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IN 1967 the community of Kempsey celebrated the 50th anniversary of the railway coming to the town.
A highlight of the celebrations was the arrival of a two-engine, four-carriage vintage train that had collected passengers at Telegraph Point.
A passenger on the train was Captain J Magee whose steamer brought the station’s roof timbers to Kempsey earlier in 1917.
One of the carriages was the ‘State Car’ that was built in 1891 to carry the Governor of NSW, the Earl of Jersey and his party to and from the Governor’s residence in Sutton Forest (Moss Vale). It made its first trip on October 31, 1891.
It also conveyed Lady Hopetoun and the Duchess of Cornwall and York (later Queen Mary) on a Royal trip from Sydney to the Blue Mountains in June, 1901.
The 46-foot carriage was constructed from Australian materials with the external panels being built from red cedar. On each side of the carriage was the Royal Coat of Arms.
In the carriage were three sections, the main saloon, a boudoir and a smoking room and five berths for night travel.
Over 2000 spectators were at the Kempsey Railway Station to greet the historic train and cheered when the mayoress, Mrs RG Melville, re-enacted the original cutting of a purple ribbon emulating the 1917 mayoress, Mrs CA Lane.
Many of the spectators were in period dress adding to the occasion which saw the platform crowded with Brownies, Guides, Boy Scouts and Cubs, the Sisters of Mercy, adults, boys and girls and the Kempsey District Silver Band that performed a number of musical items.
A number of invited guests then spoke on the importance of the railway coming to the town.
The Macleay River Historical Society’s Mrs M Moses thanked everyone involved in the planning of the Jubilee and invited Mr JH Brown, MLA to unveil a historic marker.
Mr Brown then produced a copy of Hansard that covered the Parliamentary debates leading to the legislation that led to the construction of the North Coast Railway line.
Following the unveiling of the plaque, the police motor cycle escort and the Silver Band led a number of vintage cars carrying passengers in period clothes to the Historical Society’s museum in Elbow St.
- Macleay River Historical Society
Memories that you can ownWatch for more railway snippets leading up to the Kempsey Centenary of Rail on November 27.
Copies of the photographs are available from the Macleay River Historical Society, phone 6562-7572.
This article first appeared on www.macleayargus.com.au
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