closure

  •    Last train to Milang - 15th June 1970      Recorder, Jun 70
    Report on special movement with Rx224.. The line actually closed on 17th June 1970

  •    Attempts to close the Victor Harbor line and Milang branch - 1970s
    Three articles - "Recommendation to close Victor line rejected", "Time Running out for Victor Harbor Line", "Victor Harbor Line closure proposed again"   Recorder, April 70, Sept 71 & Jan 75

  •    Timetable changes on Victor Harbor line - March 1980      Recorder, Apr 80
    Also includes patronage information presented to Goolwa meeting protesting closure

  •    AN announces closure of Victor Harbor line at end of April 1984      Recorder , May 84
    Includes discussion on traffic statistics and 1983 ARHS proposal to operate tourist services.
    See also update in June issue, ARU action in July issue & SA Govt objection in Nov issue

  •    Arbitrators's Recommendations on Closure of Victor Harbor Line
    Recorder, January 85       Decision to allow time for interested bodies to propose a future for the line,following public meetings at Goolwa.     See also item on track inspection in March issue (p84)

Building of our Mt Barker Depot a Reinstatement of the VH Line

  •    Relocation of SteamRanger Workshops from Dry Creek to Mount Barker
    (Authors: M. Thompson and I. Johnston)
    Overview extracts from book "50 years of ARHS (SA Division)"     2002

  •    Relocation of SteamRanger Workshops from Dry Creek to Mount Barker
    Detailed extracts from ARHS Newsletter 1993 - 1995

  •    The Victor Harbor Line  (Author: D.L. Harvey)      Bulletin, July, Aug, Sept 92
    History of the refurbishment of the Victor Harbor line for SteamRanger
    Part A - Text and representative illustrations

  •    The Victor Harbor Line  (Author: D.L. Harvey)      Bulletin, July, Aug, Sept 92
    History of the refurbishment of the Victor Harbor line for SteamRanger
    Part B - Full set of diagrams, photos, railway notices and timetables.
    This is a very large file (10 Mb) and may take a lengthy time to download

The Horsetram

The horsedrawn tramway leading to Granite Island has been a feature of Victor for nearly a century. These articles look at its history and its recent reinsaatement as a heritage tramway in the mid 1980s

  •    The Victor Harbor Horse Tram operators have an interesting public website
    The site includes both historical notes and current operational information

  •    The Victor Harbor Horse Tram  (Author G.G. Harris)      Bulletin, May 72
    Historical notes on Victor Harbor and Granite Island Tramway (includes 6 photos and map)

  •    Victor Harbor Horse Tramway Reopens  (Author: Kim Bird)      Bulletin, Sep 86
    Reintroduction of horse trams between Victor Harbor and Granite Island.    See also: photos in April 86 "Recorder"

The Victor Harbor Horsetram has also been covered by articles in the SPER magazine "Trolley Wire"

  • When "Horse Power" meant "The Horse"   Trolley Wire, December 82
         - Horse Trams in SA regional towns (part 2)
  • Victor Harbor Horse Tramway  Trolley Wire, April 86
          - Construction of the Victor Harbor and Granite Island line
  • Victor Harbor Horse Tramway Reopens   Trolley Wire, August 86
          - Reintroduction of horse trams at Victor Harbor
  • Country Horse Tramways in South Australia  Trolley Wire, November 87
          - Brief histories, statistics and rolling stock
  • The Victor Harbor Horse Tram  Trolley Wire, February 95
          - Brief history of the line by one of its current drivers