POWERFUL: B-class engine built in Ipswich workshops.
POWERFUL: B-class engine built in Ipswich workshops.

The swift advance of railways


QUEENSLAND Railways, in November 1880, called tenders for the construction of the first section of the branch line to Fassifern. The length of this section was about 27.35km. .

A report in January 1882 regarding this section of railway stated: "The first section of what is known as the Fassifern Railway - that from Ipswich to Harrisville - is now approaching completion, and it is the first experimental cheap branch line.

"The line was virtually a practical experiment in low-cost railway making, and it was laid, as much as possible, on the natural surface of the ground and was placed where practical, along the main government road.

"The length of this section of line was 18 miles (28.96km). It branched off from the Southern & Western line about four miles (6.43km) from the Ipswich station in what was known as Bashford's cutting. It then proceeded across Chinaman's Gully up Ridge lane (Crossing Brisbane St in the meantime to the Little Ipswich (West Ipswich) lock-up near Mr P. Barrett's tannery.”

Other places to be named in this 1882 write-up were the Four Mile Dam, The Nine Mile, Peak Crossing and then the line terminated at Harrisville.


In July 1882, on the newly opened Fassifern Railway branch line for public traffic, there was only one train a day.

The train left Ipswich at 5.25pm and arrived in Harrisville at 8.30pm, then left Harrisville at 7am the following day, arriving at Ipswich at 10am.

Fares were: First class three shillings and fourpence; Second class two shillings and threepence.


The turning of the first sod of the second section of the Fassifern Railway took place on Thursday, January 7, 1886, at Harrisville.

This portion of the line extended from Harrisville via Fassifern to the One-Eye Waterhole districts through the scrub, past Teviotville to Dugandan, terminating near the boundary between Dugandan and Coochin Station.

Contractor for this section was Mr Geo. Bashford and the first sod was turned by Minister for Public Works Mr Miles.


The railway stations on the Fassifern branch line between Ipswich and Harrisville in late 1886 were Little Ipswich (West Ipswich), Churchill, Yamanto, Hampstead, Purga, Goolman, Hillside, Rockton, Peak Crossing, Flinders and Churchbank.


One man was killed and several others injured in an accident on the Fassifern Railway line on May 19, 1887.

A report stated: "As Mr G. Bashford's ballast train was going up the second section of the line on Thursday morning about 8am with a gang of workmen seated on several trucks which were being pushed ahead of the engine, it ran into the siding at Fassifern Station, five miles (8.04km) from Harrisville.

"Killed was Dan Larkin and those injured were W. Dawson, W. Johnson, George Hardy, James Daly and D. Morgan.

"The driver of the train, Robert Jones, the fireman Fred Jones and Mr T. Siddons escaped unhurt. The accident was caused because the points had been left open by a workman.”


The opening of the second section of the Fassifern railway as far as Dugandan or Blumbergville (as it was called by many) took place on September 18, 1887.

There was no official ceremony, but a special train travelled from Ipswich.

Those on board were given a cordial greeting, and besides some cheering, five men, under the leadership of Mr J. McCourt discharged their muskets into the air.


On October 10, 1908, it was reported: "A station on the Fassifern line which has been known by the name of Schneider's Rd, will in future be called Kulgun. Kulgun was understood to mean in the dialect of the Aboriginals of the Brisbane district 'a track or road'.”


On April 5, 1914, the public complained about the Fassifern train service.

The train left Ipswich at 9pm, a quarter of an hour late. By the time it had travelled a few stations, most carriages were in darkness. One passenger came prepared and lit her own lantern.

The train arrived at Boonah at 11pm - one hour late; this meant the 35-mile trip (56.32km) had taken four hours and the comments of the passengers were "vivid''.