Snapshots of the past

Moorebank Scrambles Track

An Army Motorcycle Training Track was constructed during WWII along the eastern bank of the Georges River to train despatch riders. After the war it was also used for training by the military police. In 1953 a group from the Corps of Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at Moorebank formed the Army Motor Cycle Club, extending the circuit to be 1.5km long and creating a start/finish line and a spectator area. The track opened to the public on 15 November 1953.

The circuit was tough with tight turns, a hump named Fishers Leap, a stretch of fine sand that sucked the bikes to a standstill unless taken at full throttle, a swamp (the outfall of the nearby sewerage treatment plant), and a drop-off called Sorbent Hill (named after a brand of toilet paper). In 1959 the circuit was modified to meet new speedway regulations and was assigned NSW Speedway Licence No. 7. The circuit attracted local, interstate and international riders, often with crowds of over 5,000 spectators. Races included club and state titles, Australian Scrambles Championships in 1956 and 1961, and an international championship in 1968. The circuit closed in 1970.

A sidecar sets up a bow wave during the NSW state titles, Moorebank Scrambles Track, 1955 (Old Bike Australasia magazine)

A sidecar sets up a bow wave during the NSW state titles, Moorebank Scrambles Track, 1955 (Old Bike Australasia magazine)

Moorebank Sand Mine

The converted truck used to haul rail trucks for the Moorebank Sand Company, Moorebank, c1930s (Australian Railway Historical Society)

The converted truck used to haul rail trucks for the Moorebank Sand Company, Moorebank, c1930s (Australian Railway Historical Society)

In 1932, Samuel Henry Jackson, a chartered accountant who served in both WWI and WWII, gained Commonwealth approval to remove sand by rail from the military area near the eastern bank of the Georges River at Moorebank. Forming the Moorebank Sand Company, Jackson extended the abandoned tracks of the Holsworthy rail extension, laying a branch line off the existing Ordnance Stores siding. The 3km line was ready for service on 1 January 1933. A converted truck was used to haul rail trucks to the Ordnance Store siding where NSW Railways took over. During its operation, over 50,000 tons of sand were removed by slurry pipe and pump.

As part of the lease agreement, the Moorebank Sand Company undertook to maintain the new line, as at that time military traffic was negligible. However little maintenance was done, and the line was declared to be unsafe for trains. By 1938 the business was in financial difficulties, only loading about three trucks a week, and it closed in May 1940. Soon after, the School of Military Engineering was constructed on the site and the railway track was removed.

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