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Woodlines of Western Australia

A comprehensive history of the Goldfields woodlines

by Phil Bianchi

Without a source of cheap energy to fuel steam boilers and for ore treatment, only the Western Australian mines with rich ore would have been productive.

Firewood companies established privately owned train lines up to 120 miles out from major centres such as Kalgoorlie to bring in firewood. Although the Kurrawang and Lakewood woodlines are the main feature of this book; other woodlines included Lakeside south of Boulder, Kurramia/Kanowna, Cue, Laverton, Gwalia and Westonia.

Firewood cutters, carters and loaders from war torn Europe, came to Australia seeking a better life; they lived in hessian walled basic camps with earthen floors and a tin roof. The book features 22 first-hand accounts of the hardships faced by woodliners working, living and growing up on the woodlines. Many a wife and family joining the husband after a few years were shocked at the conditions; suffering flies, heat, cold, loneliness, maggots in meat and poor quality drinking water.

Between 1900 and 1964 a total of 21.6 million tons of firewood had been cut; during 1912-16 average production was 650,000 tons per year. By the time the firewood companies ceased operations they had clear-felled a staggering 3.04 million hectares of goldfields woodlands; almost half the area of Tasmania.

Other woodline topics discussed include: racism, riots, internment, exploitation and bribery, shanties, sports days, strikes and deaths and accidents.

ISBN 978-0-85905-725-7, (New, 2019), 170 x 240, french flaps, heavily illustrated, 449 pages

Early Woodlines of the Goldfields

The untold story of the Woodlines to World War II

Compiled and edited by Phil Bianchi, Peter Bridge and Ray Tovey


This book is a collection of newspaper articles and letters to the editor that appeared in newspapers such as The Sun, The West Australian and The Kalgoorlie Miner. The articles and letters by writers such as Crosscut [T.H. Wilson] and reporters for The Sun, give the reader a clear understanding of events at the time, the undercurrents and how high feelings were running on various issues such as strikes, pay, living expenses, dagoes, the company, bosses, life in the bush and so on. The articles are a rich and fertile field of information, and have been assembled into groups and then in chronological order, so particular themes can be followed.

ISBN 0 85905 432 2 (Carlisle, Hesperian Press, 2008 2nd Ed.) 140 pp, A4 perfect bound, soft cover, illustrated, indexed.

Lakewood Woodline 1937 to 1964

Its Origins, Operations and People

by Phil Bianchi and Ray Tovey

Combined documents, photographs, and reminiscences of those who lived on the Lakewood line. Of great goldfields interest.

ISBN 0 85905 422 5 (Carlisle, Hesperian Press, 2010 2nd Ed.) A4 perfect bound, Soft Cover, 220pp, illustrated, indexed.