Thursday, 6 April 2017

100 years of rail in Binnaway 1917-2017

Last weekend our small community of Binnaway celebrated exactly 100 years since  the railway came .
When we  realized that the anniversary was  this year we decided that we really  must do something major to  recognize the occasion.
We decided that it was really too big of  a project for our small rail heritage group and  that we needed to   make this a community event which would also share the load.
This photograph was taken 100 years ago  on the occasion of the first train  at Binnaway Railway Station.
Among the plans  decided upon was that we would start a mural project  down in the main street/
A few local people were approached and they agreed to  produce a few small pieces that would later be added to.
The owner of a building in the main street was also happy to  have the murals on the building.
The first  piece was the ticket seller in the old buildings window, with the restored "ticket" sign from the old station office.
The next  item   placed in the street was the original restored seat from outside the old station.
Then finally  the train and some travellers were added. This is a work in progress and there is still much more to come.
We then began in ernest to move all the memorabilia from our rail Barracks storage area up to the showground pavilion. We had decided on the showground   with the blessing of the show society as it has a huge undercover area  in case of inclement weather, brilliant catering areas and in general a great function area. While were sorting  things at the barracks, I took this panorama of a train in section of the barracks.

Brian and his mate Dennis moved  the heavy  vehicles,
Other members of the team spent several days, sorting, transporting and arranging items for the displays.
Finally the  day arrived and we were all up with the sparrows to get into town to get  our selves organized.
There were many displays,
Brian and some other men, mostly ex railway workers , were on hand to explain what many of the various older  pieces of equipment were used for and current railway men also had a display outside with   the  equipment still in use today.

There were various stalls, Our local Progress Association sold Binnaway souvenirs
  The local Lions  Club ran the BBQ lunch stall  which was extremely popular.
My brother Don brought his two stationery engines over for the day, everyone loved them, especially the men , so much that he didn't get away from them all day.
A couple of  vintage car clubs from around the area also made their way to the showground, I heard there were about 16 in all, prizes being awarded for winners of  certain categories.
Our Rail Heritage Group ran the Devonshire teas, the girls were run off their feet  making a healthy profit for the day.
My Rail Heritage   friends graciously  allowed me to escape the Devonshire tea work and as  my sister Maree and her husband had come over , they set up a silver jewellery stall along side my  preserves stall. I was so busy all day, that I barely got time to take photos.(unusual for me)
I was so  shocked at how popular my stall was, I ran out of a few things and even took orders for  some  items. I managed to sell about 25 of my bookmarks and took  an astounding  profit for the day of about $325, my sister  did really well with hers as well.They sell handmade sterling silver jewellery.
There were the official  speeches and presentations by the boss of our local railway to the rail heritage group,our President Norm and his wife Pat, both founding members of our group were on hand  to  receive the  presentation.
A small collection of the Rail Heritage volunteers gathered for a photograph but unfortunately many more were not in the picture as they were  working in other areas and couldn't leave.
One of the main attractions that we had wanted for the day was a train, to do small trips for all the  visitors. With much negotiation and with the extremely generous financial  help from The Progress association, our Rail Heritage Group , the Rifle Club and other groups  we were able to  accumulate enough funds to  have our train. This was only finalized a couple of weeks before the event.
Paterson Rail Motor Group from near Maitland in NSW  came with their wonderful rail motor which holds about 96 people.
It was the highlight of the day, and worth every penny.
As people returned from  the trips on the train, they were full of excitement and wonder, the train  did  four runs from Binnaway to Merrygoen, a return trip of about an hour and a half or so.
We didn't think we would get a ride as we were tied up  at the showground ,when we received a message telling us there were 8 seats left and that they were ours.
My Mum had also came over for the weekend and we made her come too(walker and all)
We had a ball !!!
What a ride, windows open, wind in our hair, we all had such fun, what a great way to end a fabulous day of celebrations. The top photo is Pat and Norm our President and his wife, the middle pic is Brian and our mate warren( one of the mural artists), the the bottom picture is my Sister in Law Kerry and my Sister in Law Pam.
At Merrygoen the train  rested for about 10 minutes before the return journey. I saw these  beautiful old water towers out the window, these were used in the old steam train days, but this pair have the honor of still supplying water to this small village.
We returned back to the platform at Binnaway  and sadly stepped back off the train,
Even Mum(her walker just visible between other travellers, was disappointed for it to end.
What an amazing day it was, we were completely astounded by the sheer numbers of people that  travelled back to  their little home town to celebrate with us, most were family of ex rail workers in our town( Binnaway used to be a major railway hub in it's hey day.
We headed home and a few of us gathered at our place for an impromptu  BBQ, Mum surprised me by being in on it all, she told me later that night that she had a wonderful weekend, "and wouldn't have missed it for the world", I am so glad.
The next morning , routine returned  very quickly, The Barracks had been full of guests (24 people) for the weekend and now we had to turn the rooms over and clean as they were booked again that night by family and friends of a  well known town resident who had sadly  passed away.We all turn up en mass to get the work done quickly.

That day was also  our monthly newspaper compiling day and three of us  sorted that. The following day all the available volunteers  returned all the memorabilia back to the storage area at the barracks while I  escaped that and was entrusted with printing the paper for the day.
It has been a huge 2 weeks, full of hard work, long hours, short tempers and tiredness   but in the end it has been  worth every minute of it.
I cannot express my gratitude to all the many,many people who donated  time, money, expertise, memorabilia, muscles, we are forever in your debt, Thank you, Thank you,Thank you.
for making  the 100 years of Rail   a most memorable occasion.
On a very happy note and nothing to do with rail, we  were very fortunate  to discover this morning that one of our beautiful  dorper ewes had given birth to  two sweet bundles of joy, all is good in our world.
So until we meet again,
please take care of you and yours,
Jane and Brian.


  1. What a wonderful day full of community events. Im not surprised your preserves sold. Id be putting in my order if i was closer.