Original Name :
Station Locations :
Old Northam Station
= South West Corner of the town,
off Fitzgerald Street.
= Eastern end of town, at the corner of Pell
Tce and Fitzgerald St.
Station Facts :
Originally Northam was at the end of a short branch line from Spencers
Brook (which connected
up to the Eastern
Railway, from Fremantle to York), this branch line opened in 1886. At
the time when Northam was connected by rail, the main town
in the Avon Valley was without a doubt, York, however there was a lot
of bickering going on between the Avon Valley towns, including,
Newcastle (Toodyay), Katrine, Northam, York and Beverley, because each
town was trying to out do the other, to become the gate way
to the Eastern Goldfields, that lay out in the Yilgarn and later on
further east at Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie in the early 1890's.
Station, 26th of January 1969 (Left),
Old Northam Station, 24th of May 2003 (Right) .
Northam was just a backwater compared to York, as York was the main
departing point for prospectors travelling to the Goldfields.
They would take a train from Fremantle, to York and then walk or ride
from York to the Yilgarn Goldfields, just north of Southern
Cross. As well as prospectors and pioneers travelling from York,
the original telegraph line to the Goldfields also left from York.
This was all stacked in the favour of York against Beverley and
Northam, for winning the rights to have the Eastern Goldfields railway
pass through their town. However at the time of planning the railway
line to the Goldfields, many different surveys were made, to determine
the quickest, cheapest and easiest route to the Goldfields. Eventually
C Y O’Connor did a survey and reported that, the distance and
construction cost would be almost the same between the two rival towns
of Northam and York to the Goldfields.
Station's Signal Cabin, 14th of January
The remains of the signal Cabin, 21st of July 2003 (right) .
When O’Connor was working out the best route to use, he had to take
into account, the distances from Southern Cross to Albany, because at
the time, Albany was still the major port of Western Australia, as
Fremantle Harbour hadn’t been dredged. O’Connor was aware, that
in the near future Fremantle Harbour would be dredged so the railway
might need to be aligned to be as direct as possible to Fremantle
instead of Albany, because for trains travelling from Southern Cross to
Albany the distance was 421 miles via York and 448 miles via Northam,
where as on the other hand to travel from from Southern Cross to
Fremantle Harbour the distance was nearly half at, 241 miles to
Northam and Spencers Brook and 256 miles via York and Spencers Brook.
So the most logical thing to do would be to use Fremantle as the
chief port, seing as it’s much closer than Albany.
The prices for building the line from Southern Cross to Northam was a
tad bit cheaper at 216, 445 pounds, compared to the 216, 992 pounds
for the York route. A lot of people in York, still believed that, York
was still justified as being the starting point for the railway to the
even though the price difference was silightly higher.
Station, 14th of January 1969 (left),
Old Northam Station 24th of May 2003 (Right).
However in the end Northam was chosen, because it was a shorter route,
also because, at the time the branch line to Northam was not making
any money. The branch was in danger of closure, so to kill two birds
with one stone so to speak, Northam was chosen. In around 1893
construction was started and by 1896, the line was completed. This
catapulted Northam to being the main town of the Avon Valley, the
was upgraded, a large goods yard was built and branch lines were
constructed to Goomalling and to various other towns beyond Goomalling.
Station Water Tower, 14th of January 1969
(left), Old Northam Station Goods Shed, 30th of May 2004
Postcard of Northam Yard, looking west, from the early part of the 20th
For 70 years Northam was a main Station along the Eastern Goldfields
line to and from Perth and Kalgoorlie, Northam’s Goods Yard was always
packed full of wagons, on their way to the port or out to the
Goldfields. Northam was the departing point for trains travelling to
Mukinbudin and Wyalkatchem, also the Westland stopped there every day.
In 1966, with the construction of the standard gauge line from
Kalgoorlie to East Perth Terminal, this sounded the end of Old Northam
a new line was constructed through the Avon Valley, as the grades were
a lot easier to climb and over all the route through the Avon Valley
Station, 14th of January 1969 (left,
Old Northam Station, 24th of May 2003 (right).
Northam Station Museum, August 2006
Northam Station Museum, August 2006
The new standard gauge line, almost bypasses the town of Northam as it
runs past the north of the town, where a new station was constructed
line to the old Station was removed through the centre of town, that
had been there for 70 years. The old Station was retained, with railway
it from the south. The station was eventually turned into a museum,
however, it has been run down now and it is falling apart, the once
great goods yard,
has gone, the platform is rotting away, the only up side for the
station is that the front of the building has been painted and looks
well looked after, but
this is deceiving, till you look around the back to find, an old steam
locomotive rusting away along with several carriages and station relics
siting on the
platform behind a wire fence.