Early timber tramway construction methods questions


JH
 

As part of a broader archaeological/cultural heritage assessment of
an area at Apollo Bay in Victoria, I am investigating a possible
timber tramway alignment. The only evidence we have at this stage is
an old, undated map (thought to be c.1890s) that has "old tramway"
marked on it, although there is also the possibility there may be
some evidence still visible on the ground. Norm Houghton has
identified three timber tramways in the general area, none of which
he places within this immediate area. Of these three, two were still
operational around the time the map is supposed to have been drawn,
so we can probably eliminate them (there is other historical evidence
to eliminate them from the equation as well). This leaves the
possibility that there was a fourth timber tramline, that the early
(1853-c.1864) tramline was located along a different alignment than
shown by earlier research or that an error has been made in the
mapping.
To assist me in determining if a tramway did exist along this
alignment I am wondering if anyone can help with the following
questions regarding early timber tramway construction. Please forgive
me if I use the wrong terminology in posing these questions (and
please point out the correct terminology).
• Presumably the gauge would have been 30 or 36 inch – to carry
such a gauge, how wide would the roadbed have to be?
• With a bridge across the river being necessary, would this be
likely to be the same width as the roadbed or wider – if so how much?
• Presumably horse-drawn and carrying rail sleepers for
shipping off for construction of the Victorian rail network, I
presume that sleepers to support the rails would have to be laid in
such a manner and the spaces between filled with earth to provide a
suitable track for the horses – How far apart would these have been
likely to have been laid and would this distance be different if
steam engines had been used as motive power?
• How would the wooden rails have been fastened to the
sleepers? Bolts? Nails? Dog spikes?
• Crossing a flood prone floodplain, is it probable those who
built the tramway would have constructed an earthen embankment to
raise the line above flood levels? Or are they more likely to have
constructed the line on the other side of the river on higher ground
(where Norm Houghton puts it)?
I am planning to conduct field investigations during the last week of
November so any early replies would be appreciated. And if any one
can think of any other physical signs that I should be looking for,
please feel free to add to my list. The area has been cultivated on
and off during the last 140 years.
Thanks in advance
John Hyett


Michael J
 

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "John Hyett" <john.hyett@...> wrote:

As part of a broader archaeological/cultural heritage assessment of
an area at Apollo Bay in Victoria, I am investigating a possible
timber tramway alignment.
John,

Others will have far more technical experience than me. I can only
talk about a timber tramway that was located on a farm we used to own
in the Bass Hills, behind Glen Forbes in West Gippsland.

Like your example it was marked on an 1890 map as an "old tramway",
and was found on land that had been consistantly grazed over the last
100 years. There was no physical evidence of the tramway, besides the
cuttings and sections of roadbed workings. However once you knew what
you were looking for it was still quite easy to follow the route of
the tramway. It followed the course of the creek closely, and would
have had some quite tight curves. The cuttings, some of which were up
to 6' high, were about 6' wide. Thinking about it the use of the land
probably helped preserve the cuttings - the land was too rugged for
the farmer to get in there and plow everything up for crops, and
grazing stopped forest regrowth.

So good luck with your search, it is quite possible cuttings are still
there.

Michael


Frank Stamford
 

John,

These are my thoughts on your questions:

Presumably the gauge would have been 30 or 36 inch – to carry
such a gauge, how wide would the roadbed have to be?

I would not presume such narrow gauges for a pre-1890 tramway. A gauge
somewhere between 3 ft 6 in and about 5 ft is more likely. If we are
talking about an 1850s tramway, then most of those seem to have been more
than 4 ft and probably around 5 ft. Roughly laid narrow-gauge tramways
don't suit the carriage of large diameter logs from virgin forests, and in
any case most people laying tramways in the 1850s did not have much
experience of narrow track gauges. The roadbed would have been as narrow as
they could possibly make it.


•With a bridge across the river being necessary, would this be
likely to be the same width as the roadbed or wider – if so how much?

At the top it would be as narrow as they judged they could safely make it
without losing the horses over the side. It would be wider at the bottom as
there would be some degree of angle on the piles, but it again it would be
simple and cheap as they judged tolerably safe.

Presumably horse-drawn and carrying rail sleepers for
shipping off for construction of the Victorian rail network, I
presume that sleepers to support the rails would have to be laid in
such a manner and the spaces between filled with earth to provide a
suitable track for the horses – How far apart would these have been
likely to have been laid and would this distance be different if
steam engines had been used as motive power?
There was more than one way of laying horse-hauled timber tramways, and the
method of construction partly depended on the ground conditions, and the
experience of the builder. The simplest method was to lay sleepers very
close together (like a corduroy road) then nail the rails on top. But if
the ground was wet and or rough they would lay logs across the roadbed at
intervals of anything up to 12 ft, then lay longitudinal bearers of about
12 inch diameter on top of the logs, then either (a) lay wooden rails on
top of the bearers and fill the space in the middle with earth; or (b) lay
closely packed sleepers on top of the bearers and lay the rails on top of
the sleepers. These methods of construction used a lot of timber, but that
was readily available. It would be different if steam locos were used as
motive power, they would not need to provide a smooth path for the horses,
so they would use only enough sleepers to maintain the integrity of the
track. But it is extremely unlikely they would be using steam on a tramway
prior to the 1890s.

•How would the wooden rails have been fastened to the
sleepers? Bolts? Nails? Dog spikes?

Nails or wooden wedges. They would not use dogspikes or bolts.

•Crossing a flood prone floodplain, is it probable those who
built the tramway would have constructed an earthen embankment to
raise the line above flood levels? Or are they more likely to have
constructed the line on the other side of the river on higher ground
(where Norm Houghton puts it)?
Highly unlikely that they would construct an earthen embankment (unless
they had dug out a lot of soil from a cutting and needed somewhere to put
it). They would either build the line on the other side of the river on
higher ground, or build a long low simple wooden trestle bridge across the
floodplain.

Best of luck with your investigations. Unfortunately the evidence is likely
to be very subtle I think.

Frank

At 09:29 PM 15/11/2006, you wrote:

As part of a broader archaeological/cultural heritage assessment of
an area at Apollo Bay in Victoria, I am investigating a possible
timber tramway alignment. The only evidence we have at this stage is
an old, undated map (thought to be c.1890s) that has "old tramway"
marked on it, although there is also the possibility there may be
some evidence still visible on the ground. Norm Houghton has
identified three timber tramways in the general area, none of which
he places within this immediate area. Of these three, two were still
operational around the time the map is supposed to have been drawn,
so we can probably eliminate them (there is other historical evidence
to eliminate them from the equation as well). This leaves the
possibility that there was a fourth timber tramline, that the early
(1853-c.1864) tramline was located along a different alignment than
shown by earlier research or that an error has been made in the
mapping.
To assist me in determining if a tramway did exist along this
alignment I am wondering if anyone can help with the following
questions regarding early timber tramway construction. Please forgive
me if I use the wrong terminology in posing these questions (and
please point out the correct terminology).
•Presumably the gauge would have been 30 or 36 inch – to carry
such a gauge, how wide would the roadbed have to be?
•With a bridge across the river being necessary, would this be
likely to be the same width as the roadbed or wider – if so how much?
•Presumably horse-drawn and carrying rail sleepers for
shipping off for construction of the Victorian rail network, I
presume that sleepers to support the rails would have to be laid in
such a manner and the spaces between filled with earth to provide a
suitable track for the horses – How far apart would these have been
likely to have been laid and would this distance be different if
steam engines had been used as motive power?
•How would the wooden rails have been fastened to the
sleepers? Bolts? Nails? Dog spikes?
•Crossing a flood prone floodplain, is it probable those who
built the tramway would have constructed an earthen embankment to
raise the line above flood levels? Or are they more likely to have
constructed the line on the other side of the river on higher ground
(where Norm Houghton puts it)?
I am planning to conduct field investigations during the last week of
November so any early replies would be appreciated. And if any one
can think of any other physical signs that I should be looking for,
please feel free to add to my list. The area has been cultivated on
and off during the last 140 years.
Thanks in advance
John Hyett


mcsawdust <mike.mccarthy@...>
 

Michael,

I would be very interested to learn where the farm that your family
owned exactly was. I have been researching the tramways and mills
of the Woolamai/Bass area for about 20 years with the aim of
submitting something to LR. I have collected a fair bit of material
and have traced some of the old alignments on the ground. What you
have described is not something I have come across. There is a good
chance that I might be able to tell you who owned the tramway. Does
the map still exist?

Cheers,

Mike McCarthy

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "Michael J" <thirtyinchfan@...>
wrote:

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "John Hyett" <john.hyett@> wrote:

As part of a broader archaeological/cultural heritage assessment
of
an area at Apollo Bay in Victoria, I am investigating a possible
timber tramway alignment.
John,

Others will have far more technical experience than me. I can only
talk about a timber tramway that was located on a farm we used to
own
in the Bass Hills, behind Glen Forbes in West Gippsland.

Like your example it was marked on an 1890 map as an "old tramway",
and was found on land that had been consistantly grazed over the
last
100 years. There was no physical evidence of the tramway, besides
the
cuttings and sections of roadbed workings. However once you knew
what
you were looking for it was still quite easy to follow the route of
the tramway. It followed the course of the creek closely, and would
have had some quite tight curves. The cuttings, some of which were
up
to 6' high, were about 6' wide. Thinking about it the use of the
land
probably helped preserve the cuttings - the land was too rugged for
the farmer to get in there and plow everything up for crops, and
grazing stopped forest regrowth.

So good luck with your search, it is quite possible cuttings are
still
there.

Michael


Michael J
 

----- Original Message -----
From: mcsawdust [mailto:mike.mccarthy@gslpl.com.au]
Sent: 11/19/2006 11:37:07 PM
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Subject: [LRRSA] Re: Early timber tramway construction methods questions

Michael,

I would be very interested to learn where the farm that your family
owned exactly was.
Mike,

It was on Bateson Rd, at the southern intersection with Glen Forbes - Dayleston Rd. The tramway was in the creek valley, following the course of Archies Creek. I understand a sawmill was located at the junction of the two arms of Archies Creek. Now just to add to the confusion, I believe we are talking about the West arm of Archies Creek. The gentleman who currently owns the section of the property with the house on it is into Landcare in a big way, and has done a lot of planting. He does know about the tramway, though, and could point it out.


The map was in the State Library map section. Actually I looked at two maps, one dated 1880 with no tramway, and the second dated 1890 with the tramway marked as an "old tramway".

Cheers,

Michael


mcsawdust <mike.mccarthy@...>
 

Michael,

I know the tramway reasonably well. Assuming the formation you know
of is immediately east of the Bateman Rd/Dalyston Rd intersection it
would have been the log tramway serving the Woolamai Sawmilling Co
Blackwood Mill. This was situated on the west branch of Archies
Creek just south of the intersection and worked from 1899 (the
tramway was being extended towards the site from 1894)to around
1905. A log tramway followed Archies Creek north from the mill for
about 3 kms.

From memory the mill may have been erected on what was once the
Agricultural College Reserve. The timber went out west to Bass
Landing. The tramway featured at least 2 inclines on its journey to
the sea. I've found sections of it in the past mainly between the
Dalyston/Glen Forbes Rd and Mill Road. Also in a gully above the
Woolamai Race Course. The Company had another mill near the Mill
Rd/Trew Rd intersection.

I wouldn't mind getting in there and having a look sometime. Could
you tell me who now owns the property?

Cheers,

Mike McCarthy


--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "" <thirtyinchfan@...> wrote:

----- Original Message -----
From: mcsawdust [mailto:mike.mccarthy@...]
Sent: 11/19/2006 11:37:07 PM
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Subject: [LRRSA] Re: Early timber tramway construction methods
questions

Michael,

I would be very interested to learn where the farm that your
family
owned exactly was.
Mike,

It was on Bateson Rd, at the southern intersection with Glen
Forbes - Dayleston Rd. The tramway was in the creek valley,
following the course of Archies Creek. I understand a sawmill was
located at the junction of the two arms of Archies Creek. Now just
to add to the confusion, I believe we are talking about the West arm
of Archies Creek. The gentleman who currently owns the section of
the property with the house on it is into Landcare in a big way, and
has done a lot of planting. He does know about the tramway, though,
and could point it out.


The map was in the State Library map section. Actually I looked at
two maps, one dated 1880 with no tramway, and the second dated 1890
with the tramway marked as an "old tramway".

Cheers,

Michael


Michael J
 

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "mcsawdust" <mike.mccarthy@...> wrote:

Michael,

I know the tramway reasonably well. Assuming the formation you know
of is immediately east of the Bateman Rd/Dalyston Rd intersection it
would have been the log tramway serving the Woolamai Sawmilling Co
Blackwood Mill. This was situated on the west branch of Archies
Creek just south of the intersection and worked from 1899 (the
tramway was being extended towards the site from 1894)to around
1905. A log tramway followed Archies Creek north from the mill for
about 3 kms.

From memory the mill may have been erected on what was once the
Agricultural College Reserve. The timber went out west to Bass
Landing. The tramway featured at least 2 inclines on its journey to
the sea. I've found sections of it in the past mainly between the
Dalyston/Glen Forbes Rd and Mill Road. Also in a gully above the
Woolamai Race Course. The Company had another mill near the Mill
Rd/Trew Rd intersection.

I wouldn't mind getting in there and having a look sometime. Could
you tell me who now owns the property?

Cheers,

Mike McCarthy
Mike,

The mill was known to locals in the late '70's when we purchaced the
property. You are right about the agricultural college reserve - all
the properties in the area had been held on lease for a number of
years against the college being built. I never knew about the inclines.

It is about 15 years since we owned the property, and 18 months since
I visited it last. I can't remember the name of the gentleman who owns
it now but he is quite approachable, and were you to knock on his
door, I'm sure you would have no problems in inspecting the route.
Some of the larger cuttings were on the back portion of the property,
and as such were on the northern log tramway. We sold that seperately
to a neibouring farmer, and I have no idea what his attitude to you
looking over the property might be. However the fellow mentioned above
seems to know pretty well everyone, as he works really hard on
landcare activities. He would advise you how best to approach them.

Cheers,

Michael


Chas Bevan <bevac@...>
 

Re the Agricultural College reserve.
I doubt that there was ever any intention of building such a College
at this site. Dookie and Longerenong Ag Colleges were initially
operated by the Council of Agricultiral Education and ares of land
(such as the one mentioned) in different districts were set aside as
a source of income for the operation of the Council and Colleges. In
1945 (my last year at Dookie), the Council ceased to exist and the
Colleges and land its duties passed to the Dept of Agriculture:
indeed, it has been suggested that the reason was for the Govt to
gain control of the land such as mentioned below.
Chas Bevan

--- In <mailto:LRRSA%40yahoogroups.com.au>LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au,
"mcsawdust" <mike.mccarthy@...> wrote:

Michael,

I know the tramway reasonably well. Assuming the formation you know
of is immediately east of the Bateman Rd/Dalyston Rd intersection it
would have been the log tramway serving the Woolamai Sawmilling Co
Blackwood Mill. This was situated on the west branch of Archies
Creek just south of the intersection and worked from 1899 (the
tramway was being extended towards the site from 1894)to around
1905. A log tramway followed Archies Creek north from the mill for
about 3 kms.

From memory the mill may have been erected on what was once the
Agricultural College Reserve. The timber went out west to Bass
Landing. The tramway featured at least 2 inclines on its journey to
the sea. I've found sections of it in the past mainly between the
Dalyston/Glen Forbes Rd and Mill Road. Also in a gully above the
Woolamai Race Course. The Company had another mill near the Mill
Rd/Trew Rd intersection.

I wouldn't mind getting in there and having a look sometime. Could
you tell me who now owns the property?

Cheers,

Mike McCarthy
Mike,

The mill was known to locals in the late '70's when we purchaced the
property. You are right about the agricultural college reserve - all
the properties in the area had been held on lease for a number of
years against the college being built. I never knew about the inclines.

It is about 15 years since we owned the property, and 18 months since
I visited it last. I can't remember the name of the gentleman who owns
it now but he is quite approachable, and were you to knock on his
door, I'm sure you would have no problems in inspecting the route.
Some of the larger cuttings were on the back portion of the property,
and as such were on the northern log tramway. We sold that seperately
to a neibouring farmer, and I have no idea what his attitude to you
looking over the property might be. However the fellow mentioned above
seems to know pretty well everyone, as he works really hard on
landcare activities. He would advise you how best to approach them.

Cheers,

Michael

--
Regards

Chas Bevan. Kallista Victoria


mcsawdust <mike.mccarthy@...>
 

Chas,

I'm sure that you are right in terms of more recent thinking however
the land was set aside in the 1870's (or early 1880s) with the view
that it was a possibility for the future as considered from that
time.

Regards,

Mike

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, Chas Bevan <bevac@...> wrote:

Re the Agricultural College reserve.
I doubt that there was ever any intention of building such a
College
at this site. Dookie and Longerenong Ag Colleges were initially
operated by the Council of Agricultiral Education and ares of land
(such as the one mentioned) in different districts were set aside
as
a source of income for the operation of the Council and Colleges.
In
1945 (my last year at Dookie), the Council ceased to exist and the
Colleges and land its duties passed to the Dept of Agriculture:
indeed, it has been suggested that the reason was for the Govt to
gain control of the land such as mentioned below.
Chas Bevan


--- In <mailto:LRRSA%
40yahoogroups.com.au>LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au,
"mcsawdust" <mike.mccarthy@> wrote:

Michael,

I know the tramway reasonably well. Assuming the formation you
know
of is immediately east of the Bateman Rd/Dalyston Rd
intersection it
would have been the log tramway serving the Woolamai
Sawmilling Co
Blackwood Mill. This was situated on the west branch of Archies
Creek just south of the intersection and worked from 1899 (the
tramway was being extended towards the site from 1894)to around
1905. A log tramway followed Archies Creek north from the mill
for
about 3 kms.

From memory the mill may have been erected on what was once the
Agricultural College Reserve. The timber went out west to Bass
Landing. The tramway featured at least 2 inclines on its
journey to
the sea. I've found sections of it in the past mainly between
the
Dalyston/Glen Forbes Rd and Mill Road. Also in a gully above
the
Woolamai Race Course. The Company had another mill near the
Mill
Rd/Trew Rd intersection.

I wouldn't mind getting in there and having a look sometime.
Could
you tell me who now owns the property?

Cheers,

Mike McCarthy
Mike,

The mill was known to locals in the late '70's when we purchaced
the
property. You are right about the agricultural college reserve -
all
the properties in the area had been held on lease for a number of
years against the college being built. I never knew about the
inclines.

It is about 15 years since we owned the property, and 18 months
since
I visited it last. I can't remember the name of the gentleman who
owns
it now but he is quite approachable, and were you to knock on his
door, I'm sure you would have no problems in inspecting the route.
Some of the larger cuttings were on the back portion of the
property,
and as such were on the northern log tramway. We sold that
seperately
to a neibouring farmer, and I have no idea what his attitude to
you
looking over the property might be. However the fellow mentioned
above
seems to know pretty well everyone, as he works really hard on
landcare activities. He would advise you how best to approach
them.

Cheers,

Michael


--
Regards

Chas Bevan. Kallista Victoria

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]