Under construction



1909 Among the questions which engaged the attention of the House of Assembly last year was the proposal to facilitate the development of Kangaroo Island by means of a light railway line running through the centre of the island. The wish of the Government was stated to be to ascertain, by means of experimental farming blocks the productive capacity of the land. It was decided to refer the whole question to a Royal Commission, which was appointed on January 13, of the following members of both Houses:— The Hons. A. H. Peake (chairman), J. H. Howe, and A. R. Addi-son, Messrs. H. Jackson, D. James, F. J. T. Pflaum and J. Verran. The following progress report was forwarded to his Excellency the Governor on Tuesday: — 

'We have held 19 meetings, and have examined 41 witnesses. We have also visited Kangaroo Island, and inspected the country which the proposed railway is in tended to serve. The evidence taken on the island was almost entirely in favor of the construction of the railway; but as we had some doubt about the fertility of the ironstone country, which comprises the greater part of the island, and were not satisfied that this land had been thoroughly tested by the few farmers who gave evidence as to its productiveness, we suggested to the Government that a series of experiments on the ironstone country be carried out by the Department of Agriculture, and that in the meantime no fresh land on the island be surveyed. The sug-gested experiments are being carried out this year, and as soon as the results are known we will be in a position to form an opinion as to whether the land is worth opening up by a railway or not. 'In conjunction with the members of the Eyre Peninsula and Murray Lands Railways Commission, we have obtained some useful information in Queensland and Victoria respecting narrow-gauge and light railways which will be of value when the Commission is in a position to consider its final, report. We hope to present this to i your Excellency, together with the minutes of evidence, early next year.'

Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), Saturday 24 July 1909, page 45
Kangaroo Island Transport Facilities. (1948, March 19). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. 



KINGSCOTE. March 7, 1911.-An enthusiastic meeting, convened by the Chairman of the District Council (Mr. A. Daw), was held yesterday to consider the report of the Kangaroo Island Railways Commission. It was resolved to ask the Government to consider the building of a horse traction monorail from Kingscote to Vivonne Bay, through the Hundreds of MacGillivray, Seddon, and Newland, and from Vivonne Bay into the Hundred of Ritchie. Owing to the expense of metal roads and the shortage of stone through the hundreds named it is estimated that a horse traction monorail would fill the bill, and effect a revenue, besides helping the selectors. A petition is being signed, which will in due course be presented by the district members to the Government, praying that the Hundred of Ritchie be surveyed for selection and opened up to Vivonne Hay by monorail instead of being included in the fauna and flora reserve, as previously decided on by the Government.

KANGAROO ISLAND MONORAIL WANTED (1911, March 8). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 9.

KINGSCOTE, April 4, 1911.—Two of the members of the District of Alexandra, Messrs. Ritchie and Blacker, left the Ozone Hotel this morning in a four-in-hand conveyance . They will drive through several farms that would derive a benefit from a monorail in the Hundreds of MacGillvray and Seddon. The party will return to Kingscote on Wednesday evening to attend a public meeting arranged by the Chairman of the district council, to discuss the question of a monorail on Kangaroo Island.

KANGAROO ISLAND AND THE MONORAIL. (1911, April 8). Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), p. 15. 

The Tale of a Popular Islander.

The Musgrave arrived at the jetty that night,
With the members on board all ready to sight
The land on the Island, with a view to provide
A railway for carting the produce to mart.

The lines were just fast and the gangway put out
When aboard stepped our man with a genial shout,
' Ho ! Larry, old man, here give us your hand, And Ritchie old fellow. Hullo Blacker! that's fine.'
And so through the boat went our man on his own,
Creating a breeze where'er he was known,
He put in the shade the men of the town
And gained for himself no little renown.

L. O'L. at first thought it infra dig
But smiled when he found our man's heart was too big
To hold the welcome we intended to give
To his party representative. 

Our man at table was again to the fore,
With his natural mirth and genial roar,
But for laughter was eclipsed by the remark,
That for the Rocky Chows should embark.
But the members our man would not let slip,
He went from Vivonne to town in their ship
And convinced each one on the way to the Main
That ere long they would travel the Island per train. 


The Tale of a Popular Islander. (1908, June 20). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 2. 

 By John Gum, Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 6 June 1908, page 6 

Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), Saturday 22 June 1912, page 4

Improved Transport Facilities for the New Hundreds.

Under the heading of " Kangaroo Island Railway" the report of the deputation which recently waited on the Commissioner of Crown Lands and requested better transport facilities, appeared in the Adelaide dailies, which is a misleading description of the request. Recognising, as we have been perhaps unwillingly compelled to do, that the prospect of a full-blown railway on Kangaroo Island, in the near future was scarcely a remote possibility, our demand has been substantially modified, and is now simply a request for better transit facilities in the cheapest known form, viz. tramline or mono-rail. Also recognising that the much debated ironstone country has not yet been thoroughly demonstrated as suitable for agriculture, the route now suggested for a line runs through the best country in the Hundreds of MacGillivray and Seddon, about which there is no doubt as to its suitability for the production of cereals, and some of it, viz. Messrs Wheaton and Co's farm is, on past production, the best wheatgrowing land in the district, and there are thousands of acres on other holdings, which should, with like cultivation, produce equal results as have been obtained on that property. 

The proposition to construct a tram line or mono-railway through the Hds. of MacGillivray and Seddon, from Kingscote to Vivonne Bay, is of entirely different color to the original scheme of a narrow gauge line along the backbone of the Island, as all the established farms in those hundreds would be almost as distant from that route as they are at present from the seaboard either on the North or South Coasts, which would mean that their owners would not benefit by the construction of the line, and it would not have the guarantee of their patronage. The alteration of the route and the great re duction in the initial cost, changes the financial aspect of the case from that of problematical to assured success. 

A mono-railway running closely past, White Lagoon, Messrs Williams, Nicholls, W. G. Burgess and the K.I. Oil Co's holdings, Pulcara Farm, Badlands, Hawks Nest, Lake Ada, Kaiwarra, Vivonne Park, and the Harriet River, would be assured of all the traffic which results from the transport of the products of those places, and the supply of their farming requisites, and would prove an inestimable boon to the present settlers and enable them to develop their holdings to an extent which is now an impossibility. The reduction in the cost of carriage of goods and also passengers would be reflected in every department of farming, even in the price of wages, and at the same time facilitating the engagement of labour, not one of the least difficulties with which the out-back farmer has to contend. 

Given the means of transporting its produce to the sea port at a cost approximating that of railway carriage over a similar distance in other parts of the State, there can be no possible doubt that large areas of land in the newly surveyed hundreds now undeveloped would be brought under cultivation, and return good livings to its settlers. The idea that a railway would prove a profitable concern, has been scouted by even some of the Island residents, but it is more than possible that they have been allowing wrong impressions of the whole proposal to affect their judgement. The construction of a railway on the same scale that is most familiar to us, viz. the up-to-date passenger line, conveys an idea of expensive outlay totally out of all proportion to the cost of a scheme which we now are urging. Whether this project would pay should the proposal become an accomplished fact is dependent on two main points which are, (1) The cost of construction and (2) Carriage of sufficient quantity of goods over the line to provide interest and working expenses on the cost. The latter is almost wholly dependent on the former, so we may consider the cost as the principal item for consideration. A mono railway can be laid for an absurdly small amount, and on figures quoted by well-known makers £400 at 4 per cent. would pay the annual interest on the cost of a line from Kingscote to Vivonne Bay. This would only represent the carriage of 800 tons at 10/ per ton, and if any person would maintain that, given the facility of getting their goods transported for the modest sum of 10/ per ton, the present settlers themselves would not be able to pay the interest on the undertaking, he would court ridicule.

Improved Transport Facilities for the New Hundreds. (1912, June 22). The Kangaroo Island Courier (Kingscote, SA : 1907 - 1951), p. 4.