Books: Upper Yarra Museum

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Web Page updated 7.3.2014

Powelltown Tramway Centenary 1913 – 2013

By : Frank Stanford and Mike McCarthy

This is a 32 page A4 publication to commemorate the centenary of the Powelltown Tramway, and released in conjunction with the Upper Yarra Valley Historical Society’s celebrations on 17 November 2013.

The booklet was built around the original survey plans for the tramway, and is a stunning example of cartography. A series of double page spreads show course of the line from Yarra Junction through Powelltown and “The Bump” tunnel, and then up beyond New Ada as far as Starlings Gap.

Alongside the maps are gradient profiles, and there are numerous photographs. While a number of the photos may be well known, their reproduction in this publication is excellent, better then ever seen before.

Soft cover, 32 pages, A4 size, 44 photographs, 10 double page maps with gradient profiles, covering the line from Yarra Junction to Starlings Gap and New Ada Mill.

Price A$10.00 ( excluding Postage & Handling )


A History of Sawmills & Tramways of Warburton and District

By Mike McCarthy

Sixty-six kilometres east of Melbourne, and nestled deep in a valley below towering timbered slopes, for over a century Warburton has been a popular weekend destination for those attracted by its natural beauty and tranquility.

During the period prior to the First World War it was the centre of Victoria’s biggest sawmilling district.

It saw the establishment of 66 major sawmills and many smaller mills in the bush surrounding the town. They were linked to the railway at Warburton, Millgrove, and Wesburn through a complex system of wooden and steel-railed tramways. In total over 320 km of tramways could be found in the bush surrounding Warburton. Horses, locomotives, and rail tractors hauled the timber, and the tramways included many spectacular bridges, cable-worked haulages, sharp curves and steep grades.

The tramways provided picturesque walking tracks for holiday makers, and attracted many first class photographers.

This book includes 320 photographs. Almost all of these have not been published before.

Fifty-two of the photographs are printed as duo-tones, a special process which increases the tonal range of the photograph.

Fourteen of the maps are printed in four colours, whilst most maps and diagrams are printed in two or three colours

Hard cover, 312 pages, A4 size, 280 photographs, 50 maps, various diagrams, references, bibliography, and index.

Price A$60.00 ( excluding Postage & Handling , Weight 1,500 gm)


By Nick Anchen

The Victorian Railways narrow gauge lines portrayed the very essence of the Australian pioneering spirit, with their ingeniously constructed routes traversing picturesque, forested and rugged country.

The Narrow Gauge tells the story of the Whitfield, Gembrook, Crowes and Walhalla railways, from construction right through to closure, and the eventual re-birth of the Puffing Billy and Walhalla Goldfields Railways.

The book includes a spectacular array of over 300 B&W and colour photographs, a full description of all narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock, fascinating recollections by railwaymen and local residents, and a fully illustrated guide to the remains and relics.

Hardbound with 216 full colour pages, this magnificent publication is a fitting salute to a fascinating chapter in Victoria’s history, and an absolute must for all railway enthusiasts and history buffs.

Price A$90.00 ( excluding Postage & Handling )


A Pictorial History of the Powelltown Tramway and Timber Milling Operations

by Frank Stamford

When the railway from Lilydale to Warburton was opened in 1901 it led to the rapid development of the timber industry in that area. Until 1912 this was in the hands of small operators. In that year a large company with major shareholders in Western Australia and New Zealand was formed to exploit the newly developed Powell process of timber preservation.

The process involved the heating of timber in a solution containing molasses, water, and other ingredients, including arsenic to control white ants. To use the process economically involved the building of a large sawmill and a company town. The Company chose a site 10 miles from Yarra Junction, and named it Powelltown. To provide transport the Company built narrow-gauge steam operated tramways through the bush. The Powell process proved a failure, but the timber milling operations centred on Powelltown remained. This book provides an illustrated history of those operations, and an insight into a way of life long since gone.

Many of the photographs are full page windows-to-the-past, from photographers such as John Buckland, Rev. Brenton, Fred Rayment and others.

Soft cover, 88 pages, A4 size, 103 photographs, 7 maps and diagrams.

Price A$24.00 ( excluding Postage & Handling )