Eastern Railway Deviation

Author

Shire of Mundaring

Place Number

02660

Location

Lot 10159 Great Eastern Hwy Hovea

Location Details

Near Curve Road - Eastern Railway Reserve Includes: Swan View Tunnel, Deep Creek Bridge, Jane Brook Bridge & 2 other bridges.

Other Name(s)

Inc: Swan View Tunnel & 4 bridges
Mahogany Creek Deviation

Local Government

Mundaring

Region

Metropolitan

Construction Date

Constructed from 1895

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
Heritage List YES 08 Mar 2016
State Register Permanent 14 Feb 2003 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Category
Municipal Inventory Adopted 22 Apr 1997 1 - Exceptional significance
Classified by the National Trust Classified {HS}
Statewide Railway Heritage Surve Completed 01 Mar 1994

Child Places

  • 02663 Eastern Railway - Three Bridges

Statement of Significance

The Swan View railway tunnel has very high aesthetic, social, historic and scientific significance for the State and the Shire of Mundaring. As the only tunnel in the rail network of Western Australia it is significant for its rarity.

Physical Description

The Swan View Tunnel is set into the side of a hill in John Forrest National Park and is easily accessed along the old rail reserve approximately one kilometre from Pechey Road. It can also be reached along the rail reserve from the park side. The tunnel was hewn out of the granite rock forming the hill and lined with granite stone to a height of approximately two metres supporting a brick barrel vault above. The external entrances of the tunnel are faced with stone and a voussoir at the top is inscribed with the date 1895. Railway lines and sleepers along the floor of the tunnel, and cable clipped tot he walls have been removed, although some indicative fixings remain. Although able to be walked through, to imagine the experience of train travellers of the day, the tunnel is somewhat hazardous due to old debris strewn about and rubbish thrown in by vandals.

History

The 340 metre long Swan View Tunnel was built as part of Adelaide Smeaton & Hedges 47,608/19/- pounds contract to construct the so-called 'Mahogany Creek Deviation' to the original Eastern Railway Route. After the Eastern Railway to York opened in June 1885, problems with gradients of 1 in 30, sharp curves and a series of accidents on the route via Mundaring, prompted a search for an alternative. Another motivating factor was Chief Engineer CY O'Connor's desire to reduce the cost of the State Railway Service. After a comparative study of the Avon and Helena Valleys, and Jane Brook, the latter was chosen and tenders were called in 1893. The name 'Mahogany Creek Deviation' arose from confusion between the exact location of the jane Brook and it's tributary, Mahogany Creek. Construction work, with the main camp situated below the proposed tunnel, began in February 1894; however, as with the original Mundaring route, problems of rock instability and clay seems delayed work schedules. Rock falls and instability also occurred in the construction of the tunnel, and the interior walls had to be lined with masonry and an arched ceiling made of brick. To form the tunnel, shafts were simultaneously drilled from both sides and met exactly on 18th April 1895. The eastern end has the date 1895 on the masonry, but the official opening of the line was on the 22nd February 1896. The tunnel is a unique construction in the Western Australian Railway system, but it's design without ventilation, caused problems for train crews on the eastern or uphill journey. Despite a series of serious accidents in 1903 and 1914, and pressure fom train crews and the Swan Express newspaper, it took a death in November 1942, before an open cutting for east-bound traffic was finished in November 1945. In the interests of safety, a 16 strand electrified fence was constructed on some of the cuttings near the tunnel, to warn of any rock falls. The alarm would sound in the Swan View Station, and it was the Stationmaster's responsibility to respond. The Swan View Tunnel continued to be used for west-bound traffic until this final section of the Eastern Railway closed in February 1966. After the railway was no longer used for trains, the tunnel was used as a seismic survey station (1970's) and to house the standard surveyor's chain previously located in the basement of the former Treasurey buildings in Perth. Now part of the Railway Reserve's heritage Trail, the Swan View Tunnel, though partially bricked in at both entrances, is still accessible by foot.

Integrity/Authenticity

Integrity: Very High Modifications: Rail lines removed.

Condition

Good

Associations

Name Type Year From Year To
CY O'Connor Architect - -

References

Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
JSH LePage; "Building a State: The Story of the Public Works Department of WA 1829-1985". pp.125, 148, 214-217, 222, 225
I Elliot; ibid pp. 50, 225-227, 235, 242
MHHS Briony and Ron Waterhouse (Fmr Superintendent of JFNP)
MHHS File; "Swan View".
G Merrin; "Premier Parkland". RAC Road Patrol
L Watson; "The Railway History of Midland Junction". pp. 120-131 L & S Drafting- Shireof Swan 1995

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
6605 Register of historic sites. Report 1988

Place Type

Historic site

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Original Use Transport\Communications Rail: Other
Present Use Transport\Communications Rail: Other

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Other CONCRETE Other Concrete
Other METAL Steel
Other TIMBER Log
Wall BRICK Common Brick
Other TIMBER Other Timber
Wall STONE Local Stone

Historic Themes

General Specific
TRANSPORT & COMMUNICATIONS Rail & light rail transport

Creation Date

30 May 1989

Publish place record online (inHerit):

Approved

Last Update

10 Feb 2017

Disclaimer

This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.