Sandfly Colliery Tramway
The Sandfly Colliery Tramway (also known as the Kaoota Tramway) was a 20 km (12 mi), 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge tramway linking the Kaoota Mine to Margate, Tasmania. Constructed in 1905–06, the Tramway climbed 457 m (1,499 ft) above sea level and crossed ten bridges. After coal mining ceased the tramway was used to transport logs, fruit and passengers. The line was lifted and abandoned in 1922 after bushfires destroyed several bridges along the line. Currently, 6 km (3.7 mi) of the old track is used as cycling/walking tracks, while the remainder of the old line is on private property.
The 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge steel tramway was built by the Sandfly Colliery Company in 1906. In 1904, 35 t (77,000 lb) of rail, one locomotive and 47 wagons were purchased from the contractors, Messrs. Henrickson and Knutson of Dunalley. The cost to the company was AU£1000. By 1916 the tramway was owned by the Tasmanian Wallsend Company, and when the coal seam became unproductive the company was bought out by the state government. Between 1917 and 1921 the line was leased to Kingborough Council for the purpose of transporting local freight before being dismantled in 1922 and shipped to the colliery at Catamaran.
The tramway left the Wharf at Margate and crossed the Channel Highway, Hickman’s Road, Van Morrey Road, McGowans Road, Perrins Saddle, Thomson Creek and Pelverata Road. It reached a maximum gradient of 1:28 between Channel Highway and Hickmans Road.
Krauss 4526 (2-4-0T builder’s number 4526 constructed 1902) was purchased from Messrs. Hendrickson and Knutson, arriving at the colliery in 1906. It was later sold to the Catamaran Colliery Company and then repaired with parts from Krauss 4080 in 1940.
The other locomotive (2-4-0T 5682, 1906) weighed 10 t (22,000 lb) and had 9 × 12 in (23 × 30 cm) cylinders and 24 in (61 cm) driving wheels. It was purchased new by the Colliery from Lohmann Brothers of Melbourne, agents for Krauss, and shipped to Margate, arriving in early 1907. Being new and heavier than 4526, it was regarded as the colliery’s No. 1 locomotive. After 1914, it was the Colliery’s sole locomotive. A bushfire in January 1920 left 5682 stranded and, as rebuilding a burned bridge was too expensive, the locomotive was left idle with a timber shed built around it for protection. In June 1922, the dismantling of the tramway from the colliery end reached the locomotive and it was removed to Margate, a temporary section of line having been built around the burnt bridge. The locomotive was sold to the Electrona Carbide Works for use on the Ida Bay line. It now resides at the Redwater Creek Steam Railway in Sheffield.
- “Kaoota Tramway Track” (PDF). Kingborough Council. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- “Kaoota Tramway”. Greater Hobart Trails. 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- “MINING”. The Mercury. LXXXII (10, 787). Tasmania, Australia. 10 October 1904. p. 8 – via National Library of Australia.
- “MINING”. The Mercury. LXXXII (10, 845). Tasmania. 16 December 1904. p. 6 – via National Library of Australia.
- citation at Channel Heritage Museum, Margate, Tasmania
- “PUBLIC WORKS CONTRACTS”. The Mercury. CXVI (17, 064). Tasmania. 12 June 1922. p. 4 – via National Library of Australia.
- Whitham L. S., The Sandfly Coalmine and Tramway, 1974, quoted in Channel Heritage Museum, Margate, Tasmania
- “Light Railways (no. 157)” (PDF). Australia’s magazine of industrial and narrow gauge railways. 2001. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- “Rolling Stock”. Redwater Creek Steam Railway. 2013. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
- Margate Wharf –
- Kaoota mine –
- 5x speed of a bike cycling along the route of the Sandfly Colliery Tramway
- Rae, Lou.; Whitham, Lindsay.; Chynoweth, R. Wayne.; Light Railway Research Society of Australia (1988), Sandfly colliery tramway, Tasmania, Light Railway Research Society of Australia