A history of Transport in Islington

In the early days there were no engines for the coal trains so horses had to drag the coal wagons1. There was no railway station at Hamilton and, even when coal trains replaced horses, the only trains that stopped near Hamilton were coal trains.

The bus fare from King Street in Newcastle to Islington was 9d during the day and 18d between 10pm and 5am in 1880. Buses ran daily five times. In 1894 the first steam trams commenced running from Newcastle to Tighes Hill (going through Islington). 2,3

In 1866 public meetings and lobbying took place in support of a railway station on the border of Islington and Hamilton. The platform on the Great Northern Line at Hamilton was near completion on land donated by E. C. Mereweather in 1872. There was a rough track cut through the scrub for residents in Hamilton but nothing for those coming from the Islington side. The only convenience for the travelling public was a platform with a small structure erected on it and a pigeon-hole through which tickets were bought. Very often passengers had to wait until the train arrived at Waratah before they were supplied with tickets1.

Source: provided courtesy of University of Newcastle Cultural Collection

Source: provided courtesy of University of Newcastle Cultural Collection

With more lobbying by Alderman James Curley and residents, a proper station with a large platform, waiting rooms, booking office, refreshment rooms, officer’s rooms, a high-level bridge and a footbridge were promised in plans and in writing in 1890 (see the photo above showing the station in 1900). The station was completed by the early 1900s. The Hamilton Junction Signal Box built by McKenzie and Roberts it’s one of the oldest surviving mechanical signal boxes in Australia.1 In the photo below we can see Hawkins Carrier carrying railway lines up Maitland Road in 1900.

Source: Ralph Snowball, University of Newcastle Cultural Collection

Source: Ralph Snowball, University of Newcastle Cultural Collection

The trams to Mayfield which travelled along Maitland Road through Islington were electrified in 19232,3. The photo below was taken opposite the Wickham Park Hotel in Maitland Road in 1923.

Source: Geoff Horne

Source: Geoff Horne

Sources:

  1. Murray, P (2006). From Borehole to Hamilton Jubilee – 1848 – 1932
  2. Tighes Hill School 100 year anniversary
  3. Personal communication Geoff Horne

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