Peninsula Pioneer

A history of the railways of Eyre Peninsula (South Australia)
and their role in the settlement and development of the region
by Peter Knife
ISBN 0-9757835-0-5

Peninsula Pioneer The narrow gauge Port Lincoln Division of the South Australian Railways has always been isolated from the rest of the SAR network, and it remains so to this day. Over its almost century of existence it has been a virtual ‘rolling museum’ of hand-me-downs from other SAR and CR lines, and has developed a character all of its own.

Despite its uniqueness, there has never been a full history of the Eyre Peninsula lines published. With the centenary of the first section of the Port Lincoln Division (the Port Lincoln - Cummins line) coming up in 2007, it is fitting that such a book should be released. Peninsula Pioneer came about as a result of discussions with the Eyre Peninsula Railway Preservation Society six years ago.

The book covers the Port Lincoln Division in detail, from inception to the present day. The first six chapters deal with the development of the network; these are followed by fourteen chapters covering different aspects of the railway, including train services, traffics, safeworking, fixed infrastructure and the people who made it happen. Two subjects which were central to the railway’s evolution and its relationship to the wider community are dealt with in separate chapters: grain handling and water. Of particular interest to modellers are the chapters describing every location on the Division (with track plans) and those detailing all locomotives, railcars and rolling stock known to have run on the Division.

The final chapter deals with other railways and tramways on Eyre Peninsula, including jetty and other tramways and BHP’s lines. The Coffin Bay Tramway is covered in some detail, but the Whyalla lines (which have been the subject of an earlier history) are only briefly described. The book is rounded out with a number of appendices, detailed referencing, an extensive bibliography and an index.

The Port Lincoln Division was home to some unique creations such as the Fageol railcars converted from road buses, and the SAR's experimental internal combustion locomotive from 1913. All are covered in some detail.

Peninsula Pioneer is published by the author. It contains 348 pages, A4 size, including 20 pages in colour. 370 photographs cover the whole period from 1907 to the present day, and 190 maps and diagrams are also included.


Due to unexpected high demand, the book sold out quickly. The revised and expanded version Peninsula Pioneer Revisited was published in 2013.

Publication supported by: SA Government History Trust of SA DC Lower Eyre Peninsula DC Cleve