Ex-South Australian Railways Car 19

2020 – TBA

This 140 year old passenger carriage is being restored to operational condition at Queenscliff, and is one of few remaining pre-1880 rail vehicles in Australia. On completion, it will be one of very few of its age still in operation.



Diagram of Car 19
August 2023 Update

End platform with its new handrail manufactured and fitted to the three original stanchions. Note also the old boot scraper fitted to the end platform timbers to clean mud from boots before entering the car. This is the Second Class saloon end. I must check and see if the one at the First Class end has the same amount of wear! Paul Brunton image.

May be an image of foundry

August 2023 Update

Car 19 starting to look like it is well on the way to being restored, instead of looking like a ‘restoration challenge’. Extensive investigation of the carriage surfaces and documented research indicates that the body was originally predominately painted in Indian Red with Black on some of the trim. We have painted some of the exterior that way to see how it looked. P Brunton image.

No photo description available.

December 2022 Update

Steady progress with the outer roof. The wide board towards the right of the roof is almost certainly the original 1879 timber, 9.5″ wide x 1.5″ thick (215mm x 38mm) running the full car length in one piece. Shows mark of where canvas was tacked on to it and some fasteners. The new outer edge timber that we cut down from an old 125 mm x 125 mm cypress post to produce several lengths of 76 mm x 38 mm (3″ x 1.5″) with a rounded outer edge can be seen screwed to its outer side. Installation of the new 150mm wide x 19mm thick tongue and grooved Baltic flooring can be seen, similar to the original boards that were removed due to bad weather damage. 

No photo description available.

November 2022 Update

‘You can’t get the wood you know’ was a famous line in the BBC radio comedy of the 1950’s/60’s – The Goon Show. Sadly these days it is becoming hard to get the wood that we need to restore Car 19 (and similar projects). We needed 3/4″ (19mm) half round hardwood beading to cover the edge of the lower roof covering material, but nothing like that size is made these days, only much smaller and a bit larger (far too big). We needed about 50 metres. One supplier obtained a quote for some to be specially made for us at a cost of about $850 plus $150 freight from SA, so almost $20/metre. Another was happy to make some, provided that we ordered 1,200 linear metres, but did not provide a price. It would have been many thousands of dollars! We eventually did a trial with a short length of 22mm diametre dowell and cut it in half on the saw bench. Almost perfect 19m half round and no-one will spot the difference once fitted to the carriage. In with a special order for sufficient 3m lengths (not normally in stock) to cover the 10 metre length of the roof. Cost ready to install worked out to about $4.30/m. It was collected late on Friday 28th October, taken to Queenscliff on Saturday 29th, some cut in half, the rest done on Monday 1 November, primed, fine holes for the nails drilled and some part inserted. One side was fully installed that day and the other side completed on Tuesday (Melbourne Cup Day). Looks great!

No photo description available.

August 2022 Update

Steady progress, with all of the rotten bottom side and end frame timbers now replaced. Rotten bottom of all pillars spliced and strengthened. As a result, all horizontal frame members are now as straight and parallel as possible and structurally sound. Sides now straight and roof almost lost all of its sagging sections. End iron panels at one end back in place. Onward and upward from here on!

No photo description available.May be an image of indoor

October 2020 (Newsrail) Update

Restoration of the 140-year-old ex-South Australian Railways Car No.19 – October 2020 Newsrail preservation article.


Car 19 was one of 21 carriages, numbered 14 to 34, built for the South Australian Railways (SAR) on imported six-wheel underframes. The wheelsets were articulated on the Cleminson system. The body was built at the SAR Adelaide Loco Workshops. It had two saloons with seating for 12 First Class and 28 Second Class passengers, accessed from end platforms. Car 19 was issued to traffic on 4 December 1879 and initially used the on the SAR south-eastern narrow gauge system…

…Car 19 was withdrawn from passenger service in 1928 and re-entered use on 17 September, converted to a combined sleeping and tool van for use by pump and windmill maintainers, and renumbered 4904. The small first class saloon was converted to sleeping quarters and the second class saloon to a workshop and store. Its number was later changed to 5077 and was last used on the Peterborough division around 1962. It was condemned on 25 March 1966, the bogies and brake gear removed, and the body and underframe placed on a property on the outskirts of Terowie.

In 1980, the Geelong Steam Preservation Society (GSPS) rescued the car for preservation. The owner was moving to a new property at Wynarka, east of Tailem Bend. He agreed to swap Car 19 (and a small four-wheeled brake van No.57) for a Melbourne W2 Class tram, delivered to his new home.

Car 19 was moved to Queenscliff and used for many years as sleeping accommodation for volunteers staying to work for the weekend. Its future became uncertain, but a group of volunteers decided to take it on as a restoration project. An application was made for grant funding to assist with the purchase of materials for its restoration.

The GSPS greatly appreciated receiving a donation of $9000 from the Geelong Community Foundation. The great was made as part of $1 014 000 of grants made by the Foundation for the 2019-2020 year.

Restoration work commenced in mid-2019 and is being carried out by the Tuesday Team volunteers. They turn up each week to enjoy friendship while tackling a variety of restoration projects for the Bellarine Railway. COVID-19 distancing has slowed progress with the project, but structural body repair is well advanced and it will soon be making more visible progress. Extra volunteers are always welcome to join the Tuesday Team, gathering between 10am and 3pm and Queenscliff. There are tasks to suit all abilities and skills.