Saturday, May 16, 2015

Basalt Quarries Ltd Railway South Woy Woy

Bridge remains Brisbane Water National Park COPYRIGHT 2015
In 1927 work began on the construction of a basalt quarry and associated railway and processing facilities at the current tip site in the hills at South Woy Woy by Basalt Quarries Ltd. A gang of 30 men worked to make the small gauge railway that would lead from the top of the current tip area down around the hills to a crusher chute just above the current water treatment works at South Woy Woy.

Site layout 
This line was serviced by a small steam locomotive called " No. 2 " , the lower line to the rail head used a steam powered shunt to move the cars into position for loading.
Here the rock would be crushed and turned into " blue metal gravel " and the finished product would then be shipped on a second railway at the bottom of the incline to the rail head at the mouth of Woy Woy Tunnel. The whole operation was quite secretive and the council was upset the roads into the site were being destroyed by heavy equipment being shipped in.
Councillor Staples was most vocal about this and I suspect it was because he was still quite passionate about the road in this area as it was the first road into Woy Woy that he himself had blazed through the bush several years earlier

Steam locomotive No 2
The whole operation only ran for 2 years before the mine closed due to an underestimation of the basalt reserve and the effect of the depression in 1929 and was abandoned , a few years later gangs moved in and removed all the equipment , locomotives and they were sold off.
The gang removing No. 2 were scared the last trestle bridge would collapse when they finally brang the train to its head , so they connected ropes to the controls and led it like a dog across the bridge with no one on board , a sigh of relief was heard as it safely made it across the neglected rusty bridge.

There is still a lot of evidence of the mine today up in the bush at South Woy Woy , old rail tracks , the crusher chute , remains of trestle bridges and an abandoned skip carriage in the bush , the area is in Brisbane Water National Park accessed through Woy Woy Tip.

Article by Steve Spillard COPYRIGHT 2015

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