Historical information

BENWERRIN COAL COMPANY SKIP This quarter ton coal truck or skip was used at a small mine situated at Benwerrin near Deans Marsh in Victoria’s Otway Ranges. The mine first opened in 1899 and closed in 1904. With the fuel shortages due to World War 2, the Benwerrin Coal Company reopened the mine in 1941. The coal was loaded into skips and winched out of Box’s Creek valley on a narrow gauge incline to a loading point that was close to the Deans Marsh-Lorne Road. It was then taken by road to the Deans Marsh Railway station. The average gradient of the tramway was 1 in 4 over a length of just under 500 metres (1600 feet). The gauge of the tramway has often been referred to as 375mm (or 15 inches) as shown on the map opposite taken from “Sawdust and Steam”. However, actual measurements of the wheels show the gauge to be 400mm (or 16 inches), which is quite unusual as is the small size of the skip itself. The mine produced up to 30 tonnes of brown coal each week until it closed in 1949 and the incline tramway and its skips were abandoned. Preservation of this coal truck came as a result of interest by the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria (TMSV) in the Barlow or Box type rails that it ran on. These rails had originally come from the Beaumaris Horse Tramway and were obtained by the Benwerrin Coal Company from Hayden Bros’ abandoned timber tramway at nearby Barwon Downs. Members of the TMSV visited the mine in the 1960s only to find that most of the tramway had recently been recovered for scrap. There remained a significant number of relics around the mine adits including most of the skips. One of these remained in good condition and it was recovered for preservation in May 1967. It was restored but never displayed and a second restoration took place by the author over 2012/13 so that it could be placed in the Menzies Creek Museum where it was delivered in February 2013. Little remains of the mine today with trestles and sleepers destroyed in the “Ash Wednesday” Bushfires in 1983. References: Houghton, N (1975), Sawdust and Steam, Light Railway Research Society of Australia.

Significance

Historic - Industrial Narrow Gauge Railway - Benwerrin Coal Company , Benwerrin , Victoria, Australia

Physical description

Coal Skip - made of Iron sheet and wrought iron frame & wheels

Inscriptions & markings

B,C.Co Melbourne