Cullen Bullen 89313N

Ben Bullen 89314S


The Wolgan Valley Railway was constructed in 1906-1907 to transport oil from Oil Works at Newnes in the Wolgan Valley to the Western Railway at Clarence.

The oil was produced from Shale Oil mined at Newnes.  The mines at Newnes provided an extremely rich source of Shale Oil.  The Wolgan Valley is surrounded by steep cliffs and even today there is only limited access by road.

The Wolgan Valley Railway was about 51 kilometres long.  At some place the grades were as steep as 1 in 25 & the curves were very tight.  Shay Locomotives were used on the Wolgan Valley Railway rather than trying to even out the grades & reduce the tightness of the curves.  Shay Locomtives were extremely powerful & well suited to these conditions.

As it wound its way out of the valley the railway hugged the foot of the cliffs until it entered the Tunnel Creek Gorge.  When the gorge became too narrow the railway passed through the hillside via Tunnel No 2 (now called the Glow Worm Tunnel).  The narrow canyon section of Tunnel Creek is known as Bell's Grotto

It followed Tunnel Creek upstream for a short while before climbing again & passing through Tunnel No 1.

Note:  The creek is called Tunnel Creek on modern topographic maps.  All documentation I have seen relating to the Wolgan Valey Railway identifies the creek as Penrose Creek and the gorge as Penrose Gorge.

The railway operated until the Oil Works ceased production in 1932.

After the trains ceased running Glow Worms moved into Tunnel No 2.  Now the Glow Worm Tunnel is a signicant tourist attraction in the region.

The development of the of the Shale Mines, Oil Works & the building of the railway did significant damage to the environment.  Penrose Creek was severely affected although a Canyon Tunnel did survive.

There are many relics scattered along the old railway.  Some are large and easy to find.  Others are more difficult and some only appear in the old roadbed after rain or after the road has been graded.


Wolgan Valley Railway

Recent Changes
Item Date Type
Banks Wall 07-06-2017 Add
Pulpit Hill Creek 04-06-2017 Add
Lions Head Pass 22-05-2017 Mod
Lions Head 21-05-2017 Mod
The Goat Track 20-05-2017 Mod
Wombat Parade 15-05-2017 Mod
Dingo Gap 13-05-2017 Mod
Green Cape 12-05-2017 Add
Toothed Helmet Orchid 09-05-2017 Add
Valley Of The Dinosaurs 04-05-2017 Add
Splendour Rock 27-04-2017 Mod
The Pondage Canyon 16-04-2017 Mod
Donkey Mountain 16-04-2017 Mod
Coachwood Glen 15-04-2017 Add
Genowlan Pinch 20-03-2017 Add
Valley Of The Kings 14-03-2017 Add
City In The Sky 13-03-2017 Add
Torbane Balcony 02-01-2017 Add
The Great Wall 29-12-2016 Add
The Towers 11-12-2016 Add
Flat Top 14-11-2016 Add
Zorro Canyon 11-11-2016 Mod
Dalpura Canyon 10-11-2016 Mod
Waratah 10-11-2016 Mod
Twins Canyon 11-10-2016 Add
Tall Leek Orchid 06-10-2016 Add
Vertigo Slot 22-09-2016 Add
Grand Canyon 16-08-2016 Add

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