Sidings of the Trans Line

Golden Ridge
This siding  is 22 kilometres west of Kalgoorlie, the first of 21 sidings along the Trans line in Western Australia.

Nothing left of this Siding.

This Siding was named after the 14th Prime Minister of Australia, John Joseph Curtin (Prime Minister 7 October 1941 to 5 July 1945).

Blink and you’ll miss it.

The name of this Siding honours Field Marshall Sir Thomas Blamey. He was born in Wagga, New South Wales in 1884 and served at Gallipoli and France in World War I, Blamey went on to become Commander in Chief of the Australian Army in World War II. Blamey Siding is 119 kilometres from Kalgoorlie.

Sandalwood cutters discovered gold near Karonie in early 1963. Karonie has a spur line off the main line that runs up to Cardunia Dam – once used to provide water for steam locomotives. The line to the dam is still intact but not used. Cardunia Rocks, five kilometres north-east of the Siding, is terraced by stone ‘harvest’ walls constructed to channel water to the dam and a covered reservoir. When operational the reservoir was covered to reduce evaporation – which can be as high as 2250 mm per annum. The roof has been removed.

The average annual rainfall in this area is only 300mm. The terracing work at Cardunia Rocks is similar to the constructions at Northam Army Camp – much of it being done by Italian internees from Cook during World War II. The origin of the name Karonie is unknown, but is likely derived from an aboriginal word first recorded by Surveyor W.P. Goddard during his explorations of the area in 1890.

The siding was named after Prime Minister Alfred Deakin Joseph Benedict Chifley (Prime Minister 12 July 1945 to 10 December 1949). The name has been in use since 1957.

The highest point on the Trans line (404 metres) is between Chifley and Coonana. The siding is named after a nearby hill that was first recorded as Coonaanna by Surveyor W.P. Goddard in 1890. The possible meaning of the word is ‘hill of ashes’.

Zanthus Siding is 210 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie. The original stationmaster’s cabin at Zanthus is now on display at the Bassendean rail museum. The Trans Australian Railway was the main route for the movement of Australian troops during World War II.  The name Zanthus is derived from the Latin genus name for the Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthus/Anigosanthus), the floral emblem of Western Australia.

The name for Goddard Siding is derived from the naming of the only watercourse on the Nullarbor Plain, Ponton Creek. The source of this creek is overflow from Lake Raeside (WA’s longest lake) and Lake Rebecca. At 300 kilometres in length it is longer than most rivers. It rarely flows.

Surveyor W.P. Goddard discovered the south end of the creek while examining the country east of Lake Lefroy in 1890. Another section of the creek was named in the following year by explorer David Lindsay in September 1891 after its discoverers, Stephen and William Ponton, pioneers of Balladonia Station.

In 1919, Mines Department geologist, H.W.B. Talbot, crossed the centre of the creek and gave it the local aboriginal name of Yandallah. The confusion over the name of the creek continued until 1964 when the name of Ponton Creek was adopted. The creek crosses the railway at a point 230 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie near Zanthus.

The name of this siding honours Chief of the British Imperial General Staff Lord Kitchener. During his visit to Australia in 1911, Lord Kitchener publicly criticised the country’s bewildering railway gauges. He observed the railway network favoured an enemy invasion, rather than a defence. He stressed the importance of the Trans Australia line in the defence of the nation to the Federal Parliament and urged them to commence its construction without delay. Hence, following the introduction of a bill into Federal Parliament by the Minister for Home Affairs, King O’Malley, a vote for the new Transcontinental Railway was passed on 6 December 1911. Kitchener Siding is 250 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie.

A disused siding. This is named after nearby Yandallah Claypan that is called Lake Boonderoo when it fills – something that has occurred only twice since European settlement. In 1995 rain from Cyclone Bobby filled the lake and allowed our group to go boating on the Nullarbor.

A drop off point for mail to nearby stations, Naretha was also known as the ‘205 mile’ camp. It featured rock piles and a crushing plant for the creation of railway line ballast. A bakery was built at Naretha in the 1950s to provide freshly baked bread for the passenger trains on the Trans Australian line and workers along the route. Naretha is the local aboriginal name for saltbush and was first used as the name of the Siding from 1915.

This Siding was one of the main depots during construction of the Trans Australian Railway. Rawlinna was the destination of Len Beadell and his Gunbarrel Road Construction Party when they pushed the Connie Sue Highway south from Warburton through Neale Junction to the siding in 1960. The dirt track to the south to Cocklebiddy is a gazetted public road. It was used as a supply route for material arriving by train via Rawlinna for use in the rushed construction of the Eyre Highway during 1941-42. Rawlinna is the western extremity of the Nullarbor Plain and the end of scrub vegetation. The word Rawlinna is aboriginal for wind, first used as the name of the Siding from 1915.

A disused storage shed made out of railway sleepers at this siding has been signwritten “Wilban Hotel”.

The siding was named after Field Marshal Douglas Haig, (1861-1928), a British soldier and senior commander during World War I.

Located 490 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie, Nurina was the site of a World War II Prisoner of War camp. It was officially known as the Cook POW Labour Camp No. 3 POW Labour Detachment. In April 1942, approximately 300 Italian prisoners of war/internees were put to work on the Trans Australian Railway to expedite sleeper renewals. Most were repatriated to their homelands by the middle of 1947 although some were given permission to remain in Australia. Very little remains of the camp.

This Siding is a former watering stop for steam trains.  The longest dead straight track in the world extends from west of Loongana to west of Ooldea in the east, a distance of 478 kilometres. Loongana is an aboriginal word meaning swift.

This Siding takes its name from Mundrabilla station, the first sheep station on the Nullarbor, established in 1872.

This Siding is named after Sir John Forrest, Premier of Western Australia from 1890 to 1901, and a major driving force behind the building of the trans continental railway.

The Siding was named after Prime Minister George Houston Reid (Prime Minister 17 August 1904 to 5 July 1905).

The last siding in Western Australia, it was named after Prime Minister Alfred Deakin (Prime Minister 24 September 1903 to 27 April 1904; 5 July 1905 to 10 October 1908; 29 April 1909 to 13 April 1910).

More information on the history of the Sidings of the Trans Line.


© Kim Epton 1990-2022
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