Hamley Bridge, South Australia

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Hamley Bridge
South Australia
Light St in Hamley Bridge
Hamley Bridge is located in South Australia
Hamley Bridge
Hamley Bridge
Coordinates34°21′0″S 138°41′0″E / 34.35000°S 138.68333°E / -34.35000; 138.68333Coordinates: 34°21′0″S 138°41′0″E / 34.35000°S 138.68333°E / -34.35000; 138.68333
Population631 (2006 census)[1]
Location78 km (48 mi) N of Adelaide
State electorate(s)Goyder, Light
Federal Division(s)Grey
Localities around Hamley Bridge:
Stockyard Creek, Owen Alma Tarlee
Barabba Hamley Bridge Stockport, Linwood
Pinkerton Plains Magdala Morn Hill

Hamley Bridge is a community in South Australia located at the junction of the Gilbert and Light rivers, as well as the site of a former railway junction.

Named by the government of the day, in honour of the Acting Governor of South Australia Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Gilbert Hamley, whose wife, Lady Edith Hamley laid the foundation stone of the River Light Railway Bridge on 25 July 1868. This bridge carries the Peterborough railway line over the Light River.

Other settlements in the area had commenced in the early 1860s, and it was not until 1868 that the junction of the two rivers came under notice as a possible site for a township.


The Peterborough railway line was built from a new junction at Roseworthy (north of Gawler on what was then the Morgan railway line) to Tarlee during 1868. A bridge was required over the River Light. The bridge is 300 feet (91 m) long and 80 feet (24 m) high, in two spans on stone abutments and a cast iron cylindrical pier 6 feet (1.8 m) in diameter.[2] This bridge was replaced in 1925 in conjunction with the works to convert the narrow gauge line to broad gauge, despite this bridge already being broad gauge.[3]

Elevation is 374 feet (114 m).[4]

Break of gauge difficulty[edit]

Different gauges at Hamley Bridge: on the left a broad gauge S class locomotive and on the right a narrow gauge Y class locomotive

The original railway through the town was 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm). The Gladstone railway line extends through the towns of Owen and Balaklava from Hamley Bridge and opened in 1880. Initially, this was built to 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm), so Hamley Bridge was a break of gauge station rather than a junction.[5]

A new railway station was established a few hundred metres north of the original in 1880 and was at first known as Alma Railway Station.[citation needed] The stone building, occupied as a private residence today, represents the fine architecture of the era and is heritage listed along with the signal box and water tanks, and two of the bridges over the River Light.[citation needed]

As Hamley Bridge is only 40 miles (64.4 km) from the capital and major port, this break of gauge soon became a sore point, leading lobbying over decades to extend the narrow gauge all the way to the capital and that port. Trains reaching Hamley Bridge may have travelled 600 miles (965.6 km) from Oodnadatta, thus illustrating the poor design of this break of gauge. The break of gauge at Hamley Bridge was very cramped and poorly sited due to rivers, bridges, gradients and curves, which were difficult to improve upon. There were also shunting delays and a shortage of trucks. A counter proposal to ease congestion at the inadequate facilities at the Hamley Bridge break of gauge was to shift the break of gauge northwards to Balaklava,[6] was strongly opposed.[7] Alternately, the break of gauge may have been moved northwards to Owen [8]

Hamley Bridge ceased to be a break of gauge station in 1927 when narrow gauge lines as far north as Gladstone were converted to broad gauge, Gladstone becoming a break of gauge station in lieu.[citation needed]

24 hour per day operation was made possible by the installation of floodlighting in 1908.[9]


Hamley Bridge was home to the short-lived Hamley Bridge Express (3-31 October 1908), which was printed in parallel with Owen's Weekly and Dalkey District Courier (3 October - 21 November 1908) by T.W. Broadway. Each was printed in their respective town, and with different mastheads but the same content.[10]

The town also produced the Junction News (16 February 1940 - 3 May 1946), which became Junction News and Owen Post (10 May 1946–28 July 1967). The newspaper's original distribution included: Hamley Bridge, Riverton, Saddleworth, Marrabel, Manoora, Black Springs, Auburn, Waterloo, Tarlee, Stockport, Owen, Alma, Wasleys, and Barabba.[11] After merging with a Riverton newspaper, the Gilbert Valley News (1 July 1965 - 27 July 1967), the newspaper's numbering was restarted as the Junction and Gilbert Valley News (4 August 1967 - 30 January 1969).[12] It was then merged into The Bunyip, located in Gawler.


Hamley Bridge is the Hometown of the band "From Dusk Till Dawn (AU)"


Hamley Bridge had a cricket team named for the Break-Of-Gauge.[13]

Hamley Bridge Bombers are the local Australian Rules Football team and one of the oldest in the region, dating back to 1907.

Between 1956 and 1969, Hamley Bridge was home to the Bell Bay Speedway. The speedway ran a variety of classes including Speedcars, TQ's, and Stock Cars. The speedway closed in 1969 due to rising costs and a lack of volunteers able to help run the venue. One local legend about its closure was because the then Mayor of Gawler was a regular competitor and didn't take kindly to rolling his Stock Car at the speedway.[14]

Sky Quake[edit]

Around 1:30pm on 15 June 2010, a large sonic boom was heard near the town. Residents in the nearby Templers did not report the sound, which was loud enough to knock out windows and is believed to be the result of a supersonic aircraft test.[15]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Hamley Bridge (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
  2. ^ "ROSEWORTHY AND FORRESTERS RAILWAY". South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail. Adelaide. 10 July 1869. p. 12. Retrieved 1 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "RAILWAY BRIDGE BUILDING". The Chronicle. Adelaide. 8 August 1925. p. 40. Retrieved 1 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ SAR Timetable 1954 p96
  5. ^ "Hamley Bridge Railway Station". Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  6. ^ "BROAD GAUGE EXTENSION NORTHWARD". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 12 November 1908. p. 8. Retrieved 1 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "EXTENDING THE BROAD GAUGE". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 23 November 1908. p. 9. Retrieved 1 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "BROAD GAUGE EXTENSION". The Register. Adelaide. 2 December 1908. p. 9. Retrieved 17 August 2011 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "EXTENDING THE BROAD GAUGE". The Register. Adelaide. 19 November 1908. p. 5. Retrieved 14 November 2011 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ Laube, Anthony. "LibGuides: SA Newspapers: F-L". guides.slsa.sa.gov.au. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  11. ^ The Junction & Gilbert Valley news [newspaper]. Hamley Bridge, S. Aust: E.B. Oakey. 1967.
  12. ^ Laube, Anthony. "LibGuides: SA Newspapers: F-L". guides.slsa.sa.gov.au. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  13. ^ http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5285635?searchTerm=gauge+hamley
  14. ^ "Bell Bay Speedway". Archived from the original on 7 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]