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Bush Explorers Encyclopaedia

Rats Castle

One of the construction camps on the Wolgan Valley Railway near the modern day Glowworm Tunnel was called Greens Camp. This camp housed up to 600 workers. It was large enough to have its own temporary post office. It was also a place prone to squalor and misery. Carved deep into a rock outside the camp on the current Pagoda Track, are the framed letters RATSCASTLE. On discovering this graffiti, Brian Fox undertook research. There is a strong emotive correlation between this location and the rebellious and infamous outlawed Kelly Gang. Keith Maxwell, another passionate researcher, wrote a sobering piece,“we cannot forget changes to the working week. Early in the 20th century you had the ‘eight hour day’ campaign – eight hours work, eight hours sleep and eight hours relaxation. The aim was a 48 hour week (6 days x 8 hours). Further campaigns were the 44 hours week, (4 hours only on Saturday) before the 40 hour week.” Hence our 600 men from the railway camp were almost certainly on a six day working week of days longer than eight hours. We suspect the signage was a form of protest against inhuman conditions.

  • Ben Bullen
Grid Reference:
  • 418 187
Wollemi National Park
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