Monday, 27 December 2010

Monday Morning Photo. 27/12/2010.

G'day all, I'm listening to the ABC broadcast of the Fourth Test ,Australia v England, and it's pretty depressing, Australia all out for 98, the Poms rampant.
So time to lift the mood a bit with some pictures taken around Rockhampton, Queensland back in late '64. The weather was hot and very humid, it always is late in the year in coastal Queensland. As can be seen from the photos the cloud cover was mostly heavy, in fact sometimes it felt like we were walking around in cloud.
...............Now it's Monday arvo, family Christmas duties intervened before I had time to complete this on Boxing Day.
The cricket news is no better so back to hot and humid Rocky 1964 and a visit to the Loco Depot.
At this time Rockhampton was home to all 30 Beyer Garratts but as can be seen some were already out of use. Of those that were still operational six are present in the photo of the running shed and Pb15 737, a product of Walker's Engineering 1926, is shunting the coal stage. You would be hard put to find a scene like this anywhere in the world today, perhaps on an industrial railway in China, but this is what a working loco depot looked like in steam days, it was busy, dirty, grimey, noisy and above all interesting. It was a monochrome scene on this day with an overcast sky, the Garratts provided the colour, they were Midland Red lined out in Yellow.
I've also included a couple of pictures of the old Rockhampton station, C16 421 has just emerged from the train shed and is in Denison Street passing McConnell's Hotel and it's Ultra-Modern Bottle Store. We didn't sample it's wares but we did try Mac's Rockhampton Beer in the station Refreshment Room, it was truly vile. I think the brand died a deserved death just a few years later.
I've got plenty more Rockhampton photos so there will probably be at least another couple of weeks postings at least.
The next posting will be in 2011.
So all the best to all for the New Year,
Peter Bruce.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Monday Morning Photo. 6/12/2010.


G'day all, I have had some very helpful feedback from Lynn Zelmer and John Browning about the sugar tramway photos I have posted recently, they have both come to the rescue of my failing memory, although perhaps my memory is not so bad, my knowledge was pretty thin to begin with.
See for more info and all earlier posts.
Anyway, on with the long, slow trip up the North Coast line. Four shots today and they bring us to Rockhampton, not even half way to Cairns, 396 miles and 11 chains to be exact. For those among us who are only metrically literate [possibly not the right choice of words], a chain is/was 22 yards, the length of a cricket pitch, and us Australians probably don't want to be reminded about cricket pitches at the moment, specifically the one at the Adelaide Oval where our cricket team is getting an absolute belting from England.
Asides aside we travelled from Gympie to Maryborough and Bundaberg to Rockhampton by the preferred mode, very slow goods trains and the intervening stretch Maryborough to Bundaberg was in relative luxury aboard the "Rocky", i.e. Rockhampton Mail. This train was diesel hauled but otherwise basically as it would have been in the '20s and '30s. the Queensland Railways in the early '60s were far from modern, in common with all the government railways in Australia they had been starved of funds for most of their existence and ravaged by the Great Depression and then the massive traffic and minimal maintenance of the second war. In the post-war years there was a huge demand for both catch up money and new money for housing and various infrastructure and our railways mostly just made do. From later in the '60s to the present day the railways in Queensland have benefitted from very large and continuing coal projects and are almost unrecognisable from the primitive organisation shown here.
The photos..... which I never seem to be able to display in the desired order.
848 is supposed to be the first, it is drawing into Gympie from the north and is about to pass a bogie covered wagon which perfectly illustrates the points made above. We arrived in Bundaberg on a Saturday morning and went off up into town for a feed leaving our scanty possessions in the cloak room. Bad mistake, when we got back the station was closed 'til the next day and I had to improvise bedding with the national broadsheet newspaper, "The Australian". This was on the floor of a railmotor trailer on a siding down near the river where it was noticeably cool and damp. Brown Bomber 999 is posing in the station yard for my fellow travellers.
Our accomodation north out of Bundaberg was something that we would have avoided if it had been possible, only the Queensland Government Railways would have a brakevan that had the guard's compartment at one end, a compartment for "drovers accompanying stock" at the other end and accomodation for the said stock in between. We substituted for the drovers and although we weren't actually accompanying stock we did travel with what the stock had left behind!! We met 1032 on a goods somewhere south of Rocky.
The next couple of postings will deal with Rockhampton itself but in the meantime here is 1266 on a northbound Fast Goods, the QGR trying to show that it is as modern as tomorrow.
In every way these were very interesting times in Australia and I was very fortunate to witness them.
Best regards,
Peter Bruce.

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Monday, 29 November 2010

Monday Morning Photo. 29/11/2010.

G'day all, I'm not too clear about the location of the various sugar mills around Bundaberg or about the distinction between the Bingera and Watawa Mills other than knowing that somehow or other there was a connection. Perhaps someone can put me right. I'm pleased that No.6 makes another appearance in the background of the shot of the ex QGR B13 because it has occurred to me that it made it's first appearance on Queensland rails just 41 years after Stephenson's "Rocket" first hauled passengers on a public railway, the Stockton&Darlington in the north of England. To put that into some sort of perspective I took these photos nearly 50 years ago, No.6 was born about the same time as my paternal grandfather. That thought brings home to me how rapidly the world was changed by industrialization and the self propelled vehicle on its ever extending rails, each of course dependent on the other.
Getting back to the photos, I think all three of the little cane locos are Bundaberg Fowlers, that is built by the Bundaberg Foundry Company under licence to John Fowler&Co of Leeds in the U.K, but again I am open to correction. My knowledge of the sugar cane lines was pretty sketchy to begin with and it has been mostly deleted in the intervening years.
Peter Bruce.

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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Monday Morning Photo. Tuesday 16/11/2010.

G'day all, it's amazing how busy life gets when you quit full time work.
As well I've been scanning old negatives of our trip up the North Coast line of the Queensland Government Railways and trying to fill in the gaps in my memory. With limited success I might add.
I had thought that we made this trip in late 1963 but I've had to revise that to probably late 1964. My recollection is that we ran into the Wet as we got further north and it was certainly hot.
This week I'm going to bypass the strictly chronological because I've come across some photos that really need to appear on the same page.
1271 was at Gympie, an almost brand new [Feb 1964] English Electric loco, given that I didn't often waste valuable film on diesels I'm amazed that I have a photo of it.
But I'm glad I did because a couple of days later at the Watawa Mill near Bundaberg we found No.6, almost 100 years older, built by Nielsons of Glasgow in 1865 and just for a bit more contrast parked right next to it was a 1964 XM Falcon.
The link below leads to a bit more information about No.6.
Some of my photos from this trip were damaged by the humid weather, the damage is apparent in the shot of 1271. I was shooting 120 paperbacked film, 12 to the roll, and some films suffered when the film stuck to the backing paper.
Next week I'll backtrack a bit and in the meantime I'll try to relive the trip in my mind so I can get it down on it were.
We visited a few sugar tramways so I'm going to have to do a bit of revision via Google too.
Peter Bruce.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Monday Morning Photo. 08/11/2010.

G'day all, four photos today of the Shay at Moreton Mill in late 1963. It was out of service by this time unfortunately and that was a pity, seeing a geared loco in action is really something.....a lot of noise, smoke and steam and very slow progress.
This link will take you to further information and photos of all the mill's locos.
I remember reading about a fan trip behind the Shay in an Australian model railway magazine sometime before our visit to this mill. These days it just wouldn't happen, risk management would decree it far too dangerous, perhaps there are just more dills around nowadays, people likely to put themselves and others at risk. Maybe. In fact we wouldn't have been allowed to roam unsupervised around the property if today's conditions had applied then. As I have remarked before in these postings all you needed to do back then was ask permission to have a look around and once permission was granted take care and stay out of the way of operations, in other words, use your common sense.
The other two photos are of our transportation from Nambour, the Monday to Friday Caboolture to Yandina train. When we got to Yandina we were still almost 1000 miles and about a week from Cairns.
You'll soon see why it took so long.
Peter Bruce.
Previous postings at

Monday, 25 October 2010

A correction and Where are the Mill's locomotives now ?

I found this useful page about the Moreton Mill engines. I had taken a second look at my photo, Coolum and Eudlo, and realised that Eudlo wasn't Eudlo but was probably a Krauss and as well had a dinky little tender.
So I went looking for further info and found it here. The other loco is in fact Moreton.
I'm most happy to be corrected further.
Peter Bruce.

Monday Morning Photo. 25/10/2010 and YouTube - Nambour Moreton Mill Sugar Cane BFC5

G'day all, I mistakenly sent the link to the above Moreton Mill clip late last week, I had meant to save it for the regular Monday posting. Perhaps I should say semi-regular. I've included it again so that it will appear when this posting goes to the Teenage Railfan site. The loco is a Bundaberg Fowler, apparently it was an occasional guest at Nambour during the '90s.
Anyway this week and next we will be at the Moreton Mill at Nambour. This sugar mill finally closed in December 2003 and NearMap for July 2010 shows the mill site totally cleared but with the track still visible from the street into the site just west of the intersection of Howard Street and Currie Street.
Looking at the 1962 Queensland Railways public timetable I would say that we left Brisbane on the 8.22 am Gympie passenger which got us over the 65 miles to Nambour in 3 hours and 7 minutes behind dark green Pacific 1036.
If I remember correctly our first sight of the mill operation was Petrie running light engine across the intersection of Currie Street and past the two pubs that still stand at this corner, the "Club" and the "Royal George".
The other photos are all at this intersection or in the mill yard. It was a busy tramway with four steam locos working, Coolum, Eudlo, Moreton and Petrie and at least one of the diesels too, I think there were only two at the time.
Later that day, after dark in fact, we were lucky enough to be taken out along the main line of the tramway deep into the canefields. We travelled on one of the diesels on a very dark night right out to somewhere along the river, all I know about the actual location is that retired tramway loco Valdora was preserved out there. The intrepid railway explorer Westy ventured off to get a photo but was, I think, defeated by the total absence of any light.
So when we returned to Nambour we camped for the night in a wagon in a siding near the station, sheer luxury.
All the locos carried the once ubiquitous canvas or hessian waterbags.
In the background of the photo of Coolum and the diesel shoving a rake into the mill you can see an old Commer truck and also a Blitzwagon. The Blitzs were all over Queensland in those days before the invasion of Toyota 4x4s and I remember a sales yard in South Brisbane devoted to them and the occasional Land Rover.
Next week I'll post some pictures of the out of service Shay at the Mill.
Peter Bruce.
P.S. Denys Williams disregard what follows, remember, It's the opposite of Playboy, you only get it for the pictures!!
I consulted widely about the location of the Ipswich Loco Depot and Dave MacCartney told me that it was actually over the river and near the workshops. I have just had a look at my friend NearMap again and the imprint of the turntable and the roundhouse tracks is clearly visible in the area between the Workshop leads and North Street and the school that I was using to try and locate the roundhouse is just southeast at the corner of Downs Street and Fitzgibbon Street. And it is not a Catholic School at all, I must have imagined the cross, it is Ipswich North Primary. The junction for the Workshops is a trailing one just west of the station and there is a signal box there still and a turntable is visible near that and in the shadows of the Ipswich City Mall buildings. Dave thought he recalled a facing junction west of the station for the roundhouse/workshops access track. Thanks Pat Cairney for your educated guess but we were all looking in the wrong direction and we were in the wrong place anyhow.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Monday Morning Photo. 18/10/2010.


G'day all, as I mentioned in an earlier post the three of us spent two or three days around Brisbane riding and photographing the steam hauled suburban services and anything else that moved on the Queensland Government rails. I havn't been to Brisbane since 1978 and the suburban services have been electrified since then. A quick look at NearMap shows that much else has changed since the days when Brisbane was regarded as Australia's biggest country town. Even in those remote early '60s days the line out as far as Corinda was four track but elsewhere there was also much single track running. Three of these photos were taken on that four track main between Sherwood and Corinda near the Quarry Road overbridge I think, English Electric 1272, hauling the wooden cars is heading inbound for Brisbane, the other two are outbound.
Yerongpilly on the Southside lines was/is connected with the main system by a line over to Corinda, back then it was the only connection. Nowadays there is a connection in the city between South Brisbane and Roma Street stations.
When I took the photo at Yerongpilly there were three Pb15s shunting the yard there. The Yank, 221A, is hauling a coal train just north of Ipswich I think, that looks like a road bridge under construction in the background and in the foreground the track gang is leaning on their shovels while the train's always a good idea to stand well clear of passing coal trains, big lumps of coal are apt to fall off!
Ferny Grove looks pretty rural in the photo of baby blue 1049 and again NearMap tells a very different story. I prefer NearMap over Google Earth, it enables much clearer coverage of the Australian cities.
Off up the North Coast next week, first stop Nambour and the Moreton Mill.


Peter Bruce.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Monday Morning Photo. 11/10/2010.

G'day all, I've been overtaken by indecision over the past few weeks but I'm OK now, I'm over it at least for the moment and we're back in Brisbane late in 1963. In fact we're in Ipswich hangin' around the Loco Depot and the Workshops. Ipswich is southwest of Brisbane. I can't figure out where the Loco was, in the shots of the roundhouse there is a two or three story school building which seems to have a large cross on the end wall.....I'm guessing that it is a Catholic College and I've searched for it on Google Earth and NearMap with no luck. Ah well never mind, it may not be there anymore
For the most part suburban passenger services to Ipswich was steam hauled and as well there were main line trains and considerable coal traffic from the mines in the district.
The General Motors diesel 1466 seems to be on a through freight train and the Yank, 221A ,at Ipswich station is towing a rake of coal hoppers.
The Yanks were so-called because they came to Queensland from The Baldwin Locomotive Works in the U.S.A during the war years. They were officially known as the AC16 class and one is preserved in running order.
The very shiny Pacific was fresh out of the overhaul and was tearing up and down under test, it hasn't even had it's number restored to the buffer beam.
The other shots are pretty much self explanatory and are at the Loco Depot. The close up of the Yank gives some idea of the everyday grime and dirt around any steam locomotive.
If anyone knows where the Loco Depot was I'm curious to know.
I reckon that eight photos almost makes up for a week or two of neglect of duty.
More Brisbane next week and then we'll set off on the 1000 mile trip north to Cairns.
Regards and apologies,
Peter Bruce.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Monday Evening Photo. 13/09/2010.

G'day all, Brisbane has three major city stations, Roma Street, Central and South Brisbane. South Brisbane in those days had no direct cross-river connection to the other two and Central was served only by suburban trains while Roma Street served both suburban and long distance trains. As well as providing all south of the river services South Brisbane was the terminal for interstate services to and from New South Wales.
On our 1963 trip we spent some time in Brisbane and usually rode the last train to a suburban terminus and slept in the cars after they were stabled, I don't think I slept in a bed for over a month.
Most of the suburban services were provided by loco hauled trains and only a few were diesel hauled. The rolling stock was a mixture of modern stainless steel cars built for conversion to electric multiple unit sets and elderly wooden bodied compartment cars.
Today's photos are all at or near the three city stations. 1036 is at Roma Street and is on a pretty typical country day train , a miscellaneous, not to say motley, rake of wooden cars headed by a clean, dark green Pacific although it could as easily sport a baby blue and white diesel.
All the rest are suburban trains, 754 is approaching South Brisbane with a rake of the aforementioned wooden compartment cars and the three shots of Central show what a smokey hollow it was in those days.
I havn't been to Brisbane for some time and I just had a look at the city on NearMap, I'd say it's pretty much unrecognisable as the same town. It was known then as a very big country town and had very little high-rise developement. It certainly wasn't anything like the southern cities. I liked it.
Just to round this posting off I've also attached a later photo of the evening tramway peak on the Southside, not too far from South Brisbane station. At the time the Brisbane City Council tramways ran a really efficient and intensive city and suburban service. Sadly the Council headed by the Lord Mayor Clem Jones, destroyed the tramways in favour of bus services in the late 1960s.
Most of the negatives I'm using at the moment are none too flash and require a fair bit of work to make them half-way presentable, hence my tardiness.
All my previous postings can be found at;
Peter Bruce.