Dwellingup & Hotham Valley Train

11 November 2023

18 September 2022

The Route

(1) Pickering Brook – Dwellingup – morning tea in main street sidewalk
(2) Dwellingup – Isandra – Hotham Valley Railway (‘Banksiadale’ train)
departing 10:30 for journey through forest to Isandra (Terminus)
(3) Isandra – 30 minute walk-a-bout
(4) Isandra – Dwellingup – return journey
(4) Dwellingup – Lunch & walk-a-bout through ‘Festival’ & local Arts & Crafts
(5) Home – with afternoon tea break & toilet stop

(1) Start Point:

Bus leaving at 08:00am from Pickering Brook Heritage Group (Primary School Car Park)

About Dwellingup

Given its close proximity to Perth, Dwellingup is one of the hidden treasures of the Peel region and the perfect destination for that peaceful weekend break or an extended holiday.

Dwellingup is a beautiful small town nestled in the majestic Jarrah forests of the Darling escarpment, situated approximately 100 kilometres south-east of Perth and is approximately 260 metres above sea level.
The Dwellingup region offers a wide variety of activities for visitors including adventure activities, bushwalking, wineries or just enjoying the tranquil natural bush settings

Dwellingup Story:

A Brief History


Dwellingup timber workers
Dwellingup was first established as a timber mill town in the late 19th century by saw millers and timber cutters eager to harvest the abundant natural hardwoods such as Jarrah, Marri and Blackbutt growing in the area. The township was gazetted ‘Dwellingupp’ in February 1910 following the decision to make it the terminus for the Pinjarra-Marrinup railway. the town was first was surveyed in 1909.
It was given its original name of ‘Dwellingupp’ by Surveyor General H.F. Johnston and this was later amended to Dwellingup, as it is now known. The name is an Aboriginal word which is believed to translate to “place of nearby water”.

Early Dwellingup townsite
After the railway opened in 1910 Dwellingup quickly became major a centre for the area and a number of small timber settlements such as Holyoake, Nanga Brook, Marrinup, Chadoora and Banksiadale developed in the area. Dwellingup was the centre with services including a hotel, a doctor, two butchers, a baker and a saddler.
In 1918 the forest areas in the region were declared as State Forests and Dwellinup was transformed into the centre for research, management and development of the forestry industry in Western Australia. By 1960 timber milling had become the third largest income earner for the state of Western Australia.
In 1961 Dwellingup suffered the wrath of a devastating bush fire that was stared by lightning strikes. The fire burned for 5 days and destroyed over 104,000 ha of forest land and destroyed virtually all original wooden structures in the town with the exception of the hotel. Dwellingup Hotel which still stands today and is the only remaining community owned hotel in Western Australia. The surrounding small mill settlements did not fare so well in the fire and were completely razed to the ground.
The pioneering spirit of these timber workers wasn’t to be defeated by the fire or hardship and Dwellingup was rebuilt soon after the fire, standing today as a monument to our pioneering past.

FOOT NOTE – re 1961 Bush Fire
Many of the local men from Pickering Brook and Karragullen who were either able bodied or exerienced in the forrestry and timber, volunteered to help fight the horendous bush fires. The O’MEAGHER boys, Tom, Jack and Malcolm were among the volunteer fire fighters.
They travelled to Dwellingup using any available means and armed with picks and shovels, hessian bags, chain saws and Tom O’Meagher even transported his bulldozer to help with fire breaks. The men were away for 7-10 days, leaving their families at home to tend to orchards etc.  The keep updated by the ABC news broadcasts and Newspaper reports & pictures.  They returned blackened and totally exhausted by the ordeal and the oppressive heat of West Australian January summer heat.

It was the findings of the Royal Commission into the Dwellingup Fire that LIGHTNING, lit similtaneously on January 19 and 20, 1961.

(2) Dwellingup - Isandra

Hotham Vally Railway - Train # - Banksiadale

‘All Aboard’!!  – the Hotham Valley train #945 ‘Banksiadale’ –
Departing 10:30 for a spectacular journey  to Isandra through jarrah forest

HISTORY - Steam Locomotive 'Banksiadale' #945

'Banksiadale' #945

W 945 was built by Beyer Peacock & Co, Manchester (builder’s number 7457 of 1952) as one of sixty “W-class” 4-8-2 locomotives delivered to the Western Australian Government Railways for light lines service. The W-class proved to be highly successful locomotives, displacing older O-class 2-8-0T+T and G-class 2-6-0 & 4-6-0 types on secondary lines and augmenting the V and S-classes on main line duties.

An interesting feature of this locomotive design was the sloping cab front which was parallel with the boiler / firebox back plate; this minimized the area of boiler that was within the cab. Anyone who has been in the cab of a steam locomotive during the heat of the Australian summer would appreciate this feature!

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ISANDRA - the terminus & train turn around
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Cow Slip Orchid at ISANDRA

Most WAGR W-class locomotives were withdrawn in June 1971 and joined the long lines of modern steam power that were cut up for scrap at Midland Workshops, however 19 class members (W 901 / 905 / 906 / 907 / 909 / 914 / 916 / 919 / 924 / 927 / 929 / 931 / 933 / 934 / 941 / 953 / 954 / 958 & 959) were retained a little longer until officially withdrawn in August 1972. Several W-class locomotives remained in storage during the 1970’s (together with a handful of V and S-class locomotives) and many of these were subsequently acquired for preservation. The last two remaining in WAGR storage (W 906 and W 958) were cut up for scrap in 1980.

W 945 entered preservation in July 1977 when sold to the Pinjarra Steam & Hills Preservation Society (now known as the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway). It was restored at their Pinjarra depot for tourist operations and now carries the name ‘Banksiadale’ in the HVTR fleet.

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... and it's Lunch Time

(5 ) Home Time

stopping for …..

.... and then some zz's on the bus

All References and/or Articles:      by Pickering Brook Heritage Group Inc

All Images:     by Pickering Brook Heritage Group Inc

Story & Web Page by:   Stephanie O’Meagher (2022 Web Master)