Explore our history

The history of The High Country Rail Trail dates backs to 1887 when the first section of the railway line connecting Wodonga to Huon was commenced employing 300 men. By 1891 the railway line had extended out to the Old Tallangatta township, taking in Bolga (which is where current Tallangatta is now located). In 1916 the track had reached Shelley, the most elevated railway station in Victoria.

In 1919 construction of the Hume Reservoir was commenced and three years later a spur line connecting Ebden to the Hume Weir was opened. Before the Hume Weir was officially opened in 1936, the Sandy Creek bridge was constructed, and passenger rail service was introduced between Wodonga and Tallangatta. In 1940, during World War II the Bonegilla Military Camp was constructed, and the Bandiana siding opened. The end of the war saw the Military Camp re-established as a migrant centre for many post-war European immigrants. The Bonegilla Migrant Centre was temporary home to 320,000 migrants from more than 30 countries between 1947 and 1971.It is estimated that 36,000 newcomers passed through the centre in 1950. The volume of the Hume Reservoir in 1954 was planned to be increased by the River Murray Commission, and in the next three years the township of Tallangatta was re-located to higher ground at Bolga, where it stands now. This included some railway deviations to accommodate this re-location. It also saw considerable work undertaken to get the line ready to haul huge tonnages of material to Cudgewa for the Snowy Mountain Scheme project in the late 50’s.

During the 1960’s the railway line was used extensively for the Snowy Mountain Scheme, and passenger services between Wodonga and Tallangatta had been withdrawn in 1961. On 21st April, 1978, the last regular goods train on the line made its journey, and by 1981 the Wodonga to Cudgewa railway line was officially closed.

Read about the heritage listed Darbyshire Nos 1,2 and 3 trestle bridges, from the Victorian Heritage website.

Darbyshire Hill No.1 & No. 2 Bridges_report_1-1-2014

Darbyshire Hill No. 3 Bridge_report_1-1-2014

Learn more about the High Country Rail Trail