33a["Pilbarra Railway Route", The West Australian, Saturday 31 March 1906, page 8]






The Parliamentary Party which recently visited the Pilbarra district to inspect the country to be served by the proposed railway to Nullagine have forwarded the following report to the Government:--


Arriving at Port Hedland on the morning of January 24, we were afforded an excellent opportunity of viewing the Port at high tide, and in the afternoon of the same day inspected the place when the tide was low. The harbour appealed to us as being a secure one, and possessed of many advantages. There are, however, two bars, known respectively as the inner and the outer. The objection to the inner bar does not arise from the shallowness of water, but, on account of the difficulty to navigators in negotiating a sharp turn, and its removal, if necessary, could be accomplished at a small cost, while the outer, being a tidal one, does not seriously affect the shipping.


After meeting and considering the claims advanced by parties of the two routes, and comparing notes on individual observation taken on the trip, and weighing the statistical information, we are unanimously of opinion that Port Hedland is the point from which the railway to Nullagine should start. The main factors in guiding us to this conclusion the objectives being Marble Bar and Nullagine are: (a) Shortness of distance by 100 miles, approximately. (b) An excellent supply of water for railway purposes. (c) Fewer engineering difficulties, and the lower cost of construction consequent upon the diminished distance, enables us to arrive at the conclusion already stated, without entering upon the question of the reliability or otherwise of the Point Sampson Jetty.

(Signed) W. B. GORDON, Chairman. March 28, 1906.

AB notes:

This parliamentary committee of 1906 was unanimous in the opinion that the railway to Nullagine should start at Port Hedland.

Reasons cited: slightly reduced distance, excellent supply of water for railway purposes, and fewer engineering difficulties.

33b["The Pilbarra Railway", The Hedland Advocate (Port Hedland, WA), Saturday 20 February 1909, page 3]

The Pilbarra Railway.

A Start Made With The Work.

The First Sod Turned

Port Hedland Jubilant

Thursday, February 18, 1909, will go down to posterity as the date which marked the commencement of a new era in the history of the progress of the Nor'-West, particularly the Pilbarra district, of which Port Hedland is the natural port. On that date the ceremony of turning the first sod of the Hedland-Marble Bar railway took place, with a great demonstration of admiration and approbation.


In writing this we are reminded of the early battles of the old residents in the interests of the railway. The more recent struggles were strenuous and disheartening, but what must the struggles have been nine years ago. Many of the earlier battlers have left the district, some have passed the Great Divide, while a small few are left to enjoy, with the latecomers, the privileges so long battled for and now about to be realised. All honor to the pioneers of the agitation which led up to Thursday's celebration!

AB notes:

18 feb 1909: The Hedland Advocate reports the beginning of railway construction.

Walter Barker in full flight:

"Thursday, February 18, 1909, will go down to posterity as the date which marked the commencement of a new era in the history of the progress of the Nor'-West, particularly the Pilbarra district, of which Port Hedland is the natural port."

33c[Editorial, The Hedland Advocate (Port Hedland, WA), Saturday 01 May 1909, page 4]

The Premier's visit to Hedland passed like a nightmare. From the zenith of enthusiasm the people have now been hurled into the slough of despond. All the elements of thought have for a long time been unsettled, hopes and promises have been received from the Ministers as truths, and when everyone thought the climax had been reached a definite statement would be made regarding the commencement of the railway we are left to interpret the ambiguous answers given by the Premier and his colleague Mr. Price. Fair and serious examination of their utterances which their subtlety and depth require drives us to the conclusion that the Pilbarra has been and is being juggled with.


AB notes:

Barker again on the delays in the commencement of work on the Pilbara railway: from "zenith of enthusiasm" to "slough of despond."

33d["The Railway", The Hedland Advocate (Port Hedland, WA), Saturday 16 October 1909, page 3]

The Railway.

It is the unexpected that always happens. By the s.s. Charon on Wednesday 24 of the contractors' men arrived, also 100 tons of rails, 2,000 sleeps, and four trucks. It is not intended, we understand, to start the construction immediately, but a deal of preliminary work has to be done, such as provision for stacking both rails and sleepers, erection of offices, etc. By the next trip of the Koombana two heavy and one light locomotive will arrive, and, it is stated, each boat arriving from Fremantle will bring nothing less than 300 tons of railway material.

Naturally all the world of Hedland rejoices exceedingly at the sudden turn in the tide of events. There will be no more bleatings and ravings about incessant delays--the railway has been started in earnest.


AB notes:

13 oct 1909: first delivery of railway materials to Port Hedland, by Charon

Two heavy and one light locomotive due by Koombana on next trip. (Trip 10? ~09 nov?)

33e["Hedland-Marble Bar Railway", The Hedland Advocate (Port Hedland, WA), Saturday 22 July 1911]

Hedland-Marble Bar Railway

Opened by the Minister for Works

Saturday last will occupy a prominent place in the Pilbarra history of memorable events, marking the ultimate triumph of the people's aspirations over the last 20 years. To the people of Pilbarra there could be few things more interesting than the formal opening of the Hedland-Marble Bar railway.

The opening banquet was held in the Institute Hall, Marble Bar, on Saturday evening, and there was much to account for the tumult of rejoicing which marked the proceedings, to do justice in reporting which we would need an issue twice the size of our 10 pages. Many a time had the walls of that building given back the cheers of those gathered there to celebrate the progress of the movement for a railway, which would bring freedom and prosperity to the inland, but not even in the days of "monster meetings and popular demonstrations" had a warmer glow of satisfaction flushed the faces of Pilbarrites than on this memorable occasion.