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Australian Railway Historical Society
Tasmanian Division

The publishers of Tasmanian Rail News

This page deals with the Tasmanian Division and its activities and includes sections on the History and Activities of the ARHS in Tasmania. Details of our magazine, Tasmanian Rail News, can be found on its own page.


The ARHS was formed in Sydney in 1933 as the Australasian Railway and Locomotive Historical Society. As national interest grew, other divisions formed; Victoria in 1945, South Australia in 1952, Queensland and Western Australia in 1959, Tasmania in 1965 and lastly the ACT (Canberra) division in 1967. By August 1952 the name had changed to become the now familiar Australian Railway Historical Society.

The different State divisions have developed separate interests and activities, with four operating museums, three operating railways, and with seven State-based magazines currently in production. The countless magazine issues, books, special trains and meetings stand as testament to Australia’s greatest railway preservation group.

Australian Railway Historical Society divisions


ARHS Tasmania — A brief history

Initially Tasmanian members of the ARHS were catered for by the Victorian Division, with some Tasmanian news appearing in the magazine Divisional Diary. After a number of years, the number of Tasmanian members grew and a fully fledged local division was formed in 1965. During the next 10 years the ARHS ran many tour trains using TGR stock, and in conjunction with the TGR, organised the highly successful 1971 railway centenary, an event long remembered for the extent of steam operations. The Tasmanian Division jointly organised the 1973 and 1974 railfan festivals, before the final demise of steam operations on the Tasmanian Government Railways. With the withdrawal of the last steam locomotives and the development of other preservation groups, the Tasmanian Division concentrated more on the recording of past and current Tasmanian railway history, through the publishing of a magazine and regular slide shows and meetings.

Tour train photo
Loco H5 passing Exton with a Launceston–Devonport special train, on Monday 15 February 1971, during the TGR centenary celebrations.
Photo: Michael Dix

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ARHS Tasmania Today

When compared to the other states, the Tasmanian Division of the ARHS looks quite small and inactive. The small and decentralised population of Tasmania, as well as a proliferation of other societies, has resulted in the Tasmanian Division concentrating its activities in publishing a high quality magazine Tasmanian Rail News and holding entertainment meetings a number of times a year.

Archives photo
From the Archives . . M2 at Burnie on the Devonport–Burnie Workers Train during 1958. This train conveyed employees to the Burnie APPM paper mill in the morning, and then home to Devonport in the evening, the loco spending the intervening time as the South Burnie shunter.
Photo: ARHS Tas Collection

These meetings, usually held in Hobart, Launceston or Devonport, mostly feature slide shows and can either be the work of one person, or be based on a certain topic, with anyone welcome to show their work.

In addition to meetings and magazines, the ARHS has an extensive archives collection, mostly consisting of Tasmanian photographs from the 1930s to the present day, plus other materials.


For queries regarding Tasmanian Rail News  or membership of the ARHS, please contact the Secretary by e-mail at or by writing to:

The Secretary
ARHS Tasmania
PO Box 162
Sandy Bay
Australia 7006

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