Tramways Epilogue    by Ken McCarthy     To Main Index

The "Kiama Independent" for November 15th, 1941 reported that when the rails were eventually lifted in Manning Street the centre of that thoroughfare would be planted with shrubs. The centre island construction was not carried out until 1975 and the track was sill occasionally visible through the road surface up to that date. During January 1942 a saw mill was about to open business on the site of the tram terminal in the NSWGR good yard.

In October 1944, with the end of World War II, in sight, the R.A.N. announced the impending release of commandeered ships, while the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company requested support for their coastal trade activities when the time came for them to re-enter this operation. Although the stone ships again returned to the Kiama Harbour run, the now abandoned, but still largely complete 2 ft gauge tramway, did not run again. On July, 14th, 1945 the "Kiama Independent" published details of street beautification projects which would be carried out in Kiama with the return of peace, but reported that the tram rails and sleepers would have to be removed from Terra- long St. before such work could commence.

The SS "Bombo" returned to the owners in January 1946 and made its first post World War II run from Kiama on September 9th, 1947. Disaster struck, however, in February 1949 when rough seas shifted its cargo off Wollongong and the vessel was lost with 12 ff the 14 crew members. This ship had served as a mine sweeper during World War II in Northern  Australia and Pacific Ocean waters and also took part in the Japanese surrender in Timor on September 11 th 1945. During its post war service the "Bombo" made weekly trips to Kiama.

The older SS "Kiama" returned to the Kiama run in between trips to Newcastle in the coal trade. This ship foundered off Tuggerah on January 19th, 1951.  The wooden ship "SS Paterson" also a visitor to Kiama also sank off Norah Head north of Sydney in April 1951 leaving the SS "Dunmore" and SS "Bass Strait" as the last regular ships in the Kiama trade.

A visit to Kiama in May 1949 revealed that the track in Terralong St., except at major road intersections had been lifted and the shoulder of the road tarred, but rails from the Brighton Hotel to the wharf bins, as well as the track at the Quarry terminus were complete. Most of the wagons were stored under the Pike's Hill loading bins, which was now a swampy area due to the drains being overgrown. Sets of loco wheels were stored near the loco shed in which stood  Fowler, Davenport and Gibson battle units. The ramp track from Terralong Street to the quarry workings could not be located, and it would seem that the western arc of the balloon loop had been removed from behind the loco shed during the late 1930's.

Crushed stone was being delivered at this stage to the Kiama Harbour bins by road tip trucks. some of the bin rails had been lifted and reconstructed to form a grid across the bin tops, onto which the trucks could be driven and the gravel tipped through. Little of this stone originated from Pike's Hill at this stage, the bulk being derived from adjacent workings.

During 1956-7 financial year, 171,829 tons of gravel was shipped by sea from Kiama Harbour. Vessels making 242 trips during that period. The last call was made on December 21st, 1961 when SS "Dunmore" (652  gross tons & 287 nett tons) departed for the last time at 1 pm under the command of Captain Alec McKay.

The hoppers at the quay were dismantled during November and December 1965, this demolition was completed by setting fire to the remains. The trackwork noted in 1949, remained !argely complete until 1957, although the long single straight through the reserve near the bins was gradually lifted after 1955.

The curator of the Goulburn Steam Museum, Mr. B. MacDonald, obtained the Davenport locomotive for the Steam Tram Preservation Society's museum at Parramatta Park, where it arrived on November 5th, 1956 after being on public display on the reserve opposite the Brighton Hotel for a short period. The Fowler steam engine was wheeled out of the now rapidly decaying loco shed in January 1957 and taken directly to the Goulburn Museum where it served for some time after 1958 as a stationary boiler for the Appleby steam beam engine. The Davenport unit was transferred from Parramatta Park to Goulburn on June 2nd, 1967.

By Septernber 1961 the loco shed had collapsed leaving the remains of the petrol electric loco and several stone wagons in the open at Pike's Hill. The writer last saw, these relics of the once large undertaking in March 1962. The bins and other items at Pike's Hill seemed to have been gradually demolished during 1964-6. During October 1965 the Tilling Stevens tip truck, last used at the quarry around 1939 and stored in a shed there during World War II, was obtained by the Southern Highlands Transport Museum at Colo Vale. This group has since restored the lorry to original operating condition.

When comparing the present quarry floor location with cutting progress in the 1920's it seems, that a later sweep across the quarry lowered the floor further, using motor tip lorries for stone transport to the crushers. Quarry expansion south westwards from the Pike's Hill bins and crusher was served by a 4'8" gauge railway, a petrol loco supplied also by Gibson & Battle powered this line. In 1957 only the steel underframe and wheel sets remained of this unit, while in 1961 the frame of a standard gauge wagon was noted near this loco. Photos of this standard gauge line have yet to be discovered.

In 1975, the Kiama Retirement Trust started excavations at the Pike's Hill terminus site for its  proposed retirement village project. This operation revealed that much of the eastern arc of the balloon loop and the sidings which formed the southern quarter were still in position. During July and August 1975 the Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society retrieved several straight track lengths as well as Point components for later use on the main line at that group's Albion Park museum site.

Around Christmas 1973 the Fowler locomotive was taken away from the Goulburn Museum to a private store location, having been sold several years before, as surplus to the needs of that undertaking. The Davenport. is currently being reassembled at Goulburn after a major overhaul and may soon return to traffic at that location.

Feb 1977