Plan your Trip
Gradient 0.2 – 0.8m
Timings Walk 40 mins Cycle 15 mins
Points of Interest
Swan View Station
Swan View Tunnel (built 1896)
John Forrest National Park
In 1854 Greenmount was established as a convict station for working on the York Road, convicts worked at the granite quarry at the foot of Greenmount Hill in the 1870's to supply the Eastern Railway line with ballast. Settlement began around the railway station in 1885 when the Railway Department ran excursion trains to Greenmount. The First World War in 1914 prompted the Commonwealth government to commandeer Black boy Hill estate as an army training camp. Over 32000 men were trained at Blackboy Hill with 10 awarded the Victoria Cross medals. A war memorial was built at the site of the Blackboy Hill training camp in 1951 and still remains today.
Captain Hugh Throssell a Gallipoli hero was the first West Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross and settled in Greenmount with his wife Katherine Prichard. Katherine was also a significant presence in this area as a pioneer in Australian literature and her cottage was set up as an art gallery and writers workshop after her passing.
Swan View was identified by C.Y. O'Connor as an alternative route running parallel to the Jane Brook line to alleviate the problems encountered on the down ward trip near Boya which had step gradients and sharp curves and was known as "Cape Horn'.
Swan View tunnel is the earliest railway tunnel in West Australian's history, O'Connor designed the 340m Swan View Tunnel to overcome a granite barrier formed by a fold in the Darling Range. The granite through which it was bored was fractured and highly unstable, resulting in internal rock falls, so it was lined with bricks. The construction of the line was a major engineering project, a vast amount of rubble was moved to construct embankments, along with intensive blasting and digging using only picks and shovels, dynamite and horsepower.
The new line was opened on 1 July 1896, however, poor ventilation, heat and noxious fumes from the locomotives within the tunnel sometimes led to drivers and firemen being overcome with the first recorded driver death in 1942 from carbon monoxide poisoning. This forced the government to find a suitable deviation line which was built around the tunnel in 1945, which was used by the 'up trains', while the 'down' trains continued to use the tunnel. The tunnel ceased to be used for rail traffic after the new Avon Valley rail route was opened in 1966.
Today the bed of the former railway line is composed of clay and loose pea gravel with scatterings of blue metal, evidence of its former use as a railway line. The tunnel remains in a fair condition with a heavy layer of soot on the ceiling.
After Swan View the line ascends East through natural bushland, steep ravines and waterfalls and into John Forrest National Park which was declared a conservation reserve in 1947. The reserve has 3 wooden railway bridges, Jane Brook Bridge, Deep Creek Bridge and Hovea Falls Bridge all which span Jane Brook waterway.