Books and articles on Patagonia
The Review of the River Plate, An English language business journal published weekly in Buenos Aires throughout the periods with which this site is concerned. Each issue contains a page of news snippets connected with railways and state investment. Canning House has bound volumes from 1894 onwards. The British Library of Political and Economic Science at LSE has a bound set from 1921 onwards, whilst the British Newspaper Library at Colindale has some earlier editions on microfilm.
The South American Journal. Goes over similar ground to the Review but obviously more thinly since it covers the whole of South America. Individual topics and countries would be hard to find in its dense and poorly sorted pages but fortunately each six monthly volume has an index at the front. Canning House has an incomplete set of bound (and very fragile) volumes from 1894 to about 1909 and then again in the 1920s and '30s.
Wanderings in Patagonia. 1881. Julius Beerbohm. Chatto & Windus, London.
Memorias - Geología y Minería, an annual report on mining in Argentina, available in the SEGEMAR (Servicio Geológico Minero Argentino) Library in Buenos Aires.
Handbook of the River Plate. 1892. M. & E. Mulhall. Buenos Aires. A sort of guidebook for the business visitor, but with little detail about our area.
The Gold Diggings of Cape Horn. 1895. J. R. Spears. G. P. Puttnam’s Sons, New York and London. A racy and iconoclastic American guide to Patagonia. Much more gripping than most books of the period. The FCCC and the early Punta Arenas coal tramway get mentioned. The author was a journalist on The (New York) Sun newspaper. The text of this book is now available online by courtesy of Duncxan and Gladys Campbell and their PatBrit website.
En el Territorio de Magallanes, (Memoria que el delegado del Supremo Gobierno). 1897. Don Mariano Guerrero Bascuñan. Ministro de Colonizacion, Santiago. A detailed assessment of economic possibilities in Magallanes, with an analysis for example of possible coal production from Isla Riesco. Volume 1 contains the main textual reports, with supporting evidence in Volume 2,i and maps in Volume 2,ii.
La Australia Argentina. 1898. Roberto J. Payró. Imprenta de 'La Nacion'. Buenos Aires. Pages 14-37 deal with the Chubut colony, with some discussion of the railway, its rates, and its future. Puerto Madryn's stagnation in the late 1890s is commented on.
Explorations in Patagonia. 1899. Dr. Fransisco P. Moreno. The Geographical Journal Vol. 14, No. 3, RGS, London. Recently reprinted (with Spanish translation) by the Secretaria de Turismo, Argentina. An authoritative report by one of the first geographers to venture into the Patagonian interior.
Al Traves de la Patagonia. 1901. S. Marín Vicuña. Casilla Nro 1953, Santiago. Some information about the Magallanes coal mines.
St. Helena: the historic island from its discovery to the present time. 1903. Emily L. Jackson. Ward Lock and Co. London. A thick tome with a good deal of detail. The inclined plane is dealt with fairly thoroughly.
Estadistica Minera de Chile – Tomo 3. 1906. Sociedad Nacional de Minera, Santiago. A very comprehensive volume with a lot of detail about mines in Magallanes.
The Wilds of Patagonia. 1911. Carl Skottsberg. Edward Arnold, London. An account of a Swedish expedition which did visit a number of mining sites though few details are given.
The Countries of the King's Award. 1912? Col. Sir Thomas H. Holdich. A travelogue by the British Army officer appointed to arbitrate on the claims by Argentina and Chile to lands in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.
A visit to Patagonia, W. G. Rae Smith, in Scottish Geographical Magazine, Vol XXVll p 474, 1912. Not yet seen, but certainly includes mention of the FC Central del Chubut.
Le Barrage de Neuquen, et les irrigations dans la vallée du Rio Negro. 1919. F. A. Soldano. Imprimerie Coni, Buenos Aires. Slightly out of our area, but shows that there was clearly much use of narrow gauge when the big barrage was built north of Neuquen, and also rail-mounted excavators to dig the irrigation canals. In French.
Punta Arenas y Magallanes. Photographic album by Carlos Forresti. 1920. Punta Arenas. Very high quality black-and-white photos around 'Sandy Point'.
Falkland Islands. 1924. V. F. Boyson. Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK.
Argentina Austral magazine. 1929-1968. Buenos Aires. An almost complete set is in the library of the Maritime Museum, El Presidio, Ushuaia. Some wonderful period photos for anyone who has the time to work their way through forty volumes!
Whaling in the Antarctic. 1931. A. G. Bennett. W. Blackwood, Edinburgh and London. Detailed descriptions of processes, and some photos of the stations, but no direct evidence of railway usage.
La Patagonia y sus Problemes. 1935. Coronel José Maria Sarobe, with prologue by Dr. Ezequiel Ramos Mexia. Aniceto Lopez, Buenos Aires. Second edition 1943. A critique of government policies towards Patagonia, including the policy of building long narrow gauge lines. Since Dr. Ramos Mexia was the original proponent of a broad gauge network it is not surprising that he agrees with the author on this.
St. Helena 1502-1938. 1938. Philip Gosse. Cassell & Co., London. Some information about the construction of the Ladder Hill incline.
Journey to the World's End 1939. Hakon Mielche, a well-written travelogue, originally published in Danish. English translation published by William Hodge & Co, London. One chapter describes a visit to the Mina Elena on the Skyring Sound.
This Way Southward 1940? A. F. Tschiffely, Hodder & Stoughton. Tschiffely was an anglo-swiss schoolteacher who made his name in the 1930s by riding two Argentine criollo ponies from Buenos Aires to Washington DC. This later book is the result of a less energetic journey, around Patagonia by car. Whilst he does not mention the railways specifically the book is a readable travelogue in a more factual style than Chatwin's later offering.
Historia de la Comision de estudios hidrologicas del Ministro de Obras Publicas 1911-14. 1943. Bailey Willis. Ministro de Agricultura, Buenos Aires. The section ,p32-48, deals with the Lago Nahuel Huapi (Bariloche) and proposed Trans-Andean lines.
Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego 1893-1943. 1943. Fernando Duran. Published by the SETF in Valparaiso. A celebratory booklet published to mark 50 years of the 'Explotadora'.
Andes Patagonicos - Viages de exploración a la cordillera patagonica austral. 2nd edition 1945. Alberto de Agostini S. S. Buenos Aires. One or two interesting photos.
A Yanqui in Patagonia. 1946. Bailey Willis. Stanford, NY. An autobiographical account by the American engineer who was employed by Minister Ramos Mexia to survey a number of possible railway routes in Patagonia around 1912. Not a great amount of detail but interesting nonetheless.
The Uttermost Part of the Earth, 1948. E. Lucas Bridges, Hodder & Stoughton, London. An autobiographical account of life on an estancia in Tierra del Fuego - without a railway though with portable steam engines to work the sawmills and shearing sheds.
Geografica Económica de Chile, volumes 1-3 + appendices. 1950-66. Corporación de Fomento de la Producción, Fundación 'Pedro Aguirre Cerda'. Santiago. Volume 1 has a great deal of detail on mineral deposits.
Antarctic Housewife. 1951. Nan Brown. Hutchinson, London. Includes a description of using a skip chassis to manhandle luggage along a track at King Edward Cove near Grytviken. Relevant section is quoted in R. A. Smith's article in Chapter 10.
The Falkland Islands Today, 1952, by Forrest McWhan. Stirling Tract Enterprise, Stirling, Scotland. Mentions a number of old meat processing plants and the like, though without any explicit reference to railways of any kind.
The Welsh in Patagonia - an example of nationalistic migration. Article in The Hispano-American Historical Review Vol XXXlV no.4, Nov 1954. Includes a quote about the inefficiency of the early FC Central del Chubut taken from W. G. Rae Smith's article of 1912 (op.cit).
Of Whales and Men. 1956. R. B. Robertson, Macmillan, London. Includes a paragraph about walking along a railway line at Leith Harbour. Relevant section is quoted in R. A. Smith's article in Chapter 10.
Recursos Minerales de la Rep. Argentina, Vol lll Combustibles Solidos Minerales. 1956 Angel V. Borrello. Imprenta y Casa Editiones 'Coni', Buenos Aires. A vast amount of detail, listing for example over 100 sites in Patagonia where coal has been found. Also covers asphalt, bitumen and peat deposits.
Femti ˚ar i konkurranse ag fremgang - Aktieselskapet Tønsbergs Hvalfangen 1907-1957. 1958. Gunnar C. Wasberg. Pub. Selskapets Styre, Tønsberg, Norway. A history of the Tonsberg whaling co. In Norwegian. Has a number of interesting photos, of Husvik in particular, but the text has not yet been searched.
Seminario de Investigación sobre el desarollo de la provincia de Aisen. 1959. Informe de los Sres. R. T. Brown y C. Hurtado. Universidad de Chile Instituto de Economía, Santiago. Broad overview of mining locations, both of those worked and those never exploited.
Semblanza y evocación de la epopeya galesa en Chubut. 1961. Dirección General de Cultura y Educación. Provincia del Chubut. Background information about the Welsh colony, including details of movement to other locations such as Choele-Choel and Col. Sarmiento. However, no direct useful references to the railway.
Patagonian Panorama. 1961. Tom P. Jones, The Outspoken Press, Bournemouth, UK. The author was the manager of the Rio Seco frigorífico from 1920 to 1956 and the book contains all sorts of details about the British expat. community in Magallanes.
Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur, su pasado, su presente y su proyección. 1967. Juan Hilarion Lenzi. Editorial Progreso, Buenos Aires. One otherwise unknown photo of an O&K 0-6-0T at Ushuaia.
Den Moderne Hvalfangsts Historie, Vols 1-4. 1967,1969,1970. J. N. Tønnessen & A. O. Johnson. Norges Hvalfangstforbund, Oslo?, Norway. A vast four volume history of the 20th century whaling industry, with a good number of photos. In Norwegian, but a single volume English version was produced by R. Christopherson in 1982. which see below.
Ascension Island – A concise handbook. 1968. J. E. Packer. Georgetown, Ascension. A thin booklet with summaries of dates, places, wildlife etc.
Welsh Contributions to Exploration in Patagonia, Glyn Williams, in Geographical Journal, volume 135, 1969.
Ascension - the story of a South Atlantic Island. 1972. Duff Hart Davis. Constable, London. Very little about railways, though the Foden steam wagons get a mention.
The Falkland Islands. 1972. Ian Strange, David & Charles, Newton Abbot, England.
Economia y Sociedad en Magallanes 1843-1877. 1973. Sergio Vergara Quiroz. ???. Includes a brief mention of the early coal mining ventures.
Tierra del Fuego – The Fatal Lodestone. 1973. Eric Shipton, C. Knight, London. Describes the early exploration and settlement but ends around the time that commercial exploitation began.
Patagonia Windswept Land of the South, 1974. Roger Perry, Dodd, Mead & Co., New York. A factual and descriptive introduction to the geography of the area.
The Desert and the Dream - A Study of Welsh Colonization in Chubut 1865-1915. 1975. Glyn Williams, University of Wales Press, Cardiff. A detailed history of the Welsh settlements, but not always accurate when it comes to railway matters.
Salvesen of Leith. 1975. Wray Vamplew. Scottish Academic Press. Edinburgh. An authoritative history of the main British whaling company but with next to nothing on the railways in the whaling stations.
In Patagonia, 1977. Bruce Chatwin, first published by Jonathan Cape, London. The book that made Chatwin's name. Very readable, with imaginative anecdotes about all sorts of bits of Patagonian history.
Crisis in Chubut, 1977. Geraint Dyfnallt Owen. Christopher Davies, Swansea. Nothing on the Chubut railway but lots of background detail about the most difficult period in the history of the Welsh colony.
Un Portento del Sur. Article in La Nueva Provincia 1978. Rio Negro. An article about the broad gauge bridge between Patagones and Viedma.
Tierra del Fuego. 1970, 1975, 1978. Rae Natalie Prosser Goodall. Ediciones Shanamaiim, Guemes 4215 Buenos Aires, or Casilla 41 Ushuaia. A detailed guidebook to Argentine Tierra del Fuego, in parallel text Spanish and English. Occasional references to old railways.
Patagonia de Ayer y de Hoy. 1980. Mateo Martinic Beros. Ediciones Soc. Difusora Patagonia Ltda., Punta Arenas. A popular history with a chapter on the railways, built and unbuilt.
Punta Arenas en su Primer Medio Siglo 1848-1898. Mateo Martinic Beros. date and publisher unknown. A history of the town.
The History of Modern Whaling. 1982. R. Christopherson. pub. C. Hurst, London, and Australian National Universities Press, Canberra. A slimmed down English translation of the four volume Den Moderne Hvalfangsts Historie, by J. N. Tønnessen & A. O. Johnson, published from 1967 onwards (see above). Still plenty of detail. If both versions can be found together, try reading in English but looking at the larger number of photos in the Norwegian original!
Pueblos del Norte de la Patagonia 1779-1957. 1983. Cesar. A. Vapnarsky. Centro de Estudios Urbanos y Regionales. Useful detail about San Antonio Oeste and about the sugar beet refinery and railway at Conesa.
The Island of South Georgia. 1984. Robert Headland. Cambridge University Press. A sound geography and history by a long-standing member of the British Antarctic Survey.
Magallanes de Antaño. 1985. Punta Arenas. Includes a chapter entitled 'Cuando en Punta Arenas se pensaba instalar tranvias'.
Ultima Esperanza en el Tiempo. 1985. Mateo Martinic Beros. Ediciones de la Universidad de Magallanes, Punta Arenas. A history of the Puerto Natales area including a summary history of the Puerto Bories frigorifico and its railway.
Postcards of the Falkland Islands, A Catalogue 1900 - 1950. 1985. H. and F. Heyburn. Picton Publishing, Chippenham, UK. Many illustrations of cards showing the tracks on the public pier at Stanley, and South Georgia whaling staions, but none of the Camber railway.
Los Galeses in Chubut, Fotografias. 1987. Secretaria de Cultura de la Nacion, Direccion Nacional de Arts Visuales, Subsecretaria de Cultura y Educacion de la Provincia de Chubut. An album of historic photos.
H. E. Bowman, Gaiman, Chubut - Fotografias. 1988. Fondo Nacional de las Artes. Another set of historic photos, this time by one particular professional photographer in the Welsh community.
A concise account of Signy Base 'H'. 1988. Ed. by David Rootes. British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK. A thin booklet but mentions the rail tracks off the jetty.
1988 Supplement to Postcards of the Falkland Islands, A Catalogue 1900 - 1950. 1989. H. and F. Heyburn. Picton Publishing, Chippenham, UK. Similar in format to the original 1985 volume listed above, with new illustrations.
An Englishman in Patagonia, 1991. John Pilkington, Century, London. In which the author rather critically follows in some of Bruce Chatwin's footsteps. He provides some background detail on the great sheep barons as well as tantalising clues to the existence of several local industrial railways.
Island at the Edge of the World - a South Georgia Odyssey. 1991. S. Venables. Hodder and Stoughton, London. One good colour photo of railway track at Leith harbour.
The Welsh in Patagonia - The State and the Ethnic Community. 1991. Glyn Williams. University of Wales Press, Cardiff, UK. An expansion of some aspects of Mr. Williams earlier book of 1975 (Op. cit.). There are frequent references to the railway company but usually when citing the company's attitude to or influence on some aspect of community life.
Historia de la Region Magallánica, vols 1 & 2. 1992. Mateo Martinic Beros. Universidad de Magallanes, Punta Arenas. A much more detailed study of the topic than any of the other books.
Article about the Hector whaling station on Deception Island, in Circumpolar Journal. 1992. Groningen, Netherlands. In English.
La Colonia Galesa. Lewis Jones, Editorial El Regional, Rawson. 1993. Translation from Welsh by Egrwn Williams, Frances Evelyn Roberts and Tegai Roberts. Contains a little bit about the railway. Not yet studied.
Cronicas de Ultima Esperanza. 1994. Jorge Díaz Bustamante. Cronicas Punta Arenas. Anecdotes by residents of Ultima Esperanza.
Crónica de la Colonia Galesa de la Patagonia. (A chronical of the Welsh colony in Patagonia) Abraham Matthews, Ediciones Alfonsina, Buenos Aires. 1995. Translation direct from Welsh by F E Roberts. A history of the colony. Not yet studied.
La Masacre en la Federacion Obrera de Magallanes. 1995. Carlos Vega Delgado, Punta Arenas. An attempt to get to the bottom of the stories surrounding the massacre at Puerto Natales during the 1919-20 uprisings in Magallanes.
On & Around the Camber. In Falkland Islands Journal 1995. James Wallace.
Why Patagonia? 1995. Greta Mackenzie, published by the author, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland. The story of the emigrants from Lewis who went out to work on the estancias of the far south.
San Antonio Oeste y el Mar - Origen y Destino. 1996. Hector Juan Izco. Publisher unknown. A history of the town of San Antonio Oeste.
Chubut, Turismo, Habitat y Cultura. 1996. Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco.
La Compaña Swift del Plata. 1996. Booklet published by Archivo Historico Municipal de Rio Gallegos, about the frigorifico at Rio Gallegos.
El Gran Libro de la Patagonia. 1997. Editorial Planeta Argentina S.A.I.C. A large book with plenty of pictures about Patagonia past and present. Easy to read but not very academic.
Estrecho a todas luces, an article about the history of Chile's lighthouses by Señora Carmen Slight, in Revista del Domingo, the Sunday supplement of the El Mercurio daily. 14 December 1997.
El Presidio de Ushuaia/The prison of Ushuaia. 1997. Bilingual history and album. Lic. Carlos Pedro Vairo. Zagier & Urruty (World's End), Ushuaia.
Libro de Oro, Aniversario Comodoro Rivadavia 1901-1997. 1997. Ediciones Atlantico. Another large picture book, but with some useful bits and pieces about the railways.
Ancud - Testimonio de un siglo que se fue. 1999. Published by Servicio de Comunicaciones, Radio Estrella del Mar, Ancud. A book of verbatim reminiscences by inhabitants of Ancud, with a chapter devoted to the Ancud - Castro railway.
Navegantes, Presos y Pioneros en la Tierra del Fuego. 1999. Arnoldo Corelini(?). Editorial Planeta Argentina SAIC, Buenos Aires. One photo (p223) along the track of the Ushuaia prison railway, but possibly other snippets as well.
South Georgia Whaling Stations (environmental) Survey. Final report. 1999. Produced by 'Poles Apart' for the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Mostly considering environmental pollution from leaking oil tanks and the like but includes a large number of clear colour photos of the stations and small scale plans from Robert Headland's originals.
¡Oro en Tierra del Fuego! 2000. Carlos Pedro Vairo & Francis Gatti, Zagier & Urruty, Ushuaia and Buenos Aires. A readable history of the search for gold in Tierra del Fuego, though rather lighter on Chilean side details than it might be.
Pesca - the history of the Compañia Argentina de Pesca SA, of Buenos Aires. 2001, Ian B. Hart, Aidan Ellis Publishing, UK. A very comprehensive volume, with a tremendous lot of detail about whaling operations at Grytviken. Photographs however, though plentiful, tend to be small and of mediocre quality.
The History of the Falkland Islands. 2001. Mary Cawkell. published Anthony Nelson, Shropshire, UK.
The Shore Whaling Stations at South Georgia. 2003. Basberg, Bjørn L. Novus Forlag, Norway. ISBN: 82-7099-394-8. This is a 200 page book and, though not yet seen, it appears to have a lot of detail. The section on 'transport systems' on page 114 might be interesting.
De la Trapananda al Áysen: una mirada reflexiva sobre el acontecer de la Región de Aysén desde la prehistoria hasta nuestros días. By Mateo Martinić Beros, Mateo Martinic. Published by Pehuén Editores Limitada, 2005. ISBN 9561604027, 9789561604025. 539 pages. Not yet studied in its entirety.
Mimosa – The life & times of the ship that sailed to Patagonia. Susan Wilkinson. 2007. Y Lolfa. Ceredigion. ISBN; 9 780 86243 9 521.
El complot patagónico – Nación, conspiracionismo y violencia en el sur de Argentina y Chile (siglos XIX y XX), 2009, Ernesto Bohoslavsky, prometeo libros, Buenos Aires – ISBN 978-987-574-331-1.
Historias de Frontera – Policías, Bandidos, Baqueanos, Arrieros, Comerciantes, Peones y Troperos Argentina, 3a de 2008, Ernesto Maggiori, vela al viento, Comodoro Rivadavia – ISBN 978-987-23196-8-7.
Cabo Blanco, Historia de un pueblo desaparecido. Carlos Roberto Santos. 2010. Editorial Piedra Buena, Buenos aires. ISBN 978-987-23265-2-4.
El Carbón en Magallanes, historia y futuro. Mateo Martinic B. 2010. Minera Isla Riesco SA, y Municipalidad Río Verde. ISBN 978-956-9011-00-9.
Historia de los Puertos de Chubut. Andres Jozwicki. 2010. Publisher not known.
Zagier & Urruty, publish a number of books on Patagonian and Tierra del Fuegian history. Some of these are bilingual or have English language editions. See their website as mentioned above.
El Elefante Blanco publish a number of books on the earlier history of Patagonia – in Spanish only. El Elefante Blanco, Posadas 1359, P. B. 'B', C1011ABG Ciudad Autónoma Buenos Aires, República Argentina. Access their website.
References, resources &
thanks for help