This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
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Monday, 2 September 2013

Balmoral line again

I'm re-posting the Balmoral line, as I've come across some more information and taken some recent photos. This post does not replace the original one from November 2012, I've just swapped some photographs, added new ones of current views to compare against the old, and finally I'm including Natimuk itself (really on the Carpolac line) in reply to a Comment I had on Remlaw (see below).
The Balmoral line was a north-south running cross-country line that connected Hamilton, and ultimately Portland, with Horsham, via the junction at East Natimuk. The line from East Natimuk to Noradjuha officially (and finally) closed in 1986, with the Horsham to East Natimuk closing in October 1988. Noradjuha to Hamilton had been closed since July 1979.
Leaving Horsham the line to Natimuk passes Remlaw. I had an historic photo from Museum Victoria purporting to be a wheat bag stack at Remlaw in 1930.
Museum Victoria photograph
I've since had a Comment posted saying they believe the location is in fact Natimuk, not Remlaw, so I felt compelled to investigate, and now I too conclude that it is at Natimuk, facing west towards Carpolac.
Natimuk today - with the same peppercorn tree & gum tree on the horizon
Checking at Remlaw, the trees in that locality don't match, so well done that eagle-eyed follower, and thanks for your comment (I've contacted the Museum too).
Rows of sugar gums in front of the Remlaw silos
Before reaching Natimuk East, the line had to negotiate a crossing of the Wimmera River at Quantong (though the road bridge was called the Vectis Bridge in the early days). Below is a great photo by Bob Wilson of one of the last trains to cross the bridge in 1983. The timber trestle bridge was built in 1887, and is 133m long.
The road & rail bridges at Quantong (from 'Power to the rails' by John Scott)
Natimuk East was the former junction station, splitting the westward Carpolac line and the Hamilton cross-country branch line heading south via Balmoral. Not much trace of the platform remains, it is still an important grain receival point with large bunker storages. 
At Natimuk East, the Carpolac line ran in a curve from the left then down the centre of the photo, while the Balmoral line enters from the right, its platform mound is between the two groups of trees then it runs parallel to the Carpolac one past the silo, where they join and veer right towards Horsham at about the shadowed area.
The Natimuk East silo shed with the bunkers behind
From Natimuk East the line passed through Noradjuha to Jallumba. Jallumba opened in September 1912 and closed in 1979.
Jallumba, the platform mound is on the left
The Jallumba Goods Shed 1989 (from When There were Stations)

Site of the Jallumba Goods Shed today - no trace
From Jallumba the line continued south passing Carchap. Though not a listed siding, Carchap boasted a school and pumping station as it was on the water channel from the Toolondo Reservoir (built 1952-53).
The Carchap bridge the school was on the right
This bridge is the only one I've found still existing (apart from the Fulham trestle) on the Balmoral line all the other bridges and culverts have been removed. From Carchap it was only a few miles to Toolondo.
The abandoned Toolondo yard, not even the Super works operate from there any more
With the rails removed at Jeffries it is now difficult to plot the line's course.
Jeffries in 1980 (VRS photo)
The overgrown track at Jeffries today
Further south was Kanagulk, due to wartime shortages the line did not extend to Kanagulk until the end of 1917, and strangely the Kanagulk station looks better today than it did back in 1980.
Kanagulk in 1980 (from Winkieg on Flickr)
Kanagulk today


  1. I lived next to Remlaw siding and as a teenager I worked on the weigh bridge. The first photo is definitely Remlaw and the pepper gum tree is the same one still today. Our farm house is in the trees beyond the wheat stack. I remember the silos being built by Italians who lived in a bus on the site and introduced us to spaghetti. The silos were preceded by a large bulkhead where the wheat bag stack is and then replaced by the current silos.

    1. Was the photo taken facing west, towards Vectis?