Cape Paterson,

Rail relics at Cape Paterson


A new sign has been erected at Cape Paterson First Surf beach to acknowledge and remind us of our important coal mining history.

The sign at the First Surf Beach Life Saving Club ramp tells the story behind the rusted Barlow rails resting on the First Surf Beach. The sign was erected by Bass Coast Shire Council, with significant input from the dedicated volunteers at the Wonthaggi and District Historical Society who were able to shed light on the important story.

Wonthaggi and District Historical Society President, Fay Quilford, commented on the delight of the society to finally have a sign erected which acknowledges and explains the significance of Cape Paterson’s part in the districs coal mining history.

“The Barlow rails are important as they are the only visible relic of the pioneering mining ventures here. We cannot stress enough the importance of raising the public’s awareness of both relics and stories relevant to our history; the sign does this,” Mrs Quilford said.

The rails are the oldest relic of coal mining in the Cape Paterson area. They were sourced from the tramway in Geelong, and gifted by the Victorian Government to complete construction of the rail in 1863. The rails on the beach are exposed or covered at various times, depending on sand movement and tidal activity. It is vital that the Barlow rails remain in their final resting place to preserve them and the historical integrity of these relics.

Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, commented on the value of protecting the Cape Paterson heritage rails.

“By acknowledging the rails with the new sign we are not only providing a point of interest for our visitors, and a glance into our mining history, we are protecting and preserving our local history for future generations,” Cr Rothfield said.

To read the full story behind the rails and see some historical images, or the rails themselves, visit the plaque at Cape Paterson First Surf Beach.