Argyle 1560 Detail

Located at 71M 16C 35L

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The station that became Argyle did not open when the line was opened from Heathcote to Tooborac on December 3, 1889. It was announced as being named South Heathcote and open for passengers and light goods traffic on and after 1st March, 1890. No packages are to exceed 5cwt., and consignees must take delivery immediately on arrival of trucks. The Up end of the station ground was at present day Joe's Road and the Down end was at Dairy Flat Road.

Facilities must have been a little light on when first constructed and "the most important matter of a goods shed for South Heathcote" was discussed at a McIvor Shire Council meeting in June, 1890 as there had been no provision made for the storage of goods and there will be an even greater need when the line is opened to Kilmore. The road approaches to this new station were also seen as deficient and Cr. von der Luft moves that application again be made to the Railway Department to do the approaches to South Heathcote Station. Local ratepayers ask for improvements to the road to the station one month later.

Goods sheds are about to be erected in October, 1890, with the contract going to Seychemne and Rowley for £312/11/0. The Railways Commissioners state that on making an offer of £80 as a contribution to South Heathcote roads maintenance, they have really done more than they are legally required and are unable to increase the offer.

July, 1892, sees a slight mishap when, owing to a brake failing to act, a truck runs off the line at South Heathcote, doing some little damage.

September, 1892 - The road to South Heathcote Station is very narrow, requires widening,and the surface is all mullock.

Like many stations, South Heathcote is not free of accidents. In December, 1892, a young woman, Charlotte Warne, aged 22, whose parents reside at Tooborac, is run over by a train at the South Heathcote Station. After traveling from Bendigo, she alighted from the train and gave instructions about forwarding her luggage on to Tooborac, a few minutes further on. She was informed by Porter Humphrey that she could alight at McIvor Road, two miles nearer to her home. She replied with, "Never mind, I will walk" and starts off heading towards her home. She had only gone about sixty yards [55m] when the train overtook her and she suddenly stepped in front of it. She was knocked down between the rails with the train proceeding about 50 yards [46m] further on. She suffered serious injuries and was conveyed to the Heathcote Hospital. When near the hospital, she took a letter from her pocket and tore it to pieces. A gentlemen who was traveling with her said that she appeared to be in great distress and had cried a good deal.

A rumour circulated in May, 1900, that on account of there being insufficient room, the goods platform at South Heathcote is to be removed to Tooborac. A great number of people had made use of the platform with over 1,000 bales of wool and large quantities of grain being despatched every year. Mr. Outtrim promised to lay the matter before Mr. Mathieson, Commissioner for Railways.

Mr. Cooper, Stationmaster, at South Heathcote is transferred from South Heathcote to Pakenham in August, 1900. He is replaced by Mr. George Cummins from North Carlton. Cummins only stays about 15 months before his transfer to Darnum. A presentation evening is held to mark the occasion

Further staff changes are envisaged in July, 1904 as a woodcarter complains about the Railways decision to place the station under Woman-In-Charge conditions and suggests [for some unspecified reason] that the Heathcote Stationmaster may have suggested the arrangement. He also suggests that the Porter from Heathcote should be put in charge of South Heathcote and the Heathcote Stationmaster could 'run his own show.' Staffing arrangements were to remain a problem for some time.

The same month, the Railways Department advises that South Heathcote is to close as a railway telegraph station and will be worked as Woman-In-Charge, supervised by the Stationmaster, Heathcote, who now supervises South Heathcote and Derrinal stations. Mrs. Berg was subsequently appointed Woman-In-Charge and was in attendance at certain hours only. [Mrs. Berg was the wife of the Porter at Heathcote]. Local residents take up a petition to protest against the station's new staffing arrangements. The petition is presented to Council who then decide to meet with the Railways to address the matter.

The re-appointment of a Stationmaster at South Heathcote is taken into consideration but the Railways decline and say that the existing arrangement should be given a fair trial. They added that the woman was capable of satisfactorily performing the duties required.

Another accident occurred in September, 1904. Edward Phillips, 14, was loading firewood with his elder brother at the station when he slipped off the stack of wood on which he was standing and sustained a fracture of his right arm.

A newspaper article in March, 1905, outlines a few problems associated with the South Heathcote station. The article tackles the current staffing level and says that the station is capable of £400 per month revenue, yet the Woman-In-Charge is only paid 1/- per day. Questions made of this woman are typically answered with "I don't know." The next subject is truck shortages at South Heathcote and Heathcote. There has been a scarcity of firewood trucks for some time and wood has been piling up at both stations. In some cases, woodcarters have been waiting three weeks for trucks. No doubt that the wheat season has contributed to the shortage but there should be sufficient trucks for all purposes. Another article states that ever since the Stationmaster was removed, a great deal of dissatisfaction has existed among the woodcarters and others doing business there. The chief source of complaint is that there is no man in charge to render assistance. Mr. Barbour, Superintendent, said that he would recommend that the postal authorities have the Heathcote and South Heathcote stations connected by telephone and he would also consider whether the Porter from Heathcote could be sent to South Heathcote for an hour or two each day. He promised to look at a couple of minor complaint causes as well, and said that the traffic did not justify a man being appointed at South Heathcote permanently.

New staffing arrangements in May, 1905, are for the Heathcote Porter to attend South Heathcote and apportion empty trucks, and, if any difficulty should arise in their despatch, the Woman-in-Charge will be in communication with Heathcote to obtain the required assistance. Several [unspecified] changes were also made for the despatch of smaller goods and parcels and the Commissioners expect that "the requirements of the residents will now be met."

One of the main freight items at South Heathcote is associated with antimony mining. In June, 1905, a boiler for the McIvor Creek Hydraulic Sluicing Co. is conveyed by traction engine from the South Heathcote Station to their works and lowered into position. The task took three days.

Firewood Traffic in district in November, 1905, is reported as: Heathcote, 2,000 tons; South Heathcote, 1,000 tons; Knowsley, 2,000 tons; and Derrinal, 1,000 tons. A total of 6,000 tons.

Another accident in the station yard in March, 1906. A horse was killed by the Down Bendigo train at the nearby rail crossing. The horse, attached to a wood dray, when left standing by the owner, decided to head home on its own. The horse was killed instantly and the dray was smashed.

In July, 1906, Stephen Wilson was charged, by Andrew Kilpatrick, with stealing and carrying away a quantity of firewood, belonging to him, from the South Heathcote Station. Kilpatrick said he had been missing firewood for about 21 months. Wilson is fined £5 with £3/8/6 costs.

An excursion train ran from Wycheproof to Melbourne via Heathcote in connection with the A.N.A. Exhibition in January, 1907. The total number of passengers booked from Heathcote was 86, representing a revenue of £18/18/1 and 11.5 passengers journeyed from South Heathcote, the revenue from which was £4/11/7.

A most unusual accident occurred in April, 1907, when a valuable draught horse is killed when another horse with a dray suddenly bolted, striking the draught horse and penetrating it with the point of one of the shafts. Despite being treated, the injured horse died within an hour.

South Heathcote and Heathcote receive some extensive improvements in August, 1907, when improvements in the way of painting were made on the railway line between Bendigo and Wandong. A little over two tons of paint were used at Heathcote on all wood and iron work, station building, goods shed, fencing, crane, the Stationmaster's and Porter's residence, gates and crossings in the vicinity, etc. With the exception of two or three stations, including Knowsley, which may be about to be similarly treated, the same applied to all stations, crossings, mile stones [posts], etc., along the line. Men were also engaged in laying ballast where required.

Unfortunately, in December, 1907, the station, in the charge of a lad, is destroyed by fire. It is understood that all station papers were burnt. The evening train had passed through about an hour earlier. Mrs. McClellan, who is normally in charge of the station was away on holiday leave and a young man named Bert Webster was temporarily in charge. It is supposed that the fire was caused by a bag of lime, standing against the end of the building, getting wet and becoming hot.

It appears that temporary office arrangements may have been in place for some time as, February, 1908, Cr. Debney moves that the Commissioners be interviewed and requested to provide better accommodation.

In May, 1908, the Railways Department advised that the matter of erecting a gate on the east side of the South Heathcote Station yard had been submitted for report. They also advised that as there was a crossing each end of the station, and a gate at the spot desired would provide an invitation for people to cross the line which might lead to accidents. In the same month, Mr. Tait and Commissioners passed through the district. At South Heathcote they were interviewed on the subject of station improvements.

A request was made for a verandah at the station in November, 1908, to provide for customer comfort.

A name of the station was officially changed to "Argyle" in May, 1909. In consequence of this, the Commissioners issued instructions that staff should take care to see that parcels addressed to South Heathcote are not discharged at Heathcote. Weekly Notice WN17/10 of 02/05/1910 advised the renaming.

Following a request regarding the payment of parcels freight, the Commissioners advised that it was the practice throughout the state for parcels sent to stations in the charge of Caretakers to be prepaid and they regret they cannot see their way to make an alteration in favour of South Heathcote.

Another record shipment of antimony ore from the mine of the Victoria Syndicate, Costerfield was despatched in July, 1913. The loading consisted of 83 trucks or 401 tons, freighted to Port Melbourne for the SS Anchises.

Another request for better station facilities was made in August, 1913 when the Commissioners were asked to install electric light at Heathcote and Argyle stations, and to once again improve the road leading to Argyle Station.

There was more facilities discontent in February, 1914, when The Manager, Costerfield mines, stated that they had been advised that they will only be allowed to stack ore four bags high on the Argyle platform, as it had given way. The platform accommodation is inadequate. The company requires to stack 3,000 to 4,000 bags at a time and they could rot if stacked on the ground. The Commissioners said that, in their view, the facilities at Argyle are adequate. The Council was not content and said that bags needed to be stacked 8 bags high.

Mr. James Tranter advised in January, 1916, that he had been appointed local district representative for Mr. John F. Goulding, government agent, and he was prepared to accept wheat in any quantity at Heathcote, Derrinal and Argyle stations.

A total of 350 tons of antimony ore left Argyle Station in one week in March 1916, for shipment to St. Helen's smelting works. For the year ended 1915, 3,159 tons 18cwts were raised and shipped.

Yet another accident occurred in April, 1917. Arthur Anderson, 15 years of age was holding a horse with a gig load of rabbits at Argyle Station when the horse became startled and bolted. The lad was thrown out and rendered unconscious. He was taken to the Lake Hotel and then to hospital.

Kilmore Dairy Company district agents are appointed at Pyalong, Tooborac, Argyle, Heathcote and Axedale railway stations in October, 1917, for the purchase and despatch of cream to their factory.

The livestock toll increases when in June, 1918, during the running of a special train through the Argyle Station yards, it runs over and kills a fine young cow belonging to Mr. P. O'Dea.

The station yard condition becomes a problem and, in August, 1918, the Shire Secretary is asked to write to the Railway Commissioners about the condition of the Heathcote and Argyle station yards. The railways reply that they have issued instructions to have the roadways leading to the stations, put in order.

Weekly Notice WN03/42 of 20/01/1942 issues a Passenger Fares Book amendment that High Camp, Tooborac, Argyle, Heathcote, Derrinal, Knowsley, Axedale, and Longlea, on the Bendigo via Wallan line, be added to the list, including the line itself, of lines on which there is no passenger or mixed train service; Add, Bendigo via Wallan. Another amendment follows in Weekly Notice WN13/42 of 31/03/1942 advising that passenger trains are now running between Wallan and Heathcote, thereby serving Heathcote Junction, Leslie, Bylands, Kilmore, Willowmavin, Moranding, High Camp, Tooborac, Argyle, and Heathcote stations. [There is no resumption of the service between Heathcote and Bendigo.]

Still the accidents occur. In May, 1942, a railway worker from Kennington, George Penno, about 48 years old, fell dead from his trolley when returning from work with his fellow workers. He was noticed to fall between Argyle and Heathcote. An inquiry returned a verdict of sudden heart failure.

In January, 1943, when tenders are invited by the Power and Fuel Supplies Committee, for the cutting of wood and cartage to Heathcote and Argyle for milling and sending to Melbourne, no-one puts in a tender - because the Committee wants the work done under its own conditions. The Committee wants control over the wood so that they can determine to which suburb it shall be taken.

Changes freight and service requirements bring about signalling and train working changes. Weekly Notice WN12/48 of 23/03/1948 advises that a Composite Staff is provided at Tooborac in the Heathcote Electric Staff section a/c Argyle, and that Argyle may open as an Intermediate Composite Block Post in the Tooborac - Heathcote Electric Staff section.

The end is approaching. Weekly Notice WN27/65 (30-06-1965) advises that Tooborac is closed to passengers, Argyle is closed to passengers and No-one-in-Charge, Heathcote is placed under a Caretaker and the passenger service is withdrawn. The Guard is in charge of signalling. The end finally comes in October, 1965. Weekly Notice WN36/65 of 01/10/1965 advises that Argyle is now closed to all traffic.

Weekly Notice entries for Argyle (and South Heathcote).

February, 1900 - The station is worked under No-one-in-Charge conditions.

March, 1902 - Staff Locking is provided to the main running line points. The Key is the Train Staff for section.

July, 1904 - A Caretaker is appointed, and the station is closed for telegraph business.

November, 1905 - Down mixed trains are authorised to shunt when running on the Train Staff.

August, 1906 - The Up and Down Home Signals are removed.

December, 1907 - The station building is destroyed by fire.

May, 1910 - Known as South Heathcote to this point, the station is renamed Argyle.

December, 1941 - The passenger and mixed train services are withdrawn between Wallan and Bendigo.

March, 1942 - The passenger train services are reinstated between Wallan and Heathcote.

March, 1948 - The station may be opened as an Intermediate Composite Block Post in the Tooborac - Heathcote Electric Staff section.

June, 1965 - The station is closed to passengers and operates under No-one-in-Charge conditions.

October, 1965 - Finally closed to all traffic.

Identified Stationmasters:

William Nugent is mentioned as having sworn that he is a Stationmaster at South Heathcote, in the McIvor Times, February, 1894, in the court case of Nugent v. Allen for the recovery of £5 that he had asked Allen to use to place bets on some horses at the Caulfield Races.
Mrs. Mackay, Woman-in-Charge - April, 1894 - on transfer of W. Nugent to South Kensington.
Cooper - to August, 1900.
George Cummins - 12/10/1900. Transferred to Darnum, November, 1901.
Edwin Jeffree - 15/10/1902.

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