The RAILWAY 2 Maitland to Tamworth

The railway line from Newcastle to Maitland was completed in 1857 and a start then made to extend the railway westward.

Prior to selection of a rail route, the main road routes to the Queensland border were:-
1) over the Moonbi range:-

a) to Armidale, Glen Innes and Tenterfield, or
b) to Bundarra and Inverell; 
2) via Manilla, Barraba, Warialda and Inverell.


Surveys would be undertaken in the mid 1870s to establish the best route for a rail line to the  border. In January, 1874, Surveyor Stack was instructed to select the best route for the extension of the railway in the direction northwest of Tamworth through Manilla, Barraba, Inverell, Wellingrove, Bolivia and Tenterfield. IN March, he reported the best route appeared to be between the river and the coach road, crossing the Namoi river just below its junction with the Manilla. The country as far as Barraba was comparatively easy, though becoming difficult to the north.


By the time the line reached Werris Creek in June 1877, it had come to notice that political pressure was  being imposed on the Government to build the line north through Armidale. 

A public meeting was called at the Junction Hotel Manilla, (now The Post Office Hotel) in July 1877 to petition the Government to build the Great Northern Railway to Brisbane via Manilla and Inverell.


The line reached Tamworth in 1878 and despite the steep rise over the Moonbi Range and the appearance of a better route via Manilla, the Armidale route was approved in May 1878 and the decision finalised, for the great Northern Railway to cross the Peel River, thence to proceed by way of Armidale to Queensland.

Manilla RailwayBuildings1899
Manilla Railway Buildings 1899



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Images: Manilla Community Archive unless otherwise stated.
Text Edits: ©Diana Nichol  2000-2020   E: |

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