Eyre Peninsula Railway Preservation Society Inc.

Glimpses of History

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This article first appeared in the March 2016 issue of the EPRPS Members Newsletter. It has been edited slightly.


The one-line entry above (taken from the 1914 correspondence register in the Port Lincoln Railway Museum archives) has a subject of a 'Loco Barracks required at Mount Hope'. With very little known about such a building, it was worth following up.

A search of the old SAR 'dockets' (correspondence files) in State Archives for CME 5569/14 was successful, and the docket included this site plan for the barracks at Mount Hope.

The structure was a 'Simplex' portable building, and had been used as the Resident Engineer’s office at Yeelanna. It was redundant there on completion of the contract for construction of the Minnipa Hill line. It was shifted to Mount Hope in 1918, and at the time the weekly Mixed train stabled overnight at Mount Hope. In 1923 the timetable was altered to a same day return, so the barracks were no longer needed.

The building moved again, this time to Thevenard where it was erected as the Loco Barracks, located near the loco shed. New barracks were built in 1927 at the Ceduna end of the yard. The Simplex building was moved yet again, being re-erected beside the new barracks bedroom block for use as the kitchen and ablutions building. It survived in this role until 1969 when a new barracks complex was built, fifty years after its short stint as the Mount Hope barracks.

Several other Simplex buildings were used on Eyre Peninsula. One was erected at Wirrulla in 1914 and was used as a refreshment room. In 1925 it was moved to Wudinna where it functioned as the station building until it was burnt to the ground in 1964.

Another Simplex structure was used as the Resident Engineer’s office in Port Lincoln. It was located just behind the main station building, on Railway Place and in line with Liverpool Street. After the new stone building was erected, the old RE’s office was not needed so it was moved to Rudall in 1930. It was used as the station building there until replaced with a smaller masonry structure in 1966.

The E&WS Department also used at least one Simplex building during construction of the Tod scheme.

Right: This photo shows the 1927–1969 barracks at Thevenard. The Simplex building with its distinctive outside framing can be seen in the top right of the image, behind the small corrugated iron structure in the foreground. Photo: Kim Bird Collection.


Below: The Simplex station building at Rudall. The Mount Hope barracks was a similar, although shorter structure and lacked the wide verandahs. Photo: EPRPS Archives.


Below right: This advertisement appeared in The Advertiser on 15 January 1910. The Simplex system included a variety of panels with common dimensions, giving flexible assembly options.