South West Rail and Heritage Centre

 
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][color=#500050]A cloudy Saturday turned into a sunny Sunday for our "Women in Agriculture" Open Day. Our wonderful Secretary/Promotions Officer/Caterer/Grant Writer and a few other tasks Anne, Don from our old machinery group and Brian from the blacksmiths provided a first class exhibition of information and "old time" implements telling and showing how women both in the past and today contributed to the agricultural development of the area as well as keeping the home fires burning. Add to this the blacksmiths showing how metal tools and equipment needed for agriculture were made in days gone by, the display of agricultural and other machinery from the past that made life a little easier and the railway exhibits that took the produce to market rounded out the story we sought to tell.[/color][/font][/size][/color]
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[color=#500050]We weren't rushed off our feet with visitors, with only 58 attending, but those 58 were most impressed and more informed by what they saw judging by the comments they made.[/color]

[color=#500050]Our regular helpers were once again on the job - Gary at the front gate welcoming the visitors and ever ready to swap stories of the good old days on the railways with fellow former employees and Barry keeping an eye on the roundhouse and all that it contained as well as showing some DVDs of past exploits of the railways and having a small display of vintage Triang and Hornby Dublo model trains.[/color]

[color=#500050]Also in the roundhouse, John carried on with the carriage restoration, spending some time working out the jigsaw puzzle of which seat went in which compartment. As always, visitors were in awe of the "fancy" woodwork that these old carriages had when built and of John's skill in returning it to as new condition. Out the back, Don was in the Mens Shed showing the visitors some of the fine woodwork items that the members have made or restored and spreading the word about the good work that Mens Shed do for other men who may be "lost" for something to do or for male companionship.[/color]

[color=#500050]Don, Gary, Allan and Jacob found plenty to do with old machinery - Gary spent most of his day in the roundhouse finishing the magpie hay baler while in the workshop Don and Alan worked on finishing the fuel system on the Lanz Bulldog tractor, only to find that there was an oil leak that will necessitate the removal of the large flywheel(?) that Don had recently spent several weeks, and many muttered curses, getting back on. Oh the joys of restoration![/color]

[color=#500050]Speaking of Don, one of the items that he brought to display was a very old twin tub manual washing machine. The story goes that Don was at the local rubbish tip one day when a man brought this in for disposal, which in days past meant dumping and eventual burying. His reaction was, "No, you can't just dump that here - I'll have that!" I think the reaction of his good lady when he arrived home with it was almost word for word, minus the last 3! Don must be a smooth talker though as he has kept it and brought it back to somewhere near as new condition and it certainly attracted a lot of interest.[/color]

[color=#500050]Kelly and Steven were eager to entertain the younger visitors with their many kids activities but only 8 turned up, which was a much lower ratio of adults: kids than usual so they also weren't rushed off their feet. Perhaps the attraction of a few traditional kids games on our Traditional Trades day may see more action for them on April 26th.[/color]

[color=#500050]In the forge, the blacksmiths happily hammered away on various projects and used some of their new "toys" that a $4 000 grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Reconstruction had provided. The extra space that the reorganisation of the forge had provided was also well received by the members of the group.[/color]

[color=#500050]The Picnic Van was well patronised as usual and again many complimentary comments were made about the quality of the service and the quality and price of the food and drinks. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to remove one side of the van just so Anne and Allison can get their heads inside it![/color]

[color=#500050]And, as is her want, Philippa was everywhere that an extra pair of hands or an informed reply or chat was required while John (not carriage restoring John - how come we seem to double up on names at the SWRHC, it even confuses me!) spent time in the roundhouse and around the site checking out the engineering side of things.[/color]

[color=#500050]Continuing on with names, it seems that I missed one for our rhyming helpers list last month so if there are any Clarries (Clarence) out there feeling left out, rest assured that you will be made very welcome at the SWRHC![/color]

[color=#500050]Our good friend Didi was on site with her herbs and plants so if you are a green fingers and/or enjoy growing your own food you may want to pay her a visit at our next Open Day (April 26th).[/color]
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Within the next couple of weeks, we will be welcoming the Boyanup Lions Club to the SWRHC site - they will be using the old metal garage as a storage site for their bits and pieces after upgrading it with a new floor and roller door.

Word - well, the invoice actually - has just come through that the concrete floor has been laid in the open fronted machinery shed. Now comes the fun of planning and setting up the display inside it. The shed will be named after Don and Allan in recognition of their involvement in machinery restoration at the site for many years.

At this stage and all being well and ready in the workshop at Manjimup, "Leschenault Lady's" boiler should be heading south for repairs around the middle of April. The hold up has been a big job that has run over schedule in the workshop.

Also to go, but in a different direction, are Dave Hockey's 2 ADG railcars and his Y class loco - these will be heading east to operate on the Boulder Loopline Railway.

In the past month, we have been very fortunate to have a number of people help us out with a number of tasks. On behalf of the SWRHC, I sincerely thank:
[ul][li]Bev, "Whitey" and the Certificate 3 Horticultural students from Jobs South West who are tackling the "jungle" between the toilet block and the Picnic Van and also demonstrating the noble art of weed extraction[/li][li]"Picko" from "Picko's Bobcat Hire" for levelling the floor of the machinery shed - an excellent operator if you need some earthworks done[/li][li]Alan who has been wiring the railway crossing lights[/li][li]Gordon for delivering an upgraded power supply to the Picnic Van which allows Anne and Allison to have all of their "gadgets" working at the same time[/li][li]"Young Dave" from the Mens Shed for cleaning out the gutters of the machinery shed[/li][li]The Mens Shed members who are always obliging when I find things that need doing and are too big for 1 person to tackle[/li][/ul]
Our next Open Day is scheduled for Sunday, April 26th, with the theme of "Traditional Trades". I invite you all to come and see how some of these seldom used skills are kept alive by devotees of such things as spinning, embroidery, book binding, wood turning, splicing, papercraft, blacksmithing and more. The SWRHC is in Turner Street, Boyanup and is open from 10am until 2pm.

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Sponsored advertisement

  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif][color=#500050]A cloudy Saturday turned into a sunny Sunday for our "Women in Agriculture" Open Day. Our wonderful Secretary/Promotions Officer/Caterer/Grant Writer and a few other tasks Anne, Don from our old machinery group and Brian from the blacksmiths provided a first class exhibition of information and "old time" implements telling and showing how women both in the past and today contributed to the agricultural development of the area as well as keeping the home fires burning. Add to this the blacksmiths showing how metal tools and equipment needed for agriculture were made in days gone by, the display of agricultural and other machinery from the past that made life a little easier and the railway exhibits that took the produce to market rounded out the story we sought to tell.[/color][/font][/size][/color]
[color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif]
[color=#500050]We weren't rushed off our feet with visitors, with only 58 attending, but those 58 were most impressed and more informed by what they saw judging by the comments they made.[/color]

[color=#500050]Our regular helpers were once again on the job - Gary at the front gate welcoming the visitors and ever ready to swap stories of the good old days on the railways with fellow former employees and Barry keeping an eye on the roundhouse and all that it contained as well as showing some DVDs of past exploits of the railways and having a small display of vintage Triang and Hornby Dublo model trains.[/color]

[color=#500050]Also in the roundhouse, John carried on with the carriage restoration, spending some time working out the jigsaw puzzle of which seat went in which compartment. As always, visitors were in awe of the "fancy" woodwork that these old carriages had when built and of John's skill in returning it to as new condition. Out the back, Don was in the Mens Shed showing the visitors some of the fine woodwork items that the members have made or restored and spreading the word about the good work that Mens Shed do for other men who may be "lost" for something to do or for male companionship.[/color]

[color=#500050]Don, Gary, Allan and Jacob found plenty to do with old machinery - Gary spent most of his day in the roundhouse finishing the magpie hay baler while in the workshop Don and Alan worked on finishing the fuel system on the Lanz Bulldog tractor, only to find that there was an oil leak that will necessitate the removal of the large flywheel(?) that Don had recently spent several weeks, and many muttered curses, getting back on. Oh the joys of restoration![/color]

[color=#500050]Speaking of Don, one of the items that he brought to display was a very old twin tub manual washing machine. The story goes that Don was at the local rubbish tip one day when a man brought this in for disposal, which in days past meant dumping and eventual burying. His reaction was, "No, you can't just dump that here - I'll have that!" I think the reaction of his good lady when he arrived home with it was almost word for word, minus the last 3! Don must be a smooth talker though as he has kept it and brought it back to somewhere near as new condition and it certainly attracted a lot of interest.[/color]

[color=#500050]Kelly and Steven were eager to entertain the younger visitors with their many kids activities but only 8 turned up, which was a much lower ratio of adults: kids than usual so they also weren't rushed off their feet. Perhaps the attraction of a few traditional kids games on our Traditional Trades day may see more action for them on April 26th.[/color]

[color=#500050]In the forge, the blacksmiths happily hammered away on various projects and used some of their new "toys" that a $4 000 grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Reconstruction had provided. The extra space that the reorganisation of the forge had provided was also well received by the members of the group.[/color]

[color=#500050]The Picnic Van was well patronised as usual and again many complimentary comments were made about the quality of the service and the quality and price of the food and drinks. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to remove one side of the van just so Anne and Allison can get their heads inside it![/color]

[color=#500050]And, as is her want, Philippa was everywhere that an extra pair of hands or an informed reply or chat was required while John (not carriage restoring John - how come we seem to double up on names at the SWRHC, it even confuses me!) spent time in the roundhouse and around the site checking out the engineering side of things.[/color]

[color=#500050]Continuing on with names, it seems that I missed one for our rhyming helpers list last month so if there are any Clarries (Clarence) out there feeling left out, rest assured that you will be made very welcome at the SWRHC![/color]

[color=#500050]Our good friend Didi was on site with her herbs and plants so if you are a green fingers and/or enjoy growing your own food you may want to pay her a visit at our next Open Day (April 26th).[/color]
[/font][/size][/color]
[color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif]
Within the next couple of weeks, we will be welcoming the Boyanup Lions Club to the SWRHC site - they will be using the old metal garage as a storage site for their bits and pieces after upgrading it with a new floor and roller door.

Word - well, the invoice actually - has just come through that the concrete floor has been laid in the open fronted machinery shed. Now comes the fun of planning and setting up the display inside it. The shed will be named after Don and Allan in recognition of their involvement in machinery restoration at the site for many years.

At this stage and all being well and ready in the workshop at Manjimup, "Leschenault Lady's" boiler should be heading south for repairs around the middle of April. The hold up has been a big job that has run over schedule in the workshop.

Also to go, but in a different direction, are Dave Hockey's 2 ADG railcars and his Y class loco - these will be heading east to operate on the Boulder Loopline Railway.

In the past month, we have been very fortunate to have a number of people help us out with a number of tasks. On behalf of the SWRHC, I sincerely thank:
[ul][li]Bev, "Whitey" and the Certificate 3 Horticultural students from Jobs South West who are tackling the "jungle" between the toilet block and the Picnic Van and also demonstrating the noble art of weed extraction[/li][li]"Picko" from "Picko's Bobcat Hire" for levelling the floor of the machinery shed - an excellent operator if you need some earthworks done[/li][li]Alan who has been wiring the railway crossing lights[/li][li]Gordon for delivering an upgraded power supply to the Picnic Van which allows Anne and Allison to have all of their "gadgets" working at the same time[/li][li]"Young Dave" from the Mens Shed for cleaning out the gutters of the machinery shed[/li][li]The Mens Shed members who are always obliging when I find things that need doing and are too big for 1 person to tackle[/li][/ul]
Our next Open Day is scheduled for Sunday, April 26th, with the theme of "Traditional Trades". I invite you all to come and see how some of these seldom used skills are kept alive by devotees of such things as spinning, embroidery, book binding, wood turning, splicing, papercraft, blacksmithing and more. The SWRHC is in Turner Street, Boyanup and is open from 10am until 2pm.

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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif]What a wonderful day for an Open Day, sunny,warm,a,gentle breeze - and what a wonderful crowd turned up to learn more about "Traditional Trades". Over 300 people came through the gates, several with dog in tow - or vice versa - and at around 11am we had our first equine visitor, a magnificent Clydesdale- thoroughbred cross arrived as she had heard that shoes were available on site.

But back to the beginning - my clean up/set up routine started a day or two earlier than usual due to our decision to use the partly renovated old clubroom building as our entry point/shop/display area, "testing" it for winter. Much sweeping,dusting, furniture moving and display setting up ensued and, even f I do say so myself, it looked pretty good when done.

Our usual friendly faces at the entrance, Gary and Harry, were catching up on sleep due to a long night and early morning at the Kings Park dawn ANZAC service the previous day so Philippa kindly took on this role and handled it with aplomb, even in the busiest times, which was basically 10am to 1pm. She, and we, were also pleased to welcome the members of the Military Motorcycle Club and the committee menbers of ARPG to the SWRHC.
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Down in the Picnic Van, Allison was similarly catching up on sleep (not in the Picnic Van though!) so Renee, the masterchef of the pulled beef and gravy rolls, assisted Anne and mother and daughter, who had driven down the night before after hosting the ANZAC Cottage sunset ANZAC service in Mount Hawthorn, also handled the many hungry people with aplomb (but not in their mouths, they spoke dinky-di Aussie!). When Renee saw the horse, she asked if she could take it home but I said no as I didn't think she was stable enough to look after it properly!

Friday afternoon arrived and the advanced party of Basso Boys, Andrew and Rowan, arrived and were joined later by Ian and his good lady Sue, who is not a Basso Boy but who had just been informed that she has gained her doctorate after years of hard work - congratulations Sue. Saturday saw Philippa and John arrive, followed a little later by Josh and then Dom so the work on the railway exhibits began. Philippa and Rowan applied fresh Larch Green paint to the side of the Museum on Rails van, John started on giving Leschenault Lady a going over to ensure that all was ready for the boiler lift in the next couple of weeks while Ian, Andrew and Josh got stuck into the painting and varnishing of the woodwork in carriage ACM 391. That left John (the other John) free to continue with his work on the carriage as it gets closer and closer to being "ready for traffic". And as for Dom, well his joy knew no bounds when he discovered that Nick, a qualified track worker (for want of a better title), was on site and the 2 of them thoroughly enjoyed themselves for the rest of the long weekend shifting sand, fixing flat bobcat tyres and getting unwanted plates off sleepers.

The main feature of the Open Day was traditional trades and we had quite few on site in addition to the locomotive and carriage restorers. Our blacksmiths led the way, demonstrating their prowess and artistic flair as they worked on a new, secret project. Malcolm spent his day making the new shoes for our 4 legged guest and the farrier pulled quite a crowd each time he demonstrated how horseshoes were put on to a horse. As well, the blacksmiths have taken up making their own charcoal as good quality charcoal is proving difficult to obtain.

Pulling an equally large crowd were John and Brian with their rope making - it certainly was fascinating to watch how it was done and many a young lady was delighted to take home a newly created length of rope.

In the machinery shed, we had the Book Binders Guild from Perth and they were very pleased with the number of questions they were asked and by the number of people who indicated that they wished to learn this art. The spinners were equally kept busy, not only spinning but explaining how a tuft (if that's the correct word) of wool could end up as a single long thin thread. Marion's grandmother's 94 year old sewing machine worked overtime, making "goodies" for sale, with the proceeds going too the Boyanup Primary School, while the knitters and crocheters also had a good number of people eager to learn how to make their own jumpers, shawls, blankets and such like. Audrey had a lovely display of items she had made and was selling some of them to raise funds for the Wheelchairs for Children group.

Down the road a little, we had an author and a portrait artist (brother and sister) and they also were kept quite busy with sales and chatting about their work. A traditional trade that has seen a great increase in popularity in recent years, growing your own produce, was catered for by Didi with her herbs and plants.

In the Men's Shed, Albie was demonstrating the art of wood turning though he tells me that he did more talking to visitors than actual turning but his display of previously made articles, some for sale, certainly attracted interest and the transfer of legal tender.

Our volunteers have been busy over the last month or so. Alan has attached the boom gate to the crossing structure, with just the electrics to make it work left to do. A number of people were amazed at its size - it doesn't seem that big when you are in the car.

Harry spent many hours fixing the plumbing to the cottage and this was much appreciated by the Basso Boys on the long weekend - no more long walks down the yard in the middle of the night when nature calls! They also appreciated the clean water from the new connection to the water supply. The boys now want to know what you know about possum removal, Harry! Harry has also added some more shelving in the Picnic Van which was well used and appreciated by Anne and Renee.

"Young Dave" has been a busy beaver clearing out the container, finding many items that I didn't know we had but which will be fantastic additions to some of our displays.

Once again, the SWRHC has been the recipient of good will, good prices, free labour and financial assistance from many quarters and I sincerely thank:
[ul][li]South West Development Commission for the grant to promote the "Traditional Trades" day[/li][li]Shire of Capel for the grant to concrete the Machinery Shed floor and to produce our brochure[/li][li]Brookfield Rail and Nick for their assistance with the rebuilding of the track[/li][li]Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal for the grant to assist the blacksmiths[/li][li]Australind Premix concrete for the great price and great job on the Machinery Shed floor (also on the floor in the garage for the Lions Club)[/li][li]Selleys and Renee for the Selleys products[/li][li]Picko's Bobcat Hire for the earthworks and for delivering several loads of sleepers from Picton yard[/li][li]Capel Cranes for offering the great price for lifting Leschenault Lady's boiler and delivering it to Manjimup (to happen "soon")[/li][li]Morris and Jan Johnston for the donation of the old fridge which will join our Metters stove and Don's old "twin tub" washing machine and mangle to show what life for the lady of the house was like in much earlier days.[/li][/ul]Our next Open Day is scheduled for May 24th and will be a "Fettlerfest" where we pay tribute to those men who made the railways in days gone by. Come and try your hand at drilling a hole in a sleeper with an augur and then try knocking a dog spike into it. Test your strength by lifting a length of rail or try out the comforts of a ganger's trolley. There will be all that and more, including activities for the little ones at the "Kids Corner" with Kelly and Steven.





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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Another fine and sunny day for our May Open Day and another large crowd, all in fine fettle, turned up to learn a bit more about the important role that fettlers played in the railway scene.  Some even took up our invitation to experience what it was like to be a fettler in days long gone by drilling a hole in a sleeper with a hand powered augur then knocking a dog splke into it using a sledge hammer.  Most males and kids didn't get far but one grandma did, swinging a very heavy sledge hammer as though it was made of feathers to complete the task, receiving a well deserved round of applause from the many spectators for her efforts.  The talks about fettlers and fettling were also well received and attended, with many taking the opportunity to handle some of the tools used and test their strength in lifting a short length of 68 pound rail.  Many visitors were also interested in our "menagerie" which consisted of dogs, fish and a very large frog  (all names for parts of track for those not in the know).

Where would we be without our volunteers?  At the South West Rail and Heritage Centre we have a fantastic band of helpers who turn up month after month to take on one of the tasks that need doing in order to run a successful Open day, and many of these are mundane bordering on the boring.  Once again Gary looked after the door and sales while Harry enthusiastically talked about and showed the model railway that is under construction while Graham kept a close eye on the display of model locos, wagons, buildings and vehicles to ensure that the younger generation looked with their eyes and not with their hands.  Down the yard a bit, Anne and Allison had the Picnic Van humming, with many visitors enjoying the refreshments and light lunches on offer, while right down the back of the site Barry took up his usual station in the roundhouse to ensure that everyone stayed safe whether climbing into the cab of our diesel shunter or taking a closer look at the restoration work taking place in there.

Add to this Brian demonstrating the art of blacksmithing in the forge, Don showing off the Men's Shed and Don, Allan and Gary "playing" with some old machines and you have a day's entertainment and learning rolled into one.  And that's not forgetting Kelly and Steven who offer games and activities for our younger visitors for when they've had enough of history.

While we featured old time fettling this month, some modern fettling was taking place behind the roped off areas.  Nick and his hard working bobcat spent the weekend, as he had done the previous weekend despite the rain, levelling the ground, laying sleepers and positioning rail as part of our track rehabilitation programme.  In this he was assisted on Saturday by Gary and Harry who sorted out dog splkes and bolts ready for use.  Harry was also busy adding more shelving and bench space in the Picnic Van and donating a helix and metal frames for the model railway.

In other happenings around the site, the last bits of Leschenault Lady's boiler were freed from its frame thanks to Colin from the blacksmiths and Nick, the blacksmiths have begun to produce their own charcoal as sourcing good quality charcoal was becoming harder and more expensive, our brochure has been printed and will be available at our next Open day and from various tourist outlets, our surplus tractors have been snaffled by Avondale (near Beverley) and will be heading there soon for restoration and display (we still have a couple of harvesters if anyone is interested) and we have started to work through all of the items on site to see if any would be more relevant to other museums and suchlike places, as we have a number that have little or no provenance to the greater Bunbury area and the extra space will allow us to make our displays more visitor friendly.

With the concreting of the machinery shed came the problem of getting the various machines that are to be displayed there over the lip of the floor without cracking it.  This was solved by Ted from Picko's Bobcat Hire who provided 3 loads of fine road base which allowed Don and Gary to make an excellent gently sloping ramp that has made this task so much easier.  Ted also provided the transport of 3 loads of sleepers donated by Aurizon from Picton to Boyanup.

We are looking for an "official photographer" to record the goings on at our Open Days so that we can keep people informed via our Facebook page and through the various local newpapers and magazines.  Unfortunately, our regular volunteers are kept busy performing their other roles on Open Days so if this is something you think you could do, please let me know.  Acknowledgement will always be made for any photos used.

Our next Open Day is Old Machinery Day on Sunday, June 28th and as part of this, our Machinery Shed will be named after 2 stalwarts who have been with us for many years in a short ceremony around 12.00 noon.  So come along and see these old bangers, and I'm not referring to our stalwarts here, do what they have done for many years, in some cases over 100.  We plan to have a number of machines in operation.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Another lovely day saw another large crowd attend the SWRHC for Old Machinery Day.  Our attendance for the year so far is nearing 1 000 and the 2 dogs who attended took the canine visitor total into double figures.

The feature of the day was the unveiling of the name of our refurbished machinery shed by Murray Scott, President of the Capel Shire Council. It has been named the "Don Brett - Allan Dhu Machinery Shed" to recognise the contribution of these 2 gents to the restoration of machinery at the site over the past decade.  It was lovely to have their families attend and their faces illustrated their pride.  We also recognised young Jacob with a certificate as our youngest and keenest volunteer for his work in keeping Don and Allan on track.  

Members of the Old Machinery Club of WA turned out in force to support Don and Allan and amidst much creaking, groaning, snorting  and wheezing (from the machinery, not the members I hasten to add - well, maybe from 1 or 2!), many magnificently restored examples of old machinery were brought to life.  Allan's drag saw slicing through a large log like a hot knife through butter and Gary's wonderful job on the restoration of the magpie hay baler were two standouts amongst them.

Around the rest of the site, our trusty volunteers carried out their tasks in their usual friendly and efficient manner.  Garry and Harry at the entrance  dealing with sales and interest in the evolving model railway, Kelly and Steven providing games and activities for the young and young at heart in which many participated, John and Roy in the roundhouse working on carriage restoration, Barry and Graham riding "shotgun" on some of the exhibits, a good turnout of blacksmiths hammering away, Don showing what the Men's Shed members are up to, Anne and Renee doing a roaring trade in the Picnic Van  and Philippa roaming the grounds to record images of people enjoying a day out all added to the experience that visitors to the SWRHC enjoy on an Open Day.

While all of this was going on, John gave Leschenault Lady a final check over to ensure that the imminent lifting of the boiler would go smoothly then headed out to the "wilds" of the site to see how Nick  and the Bobcat were going with the track restoration.  The answer was very nicely thank you - when Nick finishes this work, the SWRHC will have trackwork the equal of any trackwork in the state, albeit to a lighter standard than the heavy duty main lines.

In other news from around the site, four tractors deemed surplus to our needs headed off to Avondale (near Beverley) for restoration and future display (thanks Don) and a header has been prepared for transport to the Tractor Museum at Whiteman Park (thanks Don and Gary).  On the day before the Open Day a car and trailer turned up carrying a large red diesel engine - Don and Gary, who were on site getting displays ready for the next day, immediately started drooling and planning how to smuggle it home without their good ladies finding out and it was a devil of a job for me to get them back on task.  Thanks John and Betty for the donation.

Thanks to Harry, we now have water connected to the old clubroom building which now serves as our entrance to the site, shop and display area and thanks to the Boyanup Lions Club and Les electricity will soon be connected, with thanks to Harry, Allan, Kirrilee, Jacob and Don for the trench digging.  Thanks also to Sharon and Murray for the regular mentions of our Open Days on the Lions Club  roadside notice board.

We also have received several other donations of valuable exhibits recently.  Just before the gates opened for May's Open Day, Morris and Jan turned up with a 1940s fridge which ran on ammonia gas and water, and had been in use until very recently, and a hand operated Singer sewing machine in a domed case - both of these have joined our display of "Modern Machines for Mums of earlier times".  Many thanks for those, Morris and Jan, and for the old car jack which has joined our collection of tools from earlier times.

During this Open Day, Rainer and Julie arrived bearing gifts - an engine for Don (all I have to do is work out whether it's for Old Machinery Don or Men's Shed Don!) and a couple of old hand drills which also will join out old tools collection.  Again, thank you for these.

The feature of our July 26th Open Day will be centred on the blacksmiths' shop where, from the fiery depths of the forges, a little sister or brother for Iron Eyes, our resident dragon, will emerge.  We invite you to come and join us for this magical event, maybe with a few suggestions for a name for him/her.  The SWRHC will be open from 10am until 2pm.


Sadly, at the Open Day we were told of the passing of one of our patrons, Jack Kitchen.  Jack, and Mary, were involved in the setting up of the original Boyanup Museum and Jack served in a number of roles there after.  He was a true gentleman and a keen advocate and servant of any thing to do with Boyanup.  We were delighted when he and Mary agreed to be co-patrons of the SWRHC with Julian and Val Sanders.  Our condolences are offered to Mary and the Kitchen family.

  swrhc Locomotive Driver

On Friday morning, the boiler of 1898 built loco G233 "Leschenault Lady" was lifted and taken to Cutts Engineering in Manjimup for repairs to bring her back to steaming condition.  Some boiler stays need replacing and a new ash pan and smoke box are to be fabricated and attached.  The tubes were replaced in 1999 and since then the loco only ran a few trips on the Boulder Loop Line (Kalgoorlie) in the early 2000s so they are still good.

Once the boiler is back and all fittings reassembled, we hope to have her in steam out in the yard on SWRHC Open Days (4th Sunday of each month), with permission of the Minister for Transport and the Office of Rail Safety.  Our wish is to run her again around the South West but a lot of things have to fall into line for this to happen but we live in hope!
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Once again the weather gods looked favourably upon the SWRHC, giving us another nice sunny day.  Unfortunately, the crowd wasn't as big as in the past few months but the 62nd person through the door was our 1 000th visitor for the year.

The blacksmiths creating a sibling for Iron Eyes was our feature for this day and they were at it hammer and tongs (pun partly meant!) throughout the day, making the bits and pieces required.  But the old enemy of crystallisation of metal and charcoal struck again and thwarted their attempts to weld the various bits together to complete their project.  However, they are very confident of getting this done at their next get together so visitors to our next Open Day (August 23rd) should see their newborn "baby" then.  For photos of the blacksmiths at work, and other goings on at the SWRHC, have a look at the SWRHC Facebook page.

"Leschenault Lady" in her "underwear" also attracted a lot of attention - it is not often that people get to see the inner workings of a steam locomotive.  A photo is on our Facebook page.  From all reports, progress is being made on the repairs to the boiler which means we had better get started soon on cleaning and checking her "underwear" so that all is in readiness for the boiler's return.

A third attention grabber on the day was the model railway.  Garry and Harry have been very busy boys, laying lots of tracks on the "hidden" sections of the layout and rewiring the helix such that while the rest of us were hard at work on the Open Day, Harry was playing trains and loving it - see the size of his grin on our Facebook page!  We are looking at starting up a South West Model Railway Group on site so anybody in the SW of WA interested in model railways is encouraged to join us.

Allan and Jacob were a bit lonely in the machinery Shed this month as Don and Gary, and wives, had gone on a month long 4 wheel driving tour of the outback of WA - those 2 will do anything to get out of removing the leaves from the shed!  Never-the-less, Allan, though suffering from a dose of the flu, had one of his restored machines powering a pump in operation.

But wait, there's more!  Our railway crossing was also operable, thanks to Alan, and demonstrations were the order of the day, though not too many in case the bells drove everyone nuts.  One little boy was most taken with it and his day was made when he was allowed to push the buttons to make it work.

Kelly and Steven were also kept busy entertaining the kids, as there was a greater proportion of kids than usual.  Many dragon masks were coloured in and worn proudly, lots of bubbles floated through the air and the merry-go-round was also popular.  I'm pleased to report that Kelly showed no ill effects of celebrating her 21st birthday the day before!

As usual, we had our team of hard working volunteers helping on the day - Garry and Harry at the entrance, Barry in the roundhouse keeping an eye on things, Graham patrolling the site, John and Roy working on the interior restoration of carriage ACM 391, Don manning the Men's Shed and Anne and Renee serving up gourmet tucker in the Picnic Van.  However, we are now looking for a replacement for Renee as she has landed herself a role in the Bunbury Musical Comedy Group's production of "Spamalot" (think Monty Python) and rehearsals are on Sundays from now until opening night later this year.  Any takers???

Our next Open Day is scheduled for August 23rd and we will be commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2 with a display of military vehicles (all going well with the owners of them) and talks about the role of the railways in WA to support the war effort by historian and author, Philippa Rogers.  The SWRHC will be open from 10am to 2pm so please do drop in.
  Kafoopsy Chief Commissioner

Location: Perth, WA
Thanks for the updates, swrhc!  I really like reading about what is happening at Boyanup.  One of these days I'll manage to come down and attend one of the open days - I've never been there before.
  antiussentiment Locomotive Driver

Location: perth
Thanks for the updates, swrhc!  I really like reading about what is happening at Boyanup.  One of these days I'll manage to come down and attend one of the open days - I've never been there before.
What he said ^^^..

Thanks for taking the time to write these updates..
antiussentiment
Despite the evidence of climate change, the climate hasn't changed much in the week leading up to an Open Day this winter - lots of rain during the week but sunny and pleasant by Sunday and so it was again for our "Troops, Trains and Trades" day.  Well over 100 people came through the entrance - and a record 3 dogs! - to see the display of military vehicles, both full size and a 1:87 model of a military museum featuring WW2 vehicles and to hear and see Philippa's talk and "slideshow" on the part the railways played in the war effort, both operationally and through the workshops making military ordnance and machinery.

Many thanks to the owners of the military vehicles for bringing them for display - a Willy's and a Ford Jeep, an Austin Champ, a Studebaker truck and what looked to be an International truck.  The  vehicle buffs certainly had a great time examining every square inch of these and discussing the pros and cons of one over the other.  Thanks to Graham for keeping an eye on them when the owners were otherwise engaged.

One of the locomotives involved in the war effort, G233 ("Leschenault" Lady as she is now known), also attracted a lot of interest sans boiler and lots of people were fascinated by the inner workings thus displayed, particularly as Ian and John had spent a good few hours giving the frame and innards a good clean, with the high pressure cleaner to be used to finish the job on their next trip to Boyanup.  Up until early 1943 G233 was located on the Ravensthorpe to Hopetoun line though unused since 1935 when the line was closed.  With every locomotive required, she was dismantled and crated to Newdegate and returned from there to Midland where she was reassembled and thrown back into use to help maintain the war effort.

Speaking of trains running, Harry and Garry had the bottom of the proposed 3 levels on the model railway operational and many a young, and not so young, train fan watched with interest and pleasure as various trains ran up and down the helix and around the bottom loop.  Even greater was their pleasure when the hand controller was passed over to them to have a "drive"!

Out in the yard, Kelly and Steven in our "Kids Corner" were kept busy topping up the bubble mixture for kids and parents to make giant bubbles and the merry-go-round, and many a parent, got a good workout throughout the day.  For some reason, the percentage of our visitors being kids was much higher than usual so the games and activities on offer were quite popular.

In the Picnic Van, the hot pulled beef and gravy rolls were disappearing as fast as Anne and Renee, who had finished her rehearsal earlier than expected, could make them and the apple pies and scones were also rushing out the door.  Thank goodness I got mine early!

While some of the blacksmiths were demonstrating their craft and skill at the Balingup Medieval Festival some 50 km south of Boyanup, others were on site to show our visitors how metal objects were made in the past.  In Ray's absence, Whitey took it upon himself to make roses for the ladies and delighted Shiona, who was checking out all that the SWRHC had to offer so that she could prepare our educational package for visiting school groups, with not only a rose but also a heart shaped ring!

Allan and Jacob represented our machinery group, with Don and Gary still exploring the back blocks of WA, and delighted (if that's the word) everyone with Allan's genuine WW2 air raid siren and a smaller siren.  I don't know what the local residents must have thought was happening when the handle was turned and this mournful wailing began but the kids on site loved it.

In the roundhouse, Barry kept an eye on things while John was busy restoring luggage racks from the old carriage back to as new condition.  Just behind where they were working, Don had the Men's Shed open and held discussions with visitors who popped in about what the members were up to.

While all of the action was taking place inside the fences, out in the yard Nick and Domenic were sorting through the rail and turnouts located next to the loading bank and bringing inside the site the lengths of rail and bits that would be required for the next stage of the track rehabilitation project that Nick is doing for us.

We were pleased to welcome back from holiday Didi and her herbs and plants, quite a few of which left the premises with their new owners during the day.

The day after the Open Day "The Rail Gang" moved in.  These are men between jobs at present but who are keen to learn some new skills and under Gordon's supervision have, and will, take on a number of tasks that will improve the amenity, displays and appearance of the SWRHC for visitors.  In the short time that they have been on site they have proven to be excellent workers willing to give anything their best shot.  Thanks gents!

Our September Open Day will be held on the 27th and will feature the Men's Shed though all other groups will also be on site. The members of the Men's Shed have been busy making various things for sale and have a lot of tools, machinery and bits and pieces to find a new home for so if your shed needs more "residents" our "Shopping for the Shed" day should not be missed.  If shed things are not your cup of tea, the blacksmiths will also have items for sale and in the entry room there will be books and other bits and pieces for sale at not to be beaten prices.  As well, the Men's Shed "master chefs" will be providing a sausage sizzle for lunch while morning and afternoon teas will still be available in the Picnic Van.

The SWRHC will be open on September 27th from 10am until 2pm.  Check us out on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre) or contact us by email at swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]Despite the evidence of climate change, the climate hasn't changed much in the week leading up to an Open Day this winter - lots of rain during the week but sunny and pleasant by Sunday and so it was again for our "Troops, Trains and Trades" day. Well over 100 people came through the entrance - and a record 3 dogs! - to see the display of military vehicles, both full size and a 1:87 model of a military museum featuring WW2 vehicles, and to hear and see Philippa's talk and "slideshow" on the part the railways played in the war effort, both operationally and through the workshops making military ordnance and machinery.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]Many thanks to the owners of the military vehicles for bringing them for display - a Willy's and a Ford Jeep, an Austin Champ, a Studebaker truck and what looked to be an International truck. The vehicle buffs certainly had a great time examining every square inch of these and discussing the pros and cons of one over the other. Thanks to Graham for keeping an eye on them when the owners were otherwise engaged.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]One of the locomotives involved in the war effort, G233 ("Leschenault" Lady as she is now known), also attracted a lot of interest sans boiler and lots of people were fascinated by the inner workings thus displayed, particularly as Ian and John had spent a good few hours giving the frame and innards a good clean, with the high pressure cleaner to be used to finish the job on their next trip to Boyanup. Up until early 1943 G233 was located on the Ravensthorpe to Hopetoun line though unused since 1935 when the line was closed. With every locomotive required, she was dismantled and crated to Newdegate and returned from there to Midland where she was reassembled and thrown back into use to help maintain the war effort.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]Speaking of trains running, Harry and Garry had the bottom of the proposed 3 levels on the model railway operational and many a young, and not so young, train fan watched with interest and pleasure as various trains ran up and down the helix and around the bottom loop. Even greater was their pleasure when the hand controller was passed over to them to have a "drive"![/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]Out in the yard, Kelly and Steven in our "Kids Corner" were kept busy topping up the bubble mixture for kids and parents to make giant bubbles and the merry-go-round, and many a parent, got a good workout throughout the day. For some reason, the percentage of our visitors being kids was much higher than usual so the games and activities on offer were quite popular.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]In the Picnic Van, the hot pulled beef and gravy rolls were disappearing as fast as Anne and Renee, who had finished her rehearsal earlier than expected, could make them and the apple pies and scones were also rushing out the door. Thank goodness I got mine early![/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]While some of the blacksmiths were demonstrating their craft and skill at the Balingup Medieval Festival some 50 km south of Boyanup, others were on site to show our visitors how metal objects were made in the past. In Ray's absence, Whitey took it upon himself to make roses for the ladies and delighted Shiona, who was checking out all that the SWRHC had to offer so that she could prepare our educational package for visiting school groups, with not only a rose but also a heart shaped ring![/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]Allan and Jacob represented our machinery group, with Don and Gary still exploring the back blocks of WA, and delighted (if that's the word) everyone with Allan's genuine WW2 air raid siren and a smaller siren. I don't know what the local residents must have thought was happening when the handle was turned and this mournful wailing began but the kids on site loved it.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]In the roundhouse, Barry kept an eye on things while John was busy restoring luggage racks from the old carriage back to as new condition. Just behind where they were working, Don had the Men's Shed open and held discussions with visitors who popped in about what the members were up to.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]While all of the action was taking place inside the fences, out in the yard Nick and Domenic were sorting through the rail and turnouts located next to the loading bank and bringing inside the site the lengths of rail and bits that would be required for the next stage of the track rehabilitation project that Nick is doing for us.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]We were pleased to welcome back from holiday Didi and her herbs and plants, quite a few of which left the premises with their new owners during the day.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]The day after the Open Day "The Rail Gang" moved in. These are men between jobs at present but who are keen to learn some new skills and under Gordon's supervision have, and will, take on a number of tasks that will improve the amenity, displays and appearance of the SWRHC for visitors. In the short time that they have been on site they have proven to be excellent workers willing to give anything their best shot. Thanks gents![/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]Our September Open Day will be held on the 27th and will feature the Men's Shed though all other groups will also be on site. The members of the Men's Shed have been busy making various things for sale and have a lot of tools, machinery and bits and pieces to find a new home for so if your shed needs more "residents" our "Shopping for the Shed" day should not be missed. If shed things are not your cup of tea, the blacksmiths will also have items for sale and in the entry room there will be books and other bits and pieces for sale at not to be beaten prices. As well, the Men's Shed "master chefs" will be providing a sausage sizzle for lunch while morning and afternoon teas will still be available in the Picnic Van.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]The SWRHC will be open on September 27th from 10am until 2pm. Check us out on Facebook ([/font][/size][/color][url=https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre][color=#0066cc][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre[/font][/size][/color][/url][color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]) or contact us by email at [/font][/size][/color][email=swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au][color=#0066cc][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/font][/size][/color][/email][color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][size=2]

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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

It sounds like a stuck record but once again our "Shopping for the Shed" Open Day was blessed with a fine, sunny day and 100+ visitors turned up to investigate what the Men's Shed had to offer - and to have a look at all of the other displays at the centre.  We are now only 73  visitors behind 2014's total of visitors, with 3 Open Days to go.  In addition a new record for canine attendance was set - no sooner had we commented around lunch time that no dogs had turned up than 4 arrived in quick succession!

Unfortunately we were down a few of our regular "staff" for the day - both Anne and Garry were on the sick list, with Garry ending up in hospital so we send our best wishes for a speedy and full recovery to him while my TLC has Anne almost as good as new.  Kelly was away on holiday while Philippa was recovering from her  northern hemisphere wanderings and  Renee was rehearsing for the upcoming Bunbury season of "Spamalot".  Fortunately Don was able to take on the "meet and greet" duties at the entrance whilst I was set to put on the pink frilly apron and perform the kitchen duties in the Picnic Van.  As soon as Blacksmith Brian saw this, he was on the phone and soon Ruth turned up and in the blink of the eye had the morning tea regime under total control and operated as though she had been doing this for her whole life.  Thanks a million Ruth, you were a god send (no Brian, I do not mean that you are a god!!!).

This near catastrophe (me in a frilly pink apron in public) has reinforced the need for the SWRHC to recruit more helpers so if any who read this can see their way clear to offer their services to help in any way on an Open Day, and not necessarily every Open Day, please contact me at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au or on 0459 712 552.[/color]

The Men's Shed had lots of self made items as well as superfluous tools and machinery for sale as well as a trailer load of wood as a raffle prize and a sausage sizzle, cooked by master chefs Peter and Bill, for lunch and all were well patronised during the day.

Around the site, John and Roy spent their day painting and refitting luggage racks in the nearly fully restored former 1912 built country passenger coach ACM391 while Barry kept an eye on the remainder of the railway displays in the roundhouse.

In the entrance building, Harry was happily showing and answering questions about the developing model railway - and running the odd train - while Don looked after our visitors with information and sales and Graham kept an eye on the other areas of the site.

In Kelly's absence, Steven looked after the activities at our "Kids' Corner" - fortunately for him, many parents were full of energy and hence he wasn't called upon to make the merry-go-round turn for many a full load of excited little kids.

The Blacksmiths were as always a feature as they bashed away, turning           nondescript pieces of metal into many different items.  Their display of previously made knives attracted a lot of interest and the odd one or two went to a new home.

Our next Open Day will be held on October 25th and will be an Old Fashioned Railway Picnic so if you, and/or the kids. want to be a part of the egg and spoon race, the sack race, the tug-of-war, the 3 legged race and many more similar activities from earlier days turn up between 10am and 2pm to be a part of the action.  All of the displays will still be there to see and our resident groups will all be there as well.  Light snacks and lunches, drinks and ice creams will all be available from the Picnic Van at better than shop prices.

In between Open Days, a lot of work has been carried out at the site.  Nick has continued with the track renovation, with Jacob from "The Rail Gang" helping him resleeper the curve leading out to the yard.  Rhett and Steve from "The Rail Gang" have been constructing a new fence around the Picnic Van while Owen has tackled several jobs and given Don a hand in the cottage garden.  The horticultural students from JobsSW have also been on site tidying up various garden beds and doing what needs doing to various plants to keep them healthy.  Harry from the Men's Shed has welded the frames for doors to be attached to the rear of the roundhouse and with Peter and other members has hung them.  This will protect Leschenault Lady  from the weather when she is put back together.

For further details about any of the above, contact Norm at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au or on 0459 712 552 and keep up to date with happenings at the SWRHC through our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre[/color][/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

A coolish, heavily overcast day looked to threaten rain but none eventuated for our Old Fashioned Railway Picnic but unfortunately it seems that the threat along with a car show and antiques and collectibles in Bunbury, were enough to keep most people else where.  Never-the-less, over 60 people (and 2 dogs) did pass through our new gate, a joint venture of the blacksmiths (made the gate), the Capel Men's Shed (made the supporting posts) and The Rail Gang (painted and erected the gate) to take part in some fun and games and to see what was on display.

There was a full programme of events listed for the Boyanup Spring Racing Carnival but due to there not being many starters on site at any one time, only the Egg and Spoon Stakes took place, though in a number of divisions.  Quite a few adults were keen to take on their off spring in this but they should have known better as they were left with egg on their face!  Mind you, balancing a lump of ballast (the "egg") on a dog spike (the "spoon") while running or walking is no easy feat, as they found out.

Also popular on the day was horseshoe pitching and for the younger children our Parent Powered merry-go-round got a good work out - as did the parents!.

Apart from the picnic activities, the blacksmiths were hard at work in their forge making all manner of objects for sale or for personal use and their display of knives, cleavers, spears and swords, all hand forged, attracted a lot of interest - and reinforced to me that I should be nice to them.

Further along, Don, Allan and Jacob had a couple of old pumps in action and both ran faultlessly- and quietly - all day, a real credit to the skill on Don and Allan in restoring them to working and as new condition.

In the roundhouse, John and Roy continued with the internal restoration of the 103 year old "dog box" carriage ACM391 which when completed will be a real eye opener for visitors and a credit to their skill and persistance.  On the other side of the roundhouse, Barry kept an eye on the other exhibits - the frame and internal workings of steam loco G233 "Leschenault Lady" and shunting diesel loco TA 1807 and ensured that anyone who enjoyed a steep climb could have a sit in the driver's seat of it.

Out in the yard, Nick spent his day swinging a sledge hammer and heaving on a crow bar as he continued the rehabilitation of our track work in company with Dom.

Back in the entry/sales/display/model railway room, Gary performed his usual "meet and greet" duties with assistance from Graham - and I dare say took every opportunity to show and tell about the model railway.  A lot more track has been laid and it is now possible for a train to complete umpteen laps before ending up back where it started from.

For those who found that all of the action on site made them hungry and/or thirsty, Anne was ready in the Picnic Van to  help alleviate this with a tempting array of sweet and savoury delicacies, along with hot and cold drinks and ice creams, all at better that shop prices and hence she was kept quite busy for the majority of the day.

Our next Open Day is set for Sunday, November 22nd and will feature A Variety of Vintage Vehicles, be they cars, bikes, trucks, tractors, railway rolling stock or some other form of transport.  The SWRHC will be open between 10am and 2pm so do come along and check out what your grand parents used in their younger days as well as our other displays.  You can find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre or contact us at swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au

Once the public had left and the gates had been locked, thanks to an exemption from the Office of Rail Safety, John, Dom, Des and Nick were able to do a little bit of shunting using "Jardee" to get the 2 privately owned ADG railcars and the Y class shunter in position ready for their move to the Loop Line Railway in Kalgoorlie-Boulder in the future.

Our AGM was also held after the Open Day and the only change in the office bearers was Brian taking on the Vice President's role (does this mean that the blacksmiths may change their name to The Vice Squad?), with all on site groups having a representative on the committee to liaise between their members and the committee.

In this meeting, thanks to Anne's expertise in grant application writing, it was announced that the SWRHC had received almost $3 000 to upgrade the signage both within the site and on the approaches to it.

The Rail Gang under Gordon's leadership have worked like trojans for the past couple of months and, amongst other things, have built a lovely post and rail fence around the Picnic Van,  been working on the restoration of some old ploughs and signals for display and keeping the site clean and tidy.  We are indeed lucky to have their services and of the various other on site groups.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

A hot and humid day greeted 20 "old" cars and 1 motor cycle with sidecar for our Variety of Vintage Vehicles Open Day, along with our own railway vehicles, including gangers' trolleys, agricultural vehicles, push bikes and even a chain driven wheel chair. In the entry room was a display of 1:87 scale vehicles, both Australian and overseas makes, to "test" the identification skills of the 151 visitors.  Many thanks to the various South West car club members for putting on a wonderful display.  

The regular roll up of visitors throughout the day kept Garry very busy meeting and greeting them at the entrance and also making a number of sales of books and rail related items.

The weather got to many of our visitors so Anne was kept very busy in the Picnic Van serving food and lots of drinks, both hot and cold, and ice creams.  Down in the roundhouse, John and Roy continued to work their magic on the compartments of carriage ACM391 while Barry kept an eye on the locomotives located there.  All 3 are the stars of a recent Facebook photo - just google swrhc facebook and it should come up - and while you are looking why not "like" us and/or leave a comment.  If google isn't your friend, use the address at the end of this report to access our Facebook page.

One had to feel for Don though, all alone till Allan joined him around lunch time due to work commitments, operating one of his beautifully restored machines in the open.  No wonder he professed his love for one of our very large flame trees nearby, clearly forgetting about the leaves that carpet the machinery shed in autumn and winter!  Will he still love it in April/May 2016?

As  always, out blacksmiths were busy beavers, belting red hot metal into various shapes and designs, though it was noted that they spent more time out of the forge than usual.  Their display of knives and swords, along with animals and other designs, attracted a lot of interest, some sales and at least one commission to make an item.

The trackwork for the model railway is just about all in place, with some wiring still to be completed.  Soon it will be time for adding the scenery (my favourite activity along with scratch building wagons and buildings!) so I will be looking forward to joining Garry and Harry for this.  If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, see Garry or me at the Open Day or contact me through one of the options at the end of this report.

Our final Open Day for 2015 will be held on December 20th and is themed as a "Fun Day on Sunday", where you can forget all about the hassle of Christmas shopping and come along and play games and take part in various activities with your kids as well as view some of the items that were crucial to the history and development of the area.  We will also be celebrating the 117th birthday of "Leschenault Lady".  The SWRHC will be open from 10am until 2pm.  Already we are 193 visitors ahead of our total for 2014 - how far ahead will we be at the end of the day?

Following the Open Day we will be partaking in some Christmas cheer under Don's favourite trees and all of our members and volunteers are welcome to join us for this.

The Rail Gang members have been very active in the past weeks and their activities have certainly spruced up the site.  More fences have been installed, the termite damage to the Picnic Van roof has been repaired and the interior repainted and the exterior is undergoing a repaint.  A new deck with ramp is being constructed to make the Picnic Van more accessible  and a magnificent painting of a locomotive by Jim has been completed for display at the entrance to the site.  Many thanks to the guys for their efforts and to Gordon for supervising these projects for us.

And now for some news about locomotive G233 "Leschenault Lady" from Doug Craigie in Manjimup!  All of the faulty boiler stays have been removed and the material for making the required new stays has been ordered.  The machining data for these is being drawn up and quotes for a new ash pan and smoke box (the old smoke box is patch upon patch upon patch upon original metal!) are being sought.

For details about the SWRHC email swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au or go to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/ or phone me on 0459 712 552 (but reception in Boyanup is very poor!).
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

May I, on behalf of the SWRHC members and volunteers, wish you all a safe, prosperous and wonderful 2016 and to the members and volunteers at the SWRHC, I thank you most sincerely for a wonderful 2015.  Bring on 2016!

No dogs, apart from 2 "on site dogs" belonging to members and friends of the blacksmiths, but 106 visitors to our "Fun Day on Sunday" meant that we smashed 2014's attendance, with a 20% increase in visitors.  As has been the norm, most were adults - our ratio seems to be 1 child for every 4 or 5 adults - so not many games were played but the merry-go-round did get its usual work out.

This month we had Philippa doing the "meet and greet" and handling quite a few sales while Garry and Harry played trains on the model railway layout with Don, a West Australian Model Railway Club member visiting from Perth.  "We just need to check that all the wiring is OK", they said.  Oh yeah, since when does that take 4 hours!!! Their playing drew quite a crowd at various times, with several gents expressing interest in being involved if the further development of the layout.  This will be helped considerably by the donation by Don of a roundhouse and turntable module which will appear soon.

The blacksmiths were well represented on the day and as always their ability to turn lengths of metal into a myriad of shapes and designs meant that there was always a number of visitors watching in awe.  And amongst all of the banging and crashing, Ruth sat at the front of the forge and kept her spinning wheel in constant motion, showing the public how a clump of wool could quickly become a very long thread.

Don, as is usual, had one of his machines on display whilst he spent some time working on a Howard rotary hoe to bring it back to working condition.  Whilst his favourite trees did provide shade, and not many dropped leaves, the machinery shed seemed to be his desired location for this day.

Old Dave and Young Dave manned the Men's Shed on the day and Old Dave, being the good treasurer that he is, made quite a few sales of last minute Christmas presents and knick-knacks to keep the coffers partly full, ready for a full on 2016.

In the roundhouse, John and Roy were at it again, getting the interior of the "dog boxes" that ACM 391 is composed of back to as new condition.  A number of  senior visitors commented to me on their way out what a beautiful job they are doing and how many pleasant memories of trips undertaken long ago were rekindled.

As usual, the Picnic Van was a haven for the hungry and thirsty and while Anne and Renee - yes, she has returned from her quest for the holy grail with King Arthur and the knights from Spamalot - were never rushed off their feet, they fed and watered a steady stream of customers with Christmas delicacies and wholesome country style food.

For the second month in a row, an old friend of mine from my Forrest Park Miniature Railway days in Bunbury turned up with some books and bits and pieces from his days as a railwayman for us to have.  Thanks a million Wally - and Elsie, whom I suspect is encouraging the clear out at home.

At the conclusion of the day, a bit of Christmas cheer was partaken of under the shady trees and lots of friendly banter was the order of the day as well as a well deserved thank you to all of our helpers.

The Rail Gang knocked off for their Christmas break on the 22nd but not before they commenced the new "verandah" for the Picnic van and adding pickets to the fence around the van.  Both of these jobs should be finished in time for our next Open Day and will make the area look a treat (if we can get the grass to grow too!).  Our own painter extraordinaire, Jim, is making some fabulous signs to help visitors find their way around the site and, hopefully, these too should be ready for January 24th. Thanks to Gordon and his clever daughter (she takes after her mother!), the guys received an early Christmas present as Santa felt that they had been good boys.

You just can't stop him!!!  A couple of days after the Open Day, Don was back on site with a compactor to help Picko in his Bobcat lay some crushed bitumen outside the Blacksmiths' forge - and it was a blooming hot day!  Thanks gents, your blood is worth bottling.  If you live in the Greater Bunbury area and you've got some earthworks needing doing, "Picko's Bobcat Hire" is where you should go.

In the past month, Anne has struck twice in gaining grants for the SWRHC.  The South West Development Commission allocated $1 500 for our Traditional Trades day in April and the Shire of Capel allocated $1 505 for the construction of more timber picnic tables for the site.  Thanks and well done Anne.

We commence our programme of Open Days for 2016 on January 24th with The Great Australian Treasures Hunt, with a nice prize of on site made goodies for one lucky person who can identify a number of Australian made items in our collection. You have to be in it to win it so I hope to see you there.  For more information, contact [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au or call 0459 712 552.[/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Our 2016 programme of Open Days commenced on a hot and humid January 24th when only mad dogs and Englishmen would have been out in the noon day sun. Needless to say, not many were though 3 "on site" dogs were in attendance and 72 hardy souls passed through the gates to be greeted by Philippa at the front desk and Garry and Harry running the "Indian-Pacific" on the model railway, which now includes an N gauge loop for those who prefer their trains to be tiny.

This greeting and "entertainment" all came after our visitors had passed by our new entry statement constructed by The Rail Gang - a wonderful painting of a steam locomotive by Jim and a freshly painted "cheesy knob" ( the name given to the "handle" which changes the points when swung over, so named because it resembles in part a large round cheese) mounted on a plinth.  A photo of this is on the SWRHC Facebook page, the address of which is at the end of these ramblings.

Down in the yard, our usual suspects were doing what they do best.  The blacksmiths were hammering away on various projects, Kelly and Steven were at the Kids Corner with a variety of games and activities for the young and young at heart while in the machinery shed Don, Allan and Gary were giving our visitors' ears a good work out by having the Victoria engine chugging, if this means frequent loud "explosions", away. The machinery shed proved to be an excellent echo chamber for this and had earlier picked up a few muttered curses which had been offered up to the gods before this century and a bit old machine decided to burst into life.

Over by the side fence, Nick, helped by Dominic, was continuing with the rehabilitation of our track, probably heard but not seen by our visitors.  I hasten to add here that neither is a mad dog nor an Englishman, they are just dedicated volunteers!

In the roundhouse, John, Ian and Andrew and Dominic, when not playing fettler, spent the weekend having a great time getting filthy whilst removing many years accumulation of grime and grease from the frames, wheels and inner workings  of "Leschenault Lady", followed by a fresh coat of paint.  It's marvellous what kerosene and a high pressure water jet will do

Life was a lot calmer in the Picnic Van though and Anne and Renee were happy little Vegemites while offering a variety of Australian treats to the many visitors who succumbed to the pangs of hunger during the day.  This was partly due to the improvements The Rail Gang had made to the area - a lovely wide "verandah" outside the van, with a ramp to follow, a rustic picket fence and a train themed notice board.

Regular readers of these ramblings will have noticed the absence of Barry's name recently - unfortunately, just before our December Open Day, his ticker played up which necessitated a stay in hospital though I do wonder what effect being surrounded by wonderful nurses would have had on it!  I'm pleased to say that everything is fine again though he does need to take things easy for a while but we do hope to have him back for February's Open Day.

Our theme for the day, "The Great Aussie Treasures Hunt", was taken on board by many family groups and it was not unusual to see mum and dad trailing their eager children as they sought to find a number of Australian made items and answer a question about each.  A young lad, Axel, from Dalyellup had his answer sheet pulled out of the box first and it being totally correct, won the prizes kindly donated by our on site groups.

Our February Open Day on the 28th is themed "From Farm to Fork" and will tell the story of agriculture in the area and the part that the railways played in its development. As always, the gates will open at 10am and close at 2pm.

For further information, contact [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au or 0459 712 552.  You can find our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/[/color][/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[color=#222222][size=3][font=arial, sans-serif][size=2]A cool and cloudy morning later turned into a warm, humid day at the South West Rail and Heritage Centre for our "From Farm to Fork" Open Day where we featured a number of rural industries that were part of the greater Boyanup area in days gone by and the part that the railways played in getting them to ports and the metropolitan area. To allow this to occur was the reason the Boyanup to Bunbury railway was built in the mid/late 1880s.

We were a bit short handed for volunteers on this day but "the few" managed to show our 61 visitors the history of the area and some of the skills and machinery that were needed to grow the crops and get them to market.

The first thing that struck our visitors was another "Jim the painter" mural, this time of a W class steam loco hauling a train of 4 wheeled vans over the Preston River on the former wooden trestle bridge at Boyanup - see out facebook page for a look at it, the address is at the end of this report. This is on the side of the container at the front of the site and will be joined by another mural in the near future, this time focussing on the rural industries of the area.

Inside the entry building, I took on the task of "meet and greet" while Harry and Garry entertained with both HO scale and N scale trains running on the model railway. I will endeavour to have a number of magnifying glasses on hand in future so that people can actually see the N scale trains!!! [img]https://mail.google.com/mail/e/1f600[/img]

Out in the yard, several blacksmiths were busy going hammer and tongs on red hot metal, making all sorts of fancy items, some for sale, others for personal use and some just for the challenge of making it. Amidst all of this banging and clanging, Ruth sat there, serenely spun her wool. She also brought along some miniature trees that I had made and she had kindly volunteered to paint and add the leaves - these were on display on the model railway and attracted a lot of interest and comment. If you would like to find out how to make trees, a demonstration will be part of our Model Railway Merriment Open day on March 27th.

Up at the machinery shed, Allan was a bit lonely until Don arrived around lunch time whereupon they settled down to "machinery matters", including the "fence that is being constructed to hopefully keep the leaves out of the shed.

In the roundhouse Barry was back "on duty", bearing scars from his recent operation to add a pacemaker to his repertoire of working "bits", keeping an eye on the rolling stock in there.

Dave was "on duty" in the Men's Shed and was kept quite busy showing and telling visitors what the members got up to - well, some of what they get up to anyway - and selling some of the intricate and interesting timber items that they make.

As usual in the Picnic Van, Anne and Renee played the role of temptresses with their wholesome, nutritious and down right tasty morning and afternoon teas and light lunches.and managed to entice so many visitors to come inside that there was very little left for me to have at the end of the day!

The Rail Gang has finished its stint at the centre but the members have left the site in a much neater and people friendly state, the new deck and ramp being a prime, but not the only, example of this. Our sincere thanks go to Gordon for supervising this project and to the half dozen or so generally young men who worked like trojans in all weather conditions and on all sorts of tasks.

As mentioned above, our March 27th Open Day will focus on the model railway but all of our "regular" displays will still be there for visitors to check out. If you are interested in model railways or have kids who are or you are looking for a hobby that has many different avenues to take, don't miss this day. There will be demonstrations of "how to do it" as well as a display of trains, buildings and vehicles that are easily obtainable or can be made at home.

In full size train news, all of the dodgy stays have been replaced in Leschenault Lady's boiler and we now await quotes for the needed new ashpan and smokebox. Once these are provided and accepted (if the price is right!) construction will begin and before you know it, the old girl will be as good as new again.

If you are seeking information on the SWRHC, you can contact me at [email=swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au][color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color][/email] or on 0459 712 552 and please do keep up to date with happenings by checking our Facebook page [url=https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/][color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/[/color][/url]
If you are not on facebook, just google SWRHC facebook and click on our entry - it should be the first one.



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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[color=#222222][size=3][font=arial, sans-serif][size=2]A wet and miserable Friday and Saturday morphed into a clear and sunny Sunday and the people came out to play - and 179 of them came to the SWRHC to play trains! Harry and Garry had the time of their lives - other modellers to talk to, little kids to entertain with various locos and consists and plenty of adults to ask about types of trains available, scales, techniques and costs of setting up a home layout. Several males put their name down to come and help on the layout, including "Picko" whose sound equipped 60 class NSW garratt nearly drove the "meeter and greeter" (me) nuts - but was a great crowd puller never-the-less.

As part of the theme for the day (model trains), there was also a static display of HO scale modern trains, such as the SCT freighter, scratch built and kit bashed wagons, including West Australian standard gauge wagons, buildings and vehicles.

Outside in the yard, the blacksmiths put on their typical "fireworks" display, turning red hot metal into various shapes and patterns while further down the track Don and Gary put the finishing touches to the anti-leaf barrier for the machinery shed and Don had one of his old machines chugging away.

Graham very kindly took on Barry's usual supervision of the locos in the roundhouse (let's hope that Barry's absence was not due to health complications - if unfortunately so, best wishes for a speedy recovery, Barry) while on the other side of the tracks John was ever busy bringing the compartments of the 100+ year old carriage ACM 391 back to first class standard.

In the Men's Shed Gordon and Bill were "on duty" which by all reports consisted of drinking tea, telling stories and showing visitors what the members get up to, which is mostly drinking tea and telling stories, as well as producing a number of useful mostly timber items for use around the house and repairing broken/damaged items.

And now to a topic close to my heart, just under it in fact, how to fill one's stomach with good, wholesome food. Anne and Renee had prepared their usual hearty sweet and savoury snacks for morning/afternoon teas and light lunches and while Renee was busy elsewhere on Sunday, Ruth gave up spinning wool for the day and popped into the Picnic Van to give Anne a hand, which was most appreciated.

Kelly and Steven were also involved in feeding the masses, though with sausages and buns rather that fish and loaves. They have gained a promotion from the position of King and Queen of the Kids' Corner to the position of Sultan and Sultana of the Sausage Sizzle - congratulations you two, it's great to see young people getting involved in community activities!

Our next Open Day will be held on April 24th and will feature Traditional Trades. We will have book binders, morse code and telegram operators, wood turners, wool spinners, our blacksmiths and old machinery operators and more on site showing how things used to be done before computers and advanced technology took over. AND, we will be graced by the appearance of the fabulous Gertrude Wellease who will be making her first visit to Boyanup especially to relive the past. From the photos I've seen of her, finding out about her past could prove to be very interesting too!!!

In other news from around the site, as mentioned the machinery shed is now (hopefully!) protected from an invasion of leaves and a most professional looking job Don and Gary have done in making it.

The quotes received from Cutts Engineering in Manjimup for the new ash pan and smokebox for Leschenault Lady have been accepted and work will start on these very soon. Once completed and attached to the boiler, it will be heading back to the SWRHC for the old lady to be put back together, ready to once more get up a head of steam.

When Malcolm and Audrey Paine arrived on site on Sunday to join the blacksmiths, Audrey produced an old suitcase that had been given to her for donating to the SWRHC if wanted. While the suitcase didn't much tickle our fancy, what was in it certainly did - some 80 or 90 year old Hornby O scale trains and track. While far from being in pristine condition, it is still a valuable collection that illustrates how far model trains have come from when it was new. Included were 2 locos, a 4-4-2 LMS tank loco and an 0-4-0 Southern Railway(?) tender loco, both clockwork powered, 2 4 wheel carriages and 4 goods wagons. Over time, we will give them a bit of a clean up and see if we can get them and the rusty track back to operational condition.

Audrey also brought along an old Sunshine agricultural machinery sign from the same source. This will be tidied up and put on display near the agricultural machinery.

A new group will be joining us on site soon - the "Hen's Pen", a craft group for crafty women, will be setting up "shop" in our ZJA van and pursuing their interest in various arts and crafts. Contact us (see below) if you are interested in joining.

To keep in touch with happenings at the SWRHC, have a look at our Facebook page [url=http://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre][color=#1155cc]http://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre[/color][/url] (and "like" us) or email us at [email=swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au][color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color][/email] or call 0459 712 552.



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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

The threat of rain for Sunday, April 24th, was just that and a mainly overcast day saw 404 visitors and some 30 Traditional Trades persons invade the SWRHC.  In addition, at least 5 dogs and a joey kangaroo turned up - there's not much you won't see in Boyanup!

Our on site groups and volunteers were kept very busy throughout the day as were our guest trades people.  From Philippa and Ian sharing the " gate" and photographic duties, Garry running the model railway, Barry keeping an eye on the roundhouse, Graham giving a number of our exhibits a good clean and John working on the ACM carriage restoration, our volunteers were magnificent.

And then there were our groups.  The blacksmiths were in full swing and probably were glad to stay close to their flames for a change, Don and Gary shared their love of old machines with many a visitor,  the Capel Mens Shed had a great display of their woodwork (no ply or MDF for these guys!) and the Boys from Basso (Dom, Ian, John, Kirk, Brayden and Josh) represented Rail Heritage WA by demonstrating a traditional trade (as fettlers constructing track work manually), overseen by master fettler, Nick, such that the line by the fence is almost completely relaid.  Dom also demonstrated his rally driving skills throughout the weekend by driving Mac from Meadowbrooke's tractor from end to end of the site shifting dirt and ballast.  Thanks for the loan of the tractor, Mac - I'm pleased to report that it is still in one piece with no dents!

We were very pleased to welcome a number of outside groups and individuals to the site to show how some traditional trades were carried out in the past.  Many thanks to the Morse Codians Fraternity or WA, the Bunbury Wood Turners Association, the Book Binders Guild, a display by Peter of the Hand Tool Association, Marion sewing using her grandmother's 95 year old manual sewing machine, Carol making rag rugs and Jim sketching and painting portraits for being such an important part of our day.

With over 400 people on site, though not all at the same time, food and drink was much in demand.  Our sensational sausage sizzlers, Kelly and Steven, cooked up a storm on the barbecue and several times the queue waiting to devour the fruits of their labour was almost as long as the queue outside the women's restroom at the Royal Show!  Inside the Picnic Van, Anne and Carolyn, a new and most welcome volunteer, handed over pumpkin soup, scones (many thanks to Mary for making these), cakes, savoury muffins, hot and cold drinks and ice creams such that at the end of the day there was very little left for me.

Our special guest, Gertrude Well-Ease, was a ball of energy throughout the day. From her interviews (rest easy Michael Parkinson, you were not up staged) with visitors and exhibitors to her willingness to tackle our "fettler challenge" of driving a dog spike into a sleeper and/or lift a length of rail and then cajole visitors to have a go - some with success - created a very happy atmosphere.  Unfortunately, I hear that she has been called to the Family Court to face a judge and many hostile wives to answer why so many men returned home wearing smudged lip stick in the shape of large pouting lips.

Prior to the Open Day, a number of people were active within the site to make it ready for our visitors.  Thanks to Don for cleaning up a mountain of leaves and mowing the lawn, to Evee for cleaning the entry room, to Gordon for providing powerful enlightenment in there and to Allison and Paul for cleaning the Picnic Van.

Thanks also to Blacksmith Brian for making himself available to be a page 1 pin up in the SW Times and for showing mid week visitors - the kids from Kidz Cottage in Collie and the Geographe Caravan Club - the art of blacksmithing.

Thanks also to Boyanup Meat Supply and the Boyanup Bakery for the sausages and rolls for our sausage sizzle and to Sharon and Murray for the frequent mentions on the Lions Club notice board.

Word has wandered up South West Highway from Manjimup to say that work has begun on the fabrication of the new smoke box and ash pan for "Leschenault Lady". Once these have been completed and attached to the boiler, the boiler will be sand blasted and primed with high temperature paint prior to returning to the SWRHC for all the "bits and pieces"  to be reattached.

Our next Open Day on May 22nd will feature the "official opening" of the Hen's Den. The hens are a group of crafty women and the den is a ZJA guard's van.  Come along and see what the women plan to get up to.  In addition, keeping with the theme of women, we will have on display material on women in agriculture as well as a display of items that grandma probably used 80 or so years ago.

Keep up with happenings at the SWRHC by checking, and hopefully liking, our Facebook page at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/ or email at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color] or phone 0459 712 552.[/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

After several days of rain, overcast skies and very cool weather, Sunday looked to be more of the same and my fear was that our hoped for visitors for our Exceptional Crafts Day would follow the lead of the Fremantle Dockers' supporters from the previous day and stay home.  But I am glad to report that this was not the case and while not rushed off our feet at any stage, by closing time 56 visitors had passed through our gates - sadly though, not 1 dog or joey appeared and nor any wombats, bandicoots or Tasmanian Devils!

For the umpteenth time, our groups and volunteers all worked hard to ensure the 56 had a day worth remembering.  Garry, Harry and Plcko had the model trains running, with a bit of scenery appearing to start the "decorations" to the layout while down in the machinery shed Don started "playing" with a new machine.  Roy and Gary spent their day working on a couple of compartments in the ACM so that in a few more work sessions time visitors will be able to experience what train travel was like a century ago.

Many people lingered around the forge for some time - I'm not sure if it was because they were fascinated by the skill and creativity of our blacksmiths or because it was nice and warm there.  Next door, Elwyn was making progress on putting our dairy bits and pieces back together while in the Men's Shed Albie and Dave were showing off the first class woodwork that many of the members are putting together.

Barry took up his usual position of roundhouse security while Graham again got hold of some cleaning cloths and gave a number of our exhibits a good scrub.  In the Picnic vasn, Anne had a fairly quiet day though a number of our visitors sampled some of the delights on offer, fortunately not all at the same time.  With the second best spot to be on the site, in front of the barbie Kelly and Steven again emulated the Master Chef contestants and served up many a hot snag in a bun, with onions and sauces for those who liked a bit more of a tang with their food.

All of the above however was just the warm up to the main event - the opening of the Hens' Den - and a number of our female visitors came especially to check it out, and were excited by what they saw.  Although the van is still being brought up to scratch, a couple of the hens had on display some of the craft items that they intend to work on and many a lengthy discussion on "how do you do that?" was held.  Have a look at our SWRHC Facebook page to see our Head Hen/Chief Chook, Betty, demonstrating how to paint without getting it all over yourself.  Over the past couple of weeks, Shirley and Edna have also been demonstrating their painting prowess.  Many thanks to Bunnings which has taken the ladies under their wing, to throw in a pun, and have provided them with the paint and a couple of young helpers.  Many thanks to Nick who on Saturday provided the ladies and visitors with a short cut to the van, including a rustic set of steps.

Prior to showing what a gentleman he is, Nick spent several wet hours on Saturday morning collecting and unloading nearly 300 sleepers courtesy of Brookfield Rail, and there's still more to come.  Nick has connected up the "fence line" track and now will be starting on the middle track using some of these sleepers.

Leading up to the Open Day, several of our volunteers had been busy on site. Blacksmiths Ray and Brian spent a good few hours mid week, pre rain cleaning up the grounds, and I suspect toasting marshmallows over the fires they set to burn the collected rubbish, and Gordon and Harry spent many hours adding improvements to the entry building.  On the morning of the Open Day, Ray took on the toilet cleaning duties while Jacob, a new member of the blacksmiths, cleaned up all of the leaves from the front of the machinery shed.  Thanks a million to them all for making my life a bit easier.

Our next Open Day is scheduled for June 26th and will feature a lot of snorting, wheezing, burping and clanging - and that's just from the operators prior to getting their display in place!  If you can answer the riddle of what made the greater Boyanup district an agricultural area by making these noises, and more, you will know what will be our feature for this day.  (Hint: it's not humans!)

On this day, we will be open from 10am until 2pm and there will be plenty to see from all of our groups in addition to our featured guests.  For more information, contact me on 0459 712 552 (please leave a text message if I don't answer as I have a habit of putting my phone down somewhere then not remembering where it is!) or email [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au and keep up to date with what's happening via our Facebook page [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre[/color][/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

[color=#222222][size=3][font=arial, sans-serif][size=2]I must have been a good boy (as usual!) because the weather gods smiled on the SWRHC once more for our Old Machinery Day. The mostly sunny day brought out the visitors in their hordes, such that 179 had entered the site before we closed the gates at 2pm. No dogs this month but on Saturday a group of photographers and their female models, and a 1950s American Ford Fairlane sedan that had a number of the Men's Shed guys drooling - or was the drooling for the models - visited the SWRHC and a 9week old Pomeranium pup accompanied one of the photographers snuggled nicely in her jacket. And while the gates were open another 15 people wandered in for a look which gave us a total of 229 for the weekend and over 1 100 for the year so far, about 200 ahead of last year's numbers at this time of the year.

A number of members of the Old Machinery Club of WA, along with a number of fascinating machines, joined Don and Elwyn in putting on a wonderful show for our visitors. Amongst the wheezing, snorting, clanging and burping of the machinery (I didn't hang around to see what effects the sausage sizzle would have on the operators), a couple caught my eye. One gentleman had a water pump that was hand powered, based on a 17th century design and another had a home built car which looked like a lot of fun to ride around in. Another of our visitors had a powered cross cut saw which cut easily through a hefty log and Elwyn had his Daisy the cow munching hay and "producing" milk. I hasten to add that Daisy the cow is not Daisy his wife!!!

Also on site for the weekend were members of the Bunbury Radio Club with their equipment and various aerials which attracted quite a lot of attention from our visitors. From Saturday afternoon, through the night and during Sunday they were talking to other amateur radio buffs throughout the world. Their first contact was with New Zealand but the USA chimed in during the night along with a number of European countries.

While our guest "presenters" were busy putting on a great show, our volunteers were similarly busy making sure that our visitors enjoyed their time on site. Graham spent the morning as our meet and greet person at the front desk and proved to be a super salesman too, quite capable of selling the proverbial ice to eskimoes. Philippa took over in the afternoon and made sure that people knew what was on offer throughout the grounds as well as continuing to sell anything that stood still.

I don't know if I can classify what Garry, Harry, Paul and Picko got up to as work but the many and varied HO and N scale trains that were running on the model railway layout kept many people entranced. Gleeson Hill made its debut on the layout - Harry had spent a good few hours creating his name sake and WA's answer to Ularu above the helix but wasn't much interested in our suggestion that we should turn it into an operating volcano. These model train fanatics had spent considerable time leading up to the Open Day adding to the layout with more track work, automatic point changing machines and the start of scenery.

Anne and Carolyn were kept busy in the Picnic Van dispensing hot and cold drinks, soup and tasty treats while "next door" Kelly and Steven slaved over a hot barbecue and sold all the sausages that we had - a marvellous effort that! I must also suggest that future visitors should ask for a piece of Renee's chocolate cake - it is as good as it looks.

At the back of the site, Barry, along with his heater, kept an eye on the railway displays in the round house while Roy and Gary beavered away on the old carriage. One of the seven compartments has almost been fully restored to original condition and the varnished woodwork looks a treat. If you ever need your wooden toilet seat varnished, Gary is your man!!!

Around the back of the round house, the Men's Shed was open for inspection, along with their wares, mainly wood work, and a number of members were there at various times to tell visitors how they started with a drooping lean to and have turned it into a set up that is the envy of other Men's Shed groups.

So what has been happening around the SDWRHC site between Open Days? Nick has commenced laying the middle track and so far has about 50 metres laid and spiked. How he shifts and lifts sleepers and lengths of rail by himself goodness knows but he is a marvel. The Men's Shed membersare a great help with some of the big jobs too. They have fabricated and hung doors on the back of the round house and recently filled in the gaps on the sides - it certainly has reduced the amount of sweeping and dusting I have had to do in there.

Down at the front of the site, Picko and Ian and Albie from the Men's Shed recently spent a pleasant Saturday morning clambering on the roof of the entry building to put flashing over a couple of gaps and to fill with silicon old nail holes - another improvement to the site and reduction in my sweeping and dusting duties. The view from on the roof must have been spectacular as Picko was up there again on the day before the Open Day cleaning the gutters.

First steps have been made to replace the old Bunbury goods shed which unfortunately is, and has been for some time, in poor condition and was the reason the site was closed back in 2005. We are looking at appointing a Project Manager to oversee the deconstruction, not demolition, of the building so that some of the century old timbers can be reused by RHWA to make more undercover areas for rolling stock and other exhibits and the rest, plus other reusable materials, can be sold to hopefully cover most, if not all, of the cost of the shed's removal. However, there is a considerable amount of work to be before this happens but we have made a start! It is planned for a 3 track and slightly longer shed to replace the current 2 tracks, thereby having more rolling stock under cover which will reduce the amount of restoration needed in the future.

Our next Open Day on July 24th is planned to be the "Blacksmiths' Bash" when our man mountains show what they can do with a bit of old iron, a fire and a big hammer. All other groups will also be in action so don't miss this day. We open from 10am to 2pm and light refreshments are available on site.

To keep up to date with happenings at the SWRHC, follow (and like) us on Facebook at [url=https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre][color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre[/color][/url] or email us at [email=swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au][color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color][/email]



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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Another fine but cool day after some mid week rain saw another bumper crowd of over 220 people turn up to see the blacksmiths bash the heck out of some iron and all of the other displays at the SWRHC.  Comments from people as they left were all positive and particularly pleasing were those that commented on our volunteers.  The interaction of the blacksmiths with the onlookers by explaining the various techniques and skills involved in their craft and answering a myriad of questions was very much appreciated and the warm and friendly greeting received from Graham at the front desk and the friendliness and excellent customer service received from our "catering corps" of Anne, Carolyn, Kelly and Steven were also mentioned.

Not to be forgotten, my wanderings around the site on Open Days tell me that our other volunteers not mentioned above are also providing our visitors with a positive experience.  It's not unusual for Don and Allan to be surrounded by interested visitors keen to be told why a 1907 Australian spark plug is superior to a 1935 Lithuanian coil and other such matters pertaining to old machinery or to see John (welcome back from the blizzards of Wales and Ireland!), Roy and Gary  explaining and showing the finer points of restoration on a 100 year old carriage or to see Barry help youngsters to sit in the driver's seat of a locomotive or to find out all about Men'd Sheds, their activities and the finer points of tea drinking from its members.  And it goes without saying that Harry and Gary (and Paul before he left on his round Australia trip) are only too happy to talk the ears of anyone who shows even the slightest bit of interest in the model railway.

I thank you all for being an important part of the SWRHC and for promoting the experience that we offer to visitors so well.

Our August Open Day will be held on the 28th and will feature a talk by noted rail historian and author, Philippa Rogers, on the important role that rail played in the world wars, not only in the the running of trains but also the part played by the workshops and the effect of so many men joining the services and how the shortrtfall of workers was overcome.

In addition, we wish to honour "Little Col", one of our volunteers and a fettler in his working life who sadly passed away a few weeks ago.  To do this, we invite you to have a go at our Fettler's Challenge and find out what life was like for Colin.  We will provide the necessaries for you to drill a hole in a sleeper with a hand drill, knock a dog spike into the hole with a sledge hammer and lift a short length of rail - Colin would have been on one end of a piece twelve times as long!

As well as these 2 features, all of our on site groups noted above will be there doing their thing.  Our blacksmiths do take on jobs if you want something metal made or fixed and our Men's Shed guys are very good at making things from timber and fixing things so if hubby/dad is not much chop in the handyman department we can help.

Word has drifted up the highway from Manjimup that the old smokebox has been separated from the boiler of Leschenault Lady, a new smokebox made and the "bits" are being attached to it in readiness for it to be attached to the boiler.  Once this is done, a sand blast and a coat of rust preventative paint will see the works ready for the road trip back to Boyanup.  We are starting to get a little excited!!!

Preliminary planning is about to start for the replacement of the old goods shed at the front of the site that is currently closed to all due to its poor structural condition with a new, and slightly bigger, shed which will accommodate most, if not all, of the rolling stock at the site and allow for better display of some items and provide the "back rooms" for conservation and storage of small items.

Meanwhile, Nick has been hard at work on the "middle line" setting out the sleepers and connecting the rails to them.  This needed to be done so that a few vehicles can be moved off the "fence line" so that he can replace the last few panels of track that are under these vehicles.  BUT - before any vehicles can be moved on rail anywhere  in the country the National Office of Rail Safety must accredit the body seeking to do this.  Rail Heritage WA is currently working on the documentation required for this accreditation7 and while we would like to think/hope that this may be granted "soon", nothing is guaranteed!  Unfortunately this is holding up the move of the Hens' Den carriage to a more easily accessed site next to the Museum on Rails which is hindering the hens from using their crafty skills on site.

A few weeks ago, a few of we lucky committee members were privy to the unveiling of a fantastic Public Programme smorgasbord of activities developed for us by Shiona of "Ignite Your Audience".  It is planned to trial part of it with the Senior Class of the Boyanup Primary School in early September and the little kids programme with the Boyanup Playgroup in October.  Any additions/alterations deemed necessary following these trials will then be made and then the programme will be offered to all schools.  A feature of Shiona's work is that she has included some of the local businesses in this which fits in well with the recent formation of the Boyanup Progress Association which aims to promote Boyanup and make it an ideal place to live.

At a recent Progress Association meeting, the SWRHC was seen as one of the lynch pins in the promotion of Boyanup and so in order to be able to be the best ambassador for the town that we can be we are seeking to expand our membership with businesses and with individuals. If any local businesses or individuals would like to support the SWRHC by becoming a member of the Boyanup Foundation Inc and/or by volunteering to help at Open Days and/or "work days", please contact me at the addresses as under

I can be contacted on 0459 712 552, on email at [color=#1155cc]SWRHC@railheritagewa.org.au or via Facebook at  [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/[/color][/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

We did it again!  Despite the heavy rain of Friday night/Saturday morning and more rain through Saturday, we beat the meteorologist's curse as Sunday turned out to be overcast with some sunny patches.  Therefore, another 100+ visitors came out to see what the SWRHC had to offer.

Graham again offered the visitors a cheery welcome and steered them in the right direction of what they had come to see while on the other side of the room at the model railway the Harry and Garry show was in full swing with lots of different trains running, both HO and N scale, lots of interested spectators and even more friendly banter.  A great start has been made on the scenery and this should now advance at a rapid rate.

Further down the golden brick road - oh alright, the orange gravel road! - a couple of blacksmiths were in full swing, both literally and metaphorically, creating many "fancy" items.  Several other blacksmiths were down at Balingup "performing" their craft at the Medieval Festival but all will be back on site and in action for September's Open Day.

Next door, Don and Gary took it relatively easy and let their machines do the hard work  Don's maroon coloured Lister engine again chugged away faultlessly for the day while just inside the roundhouse doors the "magpie" hay baler that Gary had spent a couple of years restoring to operating condition fired up with a recently restored engine in place replacing the previous low powered engine. It also ran faultlessly and showed our visitors how hay baling used to be done in days long past and well before health and safety regulations came into being.  Elwyn has also been busy setting up the dairy machinery and has plans to make this an even more interesting display.

Inside the roundhouse John and Roy continued with the restoration of the old carriage with the result that one of the seven compartments is all but complete and will provide future visitors with an excellent view of rail travel as it was a century ago.
On the other side of the rails, Barry took up his now customary position to keep an eye on our resident locomotives and to help those who wished to experience the thrill of sitting in the driver's seat of a locomotive.

At the back of the roundhouse, Harry and Terry had the Men's Shed open for visitors to see what the members get up to.  Yes, as I have often said, lots of tea and coffee is drunk and stories and jokes told but also some magnificent timber furniture and other woodwork is made, some for their homes, some for other organisations and some for sale so next time you visit the SWRHC make sure you check this out.  Indeed, our September Open Day "Shopping at the Shed" on the 25th will feature the Men's Shed and their woodwork so if you are looking for some first class timber items, tools etc., then this is a must visit place.

Our newest on site group, the Hens' Den craft group, opened up their "coop", actually a 50+ year old guard's van that they have been doing up, and had a great display of their crafts and I noted several ladies walking out with a satisfied look clutching some purchased items.

Our Fettler's Challenge of drilling a hole in a sleeper with a hand auger, knocking in a dog spike with a sledge hammer and lifting a metre length of rail was taken up by a number of our younger visitors, with great success.  One young fellow, about 9 or 10 years old I would guess, drilled a deep hole and his younger brother, around about 6 I would think, proceeded to knock a dog spike in until it was flush with the sleeper.  A very proud dad watched and cheered them on.



Progress around the site continues as we seek to upgrade it and our exhibits.  Nick and Brookfield Rail's track gang have more track under rehabilitation in order to fix the poor drainage and bring it up to standard for future use.  Cutts Engineering in Manjimup has the repairs to our nearly 119 year old locomotive "Leschenault Lady" close to complete which spurred the "Basso Boys" to do further work on the chassis to ensure that it is ready for the boiler when it returns as well as some much needed work on the ceiling of the Hens' Den van.

Planning for the replacement of the old shed at the front of the site also is proceeding, with a recent visit from Shire of Capel staff to see what was planned and offer advice as to what the Council would require in terms of paper work and also some advice from the agent for the Public Transport Authority (PTA), the owner of the site, as to what its requirements would be. While the RHWA members were at Boyanup for the Open Day, measurements were taken to ascertain the exact position and size of the planned new shed and to check the alignment of the proposed 3 tracks - the old shed has only 2 tracks - in order to get as many vehicles as possible under cover to reduce the restoration and maintenance requirements.

As mentioned above, our next Open Day on September 25th is themed "Shopping at the Shed" when the Men's Shed will have woodwork and tools for sale and they will be happy to take on projects for those who may be "challenged" when it comes to wood and tools.  You will also be able to shop at the Hens' Den if craft is your passion, at the Blacksmiths' forge if you can't get enough metal work (and they are happy to take on projects too) and in the entrance building if railway books for  both adult and children and bits and pieces are your thing.

You can contact us by phone on 0459 712 552, by email at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au
or via Facebook (don't forget to like us) at [color=#1155cc]https://www.[/color]facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/



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  swrhc Locomotive Driver

I don't know why the folk at the Bureau of Meteorology bother with their maps and charts as a phone call to me to find out when the next SWRHC Open Day is on would tell them the date that fine weather would be over Boyanup! Despite rain on Friday, Saturday night and Monday, Sunday, September 25th produced clear blue skies but with a cool breeze at times. And once again the people came - 140 of them - and 1 dog - came to Shop at the Shed and to see what else we had to offer.

And the good news is that many people on their way out commented on what a great site the SWRHC is, the history and stories it contains, the neatness and tidiness of the site and the friendliness, knowledge and expertise of our volunteers. So my trusty friends, take a bow and my appreciation for the great work that you do - I think that deserves a doubling of your wages from next month on!

So what was there to see? Graham again was our "meeter and greeter" at the front desk and this month also had to explain to our visitors about "Boyanup Sunday", a promotion by many of the businesses in town. This he did without blinking and off they went to have a look around the SWRHC and then to visit the other businesses in their quest to win the Holy Grail, a hamper of goodies from all of the participating businesses. Their reaction when told about the promotion - "What a great idea!"

On the other side of the entry building Harry, Garry and Picko were having a ball running trains - Garry with American N scale and Harry and Picko with British OO scale and Australian HO scale, usually surrounded by a plethora of kids, interested dads and wives holding on to their purse tightly in case dad got too interested! Next month at the model railway should not be missed - the boys will be resplendent in their new South West Model Railway Group shirts and will probably be demanding a red carpet to walk down!

The Boyanup Blacksmiths were back to a full complement this month and spent the day either bashing metal into submission or chatting with visitors about how they turn the metal into wonderful pieces of art or useful implements, Their display of finished work certainly attracted a lot of interest and more than one visitor reached for their wallets and purses to take something home. From the grape vine, I understand that most of them are looking forward to finding a little love letter from their partner in their lunchbox next Open Day, following the example set by one this month

Once again, Don looked into his shed at home and loaded up one of his beautifully restored old engines to give it a run at the SWRHC. This one was similar to last month's machine that he showed but this one was certainly noisier, letting rip with a loud bang every couple of cycles. The magpie baler was also cranked up by Gary and it operated faultlessly albeit with a bit of a smokescreen at times.

As the smokescreen cleared in the roundhouse, visitors were able to catch up with John and Roy and the restoration of the century old "dog box" carriage ACM391. Work is progressing well and the boys are up to the stage of needing new mirrors to put in the compartments. The good news I was able to pass on to them was that we have another volunteer keen to join them and we are pleased to welcome another John to the site.

At the back of the roundhouse, Harry and Albie were "on duty" in the Men's Shed and were kept busy showing lots of visitors around their workshop and selling various items made by the members. Albie's spinning tops, made on the lathe, were most popular and supplies were sold out well before closing time - making more before the next Open Day should keep Albie out of mischief when on site in coming weeks.

In the area where those with rumbling tummies gather, Anne and Carolyn, while never overwhelmed with starving visitors, were none the less kept very busy distributing hot and cold drinks, ice creams and the most delicious cakes and slices sourced from The Gingerbread House. A few metres away, Steven, on his own while Kelly was in the eastern states on holiday, did a magnificent job with the sausage sizzle, with his cordon bleu skills so good that several people came back for seconds. He also introduced a new service - home delivery! Towards the end of the day, he received an SMS from Quirky Too asking if he could deliver sustenance to those working there and he was only too happy to oblige.

[color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif]Also on site we had a stall promoting the Meadowbrooke Estate Lifestyle Village being built in Boyanup and a number of our visitors took the opportunity to check it out. This is next door to the SWRHC so we are hopeful of gaining more volunteers when this is ready to take in residents.[/font][/size][/color]

Since the last newsletter was published, bits and pieces have been carried out around the site. Picko very kindly got his whipper snipper into action, cleaning up the area behind the entry building and the cottage and in the process discovered where our black long tailed skink had been seeing out winter. Audrey very kindly cleaned the tables and chairs ready for the visitors to the Open Day. For our next Open Day we need a number of small tables - a word to Harry, President of the Men's Shed, and he and Terry got to work straight away and were churning them out before my eyes. Obviously the advice they would have received from other Men's Shed members would have been of great assistance to them.

Away from the SWRHC site, work proceeds on the boiler of "Leschenault Lady", with all the bits and pieces being replaced. Any day now, I expect to get a phone call saying, "Come and get it!"

[color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif]Our next Open Day will be on October 23rd and will be an "Old Fashioned Railway Picnic" - now would be a good time to start preparing for your participation in such activities as the sack race, egg and spoon race (with a SWRHC twist), 3 legged race and tug of war. After all, you still will have to walk to your car at closing time and this could be painful with pulled/torn muscles if you are not in peak condition! There will be lots of other activities and games to take part in and all on site groups will be open. The only thing that we can't provide is the train trip to somewhere (but maybe 1 day this may be possible) that the railways did in the past when it was in government hands and treated its employees as family members.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif]Following this Open Day, once we have packed everything away (~2.30pm), we will hold the Boyanup Foundation's AGM and all positions will be declared vacant. All interested people are invited to attend but only financial members can vote - individual members have 1 vote and family members and groups are entitled to 2 votes. We encourage all groups to nominate 1 of their members to be part of the committee so that group issues can be brought forward for discussion and resolution and decisions made can be taken back to group members.[/font][/size][/color]

A few weeks ago, we were saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Men's Shed member Bill Kitson and we offer our condolences to his family and the Men's Shed members. I will certainly miss his stories of his adventures in his working years.

[color=#222222][size=2][font=arial, sans-serif]You can keep up to date with SWRHC happenings by viewing our Facebook page at [color=#006621][size=2][url=https://www/][color=#1155cc]https://www[/color][/url].[/size][/color][b][color=#006621][size=2]facebook[/size][/color][/b][color=#006621][size=2].com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/ or email [email=swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au][color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au[/color][/email] or phone 0459 712 552.[/size][/color][/font][/size][/color]
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

No need to worry about the weather this month, with lots of fine days leading up to our Old Fashioned Railway Picnic.  Another 100+ crowd came through the gate and many were set for fun and games.  Lots of "egg and spoon" (actually dog spike and ballast) races, sack races and 3 legged races later, our "prize pool" of what else but good old Choo Choo Bars was nearly empty but those parents in the know wisely decided that they should be eaten at home where face scrubbing materials were at hand!

Once again our volunteers did us proud, from Graham at the front desk to Anne and Carolyn in the Picnic van to Steven at the barbecue they were the epitome of politeness, friendliness and good customer service.  Our on site group members were also visitor friendly, from the black faces of our blacksmiths - hmm, I wonder if a few Choo Choo Bars ended up in the forge when I wasn't looking - to Don and his recalcitrant engine/pump, to Gary, John and Roy working on the carriage under restoration, they all took te time to interact with the public by answering questions and showing what they were up to.  Now I can't really say that Harry and Garry were working as such as along with Picko they entertained themselves, and lots of our visitors, by playing trains, though they were happy to share their modelling "secrets" with any who asked.

As founding members of "Boyanup Sunday", we were again pleased to help many visitors take part in this promotion by giving them their tickert or "punching" their ticket that they picked up from another of the participating businesses in town.  The  prize of a hamper filled with local goodies, valued at $200+, went to a family from Harvey.

A lot happened leading up to the Open Day.  The previous Sunday we were pleased to host the Collie Veteran Car Club as their members and their pristine restored vehicles enjoyed a leisurely jaunt down the hill -  I didn't hear to the contrary so I assume that they made it back up the hill and home.  On Thursday we hosted the Boyanup Playgroup and parents as they were the "guinea pigs" to test out part of our Public Programmes developed by Shiona from "Ignite Your Audience" with the aid of a Lotterywest grant.  The littlies enjoyed playing with train related items, dressing up as the Station Master , making shapes out of play dough and joining in an interactive story so much so that crow bars were called for to get some to stop playing and head for home and lunch.  Thanks to The Gingerbread House, a relatively new business in Boyanup, and well worth a visit just to look at the goodies on display let alone to sample them!, for the train gingerbread that all got to take home - or in many cases eat on the spot.

Shiona was also on hand at the Open Day to trial the Picnic Basket Trail, another part of our Public Programme  Around the grounds, a number of picnic baskets were placed on small tables expertly made by Terry and Harry of the Capel Men's Shed (top job guys!) which contained items and information about different aspects of railway life.  And she will be back in mid November as the senior class of Boyanup Primary spends time at the SWRHC investigating aspects of the impact of the railways on the area.  Once we have a debrief and a look at the feedback from our "guinea pigs", the SWRHC will be able to offer programmes for school and group visits as well as of our monthly Open Days for families.

With all of the materials that Shiona has provided for the Public Programmes in addition to our own resources of games and activities for children, we would love to have a Co-ordinator of Children's Activities - now there's a rip snorter title - so if there's a trainee teacher or someone studying childcare, or a couple of friends, who would like to take on this voluntary role, please contact me as per the details at the end of this report.

At the Open Day we were able to christen a couple of new picnic table and bench sets courtesy of the Shire of Capel and Bunnings Bunbury and we thank them for their support - they certainly were well used on the day.  For those who sometimes get a little lost on the site never fear - thanks to the Friends of the South West we will soon have some large signs that will direct you to where you wish to go.

In recent weeks we have been pleased to welcome 2 new volunteers to our team - both Eric and Stuart love tinkering with old machines and have joined Don, Gary and Allan in restoring some old "clunkers" back to life.

With fire season almost upon us, Nick and Picko have been busy with their whipper snippers keeping the grass under control, Picko looking after the areas along the drain and behind the sheds and Nick keeping the railway tracks clear.

Unfortunately, Barry, our roundhouse supervisor,  has been back to hospital to get his "ticker troubles" under control so hopefully his recent treatment will have done the trick and we see him back soon.

After the Open Day had finished and everything was packed away, the Boyanup Foundation, the body that hosts the Open Days, held its AGM.  A large group of members attended and the current Executive Committee members were re-elected so once again you have to put up with Norm as President, Brian as Vice President, Anne as Secretary and Philippa as Treasurer.  In my President's report I made special mention of the work of Anne with publicity for the SWRHC.  Throughout the past year, there have been many mentions, articles and photos in the local papers and regular mentions in the TV magazine in Saturday's West Australian and several radio interviews conducted with various members which have helped swell our visitor numbers such that we are closing in on 2000 for 2016.  Unfortunately, I forgot to mention the considerable efforts of Gordon and the Rail Gang for which I apologise most sincerely.  From around August 2015 to February this year Gordon voluntarily supervised a group of young men who undertook a number of projects which have improved the appearance and amenity of the SWRHC site immensely.  Once again, my apologies gents.

Our next Open Day will be held o November 27th when we will be celebrating the 5th anniversary of our opening and also have a display of vintage and veteran vehicles for you to check out, along with our regular groups "doing their thing"..

To keep up to date with happenings at the SWRHC, check and hopefully like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre/ or you can contact me at swrhc@railheritagewa.org.au or on 0459 712 552.
  swrhc Locomotive Driver

Apologies for the lateness of these ramblings but it was Telstra fouling the works - again!!!   We - well, to be truthful, Telstra - had problems which put us off the ether for several days and caused us to suffer withdrawal symptoms.  Second time in a month - hopefully fixed for good this time!

It was quite a warm day for our November Open Day, bleeding hot for we tender skins, and consequently our visitor numbers were only about half or what we've been welcoming lately but nevertheless those who did come enjoyed themselves, especially when the 5th Anniversary cakes were cut.  Yes, cakes as our friends at the Gingerbread House were very generous and made 2 for us.  Thanks a million Julie and Jim!

As always, our volunteers - Graham and Philippa at the front desk, Anne and Carolyn in the Picnic Van and Don at the sausage sizzle (Steven and Kelly were off this day causing mayhem to the skittles at the 10 pin bowling centre) - showed off their customer service skills and made everyone welcome while our groups - model railway, blacksmiths, old machinery and carriage restorers - shared their skills and knowledge with our visitors.

Special mention here to Ray of the blacksmiths who had spent the previous 2 days blacksmithing at a show in Perth and then made an early Sunday morning scoot down Forrest Highway just to be with us and to Don of the old machinery group who had spent a number of weeks overhauling an engine that had not run for 30 years.  First swing on the fly wheel brought her  back to life and she chuffed away for the rest of the day, and I suspect Don was too!

And to help our visitors find their way around the site, our new signs were unveiled and were commented on favourably by many.  As with our policy of using "local" contractors where ever possible, the signs were made by Chris from Covertsigns in Donnybrook.

During the week prior to the Open Day, we hosted the senior class from Boyanup Primary School to experience a "triple whammy" designed by Shiona of Ignite Your Audience to develop an understanding of the history of Boyanup and the part the railways played in the town's development.  Firstly the students went along the River Ramble to learn something of the way the Wardandi people lived before white settlers arrived.  Then it was on to the SWRHC where some role playing set out the major dates and "players" in the town's history and following lunch and a look around the centre it was off to the Bull and Bush tavern where Ellen led the students through what it was like when the tavern was the "railway hotel".

Feedback from the students and adults who accompanied them was very positive about all 3 experiences and we will be offering this to other greater Bunbury area schools in 2017, whether it be the 3 parts or only 1 or 2.

And so we come to the final Open Day for 2016, needing 110 more visitors for us to crack the 2 000 mark.  On December 18th - yes, I know it's only the 3rd Sunday of December but I will be meeting up with a jolly old gent dressed in red on the 4th Sunday and if you've been anywhere near as good as I have been this year, you too may meet up with him then - and we will be holding a "Leschenault Lady Love-in" to celebrate her 118th birthday (will there be more cake???).  During the day there will be a couple of talks covering her history - there aren't too many places where she hasn't been on WA's railway system - and what had been involved in the restoration of her to bring her back to steaming condition and our hopes for the future with her.

In addition to this, our groups will all be in action, doing what they do best, whether that be bashing metal, playing trains, making machines wheeze, snort, grunt and "explode" or whatever.  The site will be open from 10am until 2pm and you can get your Boyanup Sunday tickets from the front desk or get them "punched" if you have picked one up from another participating business.

For further information about this day, or anything to do with the SWRHC, you can contact me at [color=#1155cc]swrhc@railheritagewa.net.au or on 0459 712 552.  You can also find us, and hopefully like us, on Facbook at [color=#1155cc]https://www.facebook.com/SouthWestRailandHeritageCentre[/color][/color]

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