Australian Railway Historical Society

The Australian Railway Historical Society (ARHS) aims to foster an interest in the railways, and record and preserve many facets of railway operations. It had divisions in every state and the Australian Capital Territory, however since 1967 when each division incorporated, they have operated as separate entities. Each division still trades under the ARHS brand, except in Western Australia, where the division is called Rail Heritage WA. Individual membership exceeds 2,500.


The Society was founded in Sydney in 1933 as The Railway Circle, shortly after becoming the Australasian Railway and Locomotive Historical Society. The society's name was changed to the present form in 1952. A division was formed in most states. Most divisions established a railway museum, namely:

In February 2015, the ACT division commenced operating scrap metal services from Fyshwick to Port Botany through its commercial division, Espee Railroad Services, with locomotives and wagons leased from CFCL Australia.[2][3][4]

Railway Resource Centre

Located at the New South Wales division's Redfern premises, The Railway Resource Centre is a collection of historical material pertaining to Australian railways, managed by the Society and volunteers. Access to the collection is available to members and to the general public for private research only. It houses thousands of documents, books, periodicals, photographs and slides which the Society has acquired over many years. It is constantly being added to by acquisitions through donations and bequests from Australian Railway Historical Society members and others.[5]



Each Division has published and supported publishing of books and pamphlets about the history of regional railways. Significantly Divisions have been the main resource of expertise in creating centenary and other anniversary publications regarding rail history. The New South Wales Division has a shop in Redfern.[6] The society also maintains the Railway Resource Centre. The centre houses the thousands of documents, books, periodicals, photographs and slides that the Society has acquired over many years.


Each Division publishes magazines, at various frequencies. A dedicated magazine for the whole of Australia was also published for many decades - simply as the Bulletin (1952-2003),[7] it is now called Australian Railway History. Prior to 1952, it was known as the Australasian Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin.[8] It includes historical material from all states, published monthly by the New South Wales Division. The seven state and territory Divisions of that Society additionally publish magazines that vary in content and depth, but which provide items of local information about state railway history and activities.

The Tasmanian Division was originally a subdivision of the much larger Victorian Division, until 1965 when increasing interest and falling printing costs made a separate division possible.


Other societies and organisations with which the Australian Railway Historical Society is affiliated include:-[17]

Other groups

Rail heritage is not the exclusive domain of the ARHS in Australia, and at various stages other groups of enthusiasts and individuals have endeavoured to create niches in the publishing and rail heritage businesses.

See also


  1. "Rosewodd Railway Museum". ARHS Queensland. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  2. Canberra railway freight services to start again after 32 years Access Recycling
  3. A new railway plan for Canberra's scrap metal Canberra Times 6 March 2015
  4. "Rail freight returns to Canberra" Railway Digest March 2015 page 8
  5. Railway Resource Centre
  6. "ARHS/nsw Bookshop". Archived from the original on 31 December 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  7. Australian Railway Historical Society (1952), Bulletin, Australian Railway Historical Society, ISSN 0005-0105
  8. Australian Railway Historical Society; Australasian Railway and Locomotive Historical Society (1950), Bulletin, Australasian Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, retrieved 14 January 2013
  9. Australian Railway Historical Society. New South Wales Division (1983), Railway digest, The Society, ISSN 0157-2431
  10. Australian Railway Historical Society. New South Wales Division; Australian Railway Historical Society (2004), Australian railway history : bulletin of the Australian Railway Historical Society, Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division, ISSN 1449-6291
  11. Australian Railway Historical Society. Queensland Division (1960), Sunshine express, Australian Railway Historical Society, retrieved 14 January 2013
  12. Australian Railway Historical Society. South Australian Division (1990), Newsletter, Australian Railway Historical Society, South Australian Division, retrieved 6 July 2012
  13. Australian Railway Historical Society. Tasmanian Division (1965), Tasmanian Rail News, The Division, retrieved 14 January 2013
  14. Australian Railway Historical Society. Victorian Division (1973), Members newsletter, The Society, Victorian Division, retrieved 6 July 2012
  15. Australian Railway Historical Society. Victorian Division (1973), Newsrail, Australian Railway Historical Society, Victorian Division, ISSN 0310-7477
  16. Australian Railway Historical Society. Western Australian Division (1985), The Westland, The Division, retrieved 6 July 2012
  17. Australian Railway Historical Society NSW Div. Annual Report 2007-2008

Further reading

  • Quinlan, Howard; Newland, John R. (2000). Australian Railway Routes 1854 to 2000. Redfern, N.S.W.: Australian Railway Historical Society - New South Wales Division. ISBN 0-909650-49-7.
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