G005 : The Spurline | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

G005 : The Spurline

Item details

Name of item: G005 : The Spurline
Other name/s: Darks Common Reserve
Primary address: 175 Explorers Road, Glenbrook, NSW 2773
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
175 Explorers RoadGlenbrookBlue Mountains   Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Criterion (a)
The realignment of the western railway through the gorge of Glenbrook Creek and through a tunnel under The Bluff was a significant feat of transport engineering in 1911-3. This alignment is still in use nearly a century later and the Spurline which serviced the gorge-works and made them feasible has local significance. The preservation of the line of the Spurline by the creation of Darks Common Reserve thirty yeas ago has significance in the local conservation movement.
Date significance updated: 29 Sep 04
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Construction years: 1911-1913
Physical description: The Spurline railway alignment is marked as a walking track on the western edge of Darks Common Reserve, adjacent to the Public School, 173 Explorers Road. Its alignment is also visible on the opposite side of Explorers Road. To the south it runs to The Bluff, to the north to the former main railway line. It is not instantly recognisable as a railway line within the Reserve itself. Darks Common Reserve is largely regenerated bushland of an unremarkable character but serves as an important open space environment in a location that serves a school and pre-school.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Fair
Date condition updated:29 Sep 04
Further information: The address on the Heritage Register (5 Explorers Road) is erroneous.
Current use: Walking Track
Former use: Railway

History

Historical notes: The ascent of the Lapstone Monocline presented difficulties to railway engineers. The first two solutions were unsatisfactory, so the Lapstone tunnel which had replaced the original Lapstone ZigZag in 1892 was itself replaced by the second Glenbrook Deviation along Glenbrook Creek, built between 1911 and 1913.

The gorge of Glenbrook Creek, which can be viewed from the top of The Bluff to the south of the village, at the end of Emu Road, posed a formidable obstacle in 1911. First a rock shelf 65 metres below the plateau and 100 metres above Glenbrook Creek had to be drilled out to commence the construction of the tunnel under The Bluff. The transport to the site of bricks, mortar and other necessities for the tunnel works was peculiarly difficult. The solution was to construct a funicular up the face of the gorge from the tunnel entrance to the top of The Bluff and to link this funicular with the existing main railway line by building a temporary railway to old Glenbrook station. This is what is known as the Spurline.

At the Glenbrook end the Spurline utilised part of the 1867 line which had come up the ZigZag and been discontinued in 1892. It then crossd a ravine on a wooden trestle bridge (long since burnt down) and came south across relatively flat plateau to cross the present Explorers Road and go on the the edge of Glenbrook Creek Gorge at The Bluff. The heavy materials needed for the works far below in the gorge were brought from Sydney by train and then transferred to the Spurline and thence onto the funicular, using two crane locomotives built by Beyer and Peacock in 1909.

The new line was completed in 1913 and the Spurline then became redundant. The track was raised, while the two crane locomotives were removed and forty years later were still maintained in the Honeysuckle railway yard. Their present whereabouts is not known. (Singleton, Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin 227,126-30)

Darks Common was created as public reserve 26979 to prevent a housing development proceeding between Explorers Road and The Bluff in the1970s. The leading voice in the conservation movement was Michael Dark , the son of the significant author, Eleanor Dark, and her husband, Dr Eric Dark. It is Michael, not Eleanor, after whom the Common is named. (Woods, Yellow Rock to Green Gully, 45)

As a result of the gazettal of Darks Common Reserve the future preservation of the Spurline was assured and signage was put up by the Council.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The realignment of the western railway through the gorge of Glenbrook Creek and through a tunnel under The Bluff was a significant feat of transport engineering in 1911-3. This alignment is still in use nearly a century later and the Spurline which serviced the gorge-works and made them feasible has local significance. The preservation of the line of the Spurline by the creation of Darks Common Reserve thirty yeas ago has significance in the local conservation movement.
Integrity/Intactness: Fair
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLEP1991G00527 Dec 91 183 
Heritage study G005   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blue Mountains Heritage Study1983G005Croft & Associates Pty Ltd & Meredith Walker  Yes
Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains1992G005Tropman and Tropman  Yes
Blue Mountains Heritage Review2003G005Jack, Hubert, Lavelle, MorrisIJ, CM Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008G005Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenC C Singleton1956Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, no 227, September
WrittenChristorpher J Woods1999Yellow Rock to Green Gully: Place Names in the Blue Mountains

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1170633


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