April 23, 2015

Succession Planning - Article by Patsey Moppett - 2015

Succession Planning 

The Succession Planning Workshop held by BMACHO in February at the Lithgow Mining Museum provided an opportunity for organisations and committees to find out the many ways to make their tasks easier and more effective and ensure their volunteers get the most out of their roles. (See Heritage January-February p.14). The day commenced with a tour of the museum site.

Lithgow Mining Museum workshops

BMACHO Vice President Ian Jack opened the proceedings. Those few who were able to attend were treated to very worthwhile presentations by the speakers, Emeritus Professor David Carment, Ray Christison, Lynn Collins and Tamara Lavrencic.

Both David and Ray spoke about their experiences in being on committees and their approaches to the success of their various organisations.

David Carment: David reviewed the principles set down by Museums and Galleries of NSW to assist organisations in their operations. He emphasized the importance of valuing the work of volunteers and encouraging their involvement, dealing with aging membership and finding people to fit the committee positions. Inclusion of fixed terms for positions and seeking people who have something to offer, may be key solutions.

Utilization of social media and sharing the load, are also ways to relieve the pressure. People have less and less time to be involved and to carry out the myriad of tasks required in a committee these days.

Ray Christison: Ray cover the topic under five headings, as follows:

  •   What is succession planning finding people to fill key positions on a committee to sustain the required functions of the group. In particular, finding a leader who will identify the problems and work to solve them. Ray quoted from Ben Chifley, “Rookwood is full of people who were indispensable”.
  •   Roles the roles in a committee range from a leader, administration, program management, tour guides, site/building management, museum development. The task is finding suitable people who can do each of these jobs.

BMACHO Vice President Ian Jack addresses the group
  •   Plan for the future the problem is broken down, deciding who does what. Divide the position and delegate tasks. The tasks can be carried out by volunteers, casual staff or contractors.
  •   Attracting volunteers the vision should be articulated. Sensible business planning should be undertaken, obtaining recognition for the organisation, creating a positive and creative environment for volunteers. Sometimes the facilities can be difficult for volunteers eg. heat/cold. Anticipate the benefits of participation. Network within the community. Keep exhibitions fresh, undertake projects that renew/maintain interest, for both volunteers and visitors.
  •   Alternatives use contractors for some tasks if possible. Identify roles and cash flow, sponsors and compliances with legislation. Expand the capabilities of the group and possible use a business model. Make use of existing assets such as publications, local businesses, social media. Decide how to access different sectors of the community and have a clear vision. Have a vision statement, and communicate effectively.
Lyn Collins: Lyn summarised their comments and went on to highlight the salient points relating to continuity, role sharing, rotation of positions, reviewing the provisions of the relevant constitution, employing outside expertise, the importance of having a strategy and undertaking social events, and redefining the tasks and roles required. He emphasised the social benefits and the sustainability of committees..

Tamara Lavrencic: Tamara was visiting from the Museums and Galleries of NSW, and explained the Standards Program. It operates for some 10 months of the year and has a regional bias. It is an opportunity to seek assistance for surveying collections, management, engaging visitors, caring for the collection. An independent reviewer is sent out to each museum. They act as mentor to the museum management. Many resources are available, including risk management, grants, setting up a website, and an advisory service.

It provides an opportunity for self review against the national standard.

Editor’s comment: It would appear that we need to take time out of our busy schedules to find the time to help ourselves. It is strongly recommended that all organisations seek out the Principles for the Recognition of Volunteers for a review. Organisations that adopt the principles would be sending out a clear signal to current and potential volunteers that their contributions are valued. (www.volunteering.nsw.gov.au ).

Ref: HERITAGE - Newsletter of the Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations Inc - May-June 2015 by Patsey Moppett

For further reading see earlier post here

April 8, 2015

April 2, 2015

Bathurst District Historical Society - Member's Newsletter, April-June 2015

This newsletter covers the period of Bathurst’s major celebrations during May. It is an important time to reflect on the pioneers of Bathurst and district and their struggles, frustrations, achievements and aspirations since 1815. How tough was it in those founding years of the township of Bathurst from its resurveying in 1833 and the commencement of selling blocks of land in the town.

Plans for ‘The Bathurst 200 Theo Barker Memorial Lecture’ to take place on Friday evening on 14th August, are well underway with Associate Professor Grace Karskens, University of New South Wales, Sydney, being the guest speaker. The lecture is to be held on the Bathurst campus of the University commencing at 6pm. CSU have graciously agreed to include the lecture in their Exploration Series of public lectures for 2015. The title of her talk is – ‘Life on Australia’s first frontier’.

What was it like to make a life in the early farming districts of Australia's first frontier? How did people learn about the new country, how did they make new families and communities, how did they remake old cultures? And what happened to them? In this talk Associate Professor Grace Karskens will present some of the findings from her current research on the people and environments of Castlereagh and the Nepean River in the early colonial period.

Grace is the author of a number of histories on early colonial NSW, especially dealing with early Sydney and The Rocks. Her best known book is probably “The Colony A History of Early Sydney” (2009), which won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award in 2010 for non-fiction. She is also the author of the first detailed study of Cox's Road (1988).

Last month a group from Bathurst and I attended the Australian Pioneers Proclamation Lunch at Sydney's Union University & Schools Club. The Reverend Andrew Sempell, Rector, St James Church, King Street, and former Dean of Bathurst said grace.

The Club’s President Robert Bishop and the Pioneer’s John Lanser gave us a fine welcome. Australasian Pioneers’ Club President Christopher White and the Convenor John Lanser organised the event. 

Dr Robin McLachlan was introduced by John Lanser, Convenor, who then delivered his talk – “A DELIGHTFUL SPOT” - THE PROCLAMATION OF BATHURST IN 1815 – AND BEYOND. The vote of thanks was given by Professor Emeritus David Carment, A.M., 

Read Newsletter 

March 19, 2015

New collections in Trove - March 2015

New collections in Trove

Man sorting through the card catalogue for exhibitions at the museum, Sydney, 28 May 1930

A look back at the last six months

The Trove team is always hard at work bringing in new records to Trove and the past six months have been no different, with a wide range of new collections coming in. We post in the Trove forum and tweet about new collections, but in case you missed it here is a quick look at what’s new in Trove. 

Museum collections

The items that museums collect are always so different and varied; it is always interesting seeing what new things we’ve harvested into Trove. In October last year we started work with Victorian Collections, a collection of museum items from organisations all over Victoria, to bring in some of the items their members had to offer.

So far from Victorian Collection we have the following organisations:
Cyril Kett Optometry Museum
Murumbeena Cricket Club
Federation University of Australia (both their art collection and history collection)
Ballarat Base Hospital Trained Nurses League
RSL Victoria - Anzac House Reference Library & Memorabilia Collection
HMAS Cerberus Museum
Glen Eira Historical Society
Tatura Irrigation and Wartime Camps Museum
Deaf Children Australia
Albury Library Museum
4th/19th Prince of Wales's Light Horse Regiment Unit History Room

Photograph collections

We’ve also added some great photograph collections such as the Kurrajong-Comleroy Historical Society, who have more than 5,300 images from the 1840s onwards, and other collections.

Read more . . .

March 17, 2015

Historic Governor Macquarie Event

Historic Governor Macquarie Event - All Welcome Butler’s Paddock, Liddleton Station, Jenolan Caves Road, Hartley, Sunday 26th April 2015. entry off the Jenolan Caves Road, 4 klms from the Great Western Highway Junction main proceedings commence 2pm sharp

On 26th April 2015, the Hartley District Progress Association, in conjunction with the Macquarie Society, will commemorate Governor Macquarie’s visit and his holding of the first Christian service performed west of the Blue Mountains. The event will be held in Butler’s paddock, overlooking Cox’s Road on which Governor and Mrs Macquarie made their way to Bathurst, the valley campsite where this first service was held and Mt Blaxland, the end point of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth’s 1813 crossing.

Bathurst District Historical Society's Museum Open Day

REMINDER  -  come along to Bathurst District Historical Society's Museum
Open Day on Saturday 28th March 2015 - so please come along, bring a friend,
and its FREE - Alan McRae, President Bathurst District Historical

March 14, 2015

Commemorate the Centenary of Anzac in Lithgow

Media release

An urgent call is issued to local people to knit and crochet red poppies for Anzac Day on 25 April for display in the Lithgow Library and Lithgow Gallery Lane.
“Anzac 100”, the new Gallery Lane exhibition, was inspired by the Commemoration of the Centenary of Anzac and the Lithgow & District Family History Society’s new book ‘A Long March from Lithgow’.

The Lithgow Tidy Towns is combining with the Family History Society to honour the 1307 local men and women who enlisted and who served ‘God, King and country’ in World War I, and whose names and stories are recorded in the book.

But there were many more unnamed local people who enlisted but whose names and stories were not known when the book was published and go well beyond 1307.

“Many poppies will mean a bigger and better display”, said Mrs Helen Taylor author of ‘A Long March from Lithgow’.
The exhibition will be mounted in the gardens in Gallery Lane which runs between Main Street and Woolworth’s, between 18th April and 27 April although there will room left for more poppies.

The Flanders Poppy has become the traditional emblem of remembrance for World War I. Lithgow Tidy Towns and the Lithgow & District Family History Society, Beehive Recreation Centre and their friends are knitting or crocheting red poppies which will be the focus of the display. The plan is to have at least 1307 poppies on display.

We are seeking assistance from people who can knit or crochet poppies and donate them for the display. The patterns are available from the LDFHS Resource Centre on corner of Tank & Donald Streets, on the Society’s Facebook page, the City Library, the Beehive Recreative Centre or from Alena at 80 Main Street which also has stocks of red wool at $2.75 skein and a free pattern.

Finished poppies can be left at the Society, Alena, Lithgow Library & Learning Centre or at the Beehive Recreative Centre before 18th April.

Further details can be obtained by contacting Lithgow & District Family History Society Inc in person at the Resource Centre on Fridays between 10am and 4 pm or on Tuesday nights between 6 and 9 pm or by phone on 02 6353 1089 during these hours, by email ldfhs@lisp.com.au or through their facebook page. Lithgow Tidy Towns contact is Kathleen Compton, phone 0418416017

February 28, 2015

The ENCOUNTERS PROJECT - Historic indigenous objects return to Australia

Historic indigenous objects return to Australia

A collection of rare objects, including a shield thought to have been picked up by Captain Cook in 1770, are set to return to Australia for the first time.
The exhibition is part of a new deal signed between the National Museum of Australia and the British Museum.
It will feature 151 indigenous objects, most of which have not been seen in Australia since they were collected.
National Museum director Mathew Trinca said the exhibition will "encourage Australians to consider their history".
'Remarkable treasures' "This is an important exhibition for our nation. It includes objects from the very earliest contacts between indigenous and non-indigenous people in this country right to the present day," Mr Trinca told the Canberra Times.
He said displaying the "remarkable treasures" was the culmination of "an extraordinary process of consultation with 25 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia over several years".
Peter Yu, chair of the National Museum Indigenous Advisory Committee, said: "Addressing these sometimes confronting issues and exploring the complex history of early encounters... is a crucial component of reconciliation."
The Encounters exhibition will open in November. It will be followed in 2016 by the British Museum's acclaimed A History of the World in 100 Objects and the third exhibition of the series will come to Canberra in 2018.
Arts Minister George Brandis welcomed the "significant" partnership, saying it will give Australians "a remarkable opportunity to view objects from the world's oldest national public museum".
"It will also encourage cultural exchange and provide a platform to showcase our rich Australian heritage to audiences overseas," he added.
The iconic Yumari canvas by renowned Papunya artist Uta Uta Tjangala is one of the National Museum objects being sent to the British Museum to be part of a sister exhibition.
Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation, which opens in London in April, is the first in the UK devoted to the history and culture of both Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders

Click on Encounters exhibition to explore this Project.

Details of Workshop and Exhibition below.   


Workshop: 16–17 March 2015
Workshop with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives to discuss the Encounters exhibition and the Museum’s broader engagement with Indigenous communities.
Exhibition opens: 26 November 2015
Encounters opens at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.
Conference: February 2016
Encounters conference at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.
Exhibition closes: 28 March 2016
Encounters exhibition closes at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.

February 26, 2015

Workshop - Museum security

Ref: Elaine Kaldy, President, Central Tablelands Chapter of Museums Australia

January 29, 2015

Lithgow's Roaring 20’s weekend

Lithgow is having a Roaring 20’s weekend in February with a Gowns and Glamour Ball on Saturday 14 Feb and a Garden Party at Eskbank House on Sunday 15 Feb 2015

I would really appreciate it if you could pop up the poster on your notice boards and perhaps send on to your contacts who might be interested in either event.


Wendy Hawkes | Cultural Development Officer
Community & Culture | LITHGOW CITY COUNCIL

January 12, 2015

Capturing Memories: Oral History in the Digital Age

Meet the presenters, both members of Oral History NSW:

Louise Darmody
Louise’s greatest passion and career goal is to record life stories.  Born into a family run hotel in north eastern Victoria, Louise learned at an early age the value of eliciting and sharing great yarns. She is very keen to help you record those stories that are so precious.

Prior to establishing Sound Memories which focuses on oral history and documentary-making, Louise worked for ABC Radio for 13 years as a news reporter, editor, program maker and producer. She has produced over thirty documentaries for individual and corporate clients and many of the original interviews from these projects are housed in the NSW State Library and the National Library of Australia.

Andrew Host 

Andrew has worked in the sound recording industry since 1980, and was active in sound recording and editing when analogue audio gave way to digital. In 1993, Andrew became a pioneer in CD recording, purchasing one of the first CD recorders in Australia. Andrew's current work includes digitisation from old audio and video formats and the preservation of old recordings.

December 11, 2014

World War OneLink

A project which directs focus to the exposition of WWI celebrations is World War One Link. An initiative of Inside History Magazine, World War One Link is a register of projects taking place across Australia during the centenary of WWI.

The website is designed to capture and record the range of commemorative projects that explore the ways in which the Great War shaped our nation. Use the website to find out what’s on where, and as a resource about the war itself.

Read more . . .

November 26, 2014

Statement of principles for the recognition of volunteers

Statement of principles for the recognition of volunteers 

Promote fairness, respect and dignity in your organisation by following these principles.

  • This organisation demonstrates a commitment to best practice in volunteer management and all our people respect and support this commitment.
  • Our volunteers are involved in the life of the organisation and are included in decisions that affect them.
  • This organisation provides volunteers with clarity about their roles and is clear about expectations and policies that impact on their roles.
  • Our volunteers respect the roles of everyone in the organisation.
  • This organisation recognises and celebrates the contribution of volunteers.
  • Our volunteers are provided with training and professional development for their roles.
  • This organisation provides all our people with the opportunity to resolve disputes with respect and dignity.


NEED MORE INFORMATION? VISIT: volunteering.nsw.gov.au

Volunteer-friendly organisations are able to Adopt the Principles and demonstrate their commitment to their volunteers.
Released on 13 May 2013 by The Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Citizenship and Communities.

2014 IMAGinE winner - Rebecca Pinchin

Rebecca Pinchin was Regional Services Manager at the Powerhouse Museum (PHM) for 13 years. In this capacity she incorporated regional services into the PHM’s strategic plan, and worked at a senior level with the Director, managers, curators and other staff across the museum. Her tireless campaigning for regional and community museums resulted in small museums gaining acccess to a wide range of in-house Powerhouse skills and services including, conservation services, strategic planning, exhibition design, and marketing.

Under Rebecca's guidance, Regional Services has had significant impact on museums across NSW, as well as on PHM staff who, in working with small museums have increased their knowledge and developed genuine appreciation of local and regional collections and their importance.

Rebecca led the team that developed the award-winning Australian Dress Register which documented the history and significance of hundreds of garments in museums and family collections providing an important repository of information, capturing vulnerable histories, and making little known collections accessible on-line.

November 20, 2014

National Trust Heritage Festival 2015

Registrations for the National Trust Heritage Festival 2015 are now open

The National Trust Heritage Festival will take place from the 11 April - 26 May 2015. Celebrating 35 years as the longest running community festival, it' because of organisations like yours that the festival keeps growing, attracting tourists from all over Australia and overseas.

'Conflict and Compassion' is the theme for the 2015 National Trust Heritage Festival; it has shaped who we are and helped a new multicultural nation evolve.

In 2015, Australia commemorates the centenary of the ANZACs. For many Australians, the battle of Gallipoli is inextricably linked with our national identity. But how else does conflict and compassion shape our nation?

From our Indigenous history to the centenary of World War I, the 2015 National Trust Heritage Festival will explore the human side of war, rebellion, sacrifice and endurance, and the extraordinary stories of courage and compassion that come from the horror of conflict and strife.

It is free to register a heritage related event for the festival.

40,000 copies of the printed guide will be distributed throughout NSW, to libraries, councils, tourist information centres, event participants and to all of our members. The Heritage Festival also provides free publicity to encourage people to attend your events and to give you greater exposure. To register your event click here

November 7, 2014

Regional Stakeholder Forum 2014

Book now for Regional Stakeholder Forum 2014

Friday 14 November 2014, 9am – 4pm (registration from 8.30am)
Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris St, Ultimo

This annual forum is an opportunity for regional collecting institutions to come together to converse on topics of interest. The forum will consider sustainability, technological change and partnerships.

Download the full program (PDF)

Download the speakers and synopses (PDF)

Entry is FREE, but bookings are essential: http://from.ph/6u1

Any questions? Contact Deborah Vaughan, Program Producer (Regional) on ph 92170104 or email

Complimentary morning/afternoon tea and a light lunch are included

Presented by the Powerhouse Museum in partnership with

                       Museums & Galleries of NSW

October 31, 2014

Farm Magic

Farm Magic

Broadcast: 12/10/2014 12:51:42 PM
Reporter: Fiona Breen

Woodbury House, in Tasmania, has long been a crumbling reminder of another time. Empty for decades, this prominent 19th Century homestead was falling into ruin when Queensland heritage expert Alan Cooper drove past while on holiday.

To see the Landline program click here.

Do we have similar records (photos or videos) in the Central Tablelands area?

October 28, 2014

History Week 2015

History Week 2015
War, Nationalism and Identity

We are delighted to announce the new theme for History Week 2015 - War, Nationalism and Identity. Registrations for events and speaker connect will open in early November, 2014.


How does war shape ideas of nation and identity? Is baptism on the battlefield a prerequisite of nationhood and a sense of national identity? What are the roles of ideas and political movements in creating and shaping nation states? In 2015 the theme of History Week will focus on the history of nation building, nationalism and national identity as the products of both peaceful and violent processes, focussing on generals and politicians, constitution makers and revolutionaries.

tory Week will take place between 5- 13 September 2015.


October 25, 2014

Two years after the launch of the War Heroes Project on 11 November 2011,  the book is at the printers!

The book contains short biographies of over 1200 servicemen and women from Lithgow & District who served in World War I.  Photographs, sketches and newspaper articles are included where possible.

The book launch will be on 9th November 2014 at Club Lithgow at 1:30 p.m.

Further details are on the above invitation.

There will be copies of the book for sale at the launch, and these can be ordered in advance by completing an order form available from the Society's website or Facebook page.

Jan Saundercock

Lithgow & District Family History Society Inc
PO Box 516

Resource Centre: Cnr Tank & Donald Streets, Lithgow
Open Hours: Tuesday nights 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Fridays 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
First Saturday of each month (except January) 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Website: www.lisp.com.au/~ldfhs

September 28, 2014

Gastronomy in the Museum: interpretation and programming through food

Hello Museum people.

I have been asked to give you notice of the following workshops.

Kind regards Elaine Kaldy President Central table lands Chapter of Museums Australia

Gastronomy in the Museum: interpretation and programming through food

24 October 2014

The Master Class is aimed at anyone working in museums.

Jacqui Newling, resident gastronome and assistant Interpretation curator from Sydney Living Museums is presenting a Museums’ Master class, Jacqui runs SLM’s Colonial gastronomy public programs, Jacqui is working with Villages of the Heart program with Orange Council and Central NSW Museums.

In this full day interactive program, participants will learn to develop interpretation concepts from their museums’ food-related collections and local community heritage, themes and stories. The master class has a strong focus on audience development and advocacy through activating the museum experience through visitor engagement, education and public programming.

Bookings are available through museum@orange.nsw.gov.au or Alison Russell on 63938170 by 7 October 2014 and are essential. Cost is $30.00.

Further information: http://www.centralnswmuseums.com.au/wp/2014/09/01/gastronomy-in-the- museum-interpretation-and-programming-through-food/ or email arussell@orange.nsw.gov.au

VIM Grants: Participants can make an application for a Leg Up Grant. Two participants are eligible to attend on the one application. Go to the M&G NSW website for more information or phone Margot on toll free number 1800114311

Please note The Australian National Field Days and Wine Week are held on this date, if you are having trouble with accommodation, please contact Alison.

These other training programme is in the planning stages
Mosaic Collection Management Database Training in Wagga Wagga, 10-11 February 2015

Do you have Mosaic installed at your museum, but are unsure how to use it? Have you had Mosaic training in the past, but have now forgotten the basics?

I’m thinking of holding two Mosaic training courses, both catering for beginners, on 10 & 11 February next year.
Each course will accommodate a maximum of 12 people.

I’d like to see if there is any interest out there for this training – and whether we need to hold two courses.

To help me get an idea of numbers, could you let me know if you’d be interested please? Rachael Vincent Regional Museum office Museum of the Riverina Phone 6126926 Mobile 0405773770 email Vincent Rachael@wagga.nsw.gov.au

 Save the date

The Gordon Darling Foundation and Museums Australia are happy to announce the dates for the next Museum Leadership Program to be held in 2015. Professor Jeanne Liedtka OAM will return as the MLP 
Program Director.

Museum Leadership Program 
4 - 9 October 2015

Register your interest in the program by emailing Lee Scott, Museums Australia National Office, at:

Further information will be available on the MA website and announced in 
MA e-Bulletins as it comes to hand.

The Central Tablelands Chapter of museums Australia will be holding a workshop on Museum Security on the 14 March 2015 hosted by7 the Kandos historical Society further information contact the Co-ordinator Elaine Kaldy at hazelgrove@sharpdsl.com

September 25, 2014



Dr Roslyn Russell - Photograph courtesy: Dr Roslyn Russell
There will be something for everyone at the upcoming Conducting Significance Assessments Workshop, which is being held on 6 November 2014 at History House. This is an all-day workshop (10.00am – 3.30pm) and lunch is included in the $60.00 fee. It is being held in collaboration with the Professional Historians Association and the Australian Society of Archivists (NSW Branch).

We are most fortunate that historian and curator Dr Roslyn Russell who co-authored, with Kylie Winkworth, Significance 2.0: A guide to assessing the significance of collections (2009), the accepted methodology for significance assessment in Australia, will be presenting this workshop. Dr Russell has undertaken significance assessments of social history and visual arts collections and conducts workshops around Australia and overseas.

For historians and archivists wanting to develop new skills for their professional development this will be an opportunity to learn about significance assessment methodology and criteria and their applications in collection management. At the end of the day they will be ready to write a statement of significance for either a single object or an entire collection.
For the more experienced who have carried out significance assessments in the past, this will be an opportunity to hone your skills and contribute to the discussion.
If you are a member of an historical society planning to engage a consultant to undertake a Significance Assessment you will also find this workshop very helpful. You will receive lots of useful advice on the steps you will need to take in preparing for the assessment as well as the same guidance as the likely cost estimate and the format of the Significance Assessment report that you can expect to receive from the consultant.

September 24, 2014

The Wolgan Valley Railway

Shay locomotive on the Wolgan Valley railway
The Wolgan Valley Railway 

Shortly after his retirement from the NSW Department of Public Works Deane was engaged as a consultant by the Commonwealth Oil Company to manage the design and construction of a private railway in the NSW Wolgan Valley to provide access to their shale oil works at Newnes. 
     The railway is approximately 50 km long, linking with the western line of the NSW Railways at Clarence Junction in the Blue Mountains. It mainly follows the course of the valley hemmed in by precipitous cliffs. Deane concluded that it was inevitable that the railway would require 5 chain curves and 1 in 25 grades. Two short tunnels would be required. The volume of freight to be handled would be around 1,000 tons per day, which with the heavy grades, ruled out a narrow gauge line as being in- adequate for the task. 
     The choice of locomotives was an important issue. No locomotives in Australia at the time would be suitable for regular use on the line. Deane found that there were several designs of locomotive in service in Europe and North America that could meet the requirements. His preference was for the American Shay locomotive which had several desirable features: it had great hauling power, because the whole of its weight, both engine and tender, were available for adhesion; unlike conventional locomotives it was geared, so a very even turning force was applied of the wheels and it was able to start easily on the ruling grade; it had a very short rigid wheel base which enabled it to traverse very sharp curves; the length of the boiler tubes was very short, a little over 3 m, so the difference of the water in the boiler level in the boiler on steep grade was not serious. Its only disadvantage was that to avoid excessive vibration, speed must be limited to around 25km per hour. The Shay locomotive was a unique design with three cylinders vertically mounted beside the boiler, which was offset from the centre line of the locomotive. An articulated shaft and gears transmitted the power to all the wheels on the locomotive and tender. 
     The conference of engineers-in-chief that Deane chaired in 1903 met in Melbourne, and was requested in March of that year by the Common- wealth Minister for Home Affairs to review a large amount of information that had been accumulated about the proposed Trans Australia railway. Deane as chairman was to formally report its findings and recommenda- tions. Dean submitted his final report in July advising the Minister that the line should be standard gauge and follow a route from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta via Tarcoola. It could be constructed in three to four years at a cost of just over £5 million, and by the tenth year turn an annual profit of £18,000 on a revenue of £400,000.
Shay locomotive on the Wolgan Valley railway

     Four of these locomotives were imported for operating on the line. For most of its operating life there was one train per day with a load of 400 tons, double headed over the steepest part of the line. It left Newnes at 8.30 am and retuned at 4.30 pm. This one train carried both freight and passengers. For a brief period in 1909 there were two trains per day.
     Most of the railway was laid with second hand 75 lb double headed rails purchased from NSW Railways and the remainder of the line was laid with rather lighter second hand flat bottomed rails from Tasmanian Railways. 
     The railway opened in 1907. There were serious delays in commissioning the works at Newnes, and initially the products carried on the line were not oil produsts refined at Newnes but metallurgical coke and shale for retorting elsewhere. The first refined oil was despatched in 1911. These operations were not profitable and the works closed in 1913, with train service reduced to one train per week. Various efforts were made over the years to achieve profitable operations at Newnes, but none was successful. The railway was abandoned before World War II. The rails were taken up during the war and sent to Tobruk.

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