By JOL Admin | 21 November 2013
Many John Oxley Library readers and researchers would be familiar with the contents held in the John Oxley collections pertaining to the subject of railways in Queensland. They include railway images, the printed volumes ‘Notes on Queensland railways’ by John Kerr now digitised or an 1887 map showing the projected rail lines, coach roads, towns, cities and stations in Queensland at the time. All of them indicate the importance of the rail network contributing to the establishment of Queensland communities, economy, business, agriculture, expansion and development.
30 November 2013 is the date chosen to mark the centenary of the opening of the rail link between Woodford and Kilcoy, approximately 110 kilometres north west of Brisbane on the Caboolture line. The events around the official opening nearly 100 years ago on December 22, 1913 are to be celebrated once more in 2013. So important was the coming of the rail that the community of Kilcoy in the Somerset Regional Council plans to unveil an official plaque, provide entertainment, and re-enact the events of the official opening. I will happily share more about the event when I return from attending the event, as I grew up in the community and have vivid memories of traveling on the train as a young child before it closed on July 1, 1964.
History records in the Brisbane Courier December 1908 that a deputation of residents - Messrs. Henry Plantagenet Somerset, M.LA., William Butler, R Seib, sen., J. Young, J. Green, C. W. Carseldine, W. Bradley, J. Kennedy, J. N. Twiddle, W. Y. Seeney, W. Downes, E. Pratten, T. Walker, W. Bleakley, H. C. Cowie. J. Kirby, J. Walsh, A. Barlow, H. Carseldine, G. Eaton, and Handcock visited the Minister for Railways in his office to influence a positive outcome. Mr J.D. Campbell M.L.A. “emphasised that the deputation represented the timber, pastoral, agricultural, fruit-growing, and dairying industries of the district ”… and that it was necessary for the growth of the district.
There were many more reports, surveys and discussions before approval came a year later in 1909 and the rail line extension from Woodford to Kilcoy became a reality four (4) years later just prior to Christmas in 1913.
A petition signed by 216 residents indicated the importance of the railway extension and acknowledged that the enterprise would bring additional wealth to the Crown if it was extended the additional “33 miles.” Prior to the rail extension residents relied on their own modes of transport or the local coach service.
As a direct result of the rail development, new communities sprang up along the line – Durundur, Neurum, Royston, Villeneuve, Glenfern and Winya - each one a watering stop. The initial service took four hours to travel between Kilcoy to Caboolture, which was quite wearisome for travelers, so from August 1927, a daily rail motor service was provided, cutting the length of the trip to 2hrs 20 mins.
It is thought that the advent of war in 1914 and the development of the motor car were reasons the line was not extended beyond Kilcoy.
Anne Scheu, Collections Engagement, State Library of Queensland
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