Anyone who has been to Goulburn and up the Rocky Hill War Memorial will immediately recognise the viaduct in my main picture above. When you come down into town it is nowhere to be seen and unless you know exactly where you are going it’s actually hard to find it. Big though it is, you will not stumble across it.
Please ensure that you have a map (pick one up from the tourist office on Sloane Street in the centre of town) before embarking on the sites mentioned in this review.
Being a railway viaduct there is no public road that goes right to it. You have to head into the back streets (I recommend Grafton Street as it allows access to the former Crookwell line as well – see below) and then take a short stroll to get to it.
The the original single track brick viaduct taking trains across the Mulwarre River and Ponds opened in 1869, with the opening of the Sydney – Goulburn line. This early viaduct was replaced with a larger twin track viaduct in 1915 and it is still in use. The 1869 piers remain on the north side of the 1915 structure.
Looking at the old piers one can see that they are at a slight angle to the new sturdier viaduct. When built in 1869 the piers were deliberately skewed in line with the natural water flow to minimise the chances of blockages from floating trees, sheds, houses and the like during floods; the idea being to ease such debris through. As these piers align with the new arches they were presumably left there to fulfil their original purpose on an on going basis.
On first sight the viaduct seems unnecessarily high and long to get across what looks like a bit of low land with very little water. One should not be fooled. In 1867, while the original viaduct was still under construction, flood waters peaked at only 1.2 metres below the pier tops.
Given that you get a good view of the viaduct from the Rocky Hill War Memorial it stands to reason you would get a good view of the Memorial from the south side of the viaduct.
If you access the viaduct via a not very obvious path down to your right from the end of Grafton Street you will note an old abandoned railway track veering off to your left along the back of some houses.
This is what remains of the Crookwell railway line, a spur off the main Goulburn-Sydney line. The Crookwell line was opened in 1900 and while clearly trains could not run on it today the line has never actually been officially closed.
Goulburn is, and had been, for almost as long as it has existed famous for its prisons (something they don’t overdo in the tourist literature – but please don’t let it put you off – they are of the very secure variety here in Goulburn!) One of Goulburn’s two prisons (the rear of which you will see if you visit the St Saviour’s Cemetery (as you should)) is located in this northern part of the City between Maud and Cemetery Streets. The first stop on the Crookwell line was Argyle, located opposite the main gates of the prison. Prisoners coming in from Sydney and other parts of the New South Wales would arrive in Goulburn, in a prisoners van, which would be detached at Goulburn Station and shunted along the Crookwell line to Argyle and the then relatively new prison which had been constructed in 1884.
The Argyle station/ platform was demolished in the late 1960s so don’t go looking for it.
Before the Crookwell line was opened, the prisoners were taken off the train at the North Goulburn station (opened 1882), one stop before Goulburn Station on the main line. North Goulburn Station is no longer operational (closed 1975) and the former station buildings which include a red brick and sandstone gatekeeper’s cottage (now privately owned) and a rather decrepit looking signal box are heritage listed buildings.
If you want to have a look, they are located at the northern end of Hetherington Street, which you can use to get to the Rocky Hill War Memorial if you approach it from the Sydney side of Goulburn.
Perhaps the most interesting, and certainly the most amusing, tit bit on the North Goulburn Station was the high number of tickets sold to local residents from Goulburn Station to it (but not back from it!). Need I say more than that a ticket to North Goulburn sufficed to ensure one’s status as a bona fide traveller when drinking ‘out of hours’ in the Railway Refreshment Rooms Bar at Goulburn Station!
My next Goulburn review– HERE
Return to the beginning of my Goulburn reviews –HERE