James Harvey

James (Jim) Harvey (1922- )

Born in 1922, Jim Harvey’s interest in ‘things railway’ dates back to his school days when he first dabbled in model railways. In 1943, he journeyed to the Top End of the Northern Territory as a solider and during the subsequent 14 months as an anonymous member of the military garrison, he traveled on and studied the local railway know officially as the North Australia Railway (NAR).

Jim became fascinated with this now abandoned railway and study of its history and changing fortunes became a life-long passion. A culmination of his research came in 1987 with the publication of his first book ‘The Never Never Line: the story of the Northern Australian Railway’. 

In 1992 he later wrote a book titled ‘Australia's forgotten volunteers’ in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the bombing of Darwin. This book was about the contribution made by the railwaymen to the maintenance of the military forces, their devotion to duty and their heroism.

During his research, Jim met many railwaymen from the state railway systems who volunteered to work on the NAR during the dark days of the war and he faithfully recorded accounts of their time spent in the Top End.

Jim joined the Australian Railway Historical Society in 1943 and was a founding member of its Victorian Division. He served on the governing council of the Division as Research Secretary. 

In 1974 he was made an Honorary Life Member of the Society. Over the years Jim has contributed articles to the society’s national journal, ‘ARHS Bulletin’ and the Victorian Division magazine ‘Newsrail’.

Source: Australia's forgotten volunteers, published by Australian Railway Historical Society of New South Wales, 1992.

Guide to manuscripts of James Harvey

Box 1 - selection of maps/graphs including:

  • Early Settlement Sites
  • Palmerston and Pine Creek Railway Miles
  • Top End of the NT showing early settlement sites and Palmerston and Pine Creek Railway
  • Revenue: Palmerston and Pine Creek Railway
  • Bound volume: Railway documents no’s 16104-16216

Folders 2 - 8

  • 7 blue folders: North Australia Railway bound documents in 7 volumes

Box 9

  • 8 original notebooks - various notes

Folder 10

  • Railway Rule Book
  • Medallion

Box 11

  • 5 files: North Australia Railway experiences as told by various workers at the time
  • 4 files: North Australia Railway Stations Sidings and Yards Source Material

Box 12

7 files: North Australia Railway (NAR) Maps

  • 9 files: NAR Rolling Stock Source Material

Box 13

  • 2 files: NAR Signalling and Safe Working Source Material (Train Control Graph)
  • 3 files: Top End Mine Tramways
  • 8 files: NAR Locomotives Source Material

Box 14 

  • 4 files: Correspondence
  • 1 file: Extracts from Australian Railways Handbook referring to Commonwealth Railways prepared during WW2.
  • 1 file: North Western Australia: Report by Mr George A Hobler, April, May, June 1920.
  • 1 file: North South Transcontinental Railway, South Australian Proposals. Action to 1910.

Box 15

  • 2 files: Extracts from Pine Creek Heritage Report by Howard Pearce. April 1982. Pine Creek referenced.
  • 1 file: Documents relating to North Australia Railway, 1976-
  • 1 file: North South Transcontinental Railway- Commonwealth Proposals/Action from 1911- including Alice Springs - Darwin (standard gauge) Railway
  • 1 file: Notes on transportation facilities. North Australia. Part 1. Co-ordination. At 1 July, 1944.
  • 5 files: Documents relating to North Australia Railway

Box 16

  • 5 files: NAR 1946-1976
  • 4 files: NAR Locomotives, Rolling Stock, Rail Cars, Station sidings and yards, signalling and safe working.

Box 17

  • 6 files: NAR Notes -1939
  • 1 file: NT Railways Projection
  • 1 file: Commonwealth Railways Staff Tickets, Telegrams, Train orders and correspondence.
  • 1 file: Ephemera
  • 1 file: Locomotives of the Commonwealth Railways (Publication)
  • 1 file: Locomotives of the SAR (Publication)
  • 1 file: Excerpt from ‘Locomotives and Railcars of the Commonwealth Railways’ by Port Dock Railway Museum, 1996 (Publication)

Box 18

  • 5 files: NAR Notes 1939-1945
  • 5 files: Alice Springs to Darwin Railway, Papers and letters 1974-1978

Folder 19

  • Negatives and index to photographs

Box 20

  • 5 glass plate negatives

Photograph Albums 1 – 10

  • NAR photographic collection (9 albums)
  • Lou Marks Railway Collection of Photographs

Last updated: 28 November 2017