12 February 1961, 2.30pm
was the date and time of the first meeting of the Victorian Light Railway Research Society. On that date five students from the fourth and fifth form of Camberwell High School held a meeting to found the Society, accept a constitution, and elect the first office bearers. The five foundation members were Robin Fellows, Geoff Gardner, Ross Murray, Frank Stamford, and Sandy Stewart. The catalyst for the formation of the Society was the rapid destruction of remnants of the timber tramways around Powelltown.
Minutes of the first meeting,
12 February 1961
Four of the foundation members had been involved in a number of explorations of timber tramway routes around Warburton and Powelltown since 1958, and illustrated below are some photographs taken on some of those explorations.
The Society changed its name to Light Railway Research Society of Australia in 1968.
Sleepers in caravan park, Warburton
Sandy Stewart (closest to camera) and Geoff Gardner examine sleepers of the Federal Tramway embedded in the caravan park at Warburton, c.1960.
Federal Tramway east of caravan park, Warburton
Geoff Gardner, stands beside the route of the Federal Tramway east of the Warburton caravan park, and near the Yarra River, c.1960.
Point crossing vee, Federal Depot
Approaching Federal Depot we found this point crossing vee. The other people in the picture, walking towards the building, were another group of tramway explorers, slightly older than us, and may have been Puffing Billy track maintenace volunteers.
Federal Depot, Warburton
Sandy Stewart stands next to Federal Depot, about two kilometres east of Warburton. This was where the Federal tramway's rail-tractors were stabled. Outside the shed is the remains of an inspection vehicle, c.1960.
Inspection vehicle, Federal Depot
A close up of the derelict inspection vehicle at Federal Depot, c.1960.
Richard's sawmill and seasoning works was about four kilometres east of Warburton, c.1960.
Old rail tractor at Richard's sawmill
The area surrounding Richard's sawmill and seasoning works was a treasure trove of interesting junk, c.1960.
Powelltown tramway, near No.1 Siding
Amongst the explorations of the Powelltown tramway was a walk along its route from Yarra Junction to Black Sands, (despite most of this being on private property). Approaching Gladysdale, behind Lloyd Reserve we found the site of a trestle bridge, shown above. No.1 Siding was in this area, but we did not find its site. There are a pair of wheels in there, to the left of centre and below the base of a tree, c.1959.
Wheels at trestle bridge site
This is an extract from the previous picture, showing the pair of wheels
Sleepers at Black Sands
Taken on the VLRRS's "Bump in a Bus" tour on 2 December 1967, this shows Powelltown tramway sleepers east of Black Sands Road. Black Sands station was on the other side of the road.
Powelltown sawmill at the time of the "Bump in a Bus" trip in 1967, showing the traverser which dated from 1912.