Balingup Community Web

An initiative of the Balingup Progress Association

Balingup Rail History

Balingup Townsite and Railway 1898 (Battye Library BA1081)

The importance of a rail service to community growth is demonstrated in the following brief history of the development of Balingup

In 1898 the town of Balingup, and the Bunbury-Bridgetown rail line on which the town is situated (240km south of Perth), began to share a common history. In that year two significant events occurred - the townsite of Balingup was gazetted and operation of the rail line extension from Donnybrook to Bridgetown commenced.

Introduction of the rail line to Balingup was essential for development of the town. It enabled industries to be established in the area and the goods produced by those enterprises - namely, timber from a timber mill; milk and cream from dairy farms; cheese from a cheese factory; cattle from cattle farms; fruit and vegetables from orchards and horticultural properties - to be sent, principally, to Perth.
Balingup residents and industries also relied upon the rail line for the delivery of goods and supplies, and residents and visitors depended on the passenger trains for visits to and from Bunbury and Perth.

1. 2.
1. Royal Train at Balingup on Farewell Tour of Duke of Gloucester as Governor General,5 October 1946(D Thompson); Rail Heritage,P03065
2. Goods Train Entering Balingup(c.1960-1970) (P.Hopper); Rail Heritage WA, P09907

The rail infrastructure at Balingup included a curved rail bridge over the Balingup Brook which provided a striking entry to the town; an attractive station building and passenger platform; goods sheds with loading platforms and crane; and a packing-shed for preparing fruit and vegetables for despatch.

3. 4.
3. Balingup Station(c.1966) (J.Joyce); Rail Heritage WA, P18243
4. Station Master and Locomotive at Balingup Station(c.1960-1970) (P.Hopper); Rail Heritage WA,P09906

Use of the line for scheduled passenger services ceased in 1985. Thereafter, passenger trains on the line were special tourist excursions for destinations such as the Donnybrook Apple Festival; Balingup Small Farm Field Day; Balingup Medieval Carnival; Bridgetown Blues Festival; and Pemberton Karri Forest, and heritage steam train excursions hauled by the "Leschenault Lady" steam locomotive.

5. 6.
5. 'Leschenault Lady' Vintage Train Tour on Balingup Bridge on return from Bridgetown(c.1960-1970)(E.Woodland); Rail Heritage WA,P02239
6. 'King Karri' Tourist Train at Balingup on return from Pemberton(c.1970-1980)(J.Joyce); Rail Heritage WA,T04500

Carriage of freight continued until 2005, although use of the line for that purpose had been limited to the haulage of woodchips from Manjimup to Bunbury. The line has remained dormant since 2005.