Photographer's Note

In 1883, President Argentino Roca, took up the idea for the establishment of a "penal colony in the South of Argentina". In 1884 the first convicts arrived in Ushuaia.They were chosen for their physical strength and manual skills, to set up a Prefecture Station and build a lighthouse.
Ushuaia was founded on the 12th October 1884. In the language of the indian Yamana, means "deep bay to the west".In the first months of the XX century the jail received its first inmates. The jail was built using local materials: basalt rock, timber from the forests, clay and sand from the streams in the region. Labour was provided by the convicts themselves.A XILOCAR, a train that ran on wooden rails, was set up to transport the materials rails.At the end of 1909 and the beginning of 1910, the first railway movements were recorded. The little train crossed the town along the waterfront, linking the jail to the woodcutting site.The new train became a vital asset in the completion of the jail and in securing wood for cooking and heating throughout the year.For two decades, the laying of the line continued up the eastern slopes of Mount Susana . When the original locomotives were no longer able to reach the steeper parts of that section, tracks were laid through the River Pipo Valley , later entering what is now the Tierra del Fuego National Park .Old settlers in the region still remember the locomotive they fondly called "The Coquette". It was the smallest of the fleet and the first to arrive at the jail. It got its name from the little jumps it made as it puffed along the tracks.Workshops were set up in the jail to give the convicts something constructive to do and to enable them to learn a trade, which would help them find employment once they had finished their term. They received a daily wage for their work.There was a sawmill, a press, a bakery, a blacksmith's, a tailor's, a shoemaker's and several workshops, including photography, carpentry, cabinetmaking. All were at the town's disposal including the jail's medical service and pharmacy.The population of Ushuaia also benefited from the supply electricity and running water, as well as streets, roads and bridges built by the convicts.Hard labour continued until the closure of the jail-housing block, in March 1947 for reasons of penitentiary order.The jail facilities passed to the Argentine Navy and became a Naval Base. Sailors replaced the convicts. In 1952 the "Convict Train" stopped running, the puffing of its steam was silenced and with it the last vestiges of the coarse voices of those convicts who had tried to redeem themselves in that enormous southern solitude, whose spirit was touched enough to leave behind this anonymous song.After four decades lying forgotten, the train was given new life at the hands of an enterprise with all the spice of adventure necessary for its restoration. The "Convict Train" reemerged as a handsome tourist train called the "Ferrocarril Austral Fueguino".

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Rafael Perez (rafelito) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 125 N: 596] (3648)
  • Genre: Lugares
  • Medium: Cor
  • Date Taken: 2006-01-23
  • Categories: Transportes
  • Versão da Foto: Versão Original
  • Date Submitted: 2006-06-06 3:10
  • Favoritos: 1 [ver]
Viewed: 3756
Points: 118
Additional Photos by Rafael Perez (rafelito) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 125 N: 596] (3648)
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