Friday, March 22, 2013

Diary Sunday 17th March Pt 2

A volunteer organisation runs the Walhalla Goldfields Railway along the old original route from Walhalla to Thomson, closely following Stringers Creek. There are plans to extend the line to Erica where there is still some train remains from when the line went right to Moe. From 1883 people agitated for a railway line to Moe and it was eventually opened in 1910. In 1914 the major mines closed. As usual, too little too late by the government. 

It was suggested to me that the mines did not close because of a lack of gold, rather the easily obtained timber to fire the furnaces ran out. Looking at old photos, both sides of the valley were bare. I think the furnaces ran the boilers to provide steam for the battery stamps, which at peak times ran twenty four hours a day, crushing whatever to extract the gold. When author Anthony Trollope visited n 1872, he was unable to sleep because of  the racket.

The line was truncated back to Erica in 1944 but had been extensively used to transport dismantled houses elsewhere, as people deserted the township.

 Our engine, the Spirit of Yallourn, originally used at the Yallourn open cut coal mine.

It is a beautiful trip along the creek banks with an occasional glimpse of the road higher up on the opposite side of the creek.


I don't know the proper term, maybe running around, and that was what happened at the Thomson terminus so that the engine was at the front for the return trip. We had a break of twenty minutes before retuning.

 The obligatory leaning out the window shot as we round a curve.

The bridge before Thomson Station with the road bridge nearby.

Our strong little Fowler Diesel ready with two carriages to haul back up too Walhalla. It is not a smooth or fast trip, but most pleasant.

 Once back in Walhalla we took a drive along the main road while looking at different houses.

We had decent coffee and food from the Grey Horse on its outside deck, just to the right of this photo.

We would have liked to do the mine tour, guided by one of the owners of our cottage, but other three opted for a afternoon nap. I took off for a walk on my own.

I climbed up the stairs next to the rotunda and past the old Freemason building to the relatively level walking path which follows the route of an old tramway, connecting two mines. The views were wonderful. I could see this equipment from our cottage. I guess it is a minehead or something. I have taken a mine tour in Walhalla when I was a teen, but I am not sure if it was the same one that is now used.

High above the town is what was the hospital, now used for accommodation. It is steep walk up to the Anglican church, the hospital and the cemetery, which is rather odd as it would be a struggle for old people. It is fair enough to have the old cricket ground high on the hills.

The rotunda is illuminated at night.


6 comments:

  1. I'm enjoying your journey back to Walhalla. I always liked the place, but it always seemed too far from anywhere for a casual visit - but maybe that's a part of its charm.

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  2. Thanks FC. It is just that bit too far for a day trip.

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  3. High above the town is what was the hospital, now used for accommodation, the Anglican church, the cemetery, plus the old cricket ground. Well that just about covers every human need. Add a decent wine bar and they had a very nicely serviced town :)

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    1. Hels, there was something like 4000 residents in its heyday. They needed to have good services.

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  4. Such a wonderful train trip far outweighs the "no mobile signal", I've put Walhalla back on my list of places to visit should I suddenly become filthy rich. or just manage to save enough cash.

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    1. River, I don't know if we will, but we hope to revisit the town, which is recommendation enough.

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