South West Rail and Heritage Centre

  swrhc Locomotive Driver

What started out looking like a washout turned into a successful Open Day with over 50 people paying us a visit.  Certainly the rain stopping and the sun coming out half an hour before opening helped!

The blacksmiths bashing iron into all sorts of different shapes was certainly a hit (no pun intended!) and it looks like they will have several new recruits joining them soon.  One young lad left proudly clutching a dragon headed fire rake - guess what his news at school tomorrow will be.

"Leschenault Lady", our steam loco in residence, continues to be a drawcard and people are amazed to learn that she will celebrate her 115th birthday in December, having entered service with the WA railways on December 18th, 1898.  A birthday party is planned - watch this space for your invitation in coming months.

The 2 miniature electric staff machines that were at Kalgoorlie and Parkeston in break of gauge days have now been fully restored and will be featured operating at our Open Day on September 22nd.

But before then we have our August Open Day to look forward to on the 25th of that month.  Why not pay us a visit soon.

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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

More, lots more, rain fell on our August Open Day but that did not stop nearly 30 visitors from coming in for a look.  Was it the roaring fires in the blacksmiths shop or the smell of freshly made soup and "just out of the oven" scones that brought them in?  I don't know as I was in Melbourne having a look at the AMRA model railway exhibition but whatever the reason, many expressed positive thoughts on what they had experienced.

The old machinery guys (they claim it's only the machinery that's old!), John continuing his fine work on the restoration of the vintage carriage ACM 391 and Richard showing his videos of trains around the South West from days gone by also added to the attraction of vintage railway locomotives and rolling stock and vintage agricultural machinery as used around the South West in the past.

Our next Open Day will be on Sunday, September 22nd, with the feature being a demonstration of railway safe working using 2 recently restored century old miniature electric staff machines.  I hope to see you there.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Cool, windy, the threat of rain and enough mud to host the World Mud Wrestling Championships was the scene at Boyanup last Sunday but still some hardy visitors showed up - you've got to love 'em!

Alan and Terry were set up in the Museum on Rails van with the miniature electric staff machines that Alan had spent months restoring and they demonstrated an interesting but seldom seen side of railway life that had the visitors most interested and impressed.

The blacksmiths were popular again - or was it their fires - as they showed what heat and brute strength could do to iron.  Ray made little metal roses for the ladies that set a few hearts aflutter - I just hope for his sake he took one home to his wife!

The 1950s Lanz Bulldog tractor that Don is restoring to working condition is coming along well and Alan (yes, we have 2 of them, and 2 Dons too), with his little "apprentice" Jacob, worked on the old cabless grader and were delighted to find the pistons were still free to move despite the engine not having been started for many a long year.

John made a little more progress inside the 100 year old carriage ACM 391 and now has the glass in hand to fix the broken windows.

Cakes by Renee and served by Anne, along with a selection of railway books and "Leschenault Lady" coffee cups, were on offer in the Picnic Van. We still have some books and cups left so they will be available on future Open Days.

Our next Open Day (FettlerFest) will be held on October 27th and will feature the work, tools and machines used by fettlers over the years.  If you are game, you may get the chance to see how you would have gone at driving a dog spike into a sleeper.

November's Open Day on the 24th will feature the machines used for agriculture in the area and December's Open Day on the 15th will be a celebration of "Leschenault Lady's" 115th birthday, she having entered service with the Western Australian Railways on December 18, 1898.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

For those interested in Leschenault Lady (loco G233, built in 1898), attached is the address for a minute and a half "story" that was on GWN7 news (based in Bunbury WA and transmitting to most/all WA country areas) on Monday night - some vintage footage and some of the work being done so that the boiler can be removed for repairs to be effected.

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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[quote=swrhc]For those interested in Leschenault Lady (loco G233, built in 1898), attached is the address for a minute and a half "story" that was on GWN7 news (based in Bunbury WA and transmitting to most/all WA country areas) on Monday night - some vintage footage and some of the work being done so that the boiler can be removed for repairs to be effected.

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[color=#222222][size=3][font=Times New Roman', serif]Hope it works![/font][/size][/color]
[color=#222222][size=3][font=Times New Roman', serif][color=#1f497d][size=2][font=Calibri, sans-serif] [/font][/size][/color][/font][/size][/color][/quote]Another excellent day at the SWRHC - lots of visitors through the gate, particularly in the first 2 hours, and lots to see.

The FettlerFest display of tools, trolleys, photos and even an HO scale diorama of fettlers at work, along with the odd demonstration of what the various tools were used for, attracted a lot of attention - and a lot of admiration for the track workers of the past who did their job the hard way, by hand.

In addition to this, the blacksmiths were hard at it again and their dragon headed implements were most impressive, with 1 or 2 leaving the site in the hands of happy customers.

The Men's Shed workshop was open for inspection for the first time and a lot of the visitors paid it a visit, not just to have a look but to find out more about Men's Sheds. One of the members was cutting out wooden dolphin shapes to be used at the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury (SW of WA) to demonstrate the type of activity that can be pursued there.

The Old Machinery guys were not to be outdone and had several "Old Bangers" in operation, with much sneezing, wheezing, snorting and farting emanating from them (the machines that is!), with the occasional "explosion" that kept everyone on their toes.

In the roundhouse, John demonstrated and explained the intricacies of what it required to restore century old internal timber work of a carriage to its former glory and Dom and "Perth" John undid more bolts on "Leschenault Lady" and lifted the cab to get at the last few bolts holding the boiler to the frame. However, the boiler will not be lifted until after the old lady's 115th birthday celebrations at the December Open Day.

The next Open Day is to be held on November 24th, the theme being "From Paddock to Plate", with the focus on the machines that helped the local farmers to grow and harvest the produce that was the reason for the building of the Bunbury to Boyanup Railway in the late 1880s - the need to get it to market much more quickly.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Who said that Sunday is the day of rest?  It certainly wasn't for the volunteers at the SWRHC on Sunday as nearly 200 people converged on the site to have a look at how the fresh produce on sale at the local Farmers Market was produced in earlier times.

Don, Alan and Jacob had an impressive array of old machinery used for this purpose on display, with a number of them operating and "talking" with their language of wheezes, snorts and coughs.  Thanks to Elwyn, "Buttercup" the mechanical cow showed many from where the milk came that they buy in bottles at the supermarket.  As well, he demonstrated, and encouraged many to have a go, how grandma used to get milk and cream using a hand operated separator.

Ray and the blacksmiths as always kept many people enthralled as they turned lumps of iron into finely crafted useful items or decorative pieces, many being for sale once they've cooled down (the items that is, not the blacksmiths!!!).  

Down in the roundhouse, John, Dom, Ian, Mick and Andrew spent a good few hours getting Leschenault Lady's boiler ready for lifting off - very few bolts and "bits" remain to be removed now.  Early in the new year should see the boiler lifted and on its way to Manjimup for the repairs to be effected to once again allow her to appear in a cloud of smoke and steam.

The ADG railcar is always of interest to visitors as they compare travel of almost 60 years ago with today's electric trains.  Whilst the passenger areas are somewhat comparable, an invitation to sit in the driver's seat demonstrates to them how far Occupational Health and Safety regulations have come in that time.  The former steam railcar (ALT5/ASA445) also captured a lot of people's interest as its history and various uses were explained to them. It does need some TLC however to bring it back to its former glory so if any of you in Railpage land would like to assist with this, let us know.

The Picnic Van and the barbecue nearby were also very popular, with lots of sausages, little red engine biscuits and cakes being consumed, washed down with cups of tea or coffee or a cold drink.

We celebrate Leschenault Lady's 115th (and 2 days) birthday on December 15th, she having entered service with the then Western Australian Railways on December 13, 1898. She won't be looking her best but I'm sure she will still appreciate the attention. The gates to the SWRHC will be open from 10am until 2pm and the first 115 people through them will receive a little "treat".  All of the other exhibits and demonstrations will still be on display and the Picnic Van will dispense its quality catering as always.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

A  stinking hot day - well, 4 or 5 in a row actually - was not enough to stop a crowd turning up to wish locomotive G233 "Leschenault Lady" a very happy 115th birthday.  And, as a further salute to her long life and sterling service, exactly115 visitors passed through the gates!

Despite being partly "undressed", the Lady looked a picture decorated with a party hat atop her funnel and balloons and streamers festooned upon other parts of her.  And as a reminder of what she had been up to for 115 years, many pages listing her activities since 1898 were arranged down the side of her boiler.

As well as all of the usual activities that are part of a SWRHC Open Day, a talk on Leschenault Lady's history was presented to the visitors and at 12.30pm a large birthday cake was cut by the sole survivor of the group that made the "Vintage Train" a reality for Bunbury and the South West of WA in the 1960s.  For a photo of this, see our Facebook page

We are very grateful to the local Bunbury papers and the local ABC radio station as well as ABC Perth and 6PR Perth for their interest in publicising this event through interviews, articles and photos.

Our next Open Day is set for Sunday, January 26 (Australia day) when we will feature all of our exhibits that were "Made in Australia" - just because manufacturing in Australia today is in dire trouble doesn't mean it was always so!  And if you get to Boyanup early, you can partake of the local Lions Club Australia Day Breakfast in the adjacent "Fettlers Park" before strolling across the railway line to the SWRHC.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Australia Day in Boyanup saw a large crowd enjoy the Lions Club breakfast, entertainment and displays in Fettlers Park and afterwards a steady stream of visitors ventured to the SWRHC to see examples of Australian design and manufacturing expertise as highlighted by a number of our exhibits.

This included examples of H.V. McKay's Sunshine harvesters (he was the first in the world to develop a combined stripper and harvester and also the first to produce a self powered harvester), an example of Cliff Howard's DH22 tractor with rotovator (he led the world in the development of self powered rotary hoes while still a young man) and an example of early containerisation through a WAGR M class coal wagon.  And there were many more examples in addition to these for the visitors to examine and learn something of.

Australian innovative design and manufacture was also there to be sampled in the Picnic Van with lamingtons and ANZAC biscuits on the menu, along with meat pies (and sauce!) - we even had a Holden car on site but, alas, no kangaroos or football.

While the blacksmiths laboured over their hot forges, the Rail Heritage WA "crew" from the Bassendean Rail Transport Museum spent the weekend removing numerous "bits" off the boiler of Leschenault Lady and getting the last of the fire bricks and cement out of the smoke box.  It should now not be much longer until the boiler is ready for removal albeit that the "boys" can usually only get down once a month.  

February's Open Day on the 23rd will feature "Life as it was for Grandma and Grandpa" in relation to transport, agriculture and everyday life at the family home.  We are open from 10am until 2pm and offer hot and cold drinks and light refreshments on site as well as a selection of rail oriented books and items for sale.  We look forward to welcoming you.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

It was a very busy day on February 23rd as 139visitors arrived to get a taste of life as it was for Grandma and Grandad some 60 to 100 years ago.  After examining ourexhibits and the photos/charts/posters of old implements and products on display, I am sure that they left with a deep appreciation of the more simple than today but infinitely more physically hard life their grandparents and great grandparents lived.

We were most grateful to Pitchers Trading Post (in theformer service station opposite the General Store in Boyanup) and the Capel Mens Shed for the loan of some “old” implements and to David Simmonite, a volunteer at the Bassendean Rail Museum, for the donation of a 1940s Charles and Hunting combination woodworker to add to our display.

All of the usual groups (blacksmiths, railway carriage restoration, old machinery group, mens shed) were on site and busy "doing their thing", helping the visitors to relive memories or to gain an appreciation of a different way of life.  

As for the repairs to "Leschenault Lady", with a bit of luck her boiler should be ready for lifting off following our April Open Day - the boiler will then go to Manjimup for the repairs to be carried out.

As we gear up for March’s Open Day (on the 23rdso put it in your social calendar now before you forget!) when we will be celebrating Women’s History Month, we have been able to add to the SWRHC’s collection of relevant items thanks to the donation by ANZAC Cottage in Mount Hawthorn of a Metters “Kooka” gas stove and the donation by Rail Heritage WA of a Metters Number 2 wood stove and a laundry copper.  They should bring a tear to many a lady’seye, be it for the nostalgia or for the reminder of back breaking work!  Courtesy of the Mens Shed, we have also obtained an old cane pram – but none of the men will own up to once having been a passenger in it!

Recently one of our newer members apologised for not beingable to help out on Open Days due to other commitments on Sundays but indicated that she could help with research work at home.
This offer was eagerly accepted as we had been planning on setting up adisplay in honour of “Women in Agriculture” in the near future.
So now we’re on the way with this project and a member is playing herpart in the development of the SWRHC – a win for both of us.

Why not honour your woman by bringing her to the SWRHC, even if only for refreshments in the Picnic Van?  The SWRHC will be open between 10am and 2pm on Sunday, March 23rd.  Follow that up with a visit to Pitchers and the couple of craft shops on the main road through Boyanup and you should be in her good books for some time.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

The April Open Day theme at the SWRHC is "Training the Troops", celebrating the role the railways played in wartime in WA and further afield.  Photos, models, documents and, hopefully, some full size military vehicles will be used to inform the visitors.  In addition, there will be talks throughout the day by the author of the book "Troops, Trains and Trades", copies of which will be on hand for sale.

But an army can't march (or fight) on an empty stomach so the collection of vintage agricultural machinery on display also has stories to tell of the part it played  in wartime Western Australia.

The SWRHC will be open from 10am to 2pm on Sunday, April 27 for this celebration.

A round up of the March Open Day will be appearing in the next couple of days.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

The April Open Day theme at the SWRHC is "Training the Troops", celebrating the role the railways played in wartime in WA and further afield. Photos, models, documents and, hopefully, some full size military vehicles will be used to inform the visitors. In addition, there will be talks throughout the day by the author of the book "Troops, Trains and Trades", copies of which will be on hand for sale.

But an army can't march (or fight) on an empty stomach so the collection of vintage agricultural machinery on display also has stories to tell of the part it played in wartime Western Australia.

The SWRHC will be open from 10am to 2pm on Sunday, April 27 for this celebration.

A round up of the March Open Day will be appearing in the next couple of days.

Apologies for the lateness of this - for the past week and a half I have been working with over 500 school children visiting the other museum that I am involved with, ANZAC Cottage in Mt Hawthorn (WA), giving them an insight into life 98 years ago, when the cottage was built in 1 day!.

It was a rather quiet day in beautiful downtown Boyanup on March 23rd as the SWRHC celebrated Women's History Month.  Never the less, 31 visitors (on a par with 2013's total) were welcomed by Gary and passed through the gates to see what we had to offer.

With less people around than in the past few months, it gave us more time to spend with those who were there, telling them the stories of the exhibits that caught their eye.  This seemed to be much appreciated, with many follow up questions being asked.  In addition, many of our visitors stayed longer than is usual, obviously enjoying the space and tranquility.

As always, the blacksmiths provided an interesting demonstration with the "bunch of long stemmed roses in a vase" made by Ray being a highlight.  A little further along, Don and Gary were happy to stop work and explain to visitors what is required to bring an old piece of machinery back to life.

As always, "Leschenault Lady" charmed everybody, despite her dishevelled appearance, with many excited about the news of her once again being able to steam in the future.  Around the back of the roundhouse, tours of the Mens Shed were also popular.

A visit to the SWRHC would not be complete without a stop at the Picnic Van for some good old country food and hospitality and Anne, Kelly and Steven once more did not disappoint.  As part of this month's theme, Anne had done a lot of research on the pioneer women of the Boyanup area and their stories and the resulting display of these and of scenes and products of yesteryear were examined by many.

So what does April 27th's Open Day promise?  Our theme is "Training the Troops", the story of rails important role in wartime, and will feature talks by the author of the book "Troops, Trains and Trades" backed up with electronic images, hopefully some restored military vehicles and some small scale models of typical Australian military vehicles from the second world war and later.

In addition, we are hoping to "christen" our merry-go-round.  This was made by the former Leschenault Lions Club many years ago and provided much joy for children at many events in the Greater Bunbury area.  It was then donated to the Boyanup Museum and sat at the front of the site for many more years before being dismantled and repainted by some students from the Home Schooling Association a couple of years ago.  Then Des took on the task of making it rotate again and after successfully achieving this, has put it back together, ready for parents to give their young children a ride.

The SWRHC will be open from 10am until 2pm on April 27th and we look forward to welcoming all who arrive at our gates.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Rain threatened but never eventuated in Boyanup as we "Trained the Troops" last Sunday.  We were very pleased to welcome 113 visitors to the site - but why did they come?

Was it to find out from noted historian, heritage consultant, author and train "guru" Philippa Rogers how the Western Australian Government Railways and the Commonwealth Railways played a major role during the Second World War?

Or was it to watch the blacksmiths "do their thing" with hot metal, discuss with Don how the restoration of the Lanz Bulldog tractor was going, see if the men in the Mens Shed were doing anything other than having a cup of tea and telling stories or to have a nice rest and feed in the Picnic Van?

Whatever the reason, they all seemed to have enjoyed their time with us, particularly the pre school age kids who christened our "new" merry-go-round - but not so much the parents who supplied the muscle to make it turn!  The merry-go-round had been built many years ago by one of the local service groups and had provided much enjoyment at fairs and fetes throughout the South West of WA.  For the past 20 years or thereabouts it had stood forlornly at the front of the site, quietly rusting away.  In late 2012 a small group of Home School Association students approached me about doing some community service at the SWRHC and rubbing back and repainting the merry-go-round was their chosen project.  One of our volunteers, Des. took on the task of "fixing" the turning mechanism - when this couldn't be achieved, we took the decision to turn it with "parent power", making it a much safer ride for the little kids.

The other big news from the day, and probably the most relevant for this forum, is that Dom spent a lot of his long weekend with his head in the smoke box of loco G233 "Leschenault lady", removing the remaining nuts and bolts and then taking off the boiler cladding to expose the insulation, fibre glass I'm pleased to say, not asbestos!  So, when will the boiler finally levitate from the frame?  Watch this space!

May's Open Day on the 25th will feature the old machinery guys and their even older machines which wheeze, snort, cough, belch, splutter and, dare I say, fart!  All this, and more, await your presence between 10am and 2pm.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Despite the intermittent but regular showers on Sunday, we managed to break our attendance record - yes, 2 dogs came through the gates, beating our previous record of 1!  Oh, and not forgetting that 104 humans also came through the gates, not a record but a very handy number considering the weather.

The Old Machinery Club of WA gents and ladies did us proud with their display of beautifully restored and operating "old bangers". Mind you, such is the expertise of the restorers that there wasn't a lot of banging, wheezing and snorting, if you exclude the owners as they swung on the fly wheels to get the machines started, just very smooth running all day.  Don's privately owned very large Lanz Bulldog tractor attracted a lot of attention and earned "honorary steam locomotive status" for its output of emissions. This machine made a good contrast with the much smaller version that Don has been restoring for the past few months for the SWRHC.

Staying with old machinery, the visitors enjoyed the opportunity to gaze on and admire an old lady in her underwear in the roundhouse - it's not often that the public gets to see a stripped down steam locomotive and "Leshnenault Lady" provided that opportunity.  With all fittings and boiler cladding removed, on show was the boiler and its insulation, not asbestos I hasten to add! Many people commented how wonderful it would be to have her once again taking tourists and local people for a jaunt through the picturesque South West, and we at the SWRHC can only agree with them - over to you Mr Barnett and government!

Those seeking a dry, warm spot were drawn to the blacksmith's shop where, amidst the fires, a lot of heavy hitting (and lifting!) was taking place, turning lumps of iron into works of art.  A display of finished work showcased the skill of the blacksmiths, with ornamental flowers, door hinges and knockers, dragon heads and such like attracting a lot of admiration.

Still with things old - jaffles were on the menu in the Picnic Van along with freshly baked scones and accompanying jam and cream and our "hostess with the mostest" was kept very busy feeding the many visitors who chose to partake of these.

Our next Open Day is set for June 22nd and will feature, weather permitting, a much closer look at Don's very large and noisy Lanz Bulldog tractor - who needs a bouncy castle when you've got a bouncy bulldog!  We hope to see you, with or without your dog, then.

If you are a train fan, don't forget that the annual Model Railway Exhibition is on at the Claremont Showgrounds in Perth for the 3 days of this coming long weekend (May 31 - June 2) and will feature the 20th anniversary of the creation and the last public showing of the "Arid Australia" layout, in its largest configuration ever, as well as a new Sn3 1/2 layout called "Mogumber Bridge" and many other layouts and rail related displays and stalls.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

At 8am on Saturday, June 21st the grounds and walkways of thee SWRHC were quite dry and firm.  By 1pm the grass was waterlogged and much of the walkways was under water and muddy thus giving rise to fears of no visitors for the Open Day.  At 7am the next day the sky was mostly blue and the water had drained away, though there was still a number of areas of slippery mud - and the people came.

The Busselton Veteran Car Club did us proud with their display of beautifully restored and/or lovingly looked after vehicles.  There were a couple of vintage Fords or similar (trains are my passion, not cars!), a 1950s Humber, a very throaty Falcon with a big engine and exhaust amongst a number of others but my favourite was a 1964 Studebaker, similar to what the Victorian Police used to use I was told - 50 years old and 50 000 miles on the clock, purchased from its original owner in the USA and still left hand drive.  For those interested in such things, there are a couple of photos on the SWRHC Facebook page.

Further up the road, Don's "bouncing bulldog" (1942 55hp Lanz Bulldog tractor) "performed" regularly, with a number of people watching with interest every time he started it, using a gas flame to get ignition - or "blast off" as it sounded from afar!  Equally interesting to them was the size of the single cylinder he had in his ute from another Bulldog, all 28kg of it.

In the roundhouse, John and Roy continued their painstaking work to restore the 1912 built "dogbox" carriage ACM 391 back to as new condition, this task made a little more difficult due to Roy leaving his glasses for close up work at home and having to make do with his "distance" glasses.

The blacksmiths were busy as usual creating works of art and little giveaways for some of the visitors, all of the time planning what needed to be done to finish their large dragon project which was started back in March.  The completion of this project will be the feature attraction of our July Open Day.

In the Picnic Van, in the absence of the "hostess with the mostest", SuperChef Norm provided the food and drinks that kept the visitors full and happy.

The Sunday prior to the Open Day saw 4 year old Felix host his birthday party for 20 or so of his friends and their siblings and parents at the SWRHC.  Party games, party food, a tour of the SWRHC, including sitting in the driver's seat of a locomotive and a railcar, and many spins on the merry-go-round kept all busy and happy for the 3 hours or so of the party and I'm sure ensured an early night in bed for all.

The entrance to the SWRHC has undergone a facelift in recent weeks thanks to the Year 4/5 students of Boyanup Primary School who chose the SWRHC as their "Giving" project for this year.  Later in the year, when the weather is more conducive to such pursuits, they will be rubbing back and repainting our collection of  horse drawn ploughs.

Our next Open Day is scheduled for July 27th, celebrating "The Day of the Dragon" with the blacksmiths - I look forward to seeing you there.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

In an almost carbon copy of June's Open Day, it poured on Saturday, resulting in "lakes" all over the SWRHC site, but by Sunday morning they had disappeared, leaving behind areas of mud and slush under a mostly sunny sky.  And, once again, the people came, 170 of them - and for our canine lovers, 1 dog was on site, not a visitor as such but belonging to one of the blacksmiths and his partner.

The blacksmiths put on an amazing show of this centuries old craft, wielding hammers, sledge hammers and other implements to shape almost molten metal into dragon "bits".  Despite their best efforts, and probably a few muttered oaths, impurities in both the charcoal used in the forges and in the metal conspired to slow their progress such that while most of the "bits" of the dragon were completed, the final "welding" of these together to complete their project could not be done on the day.  I think the plan is for the Boyanup crew to do this welding on their regular Sunday sessions but it would not surprise me if some of the Perth members returned for this, such was the camaraderie forged (pardon the pun) on this day.

Apart from the blacksmiths working hard in their shed, Alan, assisted by Jacob, was replicating their effort working on the restoration of the 1948 built grader in the machinery shed and John was doing similar on the interior of the 1912 built carriage in the roundhouse.

The Picnic Van was also a busy place, with dragon scale biscuits and jaffles cooked by dragon fire just part of the menu for the many visitors who felt the need for sustenance.  I'm rather glad that "the hostess with the mostest" didn't think of having chilli products on sale as well otherwise there could have been flames all round the site!  Speaking of "THWTM", she was delighted to have Allison on hand to help with the catering and the 2 got on like a house on fire (I was going to say dragons instead of house but thought discretion was the better part of valour!) such that they have planned the modification and redecorating of the van.  And they have located the required materials and the people to do the work - I should have guessed that something like this would happen, being married to THWTM and having worked with Allison at the Model Railway Exhibition in June and hence knowing how their minds work.

The old firm of Harry and Gary (well, Gary's not that old!) greeted our visitors at the gate and gave them a friendly welcome although Harry did give 1 visitor who asked for me the wrong information when he told her that I was the only man on site with grey hair when everyone knows that it is beach blonde from my youthful "surfie" days.  Barry did his usual sterling job of looking after the roundhouse and giving many a young, and not so young, visitor the thrill of sitting in the driver's seat of a real locomotive.  And Des was Des, once again seeing what needed doing and doing it straight away so that our visitors had the opportunity of having the best possible experience.

We were delighted to have Kelly and Stephen with us on the day and they took on the task of looking after the children's activities, helping many of our younger visitors make colourful, and sometimes scary, dragon masks.

The themes for our next 3 Open Days have been set.  August's Open Day on the 24th will follow on from Children's Book Week celebrations and feature a book sale of railway and other non fiction books and fiction books as well so if you are a keen reader, make your way to the SWRHC for bargain priced books.  As part of this day, we also plan to have several authors on site to give short talks about their books and sign copies for those who are author "groupies".  If you have any books you no longer want, we would be happy to take them off your hands - give me a call on 0459 712 552 and I will collect.

September's Open Day on the 28th will be "Shop for the Shed"  - the Capel Mens Shed members have been given or have collected so many tools, machinery and other bits and pieces that it has become a case of take over the whole SWRHC site or sell some.  The latter it is so if your shed is lacking some critical tool or machine, come along and see if you can find it at a good price.  There will also be bits and pieces for restorers of cars and agricultural machinery.  

October's Open Day on the 26th will be an old fashioned "Railway Picnic", with games and activities as per the earlier days of last century when the government railways was "a family" and ran such activities for its employees and their families.  This will be the SWRHC's contribution to the celebration of the 120th anniversary of Boyanup being gazetted as a town site.

I look forward to seeing you at the SWRHC some time soon.
  antiussentiment Locomotive Driver

Location: perth
~Big thumb!!~
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

~Big thumb!!~

A lovely Spring day (even though it was still winter) greeted us for the August Open Day and many people took the opportunity to get out and about.  Unfortunately most drove through Boyanup and headed to Balingup (~30 minutes further south) to the Medieval Festival so our visitor numbers were well down on recent figures but we did maintain our average for canine visitors.

However, those that did come "made hay while the sun shone" and took away several hundred dollars worth of near new books and magazines from our Book Week sale.  As well, most took the opportunity to see what else we had to offer on site and many positive comments were made about what they saw.

Our usual band of volunteers and "doers" were on hand to make the day a success and I thank them most sincerely for their time , efforts and good humour - Gary and Harry provided the welcome and information at the gate, the blacksmiths provided the muscle in the forge, Don ,Alan and the "Bouncing Bulldog" tractor provided the mechanical know how and spectacle, John provided the carpentry expertise as he continued the restoration of the old ACM carriage, Barry provided the opportunity for young loco drivers to sit in the driver's seat, Don supplied the place for bored, retired husbands to be off loaded by their long suffering  wives in the Mens Shed, Kelly and Stephen provided the kids' activities (bookmark making) and Anne and Allison provided the all important food and drinks in the Picnic Van.

In addition 2 authors, Philippa and Jeff, were on hand to talk about their books and sign copies for those who purchased them. A number of copies of Philippa's newest book, "Memories of the Midland Railway Co. of Western Australia", launched 2 weeks previously, were  snapped up by visitors.

Before the Open Day, much activity had taken place around the site as well as offers of help received.  Many thanks are extended to:
Harry and Allison for the refurbishment of the Picnic Van which has provided much more space for food and drink preparation, storage and improved visitors comfort and brightened the van up
Des for cutting off the arms of the seats in the Picnic Van which had given me, and probably others, many a bruise
Gary and Robyn Newman for the donation of the hotplate, which allowed for hot dogs to be on the menu, and the plates
Renee Filipich for the donation of the boxes of a number of different glues which will prove very useful as we work to upgrade the site and exhibits
Nick Filipich for his offer to refurbish and extend some of the trackwork to make it easier to provide better exhibition of the rolling stock and to make future movements easier
Alan Jarvey for his offer to set up the crossing lights and boom arm as operational exhibits
Peter and Harry of the Mens Shed for "fixing" the doors and thus making it much easier to get in and out of the toilets
Don Morton for distributing the fliers for the Open Day
Jobs SW for weeding the garden area next to the toilet block
The Year 4/5 students of Boyanup Primary School for their on-going development and care of gardens at the entrance to the site
Mary Kitchen for her donation of scrapbooks of articles recording the history of Boyanup

Our September Open Day on the 28th will be "Shopping for the Shed", when the Mens Shed gents will have tools, machinery and other bits and pieces that are surplus to their needs for sale at good prices.  Also for the "handyman/restorer" will be bits and pieces that are surplus to our agricultural displays as well as items that are more "ladylike" for the wives and partners of those who like to spend their time in the shed.

Following the September Open Day, our AGM will be held on site, commencing at 2.30pm, and all members, prospective members and anyone interested in what we are doing are invited to attend.  If you are interested in joining the Management Committee, contact me for a nomination form.
  antiussentiment Locomotive Driver

Location: perth
That sounds great.. Thanks for the post..
  Bryan Locomotive Driver

Location: Delray Beach, FL (USA) - Ex Busselton, W.A.
I'll add my thanks for the continued updates.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]I don't know why people rely on the weatherbureau or the media for weather forecasts - all they have to do is check when the next SWRHC Open Day is due and they can be assured that there will be rain before, during and often after. Such was the case again this month though fortunately there was a "dry spell" between early Sunday morning and late Sunday afternoon which enabled us to be rushed off our feet, with a very large crowd (170+) arriving keen to "Shop for the Shed".[/font][/color]

[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]The Men's Shed did a roaring trade all day,with people arriving at 8am (we open at 10 but didn't have the heart to turn them away!) and many a pre-loved tool disappeared out the gate.[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Anne and Allison in the Picnic Van also did aroaring trade and by close of trade had sold just about everything - except for the kitchen sink, which did a roaring trade in cleaning dirty dishes during the day![/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]We also had on site some stalls that cateredmore for the ladies, with flowers, seedlings and herbs, handmade cards, jewellery, wood turning and other bits and pieces, along with hundreds of books, both fiction and non-fiction, and all reported pleasing sales. And the kids weren't forgotten with their own "corner" containing books and 50 cent "goodies" for themselves or for presents for family members along with colouring sheets, all under the guidance of Kelly and Stephen who are fast becoming the Pied Pipers of Boyanup, though they stop short of luring the kids away from town![/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Brian led a small group of blacksmiths - theothers were supporting the Perth blacksmiths at the Royal Show -, including Lee, our first lady blacksmith, and as usual their labours were appreciated by the interested onlookers. Anne and Allison were presented with snakes and a couple of lucky young ladies were given a heart, all crafted by Brian.[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Don, Alan and Jacob also attracted a largecrowd of on lookers, with Don's "Bouncing Bulldog" amazing everyone with needing a gas flame to start it and then blowing "smoke rings" while Alan's Petters engine put on a similarly good show, with the use of the crank handle to get it started bringing back fond(?) memories for many of our older visitors.[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]The "Boys from Basso" were down forthe weekend and worked hard on "Leschenault Lady" such that by 4pm on Sunday only 1 bolt remained to be removed before the boiler could be lifted from the frame. This coming week we will be in touch with the "boiler fixer" to organise its journey to Manjimup where the necessary repairs will be carried out. [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]As has been usual for the past few Open Days,many hands made light work for us all and my thanks go to:[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Allison and Anne[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] in the Picnic Van[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Gary and Harry[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif], for looking after the gate[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Philippa[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] for looking after the sales and many other "odd jobs"that cropped up[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Des[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] for filling in where ever and when ever needed[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Barry[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] for keeping an eye on the round house[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]John, Dom, Andrew andJaydon[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] from RHWA for the work on "LeschenaultLady"[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]John and Roy[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] for continuing the restoration of carriage ACM 391[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]The blacksmiths[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] for the spectacle that they provide[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Don, Alan and Jacob[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] for the operating machinery[/font][/color]
[b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]The Capel Mens Shed[/font][/color][/b][color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] for being the focus of this month's Open Day[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Our [b]visitingstall holders[/b] who provided something a little different - and several arekeen to return so keep an eye out for them at future Open Days[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Thanks also to [b]Philippa[/b] for the donation of the freezer so ice creams will be onthe menu in the Picnic Van in future[b], RHWA[/b]for the book shelf and [b]Des[/b] for theplace mats, photos and flashing lights for the Picnic Van.[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]We are starting to get a little excited as [b]Ian[/b] is making good progress on therestoration of the Howard DH22 tractor with attached rotovator, a great Aussie invention, and it will soon be in operational condition and ready for "decoration". This tractor has sat in the museum for around 20 years, slowly deteriorating, and it’s just wonderful to see it being "looked after" again.[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]At the conclusion of the Open Day, we held ourAGM and discovered that we still have a few dollars in the bank, that 1 113 visitors had passed through the gates in the period 1-7-13 to 30-6-14 and that we had a number of people who were interested in being on the committee to help drive the SWRHC forward. The committee for the next 12 months is:[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]President - Norm[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Vice President - Don M[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Secretary - Anne (also Publicity Officer)[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Treasurer _ Philippa[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Committee Members - Don B, Andrew, Allison andBrian[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif] [/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif]Our next Open Day is scheduled for [b]October 26th[/b] and will be [b]an "Old Fashioned Railway Picnic"[/b]. In the days when the railways were government owned, often a train would be rostered to take railway workers and their families to a nice area where food and activities were provided. While we can't take visitors on a train ride, we will have the food and the activities so start training now for such things as sack races, top spinning, 3 legged races, tug-of-war and much more.[/font][/color]
[color=#222222][font=Arial, sans-serif][img]file:///C:/Users/annichap/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.png[/img][/font][/color]
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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

No sooner had someone said the magic words, "SWRHC Open Day tomorrow" than yes, you guessed it, it started to rain - fortunately there was not a lot in it and it occurred mainly overnight, with just a light drizzle by morning which had cleared completely by 10am when our visitors came.  And they came in droves, some of advanced years to reminisce about "the good old days" as well as many family groups, including the grandparents - and a couple of our 4 legged friends.

A large part of the success of the SWRHC in attracting visitors is the fact that our volunteers go out of their way to make them welcome and go the extra "yard" to give sufficient information for them to be able to understand what they are seeing.  In my September report I mentioned them by name and I'm pleased to say that most of those mentioned were "on duty" again for our Old Fashioned Railway Picnic.  As well as looking after the gate, Gary and Harry also looked after those who were after a suitable Christmas present for their young, and not so young, rail fanatic and many books and rail related toys and souvenirs went out the gate, Allison and Anne again did a roaring trade with light refreshments throughout the day (a special thanks to Mary, one of our patrons, for the scones, jam and cream - those farmers' wives sure know how to cook!), Barry looked after the roundhouse and enabled many to see the view from the driver's seat of TA 1807, John and Roy continued the work on carriage ACM 391 and Richard joined them to paint window frames, Don "pulled a crowd" with his operating machinery, Albie proudly showed off the Men's Shed and some of their work and the blacksmiths were lucky to have room to swing their hammers, such was the crowd that gathered to watch them turn lumps of iron into works of art.

Back on our grassed area, the action was also hot.  For those who liked the more genteel pace, we had Quoits, a giant Noughts and Crosses game and little wooden tops, crafted by Albie from the Men's Shed on a lathe, seeing who could keep their top spinning for the longest time.  For the more adventurous, Kellie, Steven and Cooper ran the "competitive" activities.  First up we had the "dog spike toss" to see who could lob theirs closest to the target, followed by the Egg and Spoon race with a twist - the eggs were lumps of track ballast and the spoons were dog spikes.  Sad to say, the kids outdid the grown ups in this!  The sack race was next on the programme and was enjoyed by the kids so much that about 10 sack races were run - or should that be jumped!  Then followed the SWRHC Railway Picnic Cup - a 3 legged race with teams made up of an adult and a child.  As many adults seemed reticent to risk damaging a fetlock whilst competing and therefore maybe miss the Melbourne Cup festivities they had long planned, we allowed a few teams to enter that did not quite match the rules and, indeed, it was one of these teams that won the cup - a very young looking "dad" and his almost as tall as him "daughter".  On the advice of the family matriarch to prevent family arguments as to in whose room the cup should reside, it was agreed that the cup should stay on site, ready for next year's race.  A photo of the successful duo holding the cup was taken so that they had evidence for when they asserted their bragging rights.

Having settled that issue, we moved onto the Horseshoe Toss, horseshoes made and supplied by Brian from the blacksmiths group, with many adults and kids having many goes and finding that while it looks easy to lob one onto a steel shaft, it's not!  The day's events were completed by the tug-of war where, after a titanic battle, the "Big Brave Bruisers" managed to overpower the "Gentle Giants".  Thanks to Boyanup Primary School for the use of their rope.

Such was the success of the day that it will become the feature of each October Open Day from now on - the 2015 one is only 51 weeks away so it's not too late, or too early, to start training for your participation!

Away from the fun and games, Nick has made good progress on extending and rehabilitating the trackwork on the south side of the site.  Some earthworks have been completed, with more to be done, and sleepers have been laid for the extension of the track nearest the roundhouse.  Many thanks to Dom and Mick, two of the "Basso Boys", and Dom's truck for making the long trip to the South West to help Nick collect some sleepers from the back of beyond.

Ian has commenced the painting of the Howard tractor, the colour of choice being "Howard Orange" - not bad when you can have a paint named after you, is it Mr Howard, the inventor of the powered hoe?  The work on the engine is all but complete.  Not to be outdone, Don has the small Lanz Bulldog resting inside the Lions Shed workshop while he "fixes" the fuel system - it was necessary to get it out of the dust and dirt of the open fronted machinery shed so this task could be done properly.

Our next Open Day is scheduled for November 23rd, with the theme being "Behind the Scenes". This will involve tours of areas usually off limits to visitors and information and talks on how we go about the preservation and restoration of heritage objects.  On the day before this, the SWRHC will be hosting a visit from the members of the South West Chapter of Museums Australia so we will be able to "practise" our spiels on them!
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

It had to happen sometime and on November 23 it did - we held an Open Day with no threat or sign of rain!  Throughout the day,it looked like a fairly quiet time was in store as people came in through the gates in dribs and drabs rather than lots at a time but our figures at the end of the day showed that once again we cracked the 100+ mark.

Our theme for this day was "Behind the Scenes" and several tours of the places that are usually roped off or hidden behind locked doors were conducted, with many visitors amazed at the quantity, quality and story of exhibits that require some TLC, or more, before they can be displayed.  It was also the second anniversary of the opening of the SWRHC and the cake was eagerly devoured by all on site once we had had worked out how to keep the candles alight in the wind.

While the adults were more interested in the "machinery"side of things, most of the kids enjoyed the games and activities provided by Kelly and Steven, with a number of party hats made and proudly worn as well as games played. Our regular helpers were again to the fore - where would we be without the likes of Anne, Philippa, Gary and Barry carrying out the more mundane tasks that are essential to providing a great experience for our visitors?

In addition to these wonderful people, our "all-action heroes" were to the fore around the site.  The blacksmiths, though light on numbers this time, still put on a great show of fire and fury as they hammered lumps of metal into intricate shapes and items.  And THE DRAGON was on show, fully completed - to see a photo of it, go to the SWRHC Facebook page (  The blacksmiths are looking for a suitable name for him/her/it - all suggestions gratefully received at or via Facebook.

The old machinery gurus also put on an action packed show - Alan had an old stationery engine driving an old pump that reticulated the bluest water I have ever seen while Don again had the "Bouncing Bulldog"Lanz tractor performing its party tricks. Initially we had thought that we wouldn't show it but such has its fame spread that many people asked to see it so who were we to deny them this.  Don also had on display several old irons and mangles (we called them wringers when I was a kid), the oldest being one that his forebears used on laundry days that was made in 1898.  We have a set of concrete troughs and an old copper "bowl"and legs, along with an old Metters wood stove, that we are in the process of restoring to set up an exhibit of what home life was like in earlier days and Don will give us the use of one of his mangles to complete this.

Add to this the various rail exhibits and the Mens Shed display and there was plenty to interest the machinery fans and the history buffs.  And, of course, the Picnic Van was serving its usual quality refreshments to feed the inner person.

For those making a return visit to the site, there were a couple of new items to be seen.  Nick, with the assistance of Brookfield Rail, has laid an extension to the track at the back of the roundhouse and is refurbishing all of the tracks within the site to bring them up to scratch.  Alan, also with assistance from Brookfield Rail, has erected a set of crossing lights with bell and will soon add the boom gate arm and wire it up to make it operational.  Not to be outdone, Alan's wife Alison has taken on the task of restoring the above mentioned copper "bowl".

On the day before the Open Day, we hosted a visit by members of the Museums Australia (WA) South West Chapter who were given a tour of the site by Philippa whilst she gave a presentation on Interpretation, a most important part of a museum's task in helping visitors to understand the stories that are told by the exhibits.

Our final Open Day of 2014 will be held on December 21, with the theme of escaping the Christmas hurly burly with a "Fun Day on Sunday" when as well as the exhibits to see, there will be games and activities for families to take part in as a great start to the school holidays.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

And so ended 2014, a most successful year for the South West Rail and Heritage Centre, with 1 345 visitors passing through the gates.  An equally successful "Fun Day on Sunday" Open Day on December 21st finished the year on a good note, with 87 refugees from the stresses of Christmas shopping enjoying the opportunity to relax with their kids, play games, try activities and appreciate some of the working history of the area.

Kelly and Steven were in their element, supervising, demonstrating and participating in the fun and games with the kids and encouraging the adults to "have a go" as well.  Over the past couple of months, they have turned this "little extra" that the SWRHC offered to free mums and dads up to investigate the heritage side of the exhibits into a feature of the site.

We were pleased to welcome Graham to our band of volunteers and he supervised the Museum on Rails while our two regulars, Gary and Barry, looked after the gate and sales and the roundhouse respectively.

We were also pleased to welcome Ian, who had his magnificently restored grey Fergie tractor on display and it looked and sounded a treat.  Nearby, Don had one of his restored engines running and together the 2 machines, and Ian, Don, Alan and Jacob, provided a nice little area for the machinery fanatics to poke, prod, discuss and admire such things.

There was action in the roundhouse as well,  John was his usual busy self, hard at work on the restoration of the carriage ACM 391 while in the Men's Shed our other Don was in the midst of constructing a timber plinth on which the blacksmiths'dragon would spend its days.

The blacksmiths themselves were engaged in the heat of battle with pieces of iron that were resisting, futilely I must add, their efforts to turn them into works of art.  Alongside their work area, many pieces of finished work was on display and many admiring comments were made about these.  And in pride of place, the dragon kept its eyes on all that was happening, including on those who were proposing a name for him/her/it.

Brian, one of our blacksmiths, also had on display some of the treasures from his collection in his shed - hurricane lamps, hand operated mincers, old irons and more which kept many of our visitors guessing as to what they were and what they did (or used to!).  Many thanks to Audrey who spent quite a bit of time "cleaning up" the site whilst Malcolm was overseeing operations in the blacksmiths shed.

There probably wasn't as much hectic action in the Picnic Van as in other areas of the site but Anne and Allison put a smile on the face and a warm glow in the tummy of many a hungry visitor, and worker, with their extensive range of tasty "delicacies".  This has become another feature of the site as its reputation has spread by word of mouth throughout the greater Bunbury area and beyond.

During the day, several gents showed interest in joining our band of volunteers to assist in the restoration of different pieces of machinery and/or to lend a hand where ever one was needed.

Following the closing of the gates, a "Sharing Our Success"soiree was held for members, volunteers and spouses and it was pleasing that so many joined us for this.  A few drinks, some nibbles and lots of convivial chatter was the order of the day under the shade of one of our very large trees.  Towards the end of the soiree, Malcolm called upon the blacksmiths to stand and join him in a traditional blacksmiths song.  Malcolm has a very nice singing voice while the others - well, they do swing a mean hammer!  Malcolm then gave us a stirring rendition of a blacksmiths poem which topped off the afternoon nicely.

In between Open Days, much has been happening around the site.  Hanness, Gordon and Don from the Mens Shed have been busy "fixing"the clubroom - two new doors have been put in and lots of the termite attacked wall framing has been replaced by treated pine.  Gordon has also commenced upgrading the electrics to the Picnic Van.  Don has also been keeping the cottage gardens nice and green.

On the rail,side of things, Nick has continued to upgrade the trackwork whilst Alan has the power box to the crossing light in place ready for connection.

The machinery section has also been busy with Don continuing work on the fuel system of the Lanz Bulldog tractor, Alan is getting the grader closer to operating condition, Gary has done further work on the Magpie hay baler (great to have you back on deck, Gary!) while Ian (a Mens Shed member) has the Howard DH22 tractor looking and running almost as good as new.

Earlier in December, we were proud to have the blacksmiths, and the dragon, represent the SWRHC at the Shire of Capel's Volunteers Breakfast - last year the Mens Shed represented us but this year they were invited in their own right due to the amount of community work they have been involved in.  Many requests for the dragon to visit places far and wide were received at this function.

Later in December, with the last one being received on Christmas Eve, we were informed that we had been successful in obtaining funding for 3 projects.  The blacksmith's shed has benefited to the tune of $4 098 from a  Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal grant for blacksmithing equipment, $1 500 plus GST has come from the South West Development Commission for promotion of our April 2015 Open Day theme of "Traditional Trades" and our Christmas present was $30 995 from Lotterywest for interpretive signage similar to that at Bassendean and for an educational package based on the themes of the SWRHC.  Great credit and many thanks are due to our secretary, Anne, with assistance from Philippa, for the writing of these applications.

Our first Open Day for 2015 is on January 25th and is themed as "All Things Australian" - does this mean that there will be pavlova in the Picnic Van?
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

It was a great start to 2015 at our January Open Day - a fine sunny day and 115 through the gate, and 1 dog, with another guarding the blacksmiths' shed and licking to death anyone who got close enough!  A big thank you to our regular helpers - Gary at the gate, Graham at the "Museum on Rails" and Barry in the roundhouse - and to those who were part of the various groups that make up the Boyanup Foundation.  Without you contributing your time and expertise, we would not have a SWRHC.

As it was our salute to Australia's national day, we invited our visitors to pick out the various items on site that had been invented/designed/manufactured in Australia - and gave them a clue by putting a little Australian flag "sticker" on them.  Many were surprised at how many and the wide range that these covered.

At the blacksmiths forge, it was all hands to the hammer and electric drill as some were making things in traditional blacksmith manner while others were making the changes to their shed in order to fit in all of their new "toys" that they were purchasing courtesy of their FRRR grant funds.  And keeping a good eye on all the goings on was "The Dragon" - stand by for the announcement of his/her/its name at our February 22nd Open Day.

Next to the forge, Kelly and Steven were set up to make sure the kids had a good time.  Not many were interested in colouring in an Australian flag - they probably thought it was a bit too much like being at school - but many enjoyed the activities like giant bubble making, playing games or riding on the merry-go-round.

In the roundhouse, John was continuing the internal restoration of carriage ACM 391 with assistance from Richard who has become a dab hand at painting window frames.  A lot of visitors over the past 2 years have expressed surprise and delight at the fine woodworking skills that were applied in its initial construction and in its current restoration.

Don and Gary were both busy with their current projects with the old agricultural machinery. Gary was getting the "magpie" hay baler ever closer to the painting stage while Don was enjoying(?) playing with the fuel system on the small Lanz Bulldog tractor.  Both projects are getting ever closer to the "fire it up" stage.  The Howard DH22 tractor with attached rotavator (an Australian invention) could not be missed with its bright orange coat of paint and Steve from the Mens Shed was busy tinkering here and there to bring this project ever closer to completion.  I must apologise to Steve as in all of my previous mentions of this project, I had failed to acknowledge his efforts.

Behind the roundhouse, in the Mens Shed, Don was "on duty" and was pleased to show and tell many visitors what the guys were up to.  In addition, he was finishing off the timber plinth that the dragon is to sit on.

We were also delighted to have some vintage vehicles visit us for the day.  Two of the standouts were a very nice bright yellow 10 wheel Foden tip truck that stills see use and a bright red Corvette Stingray - I offered the owner a swap for my Lancer but when I found that I couldn't bend low enough to even get into it I withdrew my offer. Two vintage Holdens were also on site -  Gary (from the gate) brought his beautifully restored FJ and Barry brought his yellow HR (I think) and a very old Victa (another great Aussie brand) lawnmower.

Good old Aussie tucker was the order of the day in the Picnic Van and Anne and Allison were kept busy feeding visitors and our on site "staff".  As President, it is always my duty to sample the wares to make sure it is top notch and whilst some may query why I have to sample each item several times, I can only say that if I didn't, my "thumbs up" might be a false indication of its quality!

We were pleased to welcome the "Weekend Warriors" from RHWA for the long weekend and they completed many tasks in relation to the rail side of the site that were in need of urgent attention.  Thanks for your efforts Philippa, John, Ian, Dom, Kirk, Andrew, Jayden, Josh and Mick - hopefully the possums in the roof of the cottage didn't interrupt your beauty sleep too much!  Please note that I haven't mentioned shepherd's pie, Dom.

It's not only on Open Days that things happen at the SWRHC though.  Take Gordon and Hannes from the Mens Shed for example.  Not content with both being lead figures in the renovation of the old clubroom building and the upgrading of the power supply to the Picnic Van, Gordon wants to, along with some other Mens Shed members, restore guard's van Z 15 to its former glory while Hannes wants to "play" with the former Public Works Department steam crane that worked for many years on the now demolished Bunbury timber jetty, with the intent of making it a "live" exhibit.

As well as physical labour, we get a lot of help with donations of "bits and pieces".  Many thanks to:
Des for the donation of 2 dozen cup/saucer/plate sets to the Picnic Van
Rainer for the donation of the large crow bar and the very old metal knapsack sprayer
Peter and Philippa for the donation of the 1890s Bunbury to Boyanup train timetables and signs

Thanks also to Don and Dave from the Mens Shed who cut up 2 enormous branches that had fallen next to the Picnic Van and to the Mens Shed members who disposed of the "mess".

Our next Open Day is scheduled for Sunday, February 22nd and our theme is "From Farm to Fork", celebrating the agricultural history of the area and the part the railways played in getting the produce to market.  This was the reason the Boyanup to Bunbury line was built and later extended to Donnybrook and beyond and to Capel and beyond.

  swrhc Locomotive Driver

A fine and pleasant day saw 143 visitors pass through the gates, two of whom were accompanied by their canine companion.

Gary and Harry welcomed them all in their usual cheerful manner and in the roundhouse Barry ensured that they were given every opportunity to learn about and appreciate what they were seeing.  Now all we need is a Larry and a Carrie to join our happy crew and we will have a full collection of rhyming names to help our visitors.

Down the road a bit, the blacksmiths were bashing the iron with increased gusto in celebration of their shed renovations being nearly complete as the floor was nearly fully brick paved  (what next, a spa and sauna?) as well as the dragon’s name about to be announced.  The dragon spent the morning on display at the Farmers Market at the other end of town being admired by many of the shoppers.  Just before lunchtime, word filtered down the highway that the name had been revealed – “Iron Eyes” being suggested by Dylan from Capel.  Thanks to the generosity of Julian and the Boyanup Post, he was the recipient of $50 for his suggestion.

Next door by the agricultural machinery shed, Don had yet another machine from his collection on operational display, this time a small engine and pump which burbled away happily all day.  This enabled Don to spend some more “quality time” working on the fuel system of the small Lanz Bulldog tractor.  Ian had his grey Fergie on display again and in the Lions Shed workshop the Howard DH22 tractor with attached rotavator reminded visitors of the part small tractors played in the agricultural endeavours of local farmers in days gone by.

In the agricultural machinery shed, Elwyn represented the local dairy industry in our “From Farm to Fork” themed day with his cream separator and many a visitor tried their hand at this task using the technology of the past.  Also in the shed, we paid tribute to the viticulture industry.  Not many visitors knew that it was Boyanup that proved the viability of the wine industry in the South West 50 or 60 years before the Margaret River people got busy.  At the start of the 1900s, the Duce family grew grapes on the Bbidecud property, just over the Preston River from the SWRHC, and established a winery there which operated for many years.

A feature of the day was a display of some of the more than 600 examples of barbed wire that had been collected over many years by a farmer from the Boyup Brook area and on display in the former Boyanup Museum for many years.  Unfortunately, when the museum was closed nearly 10 years ago, this display, and a number of other exhibits, had been packed away in less than pristine conditions in a container and the years, along with dust, mould and termites, had not been kind to them such that a number of the panels displaying the wires were very flimsy and rotted.  One of our challenges over coming months will be to dismantle the collection and put it onto new panels so that the whole collection can be presented for visitors to view.  I was interviewed on the ABC South West morning radio programme about the collection following the Open Day so perhaps a little assistance may be forthcoming for this task.

In the roundhouse, Gary number 2 worked on getting the magpie hay baler ever closer to the painting stage while Hannes showed many people what the Men’s Shed members were involved in.  In the train side of the roundhouse, John continued with his immaculate restoration of ACM 391.  When the magpie baler is painted, Gary tells me that he wants to give John a hand as a fresh challenge for himself and to provide John with some company.

Two features of the SWRHC that many heritage sites do not offer are our kids’ activities and our refreshments.  Kelly and Steven are our “Pied Pipers” for the kids’ activities and offer games, craft type activities, books and other entertainment to keep the kids happy while mum and dad get to have a few minutes to themself to view the displays or to “have a quiet coffee”.

In the Picnic Van, Allison and Anne offer an ever changing menu of “tasty tucker”.  To celebrate the agricultural produce of the local area, beef and gravy rolls and apple pies and cream were on the menu and, sadly for me, they had sold out before I got the chance to stop for lunch.  New to the Picnic Van this month were ice creams and icy poles of varying types and flavours – many thanks to Philippa for the donation of the freezer and to Gordon and Hannes for wiring the van to cope with the increased demand for electricity.

As an added extra this month, Didi had returned from her holiday and had herbs and seedlings for sale, many of which were taken away by happy customers, and we were joined by an artist and portrait painter who had some exquisite bush scenes on display.

To help us get the interpretation of the various exhibits “right” for visitors given that we were successful in gaining a Lotterywest grant to do this, we had a couple of tables with large sheets of paper on for visitors to tell us what they wanted.  A number took the opportunity to do so and left several complementary comments about the site, including 1 or 2 about the Picnic Van and its hostesses and offerings.  Come pack up time, the 2 ladies could hardly fit their head through the door!  Several mentions were made of the need for a large sign on the highway and this will be addressed ASAP.

The agricultural machinery shed has been cleaned out by Don, Gary, “young Dave” from the Men’s Shed and yours truly of all machinery so that the floor can be concreted, courtesy of a Shire of Capel grant and SWRHC funds.  When that is completed, the next task is to do similar to the agricultural side of the roundhouse.

Many thanks to Hannes and other Men’s Shed members for the rejuvenation of the bench seats – many a visitor enjoyed the opportunity to rest their feet under the shade of our magnificent shade trees.  The down side of them, unfortunately, is that they drop lots of leaves which need regular collection and disposal.

Recently the site was visited by a photographer contracted by the South West Development Commission to take photos of “interesting” sites and things so that the Commission would have a portfolio of photos for when the Chinese film company which is setting up in Bunbury requires a certain “thing” to be part of one of its films.  He took many photos around the site and was most impressed with what he saw.

Our next Open Day will be held on March 22nd and will be a celebration of “Women in Agriculture”, acknowledging the help they gave to their menfolk in the fields while still keeping the homestead spick and span and homemade food on the table.  We look forward to seeing you there.

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