Korunye Railway Services
|Type of organisation:||Government|
|Also known as:||Korunye Railway Siding|
|Street number:|| Adelaide Road and Jenkin Road
|Business or purpose:||To provide rail services for passenger trains and goods trains|
On April 20th 1917 the Korunye Railway Station shared in the official celebrations for the new railway line from Salisbury to Long Plains. At Long Plains his Excellency the Governor of South Australia Sir Henry Galway performed the opening ceremony by starting the train in readiness to travel to the next station. With the official passengers on board the train moved along the new Adelaide Plains line through the stations of Calomba, Mallala, Korunye, Two Wells, Virginia, Direk to Salisbury. It would be another five years before the extension of the line through Avon and Kallora reached the Bowman’s junction in 1922 with an official opening ceremony there on 28th May 1923.
When building the railway and prior to it reaching Korunye a meeting of local people was held to discuss the size and numbers of culverts to be placed in the 8 feet embankments on either side of the River Light. The railway architect had drawn up the plans but John Temby, who lived on the river bank and was familiar with the floods, immediately realized that the culverts would not be adequate and should be doubled in size. He argued that the railway bridge itself would be a serious impediment to the flow of water as it had two large cement pylons in the bed of the river. Also the two immense blocks of cement on either side of the river to hold the ends of the bridge girders, would also inhibit the flow. The architect dismissed the concerns and reasoning and continued with his plans. In the 1923 flood the water banked up on the eastern side of the embankment and as the culverts could not handle the flow of water the banks gave way and left chains of railway line hanging in mid-air.
Local men found employment with the railways and worked on the approach too and from the Korunye area. It was a welcome source of income for the local men as the 1913 – 1914 drought had left many in straightened circumstances.
Formerly this area had been known as Paddy's Bridge but the South Australian Railway commission named the siding Korunye.
With the rail line completed many rail trucks transported livestock to the abattoirs at Gepps Cross.
At harvest time the Korunye Station was the focal point on the south side of the River Light for the receiving and stacking of grain from local farmers, as well as those from the Red Banks and Reeves Plains areas. There were huge stacks of grain taking up the length of the railway yard. A block held 4,000 bags and in a good season there would be up to 100,000 bags stacked in the Korunye Station yard. In the early days of rail the grain was delivered by teams of horses pulling heavily laden wagons. Mr E. Lutz of Mallala built wagons capable of carrying 250 bags of wheat weighing 23 tons. In the beginning work was all done manually. The “wheat lumpers” as the men were called, carried the bags on their backs and walked, stepping and building until the stack was 20 bags high. Each bag as it was taken from the farmer’s wagon had to be weighed and entered into the “tally” book. In 1925 an elevator was procured, (designed and made by East Bros of Mallala) and this made the work much easier and quicker.
In about 1950 Clem Wasley a local farmer, and Martin Richter of Reeves Plains, formulated a scheme to purchase a weighbridge. To finance the project every farmer was asked to contribute to the project in proportion to the amount of grain they delivered. Not one farmer rejected the idea and all gave it their whole hearted support. One “lumper” known as “Big Syd” (S. Wait) could carry a bag of grain under each arm and one on his back – a demonstration of strength not a loading procedure! By the beginning of World War Two the majority of farmers had changed from delivering their grain by horse teams and wagons to motorized trucks.
The year 1957 saw the building of bulk handling facilities and grain silos at the Mallala Railway yards by South Australian Bulk Handling Co. Ltd. with a capacity of 330,000 bushels and the first wheat in bulk was delivered to Mallala in November 1957. This began the demise of the Korunye wheat and barley stacks.
Over the years the Korunye Railway Station was a stopping point for the early morning Rail Car from Bowmans and many young people plus adults used the train service to travel to Adelaide for their secondary education or for employment. The students returned home on the 4 o’clock Barwell, and those in the workforce on the evening Port Pirie train.
To unify the diverse railway gauges the line through Mallala was changed from broad gauge of 5 feet 3 inches to standard gauge of 4 feet 8 1/2 inches in 1982.
The Mallala Railway Station closed on 13th July 1983 so the Station Master at Mallala was made redundant thus closing the other nearby stations under his management.
- "Life around the Light" A History of the Mallala District Council Area - printed in 1985. Mallala Museum records.