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HISTORIC CAR DAY AND OPENING OF RESTORED HERITAGE SIGNAL AT ROBERTSON RAILWAY STATION ON SUNDAY, 12 APRIL 2015

Car enthusiasts, casual visitors and lovers of heritage train travel had a fun day at the Autumn Historic Car Day at the heritage-listed Robertson railway station on Sunday, 12th April.  The grounds were alive with classic cars spanning many years of car history and the “ca-thump, ca-thump’ sound of vintage farm machinery echoed around the grounds.

The Berrima District Historic Car Club managed the car aspects of the fund-raising day for the Robertson Heritage Railway Station (RHRS) group.

The ‘Cockatoo Run’ diesel-hauled tourist train from Sydney is a regular visitor to Robertson and brought 245 passengers to enjoy the spRailway-Cars-15-0412ecial day.

The car exhibitors had to cosy up a bit due to the grassed area of the Railway Common being rain-affected but everyone squeezed in and had a great time. It was the last day of the Fettlers Heritage Art Prize exhibition in the Fettlers Shed gallery and many visitors enjoyed the fascinating local art display. The RHRS volunteers ran a delicious hot food kiosk and our newly re-elected and well-liked State MP for Goulburn, Pru Goward, was sighted sampling a delicious Mauger’s Burrawang pie at the kiosk.

Signal-Mayor-300 A highlight of the day was the formal opening by our Wingecarribee Mayor (and nearly a Robertson local from Fitzroy Falls), Duncan Gair of the restored Robertson home signal, which adorned the approach to Robertson railway station for many years before being replaced by electronic signalling in the late 1980s. MP Pru Goward, members of the Robertson Bowling Club, RHRS volunteers, joined Duncan and interested visitors to witness the Mayor unveil a plaque celebrating the removal of the signal from the Bowling Club grounds (where it had been located for many years) and relocation back to the station precinct.

Resident railway historian, Ian Wallace gave a brief but interesting history of the semaphore signal, which, in its operating time, was illuminated by kerosene lamps. Such signals had to be maintained by a station assistant climbing to the top of the sturdy hardwood signal post at regular intervals, and in all kinds of weather, to refuel the lamp. Volunteers from RHRS and Terry Allen of the Bowling club achieved the difficult task of relocating the heavy signal post, its painting and reassembly. The restored signal now looks resplendent in its new paintwork and new coloured glass.

Plaque-300Ian presented copies of his newly compiled booklet “80 Years and More Of the Mountain Railway”, which updates and expands the previous (now sold out) account of the history and operation of this wonderfully scenic rail line, to our MP and Mayor.  The new booklet brings the story up to date with great photos of this now busy and important freight line, as well as capturing the fascinating story of its construction and its operation since it opened in 1932.   Sadly, there is no longer any regular passenger service on our line but the ‘Cockatoo Run’ tourist train is a vibrant reminder that, not long ago, residents of the Highlands could regularly journey down this engineering marvel to the Coast.

The departure of the ‘Cockatoo Run’ train signalled the end of another successful day to the weary railway volunteers who waved goodbye to a train full of happy visitors.

Steve Carey

President RHRS

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