Knott's/O'Shea & Bennetts Siding
Happy Creek and the Stringers Creek Bridges
Knott's Siding, O'Shea and Bennett's Siding, and the Knott's Cutting
If you drive into Walhalla via the usual route, the Walhalla road turns off the Boola Rd in a bit of a saddle area. At the t-junction is a tourist information board and a large gravel area where you can park your car. The dirt track at the far end of the gravel area leads down to the site of O'Shea and Bennett's siding. When you come back up, cross over Boola Rd, follow the narrow track hidden behind the tourist route road sign, and you'll find yourself at the site of Knott's Siding.
Where the Boola (aka Rawson-Tyers) Rd crossed the Walhalla railway, there once existed a huge cutting. I have a feeling I might have read somewhere that it was the deepest hand-dug railway cutting in Victoria... but I should check that.
At either end of the cutting was a station/wood siding - Knott's at the 'up' end and O'Shea and Bennett's at the 'down' end.
in the early 1970s, the local council (despite considerable community protest) decided that the old cutting would make a good site for a tip and the area was filled with rubbish and eventually covered over. Where the road used to cross a bridge, it now stays on dirt straight through.
I'm getting there.
Present-day Photographs (11 Dec 2005)
This shot of the O'Shea and Bennett's site looking towards Walhalla shows the gully in its current, fairly overgrown state. The sign says that motorbikes and cars shouldn't be down here... but you see a lot of bikies through here despite this.
The same location, facing the other direction.
This is a closer shot showing the filled-in cutting from the Walhalla end.
The Future?The Walhalla Goldfields Railway state on their website that they intend to build towards Erica in stages and would like to establish a station at the site of O'Shea and Bennett's. I guess from the WGR's point of view it would be an ok site for a station, with potential parking space at the road junction and not too severe a climb down to the gully floor. Though, then again, last time I went there my travelling companions didn't like the look of the walk in...
There has been some discussion on the Railpage Australia forums about possible solutions to the problems a plugged-up cutting pose to reconstructing the line into Erica. In some way or another, they would have to excavate the dump, and cart away the contents. I hear that water tests of the seepage coming out of the cutting suggests that the contents aren't too toxic...
Although, they could (I suppose) create some kind of a tunnel through the cutting, rather than re-excavating it entirely and needing to rebuild a fairly substantial road bridge.
Bear in mind that this is all things 'I've heard', rather than from an official source. At some stage I'll ask WGR management what the official state of play is.