The Changing face of… ALMADEN


In the newly installed blog photo gallery, we will feature Almaden, the Savannahlander’s destination on the first day of its four day outback trip. There are photos dating back to 1992 when the line to Chillagoe was still open.

During Almaden’s heyday in the early 1900s a large number of railway employees and their families boosted the population of the town that today is almost deserted. Three hotels, three stores, several shops and a post office were built in this period. The railway town’s importance continued until the closure of the Chillagoe Smelters in the mid-1940s. The historic Railway Hotel still trades today, and in the 1992 photo in the gallery, you can see the now demolished abandoned general store and drapery next door to the Hotel.

Almaden Railway Station

Opened in 1901, the station handled the ore traffic on the Chillagoe Railway line and served as the loading point for Edward Torpy’s silver-lead mine at Crooked Creek. Until the Line was extended to Forsayth, Cobb and Co. coaches ran a regular service from Almaden to Georgetown. The town prospered as it became the centre for the construction of the Etheridge Railway and the extension to Forsayth. On the completion of the Etheridge line in 1910, Almaden became an important junction, handling ore trains from Forsayth as well as traffic on the Chillagoe line. It was the second-most important station after Chillagoe on the private mining railway network west of Mareeba.

The State Government took over the line in June 1919, following the collapse of the Chillagoe Company. The station retains the original water tank from the steam locomotive period. The mechanical signalling is still in place but disconnected. There was an old signal cabin below the water tank, but this has been sold and removed to an adjacent property. The levers remain in place. You can see the old signal cabin in its original location in one of the gallery photos.