MS 8059
Papers of John Leonard Buckland (1936-1989)

Scope and Content Note

  • Date range: 1936-1989
  • Extent: 5.2 m. (34 boxes and 13 folio packages)
  • Access conditions: Part available for research and part not available for research until 2021 (Series 1, Folder 28A).

The papers were donated to the Library in 1989 by the executors of Buckland's estate in accordance with the terms of his will.

The collection contains papers relating to Buckland's lifelong interest in railways. The papers include correspondence, subject files, press cuttings, notebooks, typescripts written by Buckland and other authors on railway history, Australian rolling stock diagrams and railway maps.

Buckland's extensive railway photographic collection is housed in the Library's Pictures Collection. Printed maps have been transferred to the Map Collection and posters to the Pictures Collection.

Biographical Note

John Leonard Buckland was born in Camperdown, Victoria in 1915 and educated at Melbourne Grammar School.

In 1938-40 Buckland worked as a cadet journalist for the Victorian Railways Public Relations Department. During the Second World War he served in the RAAF as a photographer and radar operator. After the war, he worked as a journalist for various organisations: Shennan Publishing Co., Sydney (1946-47), Commonwealth Department of Labour and National Service, Melbourne (1948-50), Sydney and Melbourne Publishing Co., Robsons Publications and Pacific Publications (1953-54), Commonwealth Deparment of Trade (1954-70), and the Australian Conservation Foundation (1970-75). After his retirement in 1975 he devoted all his time to his railway interests.Buckland was a founding member of the Australian Railway Historical Society and served as President and Vice-President of the Victorian Division, before resigning to join the NSW Division in the 1960s. He became a life member in 1971. He was a regular contributor to the ARHS Bulletin and Light Railways (the journal of the Light Railway Research Society of Australia) and co-authored the first volume (1845-1904) of a history of Victorian Railways steam locomotives. He was also a keen railway photographer.

Buckland died in Melbourne in 1989.

Series List

  1. Correspondence, 1936-89
  2. Writings by Buckland, 1936-86
  3. Writings by others
  4. Subject files
  5. Press cuttings and printed material
  6. Rolling stock diagrams
  7. Maps, signalling diagrams, etc.
  8. Miscellaneous items
  9. Notebooks, 1938-85

Series Description

Series 1: Correspondence, 1936-1989

This series contains letters written to Buckland from other railway enthusiasts, historians and railway organisations. There are also many carbon copies of Buckland's outward letters.

Some of the letters were kept in separate sequences. To keep this original order, the correspondence has been arranged into two groups: alphabetical according to the names of the major correspondents (folders 1-23) and chronological (folders 24-30).

Barrington, Jerry Best, George Bond, David Burke, Bill Callaghan, Tony Coen, Ray Ellis, Richard Horne, Wal Jack, John Knowles, John Kramer, Bruce McDonald, Bob McKillop, Ian McNeil, Lou Rae, Charlie Small, J.L.N. Southern, Jim Stokes, Cedric Thomas, Harry Wright. See Appendix I for alphabetical and chronological list.

1 folder in this series is closed.

Some correspondence is also included in Series 2 and Series 4.

Series 2. Writings by John Buckland, 1936-1986

The papers in this series have been arranged into the following subseries:

2.A. Articles

This sub-series contains typescripts and photocopies of published and unpublished articles written by Buckland and some correspondence and notes relating to the publication of the articles. The typescripts have been arranged in date order and alphabetically by title for undated material. See Appendix II for complete list of articles.

Some typescripts and drafts of articles by Buckland are included in his subject files. See also Series 4.

2.B.History of VR steam locomotives, Volume 1.

This sub-series contains drafts and typescripts for Buckland's chapers for Volume 1 of 'The history of VR steam locomotives'.

Series 3. Writings by others

This series contains typescripts, carbon copies and photocopies of articles, poems and talks by other authors which Buckland collected. They have been arranged by author, or title where the author is unknown. Authors include Ray Ellis, C.D. Gavan Duffy, M. Schrader and C.S. Small. See Appendix III for complete list of articles.

Series 4. Subject files

This series comprises files created by Buckland. They contain press clippings, brochures, photographs, typescripts, notes, diagrams, maps and some correspondence relating to Buckland's research interests. The files have been arranged alphabetically by title. There are also a number of miscellaneous untitled files. See Appendix IV for complete list of subject files.

Series 5. Press cuttings and printed material

This series includes brochures and booklets on railways and various publications of the Australian Railway Historical Society, the Light Railway Research Society of Australia, the State Transport Authority of Victoria and other railway organisations and societies.

The press cuttings include a scrapbook of cuttings on the Southern Aurora crash at Violet Town, Victoria on 7 February 1969. See Appendix V for more details.

Series 6. Rolling stock diagrams

This series contains locomotive, cars, vans, trucks and wagon diagrams for the Government Railways of Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland. Some of the diagrams date back to the late 19th century and there is a set of Victorian rolling stock diagrams for 1904-61. See Appendix VI for more details

Series 7. Maps, signalling diagrams, etc.

This series contains railways maps for various regions in Australia, including a number of maps for the Yallourn/Morwell State Electricity Commission of Victoria railway. There are also Victorian Railways signalling diagrams and some gradient and curve diagrams for South Australia. See Appendix VII for more details.

Series 8. Miscellaneous items

This series includes mostly photographs and photocopies of locomotives and some railway notices.

Series 9. Notebooks 1938-85

Notebooks, mostly dated, recording miscellaneous details about railways, including events on journeys. Some of the notebooks contain distances between various stations, types of locomotives and indexes of photographs.

Appendix I - Series 1: Correspondence


1           Bill Abbott, 1960-89                                         
2           John Armstrong, 1968-86                                      
3           Rodney Barrington, 1980-85                                   
4           Jerry Best, 1963-68, 1982                                    
5           George Bond, 1965-83                                         
6           David Burke, 1981-84, 1987                                   
7           Bill Callaghan, 1980-85                                      
8           Tony Coen, 1972, 1984                                        
9           Ray Ellis, 1978-89                                           
10          Richard Horne, 1978-89                                       
11          Wal Jack, 1953-61                                            
12          John Knowles, 1965-88                                        
13          John Kramer, 1981-84                                         
14          Bruce McDonald, 1966-81                                      
15          Bob McKillop, 1981-89                                        
16          Ian McNeil, 1986-88                                          
17          National Library of Australia, 1979-80                       
18          Lou Rae, 1984-87                                             
19          Charlie Small, 1962-88                                       
20          J.L.N. Southern, 1936-41, 1961-81                            
21          Jim Stokes, 1964-88                                          
22          Cedric Thomas, 1964-81                                       
23          Harry Wright, 1956-88                                        

General correspondence in chronological order:

24          1947-66                                                      
25          1967-71                                                      
26          1972-79                                                      
27          1980-85                                                      
28          1986-87                                                      
28A         1987  Closed till 2021                                       
29          1988                                                         
30          1989                                                         

Appendix II - Series 2: Writings by John Buckland


31          Articles, 1936-38: With Pocono Pete on a trip to Echuca      
            (1936); Christmas pudding (1937); The Perambulations of      
            Pocono Pete (1936-38): The Maryboro' circuit, Off to         
            Queenscliff, Noogee trip, Going west in 2 ways, Christmas    
            pudding, Extra west, The wind & the rain                     

32          Articles, 1938-1940: Being an account of the experiences of  
            Bill the Boiler, Butcher on the trip to Walhalla (1938),     
            New year evolutions (1938), Black diamonds galore (1939),    
            Roundabout (1939), Timboon or bust (1940), Railway           
            enterprise in South Australia (1940), Exploding some myths   

33          Articles, 1944-47: Observations in exile (1944), Apple       
            cider and old iron (1945), There will be no trains ...       
            (1946), Unattended crossing loops in single lines (1947),    
            Alarms and excursions (1947), Chaos in the 'Golden era'      
            (1947), Tests of third rail devices at Tocumwal (1947), The  
            Goodwood timber tramway, Noojee (1947)                       

34          Articles, 1948-57: Studies in late running, or, what price   
            time without a time-table? (1948), Roundabout to Ararat      
            (1948), Pressing on regardless ...(but not exactly as the    
            crows fly) (1948), Locomotive load rating and depto          
            identification, Victorian railways (1949), Victorian         
            railways centenary, 1854-1954, Jubilee of the A2-class       
            locomotive, Victorian railways by H Clark & J. Buckland      

 35         Articles, 1963: South African safari, 1963                   

 36         Articles, 1964-1972: Canadian and American locomotives used  
            for war service on Trans Australian line (1964), Railways    
            and locomotives : talk to Seymour Historical Society         
            (1964), Kate of the M.C. Davies Karri & Jarrah Co. (1966),   
            Trailable points for unattended crossing loops, Victorian    
            railways (1967), The AA-class 4-4-0 express locomotives of   
            the Victorian railways by M.H. Clark and J. Buckland         
            (1970-71), Journeys by day and night (1972)                  

 37         Articles, 1973-76: The 'Goods motors' of South Australia     
            (1973), The heavy-duty industrial railway at Weipa, N.Q.     
            (1974), The introduction of American-designed locomotives    
            to the Victorian Railways,1877-1898 (1976)                   

38          Articles, 1978: The Ballarat-Buninyong branch line           

39          Articles, 1983-4: Industrial railways at Yallourn and        
            Morwell SECV                                                 

40          Articles, 1984-85: Crane tank locomotives in Australia       
            (1984), North by west, the course on a solo (1985)           

41          Articles, 1980-86: World Book Encyclopedia of Railways       

42          Articles, A-J (n.d.): 590 and all that, The Adelaide City    
            and Port Railway Company, Afterthoughts on some aspects of   
            Australian steam locomotion, BHP locomotives - additional    
            notes, Black diamonds to burn, A brief outline of the        
            railways of Tasmania, The Camden branch of the NSWGR, Early  
            bogie goods wagons of the Victorian railways by J. Buckland  
            & Frank Kelly, Explanatory remarks on locomotive classes     
            and numbering, Factors affecting the progress and outlook    
            for electric railways during 1927-1935, Footloose and far    
            from home, In at the death (or rum goings on in the bush),   
            The Jumbo's place in locomotive history                      

43          Articles, L-M (n.d.): Lever locking and track control        
            signalling on single lines, Looking for deserts, Lost        
            railways in Victoria, Mad with the Mulga, The Maroochyshire  
            tramways, South Queensland                                   

44          Articles, M (n.d.): Metamorphosis of an ugly duckling, the   
            D3-class, locomotives of the Victorian railways              

45          Articles, M-S (n.d.): Mixed gauge medley, Modern Australian  
            locomotives : Victorian Railways K-class 2-8-0 type, The     
            numbers game - an exercise in futility, Puffing billy runs   
            again - for the last time?, Reflections on some aspects of   
            Australian steam locomotion design, Some journeys of         
            another sticky beak                                          

46          Articles, T-Z (n.d.): Trial runs and delivery of             
            foreign-owned diesel-electric locomotives, Unification -     
            administration and rail gauges, Victorian railways           
            centenary, 1854-1954, The Wangaratta derailment, West to     
            north the course, A wild weekend in the woolly West, The     
            Woods hydraulic continuous brake                             

47          History of VR steam locomotives, Vol. 1                      

Appendix III - Series 3: Writing by others


 48         Peter Allen. You're just in time                            

            E.H. Brownbill. The economic problems facing Australian     
            rail transport in the next decade (1960)                    

49          N. Cave. VR history                                         

50          W. Chynoweth. Historical summary of the locomotives used    
            in the logging tramways of the Huon timber industry (1985)  

262         J. Drennan. Inter Colonial Express Adelaide to Melbourne,   

51          J.W. Delaney. Brief history of the railway now known as     
            South Maitland railways (1962)                              

            Ray Ellis. The North Mount Lyell Copper Company and its     
            railway Preserved steam locomotives in Australia            

52          C.D. Gavan Duffy. The Assyrian came down like a wolf on     
             the fold Easter, 1955, Go west, young man, go west, Gone    
            with the wind, On time, all the time, or was it? : trip to  
            Central Queensland (1939)                                   

53          C.D. Gavan Duffy. Ross Town Junction Railway, Round the     
            big Baldoun, Single line block on the VR, Some journey's    
            of a sticky beak (1934), A trip amongst the apples          
            (1938?), Trip to New South Wales (1933), Two branch lines   

54          C.D. Gavan Duffy. Two cross country lines (1945), Under     
            five flags (1938), A wedding and after (1936)               

55          K.T. Groves. The big engines, Steam working north of the    

263         K.T. Groves. The big engines of the NSW Government          

56          S.F. Keane. Engine utilization and running shed practices   
            of the Victorian railways (1962)                            

            D.B. Mack. History of Bagnall locomotive number 1801        

            Jack McLean. Poems                                          

            M.A. Park. The wanderings of a railwayac                    

57          L.G. Poole. Locomotives of the Victorian                    

58          M. Schrader. Tasmania revisted, Travel in the Soviet Union  
            : from the Atlantic to the Pacific by train (1965)          

59-60       C.S. Small. Locomotives of the sugar mills and timber       
            lines of Queensland (1963-65), Privately owned loco lists   
            of Western Australia, (1965), The private railroads of      
            Japan (1962)                                                

61          Author unknown, California here I come back to where I      
            started from; The darky trip;Easter Monday without tears;   
            Good-bye - Bayles; It will all be the same in 100 years;    
            Just a wee bittie trip; Looping the loop on an olympic      
            circle; Myensa; North East passage - and then some ; A      
            roundabout; She will be coming round the mountain when she  
            comes; Timboon once more; A trainy day; Trip notes - North  
            America - 1986; Up hill and down dale                       

Appendix IV - Series 4: Subject files


62           American locomotive practice and performance                
63           The Amiens gun                                              
64           Australian loco builders                                    
65           Australian National Railways weekly time tables,16/3/86     
66           Australian railway bibliography                             
67           Australian Railway Historical Society 1983 National         
             Conference papers                                           
68           Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW) tours           
69           Association of Railway Enthusiasts book                     
70           Association of Railway Enthusiasts loco rosters (VR)        
71           Baldwin 0-4-OST's                                           
72           Baldwin list                                                
73           Baldwin locos                                               
74           Beaudesert tramway (Qld)                                    
75           Beyer Peacock Dubs lists                                    
76           BHP/AIS (Port Kembla, NSW), BHP - Coffin Bay tramway (SA),  
             BHP Whyalla (SA), BHP Whyalla & Newcastle                   
77           Christmas Island                                            
78           Clyde Engineering Co. Pty Ltd diesel loco list (SA)         
79           Commonwealth Railways/ANR                                   
80           CR/TGR loco lists                                           
81           Cranes                                                      
82           Deal Island Decauville lists                                
83           Engine lists: Commonwealth, WA, NZ & Tasmania               
84           Four header coal train test, CDQGR, July 1969               
85           Geelong & Melbourne Railway Co.                             
86           Governor Weld & Pioneer locos in WA Grover Bogie            
87           Hunslet Rod's Kerr Stuart                                   
88           Kitson tram motors Lines VR wrecks                          
89           Loco builders lists                                         
90           LRRSA (Light Rail Research Society of Australia) notes      
91           Main line heavy freight locomotives of the Victorian        
             railways Mauritius railway                                  
92           Metro Gas Co. (Vic.)                                        
93           Midland Railway of WA                                       
94           Mortlake Gasworks Railway (NSW)                             
95           MMBW - outfall sewer, Mt Lyell Mining & Railway Co. 3'6" &  
             2'0" gauge                                                  
96           New Zealand locomotives                                     
97           Notes on VR loco development, NSW freight cars              
98           NSW loco lists                                              
99           NSW locos                                                   
100          NSW private loco lists                                      
101          NSW SRA rules for working 'WB' trains, NSW GR - tests of    
             eng. 3508 fitted with ACFI feed water heater                
102          NSWR locomotive data                                        
103          NSWR main north line                                        
104          NSWR steam vs. diesel                                       
105          NSWR steam loco data                                        
106          Perry Eng. Co. locomotives (SA)                             
107          Phoenix foundry locos - Ballarat                            
108-10       Pilbara, WA                                                 
111          Portland Harbour Trust Railway                              
112          Private builders' loco lists                                
113          Private line locos, South Australia, Privately owned loco   
             lists of Western Australia                                  
114          PTC (Public Transport Commission of NSW) Archives           
115          Pulverised coal loco trials                                 
116          PWD (Public Works Dept.) - NSW                              
117-19       Queensland railways            (see also folder 138)        
120          QR-1 (Locomotives of the Queensland railways,1864-1899),    
             QR-2 (3'6" gauge locomotives of the Queensland railways     
             since 1908)                                                 
121          QR North Coast line gradients - Central Gympie,             
             Reflections on Aust. steam locomotion                       
122          S-class VR                                                  
123          SA/NT, SAR loco lists                                       
124          SAR/STC                                                     
125          SECV railways                                               
126          SECV - Yallourn/Morwell                                     
127          Serviceton collision                                        
128-29       Signalling                                                  
130          Single line token exchangers, Standard gauge Wodonga -      
131          Steam locomotive performance, by R.C. Abbott                
132          Sunshine accident 20-4-1908                                 
133          Sunshine railway disaster                                   
134-35       Tarcoola - Alice Springs railway                            
136          Tasmania railways                                           
137          Tasmania privately owned loco lists, Tasmanian railcars     
138          TGR loco lists                                              
139          TGR Oatlands tramway, Tour notes & weekly time tables,      
140          Tulloch/Goodwin/ Com-Eng list/ M.Moore list                 
141-42       Victorian coal mining (mines & railways)                    
143          Victorian contractor's locos                                
144          Victorian Light Railway Research Society                    
145          Victorian private line locomotives                          
146          Victorian private lines                                     
147          Victorian tramways                                          
148          VR & H class details                                        
149          VR Belgrave, VR cranes                                      
150          VR electric car stock, VR electrics                         
151          VR E nglish coal tests, 1892-1908                           
152          VR feed water heating/ oil burning                          
153          VR freight car codes                                        
154          VR Garratt (proposed), VR Grampians line, VR hired locos    
155          VR Locomotive Board of Inquiry (1877)                       
156          VR loco history cards                                       
157          VR narrow gauge, VR passenger rolling stock lists           
158          VR private loco lists                                       
159          VR railway notes                                            
160          VR Richmond accident 18/7/1970                              
161          VR Rolling Stock Branch report 3/2/1904, VR single line     
162-64       WA private loco lists                                       
65           WAGR loco lists                                             
66           Westernport coal lines (Vic.)                               
67           Yallourn (Vic.)                                             

Untitled files

168          74  files on locomotives                                    
175          76 Files on NSW railways                                    
177          79 Files on Queensland Government Railways                  
180          86 Files on Victorian railways                              
187          202 Miscellaneous files                                     

Appendix V - Series 5: Press cuttings and printed material


203         Australasian Railway and Locomotive Historical Society,      
            Bulletins 1948                                               
204         Index to Bulletin of the A. R. L. H. S.1938-48               
205         Australian Railway Notes 1933-34 (incomplete)                
206         Australian Railway Exploration Association, The Whisper      
            1985 (8 issues only)                                         
207-11      Hobson Bay Railway:Australian Railway Notes 1939-51          
212         New South Wales Government Railways, Miscellaneous undated   
            leaflets on locomotives                                      
213         Sydney's Eastern Suburbs Railway, Press releases  n.d.       
214-15      Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales       
            Digest 1963-65.                                              
216-18      Australian Railway Historical Society, Victorian Division    
            Diary 1958-62                                                
219         Tasmanian Railway News 1985-88 , (incomplete)                
220         Miscellaneous newsletters                                    
221-24      Miscellaneous newspaper cuttings                             
225         Newspaper scrapbook 1969: Aurora crash                       
Box  28     Miscellaneous printed material                               

Appendix VI - Series 6: Rolling Stock diagrams


226-27       New South Wales Government Railways locomotive diagrams     
228          South Australia locomotive diagrams                         
229          Tasmanian Transport Department locomotive diagrams          
230          Diagrams of wagons                                          
231-33       Miscellaneous diagrams of rolling stock                     
258          Tasmanian Government Railway, Pocket Section  Rolling       
             Stock 2'-O" Gauge                                           
259          Rolling Stock 3'-6" Gauge                                
260          West Australian Government Railway, Pocket Section          
             Rolling Stock                                               
261          N.S.W. Freight Vehicles, 1979, Pocket Section               

There are 462 large folio items of rolling stock diagrams kept in eight folio packages

Folio packages 1-8

Folio 1      Item 1-4          Victorian Railways rolling stock branch:   
                               Diagrams and particulars of locomotives,   
                               cars, vans and trucks, complete set of 4   
                               volums 1904-1961                           

Folio 2      Items 5-354       Miscellaneous rolling stock diagrams       
Folio 3      Items 355-404     Miscellaneous rolling stock diagrams       
Folio 4      Items 405-08      Miscellaneous rolling stock diagrams       
Folio 5      Items 409-19      Miscellaneous rolling stock diagrams       
Folio 6      Items 420-27      Miscellaneous rolling stock diagrams       
Folio 7      Items 428-45      Miscellaneous rolling stock diagrams       
Folio 8      Items 446-62      Miscellaneous rolling stock diagrams       

Appendix VII - Series 7: Maps and signalling diagrams


234          South Australian Railways: references to profiles           
235          Railways gradients and curves, State transport Authority    
             of Victoria                                                 
236-40       Miscellaneous railway maps, signalling diagrams and curve   
241-57       Miscellaneous curve and gradient diagrams pocket sections   

There are also 70 large folio items kept in 5 folio packages

Folio packages 1-5

Folio 1     Items 1-46      Miscellaneous maps and signalling diagrams    
Folio 2     Items 47-48     Miscellaneous maps and signalling diagrams    
Folio 3     Items 49-59     Miscellaneous maps and signalling diagrams    
Folio 4     Items 60-64     Miscellaneous maps and signalling diagrams    
Folio 5     Items 65-76     Miscellaneous maps and signalling diagrams    

Box List







































































































Printed material



Printed material








Folio box 1

Folio 1, Items 1-4


Folio box 2

Folio 2, Items 5-354


Map drawer

Folios 3-8, Items 355-462








Map drawer

Folios 1-5, Items 1-76


Folio box 2

Folio 1





Guide prepared August 1994. Last updated 17 July 1996.