Rail came to Ben Lomond

RAILWAY ARRIVES: Ben Lomond Railway Station was built in the early 1880s by visiting construction workers.
RAILWAY ARRIVES: Ben Lomond Railway Station was built in the early 1880s by visiting construction workers.

Ben Lomond Railway Station is the highest station on the Australian railway system.

The railway made the most important contribution to the development of Australia by following the pastoralists and the miners across the mountains as the new country expanded after the 1850s.

Large numbers of construction workers were in the area during the laying of the track, but they naturally moved on as the distance from camp to worksite lengthened, usually leaving nothing permanent except the line to show that they had ever been in any place however long their stay may have been there.

Tent schools moved as well.

Earthmoving equipment used on the job included blasting powder, picks and shovels, wheelbarrows and horse and tip drays. All worked by men who camped on the spot sustained no doubt by the usual 'bush tucker' of salt mutton, and boiled vegetables, stew damper and bullocky's joy washed down by quart pots of tea.

The origin of this village probably lies in the fact that as far as this part of New England is concerned each station seems to have been sighted on the most convenient pieces of level ground which were in the vicinity of 12 to 14kms apart.

This is the approximate distance, separating in order the centres of Guyra, Llangothlin, Ben Lomond, Glencoe, Stonehenge, and Glen Innes.

And since there were no motor rail trollies in the 1880s it is possible that six or seven kilometres either side of a central point may have been a comfortable length of track for each fettling gang to manage, repair and maintain.

The roads, steep, serpentine, and rutted were little better than goat tracks.

Difficult enough to travel in dry weather, they became a misery in the wet when each furlong offered at least one excellent chance of being bogged to the axel.

Difficult enough to travel in dry weather, they became a misery in the wet.

Other problems likely to furrow the brow and sharpen the tongue of teamsters and traveller alike ranged from the simple ones of broken links in chains to the complex and bizarre of collapsed wheels and collapsed loads.

And of course, there were all manner of gates to be swung, carried, or dragged open and shut.

The railway station was ready for business on August 19, 1884.

The information published here came from: Ben Lomond School Centenary 1885-1985 - Tony Judge, Bill Every, Kate Every, Rose Coward, Sedg Ormerod, Leonie Ormerod, Patsy Fulloon.