Pigeons catch the train home

At the end of World War II, repatriating and demobilising the Australian military was a huge and challenging logistical task. There was a large variety of military equipment needing to be shifted, including 530 army pigeons that needed to be returned from Canungra, Queensland,  to their original civilian owners in New South Wales, Victoria or […]

Another 3Rs! Railway Refreshment Rooms

To most of us the 3Rs connote literacy and numeracy, but did you know the initials also used to apply to the Queensland Railway Refreshment Rooms? Originally run by enterprising locals, the Railway Department, Refreshment Rooms Branch was created in June 1916. The official public announcement that the Queensland Government would run the railway refreshment […]

Murphy’s Creek Railway Accident

On the morning of January 29, 1913 a livestock train departed from Toowoomba and derailed near the Murphy’s Creek railway station, about one mile from the station yard limits. No members of the crew were injured, but many hundreds of cattle were killed and a considerable amount of damage was caused to the vehicles and […]

Who Were the Midnight Runners?

This striking photo shows the rain-dampened opening of the Blackall train line in 1908. The gathered crowd, band and dignitaries were in full celebration as feet stomped across the mud. Speeches were given, the music played. And then a moment of strangeness took centre stage. The Queenslander, covering the speeches on 23 May 1908, reported […]

Queensland’s first steam locomotive

On 6 June 2012, Dr Ruth Kerr delivered her annual speech on John Kerr’s historiography at the Queensland Day Dinner, hosted by the Royal Historical Society of Queensland. John Douglas Kerr was an esteemed historian, statistician and writer. He was also renowned for his knowledge of the history of Australian railways. Dr Ruth Kerr spoke […]

“Hail! strangers, hail’: Scots in Queensland

This article, by Judith Nissen, was originally published on the Queensland State Archives website, March 2013. Hail! strangers, hail! right welcome to our shore, We wish you joy, – Eden could yield no more…                     — “Frederick”, 12 February 1849 By the time the Moreton Bay Courier welcomed Reverend John Dunmore Lang’s Fortitude, the Scots […]

All aboard the Root Canal Express!

Do you remember visiting the school dental clinic? Many of us are familiar with clinics in classrooms or even mobile caravans, but did you know one of the first travelling dental clinics in Queensland was a rail car? The school dental scheme was developed by the Department of Public Instruction in the late 1920s. The […]

Early Queensland Railways – Celebrating 150 Years of Rail

Interested in railways? Trainspotter at heart? This blog gives you the rundown on the records held at Queensland State Archives that can help you research your passion. This month marks the 150th anniversary since the completion of the first Queensland railway line from Ipswich to Bigge’s Camp (known today as Grandchester) on Monday 31 July […]

War Precautions Act 1914

The War Precautions Act 1914 increased the regulatory scope of the Government of Australia for the duration of the First World War. This act allowed the Governor-General to make regulations to secure public safety and defend the Commonwealth. And while it’s certainly worded like typical legislation, the regulations refer to local place names and even […]

September 1914: Embarkation of troops from Pinkenba

Without accident or injury to person, horse or property: On 26 September 1914, John Dunn, Sub-inspector from the Traffic Office, Queensland Police Department penned these words in a report to his superiors. The words describe the success of the police involvement during the embarkation of the Queensland Quota of the Australian Expeditionary Force from Pinkenba. […]