South West Rail and Heritage Centre

 
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Well, we didn't quite make the 2 000 visitors for the year (we fell 28 short) but the fine weather still brought out a good crowd keen to learn the history of a 118 year old lady.  Those of a "mature" age may remember a hit song by Lucky Starr called "I've Been Everywhere Man"  (late 1950s/early 1960s from memory) - well this old lady has been nearly everywhere on the former WAGR 3'6" gauge tracks, Albany being about the only major town she didn't get to.  Of course, I'm talking about locomotive G233 named "Leschenault Lady" and thanks to well known rail historian and author Jeff Austin I was able to recite her work history, whereabouts and indiscretions to a fair sized crowd - and got a round of applause at the end!
Of course, our other on site attractions were there for all to see as well.  In the entry building we had 2 new pull up banners on display, highlighting "Leschenault Lady" and the other highlighting our amazing resident groups.  At the model railway "corner", the Harry and Garry Show was in full swing, joined by the Picko and Paul Pantomime, as "the boys" kept many visitors, and themselves, thoroughly entertained by running a number of different trains.

In the Picnic Van, Anne and Carolyn, and at the barbecue Kelly and Steven, were starved of entertainment but their guests were certainly not starved of tasty tucker, with a regular stream of people popping in to sample the menu of savoury and sweet delights, many courtesy of our friends at the Gingerbread House.

At the end of the site, Gordon and Evee were in residence at the Men's Shed to demonstrate what the members get up to a couple of times a week.  I could be wrong but I suspect that Gordon demonstrated how to drink cups of tea and tell stories while Evee got on with the actual work.

In the other part of the roundhouse, John and Roy continued the restoration of the old dog box carriage.  I noted that a couple of the new mirrors had been fitted in some compartments and the now very clean and as new luggage racks had been installed.  Gary had also been busy with the paint brush in the past month or so as the familiar (to we more "mature aged" people) green and cream external paint scheme was all but completed.

Once again, Don entertained the visitors with an old restored pump driven by an equally old engine pumping red water - or was that the blood and sweat Don had put into this project?  Elwyn was also there and he continues to make good progress on setting up the dairy display - and even more progress with ideas to make it even more spectacular!

Next door to the old machinery shed, a good number of blacksmiths gathered to bash lumps of metal into works of art or useful implements - and emerged from their forge at regular intervals to take on sustenance.   I would have thought that large slabs of steak would be the go but large slabs of cake seems to be what they prefer!

On behalf of all members and volunteers I offer our condolences to Brian who lost his mother last month and wish Barry a speedy and full recovery from a serious health condition that has kept him in hospital for a lengthy period.

So to 2017.  We will be open on Sunday, January 22 from 10am until 2pm highlighting the cleverness and innovation of Australians as we present "The Great Aussie Treasures Hunt".  The Federal Government is keen to promote innovation to replace the mining boom but you may be surprised to know that we Aussies have been innovative for well over 100 years.  To highlight this, we challenge you to find and identify the inventions that have been tagged with the year of their invention under the Australian flag.  On your way out, hand in your answer sheet  and you could be a prize winner if you've correctly found and identified them all.

Don't forget to also collect your "Boyanup Sunday" ticker from the front desk or to get it punched if you have already been to one or more of the participating businesses prior to coming to the SWRHC.

For more information or just to have a chat, you can contact us at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au or on 0459 712 552 and don't forget to check out, and like, our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre[/color][/color]

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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

And so 2017 began, and a good crowd attended our first Open Day of the year.  Amongst them was a good number of family groups who enjoyed taking part in "The Great Aussie Treasures Hunt" and enjoyed even more digging into our treasure box to collect their prize for finding and identifying the inventions that corresponded to the given dates.  Many expressed some surprise that Australians have come up with so many inventions that have changed the way people lived and worked, both in the past and today.

Our usual culprits were on hand as usual to make sure that our visitors had an enjoyable and interesting time.  Many thanks to Graham at the front desk, Harry and Garry running the model railway, our "bashful" blacksmiths, Don ad Elwyn with their machinery, John, Roy and Gary working on the restoration of the old "dogbox" carriage and Anne, Kelly and Steven making sure that rumbling empty tummies were soon quietened.

The next weekend we were "invaded" by the Basso Boys who were keen to progress the restoration to steaming condition of "Leschenault Lady", accompanied by Philippa with the Valium to keep them under control.  While Dom, Ian, John and Brayden spent a couple of days in and out of the pit repairing and cleaning the Lady's frame, Philippa got out the paint brush and can of Venetian Red paint and commenced the face lift for our Z class guard's van.

And that's not all that has happened in the past couple of months!  Gary, assisted by Don, has as good as finished the external painting of ACM 391 while John and Roy have the interior of several of the compartments completed and looking a million dollars.

Our mid-week machinery men have been busy restoring several more old engines to working condition, with more planned to be brought back to life this year.  This group has doubled in numbers in recent months, hence the increase in working machines.

Garry and Harry have stopped playing trains for a while and have concentrated on the scenic side of the layout, with trees magically shooting up overnight, grass growing and a thriving little town site under development to provide passengers and workers to keep the trains running,

Gordon and Evee have completed the picket fence around the Picnic Van and it now awaits someone with a paint brush and a can of cream paint in hand.  I think I might know who that may be - and it's not me!

When it was a little cooler than in recent weeks, Nick got on with the track rehabilitation, restoring a set of points and laying part of the road leading to the roundhouse after fixing the drainage issues and replacing some worn out sleepers.

We have also taken delivery of a number of signs of varying sizes recently, some giving directional information and others to assist visitors to interpret some of the displays a little better.  And there are more coming soon!  Many thanks to Covert Signs from Donnybrook and Lesley from "Different by Design" for the top class work they have given us.



Towards the end of 2016 we trialled some activities designed by Shiona of "Ignite Your Audience" for pre-school aged children and for senior primary aged students which aim to tell the story of the local area over thousands of years and the important part the railways played in the area's development.  The feedback we received from parents, teachers and students was very positive so we are keen this year to have them available on Open Days and for school visits.  But we need an experienced educator to oversee this and Anne fits the bill.  But she can't be in the Picnic Van and in the middle of a throng of kids at the same time so we are urgently looking for someone to take on her role in the Picnic Van.  This basically consists of taking the orders and looking after the money.  The ordering of the delicacies and ensuring that there is sufficient tea/coffee/drinks etc on hand will be done by me so it's really just the 5 hours or so of the Open Day for which we require a volunteer.  If that may be you, or you know of someone that would be perfect for the job, please let us know ASAP.

On behalf of all of the groups and individuals at the SWRHC I wish Julian, one of our patrons and a stalwart of the area, a speedy recovery from his recent heart problems and trust that Val is regularly reading him the riot act when he tries to do too much.

I also wish to congratulate the local fire and emergency services personnel on the magnificent job they did in controlling and extinguishing the recent Gwindinup bush fire.  There would be very little left of the SWRHC if the fire had got to Boyanup - just think Yarloop Workshops 2016.

Our February Open Day, to be held on the 26th, will be "Model Railway Mania".  Not only will the trains be running but there will be demonstrations of, and the opportunity to have a go at, some of the skills you can develop in order to build your own layout.  And if you have a "Boyanup Sunday" ticket there will be a special "something else" for you and/or your train fanatic.

For further information about the SWRHC, check out our Facebook at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/
, contact me at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color] or call me on 0459 712 552.







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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

There certainly was mania at the SWRHC last weekend, mainly mine as I tried to work out where all of the displays would fit in the entrance building to the site.  In my 11 day absence from the site, the model railway had grown about 50% bigger, thanks to Paul's donation of his NSW layout, and those cunning blighters had quickly got it permanently attached to the existing layout - and have started laying some Z scale track to make it into a kid's ride on set up!  And to rub salt into the w ound,they didn't provide a magnifying glass so that I could see what was going on.

But, as they say in the theatre, it will be alright on the night - and so it proved to be for our "Model Railway Mania" Open Day.  Well over 100 visitors turned up - lots of kids and some more mature aged males who had a home layout or were planning one. There well could be a few more members of the South West Model Railway Group in the offing.  Oh, and I did manage to fit all of the displays in via some creative placement of shelves and furniture.

The "boys" ran many and varied trains on the day and several of our visitors took advantage of our Boyanup Sunday promotion special offer - show us your Boyanup Sunday ticket and you can drive one of the trains.  This led to some rather fast running at times, including one episode of reverse running that I noticed - but no damage was sustained!

All of our other onsite groups were in action as well - the blacksmiths, the old machinery guys and a couple of working engines, the carriage restorers and the Men's Shed was also open for inspection.  And a special thanks to Allan for having his lovingly restored vintage car on display - unfortunately I can't find my notes so I can't tell you what it was!

Our volunteers also continued to provide excellent service to our visitors and I frequently get comments from visitors about how friendly and helpful they are.  Take a bow Graham at the front desk, Steven and Kelly at the sausage sizzle and Anne and Renee in the Picnic Van ( and the other ladies who have worked in there in the past) and all of the members of the various on site groups.  

Our Picnic Van is an amazing place and not only for the food and drinks available within.  Many regular visitors to the SWRHC head straight there when they arrive as they find it a great place to relax, chat with friends and other visitors and find out what's been happening with our on-going development of the site.  If any ladies, or gents, would like to be a part of its success, we are looking for a few more helpers for the van so that we don't wear out those that have been there for a long time and so that we can free up Anne (after 3 or 4 years continuous service in the van) to present our public programmes to visitors who are seeking more understanding of what they see and kids activities for our younger visitors.  If you can help, even if only once or twice a year, please contact me on any of the means listed at the end of this report.

More signs and panels are in the offing - the next lot of panels due to arrive will tell the story of the agricultural history of the area and we hope to have them on display for our March Open Day which is themed "From Farm to Fork".  This will take place on March 26th and our gates will be open from 10am until 2pm.

Many thanks to Alby, Dave, Peter and Steven from the Men's Shed who recently volunteered to put up one of our new signs in a conspicuous  - and quickly  regretted making the offer.  But, they persevered and eventually success was theirs, and ours!

We are also in the preliminary stages of getting the rest of the roundhouse floor concreted which will make for an easier walk for visitors and protect the machinery on display in there as dust and dirt are the enemies of vintage machinery.  It will also give us the opportunity to group the items that relate to a specific crop - for example, fruit, dairying, hay production etc - together to better tell the story, assisted by the relevant panels as mentioned above.

Should you require any further information about the South West Rail and Heritage Centre, visit, and like, our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre or email us at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color] or call me (Norm) on 0459 712 552.  We can also tell you all about the Boyanup Sunday promotion via our email address or by phone.[/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[size=2]Another 100+ crowd visited the SWRHC for our "From Farm to Fork" Open Day to find out about the agricultural past of the district and the part that the railways played in it - or was it that they had heard that Boyanup was host to the first vineyard and winery in the South West and thought that wine tastings would be the go? Whatever the reason, our visitors left with an appreciation of the work of the early settlers but,sadly, no lasting tingle on the palate from a tantalising taste of a century old grape fermentation.

As always, our "customer service crew" did us proud in making visitors feel welcome and important. Thanks Graham at the front desk, Kelly and Steven at the sausage sizzle and Carolyn, Evee and Anne in the Picnic Van. We were very pleased to welcome Evee to our crew of volunteers as this freed Anne to be able to offer some activities to any of our younger visitors who wanted to learn through "doing". Thanks also to Don who was tasked with keeping an eye on the roundhouse and to our merry-go-round which kept many children "entertained" for ages.

And of course, our on site groups were in full swing. Garry, Harry and Picko ran more trains than the PTA in Perth, with Picko's very large, and noisy, Garratt loco a feature, the blacksmiths kept themselves very busy making a broad axe blade which they finished just before closing time, our old machinery men again had visitors mesmerised by their operating engines (I swear that Don has a hidden collection that Jill doesn't know about as every month he has a different one operating!) while Elwyn's "Buttercup the cow" set a world record for producing a stream of milk for 4 hours straight and Allan's 1930 Chevrolet Tourer showed what the prosperous farmer of that time drove into town on a Saturday morning to get the week's supplies. A special mention must be made of Jacob, nine years old and already right into machinery - I think Grandad Allan has had some influence here - who noted the number of leaves outside the machinery shed so cranked up our leaf picker upper and proceeded to suck up every leaf that lay on the ground.

In the roundhouse John, Roy and Gary continued the restoration of the old carriage and hope to have in the near future one compartment fully restored to allow for closer inspection by visitors whilst in their "Taj Mahal" at the back of the roundhouse Gordon, Dave and Terry were only too happy to "Show and Tell" about the Men's Shed. In doing so, they gained a new member who will very shortly, along with his good lady, be the first residents of the Meadowbrooke Lifestyle Village which is next door to the SWRHC.

In recent weeks we have gained another volunteer helper and we warmly welcome Barry to our "crew". He has taken on the painting of the picket fence around the Picnic Van and finishing off the painting of the rails leading into the van.

I also called upon the Men's Shed for a bit of help to shift some sleepers before the Open Day and Paul and Don answered the call, although their backs and arms probably still regret it - thanks guys. I will be calling on the Men's Shed for help again in the near future as the stands for some interpretive signs are ready and I hope that they will put the bits together in time for the next Open Day.

Picko not only has a noisy locomotive, he also has a noisy Bobcat, and a big truck, which he has used over the past couple of weeks to remove a mountain of fallen branches and garden waste and to do a clean up behind the entry building and cottage. If you are looking for someone to do earthworks, big or small (yes, he has a bid front end loader too!), Picko's Bobcat Hire is who you should contact.

We have been blessed to have a number of people think of us at the SWRHC and offer us items, materials and services. Several weeks ago I was contacted by a lady who was helping her mother find a good home for her late husband's train books. Thanks to Mrs Entwhistle, our reference library has expanded considerably and a number of books about British railways and tramways has been passed onto a group interested in such things - and one or two of these books recently went back to Britain for researchers and historians to use in their work.

We have also been given a laser printer recently so our posters, signage and other written and/or pictorial efforts will be improved through the use of this - many thanks Julie and Rainer.

With many thanks to the Bunbury Musical Comedy Group, the SWRHC is now the proud owner and the home of a new steam locomotive which we hope to have ready for kids to clamber on at our next Open Day.

To keep the SWRHC site safe and in good nick we have recently had visits from Owen of Golden West Pest and Weed Removal to check, and treat if spotted, termites and from local business Hay's Tree Lopping to give our very large flame trees a "haircut" and to trim any branches that look likely to fall in the near future. And keeping it local, once every couple of weeks, Julie's Lawnmowing visits to keep our grassed areas under control.

With so many people helping us in one way or another, you may think that we are sitting back and having a rest. Not so! Our next project to have the site in the best possible condition is to have the floor of the agricultural machinery part of the roundhouse concreted to reduce the dust which is a "killer" for old machinery and to make it easier for visitors to check out what is there. Hopefully we will have more word on this soon.

Our next Open Day is on Sunday, April 23rd from 10am until 2pm and is themed "Traditional Trades Day". As well as our on site groups demonstrating how things were done in the past, all things being equal (and the weather nice!), we will be joined by book binders, wood turners, rope makers, rag rug makers, toy makers, lacemakers, weavers and paper folders to name some of the crafts you will see. Who knows, you may find yourself a new hobby!

The South West Rail and Heritage Centre is a member of the Boyanup Sunday promotion so make sure you collect a ticket from us or one of the other participating businesses to win a hamper of goodies - just ask Kelly at our sausage sizzle what it's like to win this!

For more information on this day or anything to do with the SWRHC, you can contact us at [email=swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au][color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color][/email] or phone 0459 712 552. You can also visit us, and like, our Facebook page at [url=https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/][color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/[/color][/url]



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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Yet another fine morning saw the crowds turn up to the SWRHC to see and learn about some trades and crafts that technology has left far behind but that are still practised by some as a hobby or as a business today.  At the end of the day, over 400 visitors had turned up (150 in the first half hour!) to see 30 artisans at work.

On display was rug rag making, sewing with a hand operated machine, felting using alpaca wool, wooden toys being hand made, book binding, portrait drawing, hand tools from pre-electric tool days, lace making, knot tieing, wood turning, weaving, spinning and string musical instruments being hand made as well as a demonstration of rope making.  Our sincere thanks go to these folk who gave of their time and skill to be a part of this day - and yes, Traditional Trades Day will be on again in April next year!

And, as usual, our on site groups were in full swing - the blacksmiths showing how metal used to be used to make various items, our old machinery men having a couple of equally old machines chugging away, the Men's Shed showing their hand made woodwork and John, Roy and Gary showing how railway rolling stock used to be built and repaired a century ago.  Even the model railway guys got into the "old" act by running several steam locomotives on the layout to show what trains used to be like, with Picko's sound equipped loco being a great drawcard.

Not to be outdone, our volunteers turned on the old fashioned charm and service that was a feature in days gone by - well done and thank you Graham at the door, Evee, Carolyn and Anne in the Picnic Van, Steven and Kelly at the sausage sizzle and Philippa and Don on the raffle.  In the spirit of days gone by we raffled a copy of "Rails Through the Bush", a massive book that tells the history of the timber industry in WA and the important part played by the railways.  It was won by Julia from Mandogalup and she was thrilled as she told us that it was the first thing she had ever won - apart from her husband's heart of course!

And the kids weren't forgotten as we had a number of "old time" activities for them to try, replicating what we who are getting on used to do to keep ourselves amused as kids.

Our May Open Day on the 28th is themed "Trains, trains, trains - and more trains".  It will be a multi-event day.  At 11am we will unveil our thus far secret addition to the site which should be a great hit with "train tragic" kids and following that, and again at 12.30pm, I will lead a posse of interested visitors through the back blocks of the site to show what else we have that is not on front line display in terms of rolling stock - please note that covered footwear will be required for this.  Added to this adventure we will have some new interpretive panels on display that illustrate the history of a number of the items of rolling stock.  And all of our usual attractions will be on hand to make it a big day out for visitors.

And now for the news that many of you have been waiting for - if all goes to plan, Leschenault Lady's boiler will make a triumphal return to Boyanup in readiness for this open day - and we'll spend a bit of time on our back blocks tour checking it out. Then the fun will begin as we commence the job of putting it back on the frames and connecting up all the bits and pieces so that she will again be in operable condition.

Further good news is that we have been successful in gaining a grant from the Shire of Capel to begin the concreting of the floor of the machinery side of the roundhouse.  This will make it much more pleasant for visitors to walk through, reduce the dust that is the enemy of preserving old machinery and allow us to rejig the displays to better tell the stories of some of the local area's industries.

To keep up to date with what is happening at the SWRHC, check out, and like, our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/ or contact me through [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color] or call on 0459 712 552.  We are always keen to hear from people who are looking for something to do with their spare time - we can find a niche for you at the SWRHC, whether you are skilled in some way or a complete novice.[/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[size=2][size=2]Well, we didn't see that coming! A sunny fine day and a secret that had clues given every day or two on our Facebook page should have brought us a good crowd. It didn't - it brought us a massive crowd of 280 people through the front door and this number included our 1 000th visitor for the year so far and 90 kids. Usually our ratio of visitors is 1 child for every 4 or 5 adults but 1:2 was fantastic - and didn't they give our Kids Corner a good workout, with giant bubbles floating every where, lots of games and activities being used and our "merry-go-round" in almost constant motion.[/size]

[size=2]So what was the "surprise" that brought all of these people to the SWRHC? A couple of months ago the Bunbury Musical Comedy Group played a season of "The Railway Children" and consequently a train was required as part of the performance. Not being content with a flat panel train, master craftsman Norm Flynn constructed a rather large 3 dimensional train which had to be in 3 pieces in order to get it in and out of his shed and then bolted together for the performances. At the end of the season the question was asked, "Now what are we going to do with it?" Being too good, and big, to put in the bin, they contacted me to see if the SWRHC could use it. Not being known for refusing anything to do with trains, I accepted and it was duly delivered to the site, with the intent that it would become a "play thing" for would be young train drivers. As the door to the shed opened and the train was revealed the "oohs" and the "ahhs", and they from the parents, said that I had made the right decision. The kids didn't waste time with sounds, they headed straight for the train to try it out - and it was thumbs up all round. Thanks to the Men's Shed the train had a floor put in it and thanks to blacksmith Brian we had a name plate to put on the front of the boiler - the train is henceforth known as the "Norm Flynn Express" and the train will be available for the kids to play in whenever the weather is fine (being made of ply wood, it's not suitable for outside use in wet weather).[/size]

[size=2]As massive as the crowd was is my thanks to our volunteers who handled the crush with ease - great job Graham on the door, Barry in the roundhouse, who made a very welcome return after several serious health issues, Steven and Kelly slaving over a hot "stove" and selling out of sausages and Evee, Heather, a very welcome "newby", Anne and Anna in the Picnic Van who were very nearly left with only the tables and seats for people to eat and Don who patrolled the grounds to help visitors learn more about the exhibits.[/size]

[size=2]Equally big thanks to our on site groups. Garry, Harry and Picko were often lost in the crowd watching the model trains pass by and admiring the scenery which continues to develop. The site of the fun fair has been invaded by stalls and games, along with a miniature railway under construction, while the town site has gained a number of new businesses. Harry was a bit sad that his business was put in a side street so next time you visit the SWRHC ask him to show you his pink, yellow and purple "Harry's Hair and Beauty Salon" - an apt business for a man with such soft and delicate hands![/size]

[size=2]Our blacksmiths went "back to school" as Master Blacksmith Malcolm demonstrated to them some new techniques which they spent the day mastering in order to be ready for next Open Day when they will make a start on a new group project which should get finished at our July Open Day, themed the "Blacksmith Bash".[/size]

[size=2]Next door in the machinery shed Don and Terry set about replacing some rusted out pipes on the Victoria engine, the first stage being to cut the pipes to length then bend them to the required shape. For a little relief from that hard and heavy work they thought that they might start up the recently restored engine that always starts first time. Yep, you guessed it, after many "swings" on the fly wheel, not a peep! With under their breath mutterings, the engine was put away and it was back to the Victoria which didn't seem that hard and heavy after all. During the morning Allan and Jacob arrived, the latter always keen to get into the machinery despite his tender years but Allan was severely restricted by recent surgery. We all wish him a speedy recovery and that everything settles down so he can get his hands dirty again. And all of this activity was under the watchful eye of Elwyn who has our dairy display taking shape very nicely.[/size]

[size=2]In the roundhouse John and Gary continued their excellent restoration of carriage ACM 391, with it getting closer and closer to completion. Those who stayed and watched for a while would have seen just what is required in restoration work, such as John having to make replica pieces to replace lost or broken intricately shaped items and Gary having to use "elbow grease" to restore the shine to metal fittings. Unfortunately Roy was also suffering from some health issues and we wish him a speedy recovery too - hopefully running his model trains at home is keeping his spirits up.[/size]

[size=2]At the back of the roundhouse Gordon was "on duty" to show and tell what the Men's Shed members get up to. They too are very skilled in wood work and metal work and often make items to order for other community groups and individuals. They are also right into cooking, and eating, sausages and a number of them were next door helping Meadowbrooke Lifestyle Village with its Open Day - I suspect they hoped that by doing this they hoped they would get a discount on a villa![/size]
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[size=2]As well as the new train being unveiled, we offered a once only "back blocks" tour of the parts of the site that are off limits to visitors but contain interesting rail exhibits. A small group of intrepid explorers joined me for this and they got to see and hear the story of a number of pieces of rolling stock that are usually "invisible" to visitors to the SWRHC.[/size]

[size=2]One of the things they saw, and a big story in its own right, was the boiler from "Leschenault Lady". It had been returned from Manjimup 2 weeks earlier and will be placed back on the loco's frames just as soon as the last few repairs and cleaning has been completed as this work can't be done if the boiler is on.[/size]

[size=2]Another display that we had on show for the first time was Gordon's grey Ferguson tractor. These little machines were, and still are in some smaller holdings, the back bone of many agricultural areas and it is being restored to operating condition by Ian and Gordon.[/size]

[size=2]Not too far away from the Fergie, Terry has our McCormack Deering W6 tractor nearly ready to become the site work horse. She now purrs like a kitten (literary licence taken here!), doesn't leak oil and a coat of paint after a good rub back will have looking a million dollars.[/size]

[size=2]Next door, the blacksmiths have taken delivery of a new metal fretsaw and Brian has restored a large whet stone to working order. This latter item will be useful to all of our groups when they need to sharpen tools - and also shows to visitors how it used to be done.[/size]

[size=2]On the other side of the machinery shed, Peter from the Men's Shed has been using his modern welding skills to construct racks for the Men's Shed to store its timber on, which helps keep the site tidy. [/size]

[size=2]Prior to the opening of the gates for the Open day, everybody was busy getting the site ready. Ray had had a coup;e of his grand kids staying with him and they got into the swing of things too and were a great help in a number of areas - thanks kids, you are both champions![/size]

[size=2]During the day, long time Boyanup resident Lloyd Merritt popped in and passed on a photo of some local fettlers from many years ago. It is a great photo but more importantly it records their names which helps us in our research of the rail history of the area. Thank you Lloyd.[/size]

[size=2]I also must thank Gordon for completing the clean up after April's Open Day - guess who forgot to put away some of the interpretive signs! I won't promise but I will try to stop giving you a hard time about how many toasted sandwiches you devoured this month, Gordon.[/size]

[size=2]And so to June's Open Day. This will be our Old Machinery Day when machines from our collection are joined by machines from private owners in a wheeze, snort, bellow and bang concerto (or should that be cacophony) to show how our grandparents and their parents used machinery to make their working and home life that bit easier and allowed them to retire some of their manual implements.[/size]

[size=2]For more information about our June Open day or anything else about the SWRHC you can email me at [email=swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au][color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color][/email], check (and like) our Facebook page at [url=https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/][color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/[/color][/url] or call me on 0459 712 552.[/size]








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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

While the farmers were holding out for some decent rain, we were holding out for 4 hours of fine weather for our Old Machinery Day and got it, though it did become overcast and windy towards the end.  Hopefully the farmers may be celebrating as I write this on a wet, cold and miserable morning.

As always our volunteer staff were on top of their game with their friendliness, knowledge and customer service skills which a number of visitors have commented on in recent months.  Take a bow Graham at the front desk, Barry in the roundhouse, Anne, Carolyn, Evee and Heather in the Picnic Van, Steven and Kelly at the sausage sizzle and Don patrolling the site.

It's not much of an Old Machinery Day if you don't have lots of operating old machinery for the visitors to marvel at and in this regard we were spoilt by the turn out of members of the Old Machinery Club of WA and their machines.  Added to out large Tangye and Victoria engines operating under the care of Don and Allan, with the Victoria trying to steal the limelight by "exploding" very loudly every couple of fly wheel revolutions, there must have been about a dozen smaller visiting machines  adding their wheezes, snorts and grunts to the "music".  Needless to say, many visitors spent considerable time watching, asking questions and getting their nose up close and personal to them - and enjoying the smell of their exhaust.

While the machinery stole the limelight, our other on site groups were still inundated by visitors.  In the front room Harry and Garry had the HO and N scale trains running to a tight timetable and this, along with the ever more "sophisticated" scenic attractions, kept many people enthralled for ages.

Down the track the blacksmiths were in full swing practising newly learned techniques ready for their "day in the sun" at our July Open Day when they will be creating a new team project under the guidance of master blacksmith Malcolm Paine who featured in a recent edition of the Senior newspaper.

At the back of the site, the Men's Shed was open with Albie, Dave, Terry and Gordon (when he was not checking that the Picnic Van was operating efficiently aka eating their produce) on hand to show and tell about their shed and the projects they take on for family members, members of the public and community groups.

Gordon's "supervision" of the Picnic Van must have paid dividends as the ladies, while not rushed off their feet, did a roaring trade throughout the day, with the result that there was very little left for me to "taste test" at the end of the day.  This was also the case with Steven and Kelly at the sausage sizzle, with only a couple of "snags" left when the gas was turned off.  Ah well, at least we are keeping our local butcher busy - and probably making him rich!

Nick has returned for a couple of weeks break from the North West where he has been working on the iron ore railway tracks and some of this break will be spent working on our tracks to bring them up to standard.  There's nothing like a change of scenery to freshen one up!

Just before the Open Day, Don and I paid a visit to one of the Bunbury tool shops and spent around $3 000 on new "bits and pieces", mainly for the old machinery guys to make their restoration work easier, but some of the "goodies" will be useful to the other on site groups as well.  This money was from a successful Commonwealth Government Volunteers' Grant application written by Anne, who over the years, has made a habit of writing successful grant applications to various funding bodies.  I don't think that the smile has gone from Don's face yet!

On behalf of all the volunteers and groups associated with the South West Rail and Heritage Centre, I congratulate one of our patrons, Julian Sanders, on his recognition in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his many years of service to the Boyanup community.

Our next Open Day will be held on July 23rd and will feature the "Blacksmith Bash". For more details about this or anything to do with the SWRHC you can email me at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au
, see what's happening on our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/[/color] or phone on 0459 712 552.


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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

As I lay huddled under the doona listening to the heavy rain pelting down at 5am on July 23rd my thoughts re our Blacksmiths' Bash Open Day were not positive but despite showers up until just before 10am, and a bit of drizzle every so often after that, the people still came in droves, with quite a few making the trek from Perth and other country towns.  Whether they came to see the blacksmiths "do their thing" or just to stand in front of a blazing fire and keep warm is a matter for conjecture but at the end of the day over 200 visitors had walked through our entry door.

And our blacksmiths did not disappoint either the public, or the ladies in the Picnic Van as they ate their fair share, and mine, of the cakes and other goodies available.  In between mouthfuls they worked in pairs to craft red hot metal into various twisted and curved shapes following the plans and design of Master Blacksmith Malcolm which later were welded together with extreme heat and heavy bashing into an intricate .... - well, you'll just have to pay us another visit to see the end result!

Before the visitors got to see the blacksmiths they met our concierge Graham (he has become much more than just a meet and greet man)  and get past the enthusiasm and repartee of Harry, Garry and Bernie at the model railway, which kept many a man and child, not to mention the women who were attracted to other elements than just the trains, observing for quite a time.

Down in the machinery shed Terry worked on the McCormick Deering W6 tractor which he is restoring mechanically and giving it a fresh coat of red paint.  When finished, this will become the work horse for the site when something needs more than a push and a grunt to move it.  Every so often Don made the roof lift as he started up his very large Lanz Bulldog tractor and in the afternoon, after the weather had cleared somewhat, took it for a couple of bouncing laps of the site to help his lunch settle.  Meanwhile Elwyn quietly and methodically, as is his manner, continued to put together our dairy display.

In the roundhouse John and Gary emulated Elwyn's mode of working as they continued their painstaking restoration of the carriage ACM 391.  Progress is steady but slow as they have many small and intricately fashioned "bits" to either restore to as new or to make new ones as the original ones have broken, rotted or been lost.  The people who have made the effort to have a look in the completed compartment have been fulsome in their praise of the "boys" work.

Meanwhile, at the back of the roundhouse Albie, Peter and Dave of the Capel Men's Shed  were entertaining members of the Manjimup Men's Shed who had cruised up the SW Highway to check out the facilities and the work the members have been doing.  Fortunately for the visitors, several wives had taken control of the refreshments so the visitors didn't get dry bikkies and gum leaf tea.  It seemed that a good time was had by all and new friends made by both groups.

The Men's Shed was not the only place where a good feed could be had.  As usual, the ladies in the Picnic Van, along with Kelly and Steven at the sausage sizzle, had all things delectable to eat and whatever the blacksmiths had left was quickly gobbled up by our visitors such that the sausages all disappeared as did the toasted sandwiches and cakes, leaving me only a few crumbs to satisfy my hunger.  We were very pleased to welcome another new volunteer, Jenny, to the Picnic Van crew and she, together with Carolyn and Anne, proved to be a dab hand at all things culinary.

During the weeks between Open Days, Nick has been carrying out further work on rehabilitating the trackwork within the site on his weeks off from doing the same thing on some of the iron ore lines in the Pilbara such that what we have inside the fences puts to shame what is outside the fences.

Picko has also been busy, apart from playing trains with the other "boys", using his truck and loader to do some "landscaping" for us.  We are very lucky to have helpers like Nick and Picko who freely give of their expertise, time and labour.

The afternoon before our Open Day saw the site swampedby photographers as 2 groups descended upon us.  The first group was on a "treasure hunt" where they had to find and photograph certain things at the SWRHC and elsewhere.  Just as they were heading off, the second group arrived and their brief was to take photos of some models using various rail vehicles as back drops.

We will be hosting a visit by officers from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator in 2 weeks time as part of the application for accreditation by Rail Heritage WA.  Gaining this accreditation will allow RHWA to move rail vehicles within the Bassendean and Boyanup sites under strict conditions.  If/when the accreditation is granted however, it will not mean that we can move rail vehicles on Open Days or on the tracks outside of either venue.

Word is spreading widely about our "Australind Goes Platinum" (70th anniversary of the service beginning and 30th anniversary of the current railcars entering service) Open Day on Sunday, November 26th and already we have received a number of photos and reminisces and a couple of artefacts but we are always on the lookout for more if any readers would like to contribute.   We are very grateful for the sponsorship of this day from the Shire of Capel. We have contacted all of the primary schools along the route inviting them to enter our "Australind Art Array" which is being sponsored by our neighbours Meadowbrooke Lifestyle Village and K Mart Bunbury.

For more information about the SWRHC, check out our Facebook page [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/ or contact us at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color] or by phone on 0459 712 552.[/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Clear blue skies and lots of sunshine had been ordered for our "Antique Autos" day and so it turned out, a perfect day to be out and about and to marvel at the development of the automobile over many years and the appreciate the many hours of work spent by owners to restore and maintain these magnificent machines in tip top condition.  Thanks to the members of the Donnybrook, Busselton, Collie and South West Vintage Car Clubs around 40 vehicles were on display, ranging from 1920s era "oldies" to 1970s "muscle cars" and many more in between - it was a car lovers paradise.  It was commented that there so many cars on site that it looked like peak hour on the Perth freeways!  Fortunately for us, and the owners, Picko took on the job of marshal and managed to fit everybody in.

With the perfect weather and the wonderful display it was only natural that we hoped for lots of visitors - and we weren't disappointed as well over 200 people passed through the gates during our opening hours such that we are just over 300 shy of reaching the 2 000 visitors for the year with 4 Open days remaining.

Unfortunately for us, and for him, Graham, our concierge and a noted car fanatic , had a prior engagement so I filled in as the "meet and greet" person and my feet were most grateful that they didn't have to "patrol" the 2 hectare site for 4 hours. Directly opposite me Harry, Garry and Bernie, and later joined by Picko, played trains to their hearts content and amidst the noise made by the sound equipped Garratt steam locomotive that Harry loves "driving" I overheard them discussing their plans for a further enlargement of the layout by adding a turntable.

Down the road the blacksmiths forge was in operation with a reduced crew as several of them were at Balingup displaying their skills and collection of swords, battle axes and such like at the Medieval Festival.  Never the less, Ray made sure that the blacksmiths' reputation for cake eating was upheld!

Next door, Elwyn continued work on building our dairy display while Don shared his knowledge and love of old machinery with visitors - and around midday was persuaded, or was it that he did the persuading, to "fire up" his very large and noisy Lanz Bulldog tractor.  It could be heard in the entry building some 150 metres away. It was great to see Allan on site again - unfortunately work commitments are getting in the way of his love of restoring old machinery.

In the roundhouse John was on his own this month as he furthered the restoration of the 1912 built carriage ACM391.  The "finishing line" is in sight as the call has gone out for the purchase of new lino for the floor of the compartments, though the finishing touches will still take some time to complete.

At the rear of the roundhouse Gordon and Dave were pleased to show visitors around the Men's Shed and tell them what the members get up to in terms of community projects as well as individual activities and work done to improve the SWRHC site.

Wandering around the site obviously made many visitors hungry as Evee, Carolyn and Anne in the Picnic Van and Steven and Kelly at the sausage sizzle were kept very busy feeding them with savoury and sweet food and hot and cold drinks such that at the end of the day there was very little left over.

Around the site a lot happens between Open Days and this will certainly be the case over the next couple of months.  A grant is going to enable us to concrete the floor of the agricultural machinery side of the roundhouse in late September/early October, put safety railing around the pit in the rail side of the roundhouse, put solar panels on the roundhouse roof to reduce our electricity bill and construct a verandah over the deck of the Picnic Van.

A new volunteer, David, a trained mechanic, has taken on the task of bringing Jardee, our shunting locomotive, back to working condition by repairing electrical wiring, replacing missing dials and giving the engine a good going over so that when accreditation to move rolling stock is granted. she will be ready to go.

Our old machinery men showed that they know about more than just spark plugs and engine blocks as they recently rehung the large doors on the roundhouse (before they fell off)  and replaced the disintegrating door in the alcove with a more substantial door.

Prior to our Open Day, our other Don gave the inside of the ADG railcar a good clean, including removing mould from the walls, and our old machinery Don had weeded the garden bed leading to the toilet block - thanks gents.

Thanks also to Bruce and Michael from Rail Heritage WA for the work done on bringing our Constitution into line with the new requirements.  This will be voted on at our AGM in October.

My personal thanks to Stuart, a neighbour from Meadowbrooke Lifestyle Village, for his help with an issue over the weekend.

The visit by officers from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator was positive - they were able to see what we wanted to do, what still needed to be done to ensure that our infrastructure was of a good standard and that operations could be carried out without needing to access the main lines.  They were most impressed with Nick's rehabilitation work on our tracks.

Unfortunately we did have another visitor just after this visit - a homeless person cut the fence to get in and spent a couple of days sleeping in the ADG railcar and using the Picnic Van for meals.  While we were sympathetic to his situation - this was the week of heavy rain - we were not impressed by him breaking into the freezer and causing the food in there to defrost and have to be thrown out. - not a good result for a not for profit group.  This incident was reported to the polce and Neighbourhood Watch committee.

As all of our on site group members and volunteers are fully occupied on our Open Days, we are looking for a person/some people who may like to take on the role of site photographer so that we have photos of happenings for publicity purposes and for our records.  If this sounds like something you could do please contact me at any of the below contact details.

Our September Open Day is themed "Shopping at the Shed" and features the Capel Men's Shed and the work they do.  If you are looking for some fine woodwork for a gift, looking for a particular tool or need a timber or metal project constructed then you shouldn't miss this day.  The SWRHC gates open at 10am and close at 2pm and all on site groups and displays will be open.

For more details or to contact us please check, and like, our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/ or email [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color] or phone 0459 712 552.[/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Well, I think it's back to forecasting school for Bureau of Meteorology staff!  Not that we mind though as we were "promised” heavy showers and storms but got overcast and occasionally sunny weather until around 1.30pm when drizzle set in followed by rain after 2 but by then most of the packing up had been completed.  Despite the forecast weather we welcomed 105 visitors - and 1 dog for those who keep track of these things - which puts our target of 2 000 visitors for the year well within reach considering there are 3 more Open days remaining this year.

It was great to have Graham back to welcome the visitors at the front desk with a smile and any information they required.  Opposite Graham the usual bedlam prevailed as Garry, Harry, Bernie and Picko tried to emulate the real railways by running a number of different trains, both passenger and freight, on the model railway layout which features 3 scales - HO/OO, N and Z.

Down the road, the blacksmiths forge was a hive of activity as they continued bashing hot metal into intricate shapes under the watchful eye of master blacksmith, Malcolm. It was also a good place to be when the sun went behind the clouds!

Directly opposite the forge, the ladies in the Picnic Van, Heather, Evee and Anne, were kept busy supplying the blacksmiths with cakes during their breaks and serving visitors with light refreshments in between times.  "Next door" Steven had mouths watering as the smell of cooking onions and sausages drifted by.

Don was on duty with the old machinery displays which is always a feature of the site and it wasn't long before someone asked about the large Lanz Bulldog tractor. Don didn't need to be asked again - out came the gas lamp to warm it up and before long it was pretending to be Mount Agong in Bali with billowing smoke and Krakatoa with volume.  We certainly will miss it when it goes back "home".

In the roundhouse John and Gary continued with the restoration of our 105 year old "dog box" carriage and took great delight and pride, as they should, in showing people the interior of one of the completed compartments.

At the back of the roundhouse were the stars of this month's Open Day - Peter D's scones!!!  Oh alright, before I get into trouble I had best say that Albie, old and young Dave, Paul, Stuart and 2  Peters were there too - a site to melt any maiden's heart. But that wasn't all that there was to see in the Men's Shed.  The "boys" had been busy sorting out what they had multiples of and I noted a number of people carting boxes of tools and bits and pieces to their car as well as a number of their timber creations.  There was also a number of items that they have made for others as part of their contribution to the community on display.  Most notable was a new cross for St Josephs Catholic Church in Capel which was shown in one of our Facebook entries.  The old cross had been attacked by the weather and possibly termites and a recent refurbishment of the 1913 built church resulted in the request for the new cross.

Recently we had a community notice in the local papers asking for a volunteer to take photos of the goings on at an Open Day as all of our volunteers are busy "performing" or assisting around the site.  I am delighted to say that we have had 6 replies and one, Matt, came out to see what an Open day was like and spent the day roaming the site and capturing the "action".  The photos taken by these folk will be used for publicity purposes and for our archives and the photographer of each photo will be acknowledged.

One of our long time static exhibits, a Caterpillar 22, has recently roared back into life thanks to David and Picko.  In my 25 or so years of being around the site I have never heard its engine in action and I'm looking forward to seeing it move under its own power once they get the tracks freed up.

David has also been giving our shunting locomotive, Jardee, some overdue attention and he recently took delivery of a new front panel for the cab as the old one had rusted through.

Work is about to commence on the projects funded by the Local Projects Local Jobs programme and these will include solar panels to reduce our electricity reliance on fossil fuel, the concreting the floor of the machinery side of the roundhouse and a verandah over the decking of the Picnic Van to provide more space.   Already the roundhouse has been partly emptied of lighter items by Don and Gary and Picko's bobcat should be able to take care of the rest, he said with fingers crossed.

The SWRHC will have a stand at the upcoming Railfest to be held on Sunday, October 8th at the Bassendean Rail Museum.  Come and say hello to Anne and I will also be there as often as other duties on the day will allow..

Our next Open Day is set for October 22nd and will be an Old Fashioned Railway Picnic, sadly without the train ride to get there and back.  Come and relive the good old days when the Government Railways put on a special day for their staff and their families.  All of the old games and activities will be there, though some with a SWRHC twist, and all of the on site groups will be in action.

Keep in mind too our November Open Day on the 26th when we celebrate the Australind Goes Platinum, recognising the 70 years of this train running and the 30 years of the railcars.  With accreditation to move vehicles on rail getting closer, fingers crossed that we may have some of the original set of carriages on display.

For more information on the SWRHC please look, and like, our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/ or email us at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au
or phone me on 0459 712 552.[/color]

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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Being in competition with Telethon and a Garden Trail last Open Day saw our visitor numbers tumble somewhat to the mid-seventies but those who did come all appeared to have had a good time.  Several families attended and it wasn't long before they joined in the spirit of an Old-Fashioned Railway Picnic, the parents challenging their offspring in such goings on as the "egg and spoon", 3 legged and sack races.  Luckily for them there were no cameras to record the carnage for Facebook or Funniest Home Videos.


While recovering from or dodging the challenge of the races and other picnic activities, most of our visitors checked out our on-site groups who were all working hard.  As usual the blacksmiths put on a fiery show of strength and skill while next door Don was just waiting for someone to ask about his Lanz Bulldog tractor.  One innocent person did but that was enough for Don and before anyone could say "Block your ears" she was bellowing away and putting on a fine show.  The old girl has now returned to Don's home shed as he noticed a spot of dirt on her and immediately vowed to give her a good clean and overhaul - and a kiss good night!


Further down the track the Men's Shed was open to show off their facilities and the fine work they do for community groups and individuals as well as their own projects while next door John and Gary continued with the work on the old carriage, John concentrating on the compartment interiors while Gary got on with replacing the running boards.


When visitor tummies started to rumble the ladies in the Picnic Van and our sausage sizzle supremos, Steven and Kelly, turned on the magic and fed and watered everyone with the finest of light refreshment savoury and sweet cuisine - well, what was left in the cake department after the blacksmiths had eaten their share - and mine and many others as well!


Back in the entry room the model trains were running laps of the layout, with a mixed bag of Australian, American and British outline with both passenger and freight consists.  At the front desk Graham was his usual friendly and helpful self in welcoming our visitors.


Cometh the hour, (12.30pm), cometh the men (the blacksmiths, fortified with whatever strength cake eating provides) but unfortunately by this time the kids had left so the blacksmiths were saved the embarrassment of being done over in the tug of war.  But don't worry gents, there's always next year for you to show off your rippling muscles.


After the gates had closed and the cleaning up had been done we settled down to hold the Boyanup Foundation Inc. AGM.  In a not so unforeseen event, the same four office bearers were nominated and accepted the nomination and there being no further nominations were duly elected so once again it's Norm as President, Brian as Vice President, Anne as Secretary and Philippa as Treasurer.  Each on site group nominated their committee representatives and the AGM came to a close.  It was mentioned though that we need to have documented all of our processes and procedures to ensure that the SWRHC is sustainable when the current committee may not be around.


Regular visitors to the SWRHC would have noticed on our Open Day a lot of agricultural machinery in the open and the north side of the roundhouse closed.  This had been done in preparation for the concreting of the floor in this area which occurred in the following week.  With many thanks to Australind Pre-Mix and Lakeside Concrete the former sandy "sow's ear" has been transformed into a silk purse.  Don, Gary and Picko of Picko's Bobcat Hire did the bulk of the emptying of the shed, Picko delivered the sand and levelled the area and started to move the large and heavy items back into the roundhouse once the concrete had set.  While this was happening Terry was up a ladder making sure that one of the large entry doors remained in place, Don and Gary having fixed the other one a couple of weeks before.


When this area is fully set up there will be displays based around the agricultural history of the area - hay/chaff, fruit, timber and wine - and a display about fettlers who carried out track laying and maintenance while the dairy display will remain in the open fronted machinery shed.

Meanwhile the parts have been purchased and a new panel made to replace a rusty one so David should soon have Jardee in full working order in anticipation that accreditation to move rail vehicles within the yard may soon be granted.


Alerting the public to what is on offer at the SWRHC is an ongoing task and we are very lucky to have Anne do this for us.  Over many years and several different jobs in tourism and promotions she has learned and developed the necessary skills and contacts.  Last month though she took things one step further and had an information stall at Railfest at the Bassendean Rail Museum's yearly extravaganza.  She was able to tell many visitors about the site, pass on a brochure and inform them of coming events which were displayed prominently.


At Railfest a new book, "Memories of the Trans Australian Railway", celebrating the centenary of the line across the Nullarbor, was launched and we have copies of this book available at the SWRHC for South West residents to save on postage or a trip to Perth.  If all things go to plan there will also be a new book available at this month's Open Day to co-incide with our theme.  We also have several rail books at super special prices, an ideal present for your "train tragic".


"The Australind Goes Platinum" will celebrate the 70th anniversary of this iconic service between Perth and Bunbury and the book will tell the story from its birth as a steam hauled train in 1947 to today's railcars.  There will be stories, articles, memories, models, photos, memorabilia and maybe an original carriage or two if the accreditation to move vehicles comes through in time.  For those in the South West listen out for the radio ads on 621 Spirit Radio and look for the ads in the South Western Times and Bunbury Herald.


If you don't live in the South West keep in touch through our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc][size=3]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/ or contact me at [color=#1155cc][size=3]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/size][/color] or on 0459 712 552.[/size][/color]

  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][b][size=3]WE DID IT![/size][/b][size=3] In a first for the SWRHC we have had 2 000 visitors, and lots more, in a calendar year. Great credit is due to all involved - if we didn't present a good "product" the visitors wouldn't come.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]So now to the 'Australind Goes Platinum". We needed 233 visitors to attend to reach our goal - the gates opened at 10am and a couple of minutes past 11 a young family of 4 walked through and one of them was number 233. Thanks to K Mart Bunbury we were able to reward them with a gift card so I imagine that Christmas in that household will be that little bit extra special this year. How Graham managed to keep count as the visitors swarmed in I don't know but his fingers and toes must have worked over time. But that is the quality and drive of all of our volunteers in the desire to put on a good show.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Opposite Graham at the model railway you could be mistaken for thinking you were at Myers Christmas Sale - there was not a square centimetre of space spare for a good hour or so. Harry, Garry, Bernie, Picko and Paul, a new recruit, kept the trains running however and were only too happy to tell visitors about the trains and how they built the layout. There was also a special guest on hand - thanks to John Rumming, the boys had an N scale (1:160 scale) model of today's Australind railcars running on the layout, emulating its big brother on the full size railway.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Just outside the entry building, Anne and Don had caps, courtesy of TransWA, and a special edition booklet telling the story of the Australind over its 70 year life for sale at bargain basement prices. We still have some of both left so you can pick one, or more, up at our next Open Day on December 17th.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Further down the track the blacksmiths were in full swing, having built up their strength by raiding the cakes before the gates were opened to the public and opposite them Heather, Evee and Carolyn worked like beavers in the Picnic Van to keep our guests fed and watered while Steven and Kelly were under some pressure at the barbecue as well to keep up the supply of sausages and onions - but in true SWRHC style they all kept pace with demand with quality food and service.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]At the old machinery shed Don was preparing for a quiet day - when I had asked him earlier if any old snorters and wheezers would be in action (I could have said here that they were all staying home but I resisted!) he had said no but it didn't take long before he was talked into getting one going, much to the delight of many visitors.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Our newly concreted floor in the machinery side of the roundhouse was also under pressure as people found it much easier to wander around the newly positioned displays relating to the agricultural history of the area and many positive comments were received about the tidiness of the area and our newly erected interpretive panels showing how the industries took the produce from seed to finished product.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]This area proved to be perfect for a display of an earlier version of the Australind, this time in Sn3.5 scale (1:64 of full size). Charles DeBruin had very kindly offered to bring his model of the original Serpentine station and surrounds and this was detailed with a number of typical trains from the mid 1960s, including a locomotive hauled Australind consist, loaned by members of AMRA WA's Sn3.5 group. Charles was assisted on the day by Bill and Jane and other members of the group made cameo appearances. If Charles had received $1 for every photo taken of the layout he would be a very rich man today. He still is, though, as he gets to drive full size trains too![/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]On the other side of the roundhouse John, Roy and Gary were inundated with people wanting to have a look at how rail travel used to be prior to the Australind and the 105-year-old "dog box" carriage under restoration was seldom without people in it and/or watching and asking about their restoration work.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Behind the roundhouse, Gordon and Harry manned the Men's Shed and they too had quite a few visitors checking out their "Taj Mahal", their fine array of just about every tool and machine on the market and their fine woodwork and metal work.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Unfortunately, the necessary permission to move rail vehicles did not come through in time so instead of bringing the Australind carriage and buffet car to the people we arranged to take the people to them. Thanks to Philippa and Peter (more about him soon!) tours of these with accompanying history were provided as an "extra" for our visitors.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Now to Peter - he is a current driver of the Australind and was quick to contact us when we first made mention of this day, offering photos, memorabilia and himself. On the day he was everywhere where something needed doing, helping with the tours and giving a talk on what it is like to drive the Australind. He also convinced a number of his railway mates to come along and we were delighted that he convinced one of the cabin crew to give the public an insight into her role and also a fitter from Picton who was a part of the team that maintained the railcars until this task was moved to Claisebrook.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]In the months leading up to this celebration we had been busy gathering material for various displays and on the day we had a display of all of the former station buildings along the South West railway except Venn (some 5 miles/8km north of Pinjarra and in the middle of nowhere such that it had been questioned why a station had been built there!), another showing the "old" Australind in many different iterations and the railcars in the various liveries they have worn and a third sharing memories from people who had travelled on the Australind in the past.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Many thanks to Harvey History Online, the Harvey Historical Society, the Waroona Historical Society, Don Finlayson and Jeff Austin for their assistance with the photos and information and to the folks who shared their stories both before and on the day.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]On the day we were also given several items for our collection and we thank the donors for their generosity.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]But not all of the day was centred on the SWRHC grounds. Our next-door neighbours, Meadowbrooke Lifestyle Village, hosted 2 exhibitions/competitions, one being the "Australind Art Array" for all government and private primary schools from Byford to Bridgetown and the other being the "Why I Love Where I Live" photographic event for Seniors. River Valley Primary School and Brunswick Primary School received $250 each for their efforts thanks to Meadowbrooke. For the Seniors, Stuart won the Judges' Choice and Chris the Public's Choice. Both received a double return pass on the Australind courtesy of TransWA, a night's accommodation courtesy of the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Pan Pacific Hotel, dinner at Miss Maud's and complementary entry to the Bassendean Rail Museum courtesy of Rail Heritage WA.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=3]Many thanks to members of the Capel Men's Shed, Old Machinery Group and Boyanup Foundation Blacksmiths for their help in getting the site set up for the Open Day and in the packing up.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][size=1] [/size][size=3]Our thanks are also extended to the Shire of Capel for its support which enabled us to publicise the event widely.[/size][/font][/size][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][font=arial, sans-serif] [size=3]And so to December's Open Day - please note that this will be held on the 3rd Sunday (the 17th) due to Christmas Eve being the 4th Sunday. Our theme for this day is "Training for Christmas" and provides the opportunity to escape the madness of shopping as we probably will have the perfect gift for your “Train Tragic" family member, friend or relative as well as non train ideas from the blacksmiths and Men's Shed. Or if you just want to have a peaceful wander down memory lane or somewhere for the kids to play and explore, the SWRHC could be the place for you.[/size][/font][/color][/justify]
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[justify][color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][center][size=3]For further information have a look at our facebook page [/size][/center][center][url=https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/][color=#1155cc][size=3]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/[/size][/color][/url][/center][center][size=3], email us at [/size][/center][center][email=swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au][color=#1155cc][size=3]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/size][/color][/email][/center][center][size=3] or call Norm on 0459 712 552.[/size][/center][/font][/size][/color][/justify]

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