4th March 2024

Tasmanian Government Railways (TGR)

Thanks to the Tasmanian transport Museum for confirmation of the uniform button designs.

George VI: 1936-1952

The button on the left would date from Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953, and the other soon after, as this type of back plate with 2 vent holes was adopted in 1953 with the introduction of equipment to produce anodised aluminium buttons, although this doesn’t appear to be an aluminium example. It is likely that this design was also used for other government departments.

Rail services in Tasmania were initiated by private firms. The two main operators were the LWR and the TML.

In 1872 the Launceston and Western Railway (LWR) , which had officially commenced running trains between Launceston and Deloraine in 1871, was struggling to repay the credit that had been required for construction of the line. The Tasmanian Government had to step in and take over from 31st October 1873. This was the beginning of the Tasmanian Government Railways, although the title was not used until around 1883, and was formally established in 1888.

From 1872 to 1876  the Tasmanian Main Line (TML) Company started creating a line from Hobart to Launceston. Using the consistently flawed logic of rail services throughout the colonies, a different gauge line was used to that of the LWR!  In 1890 the Tasmanian Government bought the TML after years of strife between the government and the company. All the exiting railways were relaid to match the narrow (3ft 6 inch) gauge of the TML.

In 1975 the Federal Government made offers to all the struggling state run railways, with South Australia and Tasmania accepting the takeover by the new Australian National Railways, ending the TGR.


Examiner (Launceston), 1st October 1940 page 4.



As per Flickr: Tasmanian Government Railways staff, 1890s.

Sunday Times (Sydney), 27th October 1912 page 19.

The Suns News-Pictorial (Melbourne), 15th March 1923 page 10.

Benalla Standard (Vic), 1st December 1939 page 1. New diesel rail cars.

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