Mt Farrell Tramway and Wee Georgie Wood History
NORTH MOUNT FARRELL TRAMWAY
Following the commencement of mining in the Tullah area in 1897 the Tullah town-ship became established as a small mining settlement by 1900. The original transport in and out of Tullah was by foot and pack-horse following pack tracks to Mole Creek and to Rosebery. For several years only high grade lead silver ore from the mine was sent by pack horse for transfer to the Emu Bay Railway line near the old Pieman bridge down river. This system was replaced by the North Mount Farrell Tramway which was opened in November 1902.
The tramway was constructed originally using wooden rails and horse drawn carriages which connected to the Emu Bay Railway at Boco. When operations at the mine increased, the Company became more financial, a new two foot gauge line was constructed with steel rails for tiny steam locomotives. The new line followed a major route along the Pieman River to connect with the Emu Bay Railway Line at Farrell Siding 8½ miles away.
The first steam locomotive in use on the new tramway was a 6 ton Krauss
locomotive built in 1892 and numbered 2640 . It continued in use until the early 1920s.
The Krauss locomotive was supplemented in 1910 with an Orenstein and Koppel locomotive built in 1901, numbered 718 and weighed 6 ¾ tons. This was purchased from the Magnet Mine near Waratah and was in use until about 1928.
In 1924 a new 6 ton Fowler locomotive, Wee Georgie Wood, numbered 16203 arrived to replace the ageing Krauss.
In 1928 another new 6 ton Fowler locomotive, Wee Mary, numbered 17732 arrived to replace the Orenstein and Koppel.
Wee Georgie Wood and Wee Mary continued to share the workload until 1946 when Wee Mary was withdrawn from service and parts used to rebuild Wee Georgie Wood.
To maintain servicesa 10 tonne KRAUSS Locomotive built for the Mt Lyell 2 foot gauge system was required in 1909 and continued in service until the line was closed. This locomotive bulit in 1908 carried its original Mt Lyell numbering No 9.
THE WEE GEORGIE WOOD STEAM RAILWAY
With the advent of the new Murchison Highway in 1964 Wee Georgie Wood and No 9, the only loco’s working, became redundant and Wee Georgie Wood was headed for the scrap heap or for mounting as a monument.
No 9 Krauss was however taken to Devonport at the Don River Railway Yards until 1987 when it was taken to EBR workshops in Burnie and undertook partial restoration. Meanwhile the thought of TuIlah’s little workhorse being laid to rest stirred the feelings of residents in Rosebery as well as Tullah and in 1977 the “Wee Georgie Wood Steam Railway Inc” was formed with the aim of fully restoring Wee Georgie to working condition and, in the long term, to have a steam railway attraction on the West Coast.
After a lot of hard work by a dedicated band of volunteers and generous support from local and coastal businesses Wee Georgie was back in steam. 1.9km of track was reestablished, and a passenger carriage, previously used on the Lake Margaret Tramway, was restored for use.
On Thursday, 5th
February 1987, our
dream was finally
achieved when Mr
Robin Gray, The Hon.
Premier of Tasmania
officially opened Wee
Georgie Wood Steam
Railway Inc. to the public.
With the aid of Bi-Centennial funds our station building was completed in 1988 as part of establishing our Society as a stop of interest to the traveling public. Extensions to our Loco Shed were finished In 1992 so that all our rolling stock is secure and under cover when not in use.
A Public Toilet block was completed in 1996 with the aid of the West Coast Council and lob Skills Program.
Ongoing planning for a significant upgrading of the railway and our facilities at Tullah.
This program will involve:
- Overhaul of Wee Georgie locomotive including boiler replacement with some funding provided by Tas Community fund and other donations.
- Construction of an additional 1.5km of track along the scenic shore of Lake Rosebery also taking advantage of views of the surrounding magnificent mountains and forests,
- Enlargement of our Station building,
- Construction of additional carriages, and
- Eventually the completion of rebuilding of No 9 Krauss locomotive,
New members are always welcome and any assistance which anyone can provide is always greatly appreciated.
Formal accreditation as a tourist/ heritage railway was achieved in 2003.
Vintage Romeo Locomotive operates on the first Sunday plus the last Saturday and Sunday of each month for season October to June
Rides commence at 10:00am
and finish by 4:00pm
Trip takes approx 25 minutes
Special runs can be organised for groups or functions
- Adults $7.00
- Children $3.00
- Family $14.00
(2 adults plus 2 children)
- Concession $ 5.00
(Wee Georgie Wood Locomotive will return to service in 2013 after overhaul and boiler replacement)