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It is amazing that within 11 years from the start of the Gold rush, we went from diggers treking up rough tracks to state of the art steam technology (for the times) which is now, as far as most of the buildings, tracks, tunnels and viaducts still in use today.
Note the square tank in the historic photo of Kyneton Station, and today, for filling water of the steam engines, pumped from the Campaspe river nearby. (Alfred Morris and Co photographer circa 1862 or 1870 State Library Victoria)
Official celebrations were a "hoot".
"..staged completions of the line were:
Woodend (11 July 1861 for passengers and 14 October 1861 for goods)
Kyneton (April 1862)
Castlemaine (15 October 1862)
Bendigo (Sandhurst) (20 October 1862)
Following the official opening of the Bendigo line on 20 October 1862 by the Governor of Victoria Sir Henry Barkly, a banquet was held for 800 guests, followed by a grand ball, with dancing until dawn. The evening was well organized and a huge success until the visitors made their way to the station to catch the 5.30am train back to Melbourne. Confusion reigned as there was insufficient water for the engines and exhausted visitors were obliged to stream back to town in search of accommodation, but the shortage was such that many were obliged to bed down on pews in local churches. The train eventually left about midday and to add to the confusion, sparks from the engine ignited a grand gum tree arch erected at the station and it burned to the ground!"
(Page 14 Engineers Australia, Engineering Heritage Victoria Nomination for Recognition Goldfields Railways - Melbourne, Bendigo & Echuca)
The train line was very well built, and came in under budget. Irish engineer Joseph Brady can be thanked for this and many other major engineering works of the time. (Discussed in Chapter 4 of "The Spirit of the Goldfields" volume 1)
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