ARHS Vic Div Inc is committed to the recording, dissemination and preservation of the history of railways in Victoria. with focus on their construction, equipment. The impact of the railway on the people and development of Victoria. This is achieved through the activities of the Railway Museum, Our Archve, and Library. In regard to the Museum, the majority of the collection of locomotives and rolling stock are part of the State Collection, administered by VicTrack. we are custodians of this collection as administered by the PTV and the Director of Tourist and Heritage Railways. All of whom we work with in a close co-operative relationship. The details below relate to the Railway Museum. Details regarding the Archive and the Library are contained in the Collection Description section
Australian Railway Historical Society Victorian Division Inc Railway Museum, Archive and Library (1962)
The Australian Railway Historical Society Victorian Division Inc collection falls into three sections all housed in different locations Railway Museum ? located on Champion Road North Williamstown/Newport ? The collection consists of 58 major static exhibits of locomotives and rolling stock. The locomotives collection includes five, 19th century steam locomotives dating back to the mid 1870s and twelve 20th Century steam locomotives dating from 1904 to the early 1950s. In addition there is a representative collection of 8 diesel locomotives dating from the 1950s. There are also two electric locomotives, one dating from the 1920s and the other the 1950s. There are also four representative suburban train electric motor cars dating from 1919 to the 1970s. The collection also contains five complete representatives of bogie passenger carriages dating from 1874, 1904-7 and one steel bodied Buffet carriage dating from the 1930s. In addition we have the bodies of two fixed axle 19th Century passenger cars awaiting restoration. In addition we have a comprehensive collection of fixed axle and bogie freight wagons of various types dating from 1865 to the 1970s. The collection also includes two hand operated rail mounted cranes, and three steam powered cranes with lift capacity ranging from 3 ton to 60 ton. These date from 1859 to1940. We also have the original rail tractor, a postal motor trolley and several way and works, hand powered and motorized trolley. We also have an example of the standard goods guards van, a bogie goods guards van and the bodies of two of the last, fibreglass bodied guards van built by the VR in the 1970s. With the exception of two of the above, all of the collection is listed as part of the VicTrack Heritage fleet and allocated to the Museum. The remaining two locomotives were purchased from private industry, who in turn had bought them from the Victorian Railways. The collection also contains one former SEC, broad gauge shunting locomotive and a 900 mm gauge electric locomotive from the SEC and one coal wagon. Due to space restrictions there are a number of other former VR wagons of various types stored at different locations in the Newport Workshops precinct A number of operating diesel locomotives are jointly allocated to ourselves and to the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre. These will return to the Museum when they are no longer capable of repair. A number of Diesel Railmotors and locomotives are either leased or loaned to several tourist and heritage railways in the State. These will ultimately all be subject fixed term leases, under the supervision of the PTV Director of Tourist and Heritage Railways. the most recent of these is the last remaining World War 2 3ft 6 in gauge Australian Standard Garratt Locomotive, which was recently transferred to the Bellarine Peninsula Railway for return to operating condition. This leasing process is based on that used by the National Rail Museum, at York in the UK, where similar process is followed. Under current leases, the lessees are required to report regularly on works done, hours operated and distance run. We reserve the right to review any lease where there is concern about them completing the lease. The Museum also has a significant collection of various small items of railway ephemera, Lamps, Safe Working Equipment, builders? plates, locative number plates, station signage etc. These are all digitally catalogued to MAV standards. The museum also has on site an original signal box, a replica station building, model railway room and a display room. Archives Collection This extensive collection is currently housed in a brick, former timber drying kiln building with in the Newport Workshops precinct. We are registered as a Place of Secondary Collection with the Public Record Office Of Victoria. It currently contains a collection of over 40,000 black and white prints and negatives, including glass plate negatives. In excess of 40,000, largely uncatalogued colour slides. Priority is being given to digitizing the hand written catalogue of Black and White images, digital scanning of the slides, as some are showing signs of deteriorating. They will then be catalogued, This will be a long task as many contain limited information provided by their donors. We have a huge collection of paper files, these consist of a wide range of VR departmental documents, filed, but un catalogued by individual item. It is impossible to give an accurate number of these items, especially as donations of private collections, from deceased estates continue to arrive. We currently are developing a series of individual digital catalogues that cover, filed paper items, Black and white images, various categories of departmental circulars, line histories, stations, accidents, etc Whilst this will take decades to complete, it is already paying dividends in responding to information requests. We also have an extensive collection of plans and drawings, many of which will require extensive restoration prior to digitising. This is largely because many were working drawings from the workshops and were in daily use. We also have extensive collections of bound and unbound departmental journals, railway publications, public and working timetables, dating back to the 1900. Most are sorted, awaiting digital cataloguing. We also have an extensive collection of tickets and other departmental paperwork related to freight handling. We also have significant collections of private papers, letters and observations prepared by railway historians dating back to the 1930s. Most are contained in the filed paper files. The Archive also provides storage for the Society film archive, largely on 16mm film, but also some 35mm and 8 mm. This has been checked for any nitrate film stock. We also hold a significant collection of audio tapes largely recorded in the 1950s. This includes original footage and master tapes to a series of LP recordings produced in the 1950s-1970s. Both Film and Audio tapes are catalogued; but are yet to be digitised. The Victoria Railways produced a huge number of bound instruction and training manuals, and we have an extensive collection of these, As many of these were updated regularly, we do not have a complete collection of all editions, We also have a collection of VR Annual Reports and other parliamentary papers related to rail matters. The reports date from the 1860s to the 1960s We are fortunate in having a team of approximately 20 volunteers, with various levels of training, who are rostered to work in the Archive, A number of regulars have been trained to work on digital data entry and have their own allocated projects of developing the various digital files mentioned above. The Archive is currently open on Wednesdays or by arrangement. Most research work arises from written or electronic requests. Library Collection This collection, largely of secondary sources, consists of books and bound and unbound sets of magazines. A number are quite old and some extremely rare. It is currently housed in the Prahran Mechanic Institute Library, in a building on St Edmunds Road, Prahran. It will eventually be integrated into the PMIL catalogue. It currently consists of 500 approx volumes. The collection largely focuses on Australian railway history but with significant collections of British and American material. It too is open on Wednesdays. It is in the charge of a qualified volunteer Librarian with a team of two volunteer helpers. Primary contact with all collections should be made through PO Box 748 Williamstown VIC 3016 or via the ARHS Vic Div Inc website www.arhsvic.org.au and use the contacts page.
Themes: Connecting Victorians by transport and communications, Building Victoria's industries and workforce, Building towns, cities and the garden state, Building community life