Wednesday 25 October 2017

The Forgotten Enginemen of the Dunedin & Port Chalmers Railway Coy., 1872-73 (Part Two)

Gravestone of George Hendrie Amos
St. James Anglican Cemetery, Blakiston, S.A.
[Source : Annette Schirmer,
Regional Cemetery Curator]

Mr J. George Hendrie Amos - Chief Engineer

This Blog is a continuing instalment in my series entitled "The Forgotten Enginemen of the Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway". To go to my short history of the D&PCR Co. click HERE. In this blog series we explore these "forgotten" enginemen, their early lives, their engineering and railway backgrounds, their employment with the D&PCR Co., and their subsequent railway and post railway careers and lives. 

Our first biography, having been pieced together from a myriad of diverse but interconnecting published and Internet sources, charts the life of Mr J. George Hendrie Amos, being employed as the D&PCR Co. Chief Engineer. From my research I would describe Mr Amos as a very practical, well liked and highly respected man, skilled and very knowledgeable in engineering and railway matters, adaptable and definitely not afraid to try something new, a loving husband and father, but perhaps unfortunately not so skilled in affairs of business or just simply unlucky. As we shall read, his varied life was sadly cut short in the prime of his life.

George Amos is recorded as having been born to Francis and Jane (née Baxter) Amos on the 23rd March 1842 at Smithdown Lane, Liverpool, England. His gravestone states that he was "formerly of Crewe, England". His earlier working life is, as yet, unknown but Crewe was a major railway junction for the London & North Western Railway, additionally being the location of their large locomotive works. As he obviously held a locomotive driver's qualification when working with the D&PCR Co. in Otago he must have had previous firing and driving experience on the railways in England, presumably based at or around Crewe if we take his gravestone as a clue. 

George Amos is specifically noted in a short history of the 'Fairlie' locomotive "Josephine" as being "the representative of the Vulcan Foundry" and "Chief Engineer" for the D&PCR Co. Additionally, the 1994 publication "Port Chalmers and its People" by Ian Church quotes Amos as "of the Fairlie Company". I assume this to refer to the Vulcan Foundry who manufactured the Fairlie locomotives. 

As Amos would supervise the assembly of at least one of the locomotives and of their running I first assumed that his services as an Engineer were no doubt included in the contract signed to supply the locomotives and this may in fact still be so. Sending a trained company representative half way around the world to oversee construction and assembly of technical equipment was standard practice and I have also noted this with such diverse and complex constructions as gas works and large pipe organ installations. 

But then I discovered that Amos had formerly worked as an Engineer for the Kaipara Flax Mills in Northland, New Zealand and had returned "home" (i.e. to Britain) sometime in early 1871. Amos then "returned [to New Zealand] to take charge of the fitting up of the locomotives, carriages, trucks, &c., for the Port Chalmers Railway". So, knowing that the D&PCR Co had been formed in early 1871 we cannot discount the possibility that his return to Britain had been arranged by the latter Company for their specific purposes. But without doubt Amos, and as Engineer in Charge, must have received some technical training at the Vulcan Foundry at Newton-le-Willows in Lancashire. He was also noted as being "accompanied [on the 'Wave Queen' to New Zealand] by two assistants, Messrs Thomas and Gatwood".

Men on the footplate of "Josephine" in Sept 1872.
I believe the man at front left to be David Proudfoot
but could the Driver at front right be George Amos?
[Source : OESA Collection, 1979]

Amos is recorded as having supervised the fitting up of the Fairlie locomotive "Josephine" in a shed on the pier at Port Chalmers in Otago after their arrival on the "Wave Queen" on the 28th August 1872. Therefore, and as we know that he held the requisite locomotive driver's ticket, I feel sure that Amos would have been driving "Josephine", if not at least being on the footplate, when she made her first trial run through the new Port Tunnel to Blanket (Sawyers) Bay and return on Tuesday the 10th September 1872.

George Amos is first specifically noted as actually driving a locomotive when, on Saturday the 26th October 1872, he drove "Josephine" from Port Chalmers through to Dunedin on the partially ballasted line with his associate John Thomas being in charge of the brake van. Being conveyed on the train in a first class carriage were the promoters as well as members of the Legislature and House of Representatives.

I would assume that besides driving Amos attended to engineering matters and keeping the locomotives and rolling stock in good working condition. He would also continue to be be employed by the Otago Provincial Government Railway after the purchase of the D&PCR Co. on the 10th April 1873. 

On the 17th May 1873 Amos is noted as driving the locomotive "Clutha" from the fitting shed in South Dunedin to the [old] Caversham Tunnel on the new "Southern Trunk Line" in the presence of the District Engineer, Mr Blair, and the Inspector of Plant, Mr Turton. Then Amos is further noted as driving a Glasgow manufactured 'Neilson' saddle tank locomotive conveying around 120 gentlemen (note no ladies!) from Dunedin to the then terminus of Green Island on the first "Railway Excursion" on the line which took place on the 14th December 1873. According to Mr W.F. Sligo, retired Railway Foreman in 1928, his fireman around this time was Charlie Stewart who would later become Locomotive Foreman in Dunedin.

An early photo of Elizabeth Barrett,
Later Mrs George Amos
[Source : My Heritage]

On the 21st July 1874 George Amos would marry Elizabeth (Eliza) Barrett of Dunedin. Online family records would indicate that Elizabeth was born in New York to Michael Barrett, a native of Galway, Ireland, and Mary Jennings. Both her parents are buried in the Southern Cemetery, Dunedin. While George was Anglican and the marriage took place in St Paul's Anglican Church in Dunedin, the Barrett family - and Elizabeth - were Catholic. Their differing religions appears not to have caused any rifts with the Barrett family. 

In November 1874 a railway collision at Hillside with railway trucks being left on the line led to a Government criminal prosecution with "the accused", being driver George Amos, and "recently locomotive foreman", having been subsequently "suspended" from his position, being charged with criminal negligence under the Railways Offences Act, 1865. At a preliminary hearing the Government Prosecutor, Mr Stout, did however accept that Amos "had been an engine driver and railway employee for the last twenty years, and as such bore the highest possible character".

Upon the case being formally heard and hearing all evidence, the Magistrate, and no doubt with considerable relief on the part of Mr Amos, "did not consider defendant responsible for any disregard of duty, and whilst expressing an opinion that there had been neglect on somebody's part, he dismissed the case." Mr Amos then happily resumed his position as Locomotive Foreman. 

In February 1875 two locomotives are noted as having been fitted up in Dunedin "under the superintendence of Mr Amos". This would be at the Government Railway workshops in South Dunedin, being located close to the site of where the Hillside Railway Workshops would be established in 1877.

The old Oamaru Railway Station (centre) & Engine Shed (left).
The line at left is to the north while that to right is to the south
thus all trains had to inconveniently reverse out of the station.
[Source : NZ Railways Publicity]

By January 1876 Amos was now the Inspector of Permanent Way and Rolling Stock for the Provincial Government Railway at Oamaru in North Otago. In May 1876 he gave evidence at the inquest into "The Waiareka Railway Accident" which also (very) indirectly involved his former associate Frederick Gatwood from the erstwhile D&PCR Co. Railway.

On the 13th June 1878 Amos was farewelled from his position as Railways Foreman at Oamaru, being given an illuminated framed testimonial and a purse of sovereigns [with a value of £52] from the Railways Dept. employees. The testimonial noted his "straight-forward and gentlemanly conduct [which] earned the respect and good wishes of everyone with whom you have come in contact". Amos advised those present that the reason for his retirement was due to being called upon, without consultation and against his wishes, "to proceed to Timaru" with the Dept. but wished not to leave Oamaru and resented this "promotion of a doubtful nature".

By early July 1878 Amos had adopted a quite surprising new line of business - that of Proprietor of the Shamrock Hotel in Thames street, Oamaru. On Saturday the 6th July he was "installed" with "musical honours" by the Railways Band who had turned out "in full force" to honour their friend of whom they held "the greatest regard". 

The new "Northern Hotel" under construction, 1880
[Source : Waitaki District Archives]

By January 1879 Amos had bought the old wooden Northern Hotel in Oamaru but then, despite there then being no less than 17 hotels in Oamaru, promptly engaged Architects Thomas Forrester and John Lemon to design a fancy new Hotel to be constructed in Oamaru limestone in the Italianate style. This new hotel building is still extant today on the corner of Tyne street and Wansbeck street in the Oamaru Historic Precinct, being category listed two by Heritage New Zealand, but is missing the original decorative pediment and no longer serves the purposes of a hotel.

The Northern Hotel in its Heyday as shown on a
public display board, Oamaru Historic Precinct
[From my own collection] 

Advertisements for the hotel would always, and no doubt with some pride, include the reference, "Late of the Railways Department". While in September 1880 Amos was accused of selling 26% under proof brandy (ie, with water added post distillation) so was, it would seem, the rest of the proprietors in the town! Amos did not contest the case and was, as were most of the others, fined the nominal sum of five shillings. So basically just an official slap on the hand and thankfully nothing more.

The Former Northern Hotel, Tyne St, Oamaru
as it appears today (minus the original pediment)
[Source : From my own collection]

But in March 1883 we now find that George Hendrie Amos, Hotelkeeper of the Northern Hotel, Oamaru, had been declared bankrupt, then selling up to Lewis Morton. I assume Amos had simply overstretched his finances with the expense of rebuilding work and stiff local competition. Thereafter, and at an unknown date, Amos subsequently moved with his wife and family to Australia. I have checked with the local Waitaki District Archive in Oamaru who cannot identify any photographs of George Amos.

The Great Eastern Hotel, Littlehampton when owned
by Mr J. Stuart, post 1886
[Source : State Library of South Australia]

It would appear that from at least February 1885 Amos then became the Publican of the 'Great Eastern Hotel' at Littlehampton, South Australia, being 34 km south east of Adelaide. As noted below, it is quite possible that after Oamaru they had previously resided in both Sydney, New South Wales and in Melbourne, Victoria. Amos appears to have been a genial and generous host. I note one occasion in February 1885 where Amos supplied "Five hundred parrots and 250 pigeons" for a pigeon and parrot shooting match, thereafter supplying luncheon for the shooters. 

Sadly, and on the 21st May 1885, George and Elizabeth Amos would lose their two year old son Frank Victor Amos to "Convulsions" at the Great Eastern Hotel. 

I subsequently note a "licensing transfer" dated the 9th June 1886 which confirms a transfer from "G.H. Amos to J. Stuart, Great Eastern Hotel, Littlehampton". Stuart's name appears on the pediment of the original hotel building shown above.

The Royal Hotel, Balaklava, South Australia

Also in June 1886 we note another "licensing transfer" being "G.H. Amos [to] Royal Hotel, Balaklava". Balaklava is a rural town 93 kilometers north of Adelaide. For Amos this would appear to be a 'step up' from the previous hotel and was no doubt an effort to work his way back up again after his humiliating financial failure at Oamaru.

But fate would deal the family a further cruel blow as his sojourn here as Publican would, unfortunately, be very short lived. George Amos, "Victualler", the husband of Elizabeth (Eliza) Barrett (formerly of Dunedin) and father of four children, died at the Royal Hotel in Balaklava, South Australia on the 15th April 1887 at the still relatively young age of 45 years and is buried at the St. James Anglican Cemetery, Blakiston, South Australia. I did wonder why he was buried at Blakiston but then discovered that it is an adjoining township to Littlehampton where he had previously resided and after I obtained a photo of his gravestone I could see that his son Frank had been buried here in May 1885 so neither Father nor son rest alone.

New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne newspapers were asked to copy the death notice which would strongly indicate that George Amos and his family resided in Sydney and Melbourne after leaving Oamaru after 1883 and before moving to Littlehampton prior to 1885. I have, however, not been able to establish the cause of death as this would incur a charge. Amos gave his entire estate probated at a value of less than £500 to his wife. 

As to his surviving wife Elizabeth Amos née Barrett, her Mother's Probate records for 1907 show that she had married again to Mr John Francis Bryan and was then living back in Dunedin. Elizabeth (Eliza) Bryan, née Barrett, previous Amos, and born in 1859, died suddenly at the residence of her son Ernest in Christchurch on the 10th February 1916 aged 57 years and is buried in the Sydenham Cemetery. Her second husband John Bryan, and aged 66 years, died on the 20th May 1921 from injuries he received after being knocked down by a tram in Christchurch. Both John and Elizabeth are buried together.

George Amos was survived by two daughters, Mrs Mary Jane Millward (died Surbiton, Surrey, England 1972), and Mrs Greta (1) Gunson / and later (2) Alexander (died Birkenhead, NZ 1st April 1947), and a son, Ernest Amos (died Christchurch 1st March 1960). His second son, Frank Victor Amos (as noted above) died at Littlehampton, South Australia on the 21st May 1885. 

The strong New Zealand connection gives me some hope that direct descendants of George Amos and Elizabeth Barrett / Amos / Bryan will come forward (I have already had contact with one) with further information and possibly family photographs. It would be wonderful to finally track down a photograph of George Amos and put a face to the name so that we can give him the recognition he richly deserves for the leading part he played in the establishment and running of Otago's earliest railway.

Copyright : This blog may not be reproduced without my specific written permission and / or that of family descendants. Excerpts may however be quoted for non-commercial and academic use provided this site is acknowledged. Please feel free, however, to publicize this Blog.

Sources :

- Papers Past / Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
- Archives New Zealand / Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
- Heritage New Zealand / Pouhere Taonga
- "The New Zealand Railways Magazine", 1934
- Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin
- McNab Room, Dunedin Public Library
- "Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway - New Zealand's First 3ft 6in Gauge Line" by TA McGavin, 1973
- "Josephine and Her Friends" by JA Dangerfield, c.1994
- Trove (National Library of Australia)
- With grateful thanks to Annette Schirmer,  Regional Cemetery Curator, Anglican Parish of Mount Barker, South Australia
- With an acknowledgement to Mark Alexander, United Kingdom

Wednesday 18 October 2017

The Forgotten Enginemen of the Dunedin & Port Chalmers Railway Coy., 1872-73 (Part One)

Partially Identified Men on the Footplate of Double-Fairlie 
Locomotive "Josephine" at Wickliff Terrace, Port Chalmers, 
believed taken during a trial run in Sept. 1872. 
Burton Brothers Photo.
[Source : OESA Collection, 1979]

The still extant and quite unique Dunedin & Port Chalmers Railway Company (D&PCR Coy) 145 year old double-ended Fairlie locomotive "Josephine" of 1872 now resides in pride of place in the entrance foyer of the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum here in Dunedin New Zealand. My Blog on the history of this very special and much loved locomotive can be read HERE.

But the early Enginemen of the formative D&PCR Coy., including "Josephine's" first driver and fireman, have been rather neglected. Recent contact with a family descendant of one of these men prompted me to further explore these now forgotten Enginemen. This research connected me to yet another family descendant and, as is quite often the case when I write about people, further descendants will hopefully come forward with additional information and, dare I hope, even photographs of the said people as so far we only have one identified image.

This blog is therefore an attempt to tell something of the story of these almost forgotten Enginemen or at least acknowledge their individual contribution to the railways. These men hold the great honour of having served on Otago's first 3ft 6in gauge railway then, after 1873, with the formative Otago Provincial Government Railways, and after 1876 with the New Zealand Government Railways. The three Enginemen are Messrs Amos, Thomas, and Gatwood but also including Fireman Graham. The three Enginemen appear to have all been recruited in England, coming over with "Josephine" and her sister engine "Rose" in the sailing vessel "Wave Queen" in 1872.

So, what do we know of the railway itself? A railway linking Dunedin with its port had earlier been considered when in 1864 the then Otago Provincial Engineer, Mr Swyer, costed an eight to nine mile line for the Provincial Government at around £9,500 per mile and recommended a railway rather than a "horse tramway". His objections to the latter were considered "to be quite visionary". After many amendments this proposal did not proceed.

The Line from Dunedin to Port Chalmers
[Source : "Dunedin & Port Chalmers Railway"
by Tom McGavin, NZR&L Soc. 1973]

But in October 1869 Consulting Engineer Mr J Miller F.S.A., M.P.C, and again on behalf of the Provincial Government, submitted "The Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway Report" prepared to a new plan and costed at £7,500 per mile or just £60,000. The latter recommended the use of "Fairlie" type locomotives and various types and quantity of railway vehicles. Originally to be gauged at 4ft 8½in using 55lb rail, the gauge was later reduced to 3ft 6in to comply with the NZ Railways Act 1870 which now (and sensibly) specified a standard gauge to be used throughout New Zealand.

On the 25th January 1870 an agreement was then reached with private contractors to build the line at their expense, with the Otago Provincial Government guaranteeing a return on their investment of 8% pa. In early 1871 the promoters, now being Messrs "Proudfoot, Oliver, and Ulph", formed a private company in England called "The Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway Company, Limited". I believe the top-hatted gentleman at centre left in the footplate photo at the top of this page to be David Proudfoot, one of the promoters.

David Proudfoot, One of the Promoters
[Source : Te Ara]

The Company then, as per the Provincial Government agreement, sought advice on the design and supply of the requisite locomotives and rolling stock from London based Consulting Railway Engineer, the Scottish born, Robert Francis Fairlie C.E. The "Otago Witness" of the 30th September 1871 indeed confirms that, "all the plant is being constructed under the supervision of Mr Fairlie, Inventor of the bogie engine, consulting engineer to the promoters".

The "Fairlie" engine had been designed especially for narrow gauge light railways. Already successfully in use since 1869 on the narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway in Wales and further proven in locomotive trials in early 1871, the "famous Fairlie system" would prove admirably suited to the new 3ft 6in D&PCR Co. line. While some New Zealand railwaymen would perhaps hold a very different opinion Otago railwaymen were, as noted in a previous blog, always fiercely loyal to their unique Double-Fairlie locomotives. The quite ingenious 'double-ended' Fairlie design with two swivelling bogies, a central low firebox, and side tanks aiding traction certainly had some advantages which a conventional locomotive could not compete with.

Two locomotives of the "Fairlie" design, being named "Rose" and "Josephine", were then ordered from the "Vulcan Foundry Company" of Newton-le-Willows in Lancashire England as works numbers 636 and 637 respectively. The names were selected by Mr Richard Oliver, the Company General Manager and one of the promoters, while on a visit to England on behalf of the company. Both locomotives, being supplied in kitset form, were shipped out on the 853 ton iron clipper ship "Wave Queen", departing from Bristol England (having first called at Liverpool) on the 27th April 1872 and arriving at Port Chalmers New Zealand on the 28th August 1872 after a "fair passage" of 98 days.

The Portal of the Port Chalmers Tunnel Today.
The Key Stone is dated 1872
[From my own collection]

But prior to their arrival, and back at Port Chalmers, a contractors' "locomotive" drawing waggons was reported to have passed through the new Port Tunnel on Thursday the 27th June 1872. We then read that this "temporary" locomotive had been constructed by Messrs Easton and McGregor, Engineers of Port Chalmers, "out of a [modified English manufactured] steam crane, for the promoters of the Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway."

The design of this decidedly "Heath Robinson" locomotive is worth relating; "They placed the boiler and machinery of a steam crane upon an ordinary waggon, to which they added a few toothed wheels to give motion to one pair of wheels which were thus converted into driving wheels; and with this novel locomotive, which would have pleased George Stephenson himself.... they have contrived to do an amount of work that would otherwise have involved a heavy cost or most vexatious delay".   

A few days later it was further reported that, "At first it worked rather stiffly but now it is in fine trim, and takes along ten tons with ease." and had, "already done good work ballasting the line and taking from the Port towards Dunedin any plant required." At a speech given in 1928, Mr W.F. Sligo Retired Railway Foreman, states that the engine "assisted in ballasting the line up to Black Jack's Point." As to performance, "Its consumption of coal for a day's work is about the price of two horses' feed". Contrary to an initial report, this was not the first "locomotive" constructed in New Zealand [link]. It was however noted that the "Wave Queen" with "the real locomotives for the line" would arrive shortly.

Accompanying the two 'Fairlie' locomotives on the "Wave Queen", along with a considerable quantity of railway plant, were the afore-mentioned George Amos, an Engineer; John Thomas, a Locomotive Driver; and Frederick Gatwood, an Assistant Engineer. All three men would play a leading role in the assembly of at least "Josephine" then the working of the two locomotives on the line before and after the official opening. Thomas Graham, an experienced railwayman, would initially be employed as a fireman.

The Port Chalmers Line emerging into the cutting having just passed
through the Port Tunnel and heading towards Blanket Bay.
[Source : Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira]

We know that No 2 "Josephine", having been completed in a shed on the pier by Mr Amos and his team, got up steam for the very first time on Tuesday the 10th September 1872, her whistle being heard from the Port Chalmers pier at "half-past ten in the forenoon". At 5pm that same day, and with "about 30 gentlemen out of the crowd in attendance", "Josephine" made a successful trial run through the new Port Tunnel to Blanket (Sawyers) Bay and return, being accompanied by the cheers of the local populace.

The No 1 "Rose", having been fitted up by the firm of Messrs Easton & McGregor, being Engineers, Millwrights, Blacksmiths & Founderers of Port Chalmers, would be steamed for the first time the following day, being the 11th September 1872. At 3.30 pm that day she was taken on a trial trip in light steam from Port Chalmers with "Josephine" coupled on at front as lead engine, the journey to Blanket Bay and return being made at a speed of about twenty miles per hour. The cry "In Heads", being in deference to public safety, was made as the locomotives proceeded through the port tunnel. The footplate crew are not named.

On the 18th September "Josephine", being driven by John Thomas, hauled the first ever goods train on the line - a shipment of three hogsheads of beer from Burke's Brewery to Port Chalmers. Thereafter both locomotives ran daily ballasting and works trains down the line.

Double-Fairlie Locomotive "Rose" passing
Burke's Brewery with a passenger train, circa 1873
[From an old print]

Then on Saturday the 26th October, with George Amos driving and John Thomas in charge of the brake van, "Josephine" conveyed, "by invitation of the contractors" several members of the Legislative Council and House of Representatives, including promoters Messrs David & George Proudfoot & the General Manager Mr Richard Oliver, from Port Chalmers through to Dunedin in one of the first class carriages, the line now being in a sufficient state of completion but not fully ballasted. With speed restrictions and stoppages the down journey of just under eight miles took "forty and a half minutes" with the return journey being "accomplished much faster".

Due to the "liberality of Mr Proudfoot" and the non-availability of the Harbour Company's steamer, an unscheduled trip took place on Tuesday the 29th October with passengers from the "S.S. Rangitoto" being conveyed to Dunedin but neither the locomotive used or driver is noted. A train was also intended to run on the Prince of Wales' birthday, being the 9th November 1872.

No 1 "Rose", and being "gaily decorated" is recorded as holding the honour of hauling the first official train from Dunedin to the newly named Lady Bowen Pier at Port Chalmers at the opening of the line by The Governor of New Zealand, His Excellency Sir George Bowen G.C.M.G. on Tuesday the 31st December 1872 at 12 noon. A stop was made on the way at Burke's Brewery. As to whether they imbibed some of the local beer is not recorded but it was, after all, a celebratory occasion. The return journey to Dunedin was completed in 22 minutes, "the quickest journey yet made". A cold collation was then provided in the University Hall with "about 16 gentlemen" [i.e. no ladies invited!] in attendance with effusive speeches and official toasts being given.

Non-timetabled public trains appear to have then run for the rest of the afternoon as the advertisement for the opening ceremony states that, "After 2 o'clock pm the trains will run between Dunedin and Port Chalmers at frequent intervals".

The Old Dunedin Railway Station
Burton Bros. Photo, circa 1874
[From an old print]

But the No 2 "Josephine", with John Thomas driving and Thomas Graham as his fireman, would have her moment of fame the following day, being Wednesday the 1st January 1873, when she is recorded as having hauled the first scheduled public train on the line from Dunedin to Port Chalmers. This was always a matter of great pride to Mr Thomas and a fact that his descendants have never forgotten.

Thereafter a regular timetabled service of six daily "up" and "down" mixed passenger and goods trains continued until the company was taken over by the Otago Provincial Government Railways on the 10th April 1873 at a cost of £187,106

From the 1st January 1873 fares were set at 2s for a single passenger ticket or 3s return travelling First class and 1s 6d single or 2s return travelling Second class. General goods would be conveyed at 5s per ton with "Special Goods at Special Rates" upon enquiry.

Unfortunately the line met with at least three early fatalities. Firstly Robert Carr, a labourer, died in hospital on the 3rd October 1871 after being injured from a fall of earth whilst engaged in the excavation of the Port Tunnel the previous day. Another labourer, named John Long, would be fatally injured by a blast in the Port Tunnel at half past one on the afternoon of the 28th March 1872. Two powder fuses were set but only one lit. Re-entering the tunnel to set the second fuse after the first blast the 'unlit' fuse unexpectedly exploded causing a stone to fall on his head killing him instantly. The first fatality on the line itself would be Angus McPherson who, under the influence of alcohol, was run over by a train near Burkes on the 17th July 1873. 

But what specifically do we know of our railwaymen, Messrs Amos, Thomas, Graham and Gatwood? This Blog series explores these early D&PCR Co. Enginemen, including their often surprisingly peripatetic and fascinating subsequent careers and lives which proved to be both long, and sadly in two cases, suddenly cut short in the prime of their lives.

Please click on these links to read their stories :

- Mr J. George H. Amos - Chief Engineer

Mr John Thomas - Locomotive Driver

Mr Thomas Graham - Fireman 

Mr Frederick Gatwood - Assistant Engineer

Copyright : This blog may not be reproduced without my specific written permission and / or that of family descendants. Excerpts may however be quoted for non-commercial and academic use provided this site is acknowledged. Please feel free, however, to publicize this Blog.

Sources :

- Papers Past / Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
- Archives New Zealand / Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
- Heritage New Zealand / Pouhere Taonga
- "The New Zealand Railways Magazine", 1934
- Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin
- McNab Room, Dunedin Public Library
- "Dunedin and Port Chalmers Railway - New Zealand's First 3ft 6in Gauge Line" by TA McGavin, 1973 (From my own collection)
- "Josephine and Her Friends" by JA Dangerfield, c.1994
- Trove (National Library of Australia)
- Auckland War Memorial Museum / Tamaki Paenga Hira
- With thanks to Thomas and Gatwood family descendants for their generous assistance