24 November 2011


Continuing to work our way around the railway facilities of Eumungerie, this post considers the stock loading and unloading facilities - though it is clear from the data below that much more loading occurred than unloading.

In the earliest years of operation the railways used the loading bank opposite the station platform to load livestock.  Following the 1912/13 redevelopment of the yard the stock ramps utilised the bank of the wool dump.  Temporary barriers were extended when necessary.  These arrangements appear were likely used from the commencement of stock services to at least the mid-1940s.

In 1935 Eumungerie was noted as having a ‘C’ placed in the column headed Pigs, Sheep and Cattle Races – in the Merchandise Book.  Deciphered, this meant that up to six trucks could be dealt with at the Eumungerie stock races without the need for a locomotive.

In 1951, new stock yard ramps were built in a new location to the north of the silo on the Wheat Siding.  The cost of this improvement was ₤265, with labour costs of ₤581 incurred in the installation. 

The provision of discrete stock loading facility freed up the loading bank for other purposes.  However it did not increase stock loading capacity as the stockyards themselves were only rated to handle up to six cattle or sheep wagons with without a locomotive.

Tenders were called for the demolition and removal of the stockyards on 22 May 1974, suggesting that loading from this location ceased sometime prior to this.

Six or seven years prior to the demise of the stock yards, an un-named but very brave uncle clambered to the top of silo to take the following photograph. 

Occupational health and safety and public liability concerns of the 21st century demand that I state that such foolhardy endeavours not be attempted, but I am sure glad he did!

The following photograph not only shows the stock ramps but the salubrious accommodation in the form of a small red shed provided for those in charge of stock yard.  Doubtless many a drover got the pleasure of a night’s rest in the shack, and even perhaps a decent shower under the water column?

So, what were these yards used for? Well, apart from providing a terrific play ground for kids visiting their great grand-mother, they were used for the loading of all sorts of animals.

In the 26 years of records constituting the period from the 1912/13 redevelopment of Eumungerie to the Second World War, 287,389 beasts left Eumungerie via the stockyards.  Of these, the vast majority were sheep (283,729 or 98.2 per cent).  A further 1,610 cattle and 1,311 pigs left town this way, along with 536 horses and 143 calves.  All up, this transport task garnered the NSW railways £35,603 - a very tidy earner in those days.

13 November 2011

Level crossings

Here's a reeeaaaaallly interesting subject - level crossings, or railway crossings by roads - public and private.

Seven crossings existed within a short 4.4 kilometre stretch surrounding Eumungerie’s railway precinct.  Approaching from the south, the first was a public crossing located at 497.227 kilometres from Sydney. 

A second level crossing, nominated as Eumungerie, was located at 497.951 kilometres, while the Eumungerie Yard level crossing was located at 497.971 kilometres - just 20 metres to the north!  This level crossing had gates in the boundary fence of the railway yard. 

Going north, three further public level crossings were located at 498.675 kilometres (the northern end of the yard), 499.701 kilometres and 501.089 kilometres.  

The final level crossing, known as Dohnt’s (Private) level crossing, was located at 501.592 kilometres.

There is not much moresay about this particular topic.  On unfenced lines, such as the Coonamble branchline, crossing the track was a pretty easy job for any pedestrian.  Perhaps the need for, or existence of, seven crossings in under five kilometres is emblematic of the fairly relaxed view taken of civilisation out in those parts. 

Still, enough chatting.  Here's a photograph from 1985 of 4905 and 4875 making their way north across the crossing at 498 kilometres and 675 metres distant from the buffer stops at platform 1 in Sydney Steam Terminal.