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Chart No. 23 Railways recommended by the Commission for Construction

Date: 1911
Overall: 1000 x 1000 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from David Dixon
Classification:Maps, charts and plans
Object Name: Chart
Object No: ANMS1403[001]

User Terms

    This folio of 23 plans and maps was issued by W. A. Gullick Government Printer, Sydney NSW in 1911 as an appendix to the Report of the Royal Commission as to Decentralisation in Railway Transit.
    SignificanceThese maps and plans of ports and harbours show how shipping was the central focus in the growth, planning and establishment of railways in New South Wales.
    HistoryIn the early 1900s, the construction of rail networks around Australia was at its peak. Railways were the primary means of rapid inland transport and travel. They had all but replaced river boats in most areas of New South Wales in particular.

    Yet as this series of maps and plans show, the land transport system was determined by its relation to and connectedness with the sea. Harbours and ports were the hubs from which railway lines radiated. In fact the map of New South Wales in the series shows Port Stephens as the feeder port (later replaced by nearby Newcastle) for the massive area of the whole of northern and north western New South Wales.

    In June 1910, after much lobbying and concerns from regional areas that did not yet have access to the expanding rail system, the New South Wales Government appointed 'Messrs C. N. J. Oviler (ex-chief Railway Commissioner), Herbert Hickman (President Sydney Harbour Trust) and O'Malley Wood (a commissioner of the Government Savings Bank) as members of the commission.' (Northern Start, Lismore 29 June 1910 p2) to conduct a royal commission into decentralisation of the rail system.

    The commission's terms were that 'decentralisation in railway transit is neccessary to deal adequately with the growing traffic of New South Wales.' The commissioners were required to look into and report 'as to the terminal points inland and on the sea-coast which should be connected by railway.' (ibid).

    The final report included this 'List of Plans etc'. There are 23 maps and plans;

    1 Railway proposals submitted to the Commission
    2 Comparative map of the railway systems of New South Wales and Victoria
    3 Mr. de Burgh's harbour proposal, Byron Bay
    4 Mr. Keele's harbour proposal, Byron Bay
    5 Mr. Bloomfield's proposed new entrance, Clarence River
    6 Mr. de Burgh's harbour proposal, Woolgoolga Bay
    7 Mr. Keele's harbour proposal, Woolgoolga Bay
    8 Mr. de Burgh's harbour proposal, Coff's Harbour
    9 Mr. Keele's harbour proposal, Coff's Harbour
    10 Mr. de Burgh's harbour proposal, Trial Bay
    11 Mr. Keele's harbour proposal, Trial Bay
    12 Mr. de Burgh's harbour proposal, Port Stephens
    13 Mr. Keele's harbour proposal, Port Stephens
    14 Mr. de Burgh's harbour proposal, Newcastle
    15 Mr. de Burgh's harbour proposal for an outer harbour, Newcastle
    16 Mr. Keele's harbour proposal proposal for an outer harbour, Newcastle
    17 Artificial harbour in course of construction at Port Kembla
    18 Mr. de Burgh's harbour proposals, Jervis Bay
    19 Mr. Keele's harbour proposals, Jervis Bay
    20 Mr de Burgh's harbour proposals, Wagonga
    21 Mr. de Burgh's harbour proposal, Twofold Bay
    22 Mr. Keele's harbour proposal, Twofold Bay
    23 Railways as recommended by the Commission for construction

    Plan No. 1 shows proposed railway lines submitted to the Commission and Plan no. 23 shows the Commission's recommended lines for the State of New South Wales. The differences in submissions and recommendations reveals interesting regional competition for the extension of railways and port facilities.

    Plans 3-22 show detailed maps of the various ports that connect with proposed and existing rail lines. Most of them show ports - where much of the work involved in the regional extension of rail was required. Details include harbour depth marks, proposed light towers, loading jetties, dredging areas, and other relevant port facility information.

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