Helidon-Toowoomba Railway CentenaryPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

A plaque commemorates the centenary of the railway line from Helidon to Toowoomba which opened on the 30th April,1867.

The Toowoomba railway was opened on Tuesday, April 30th. The Queensland Times gives a long account of the ceremony, from which we take the following :- Besides an early train before daylight for the volunteers, it was arranged that three trains to convey visitors to the opening should leave Ipswich at 6 30, 7, and 7-30. These trains started accordingly, but the number of passengers in all of them was much smaller than had been anticipated, chiefly, of course, because of the non-arrival of the Brisbane visitors, and partly because there was considerable dissatisfaction in Ipswich in reference to the invitations ; even the Mayor of the town had been omitted in the first instance. Messrs. Watts and Gore were in the last train. Mr. Macalister, who was at the railway station, apparently prepared to start, jibbed at the last moment, and declined to proceed, stating as a reason that invitations had not been properly issued, and that the affair would not be a public demonstration at all.

The true reason, however, seemed to be that the " railway minister " was glad of an excuse to avoid meeting the people. On arriving at the top of the range the first triumphal arch was met with. It spanned the railway line, and bore in large letters the word "Achievement." A little farther on was another arch marking the municipal boundary, and others of more elaborate and pretentious style, expressing welcome to Sir George and Lady Bowen, were passed through at and near the station yard.

After some discussion at the station relative to the advisability of proceeding with the opening, the question was decided in the affirmative, and the Minister for Works and the Postmaster-General, with a number of other gentlemen, proceeded to the verandah of the Royal Hotel, when addresses were presented to the former, with a request that he would forward them to his Excellency the Governor . The Minister for Works replied that he was indeed sorry that the recent heavy fall of rain had been the cause of preventing the Governor and the ladies and gentlemen of Brisbane from being present on that occasion. lt was the earnest wish of his Excellency to forward in every possible manner the interests of the colony. (Cheers.) He also regretted that the Colonial Secretary not present, but he believed ill health was the cause of his absence ; at least he could assign no other reason.

They had all no doubt heard of the untoward event which occurred on the journey down on Saturday, but a similar one might happen on any line in the world after a very heavy fall of rain. (Hear, hear). The line was perfectly safe, except at those parts which had been slightly injured by the rains, and these would be made passable and safe in a very short time. He was not an advocate for fast travelling, and would take care that only a moderate rate of speed was kept up. Mr. Watts concluded by declaring, on behalf of his Excellency the Governor, the railway line from Ipswich to Toowoomba open for public traffic. (Loud and continued cheering.) A salute of seventeen guns was then fired by the members of No. 2 Battery Q.V.A., and the bands struck up the National Anthem.
Rockhampton Bulletin and Central Queensland Advertiser (Qld),
11 May 1867. 


Address:Railway Street, Toowoomba Railway Station, Toowoomba, 4350
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.557441
Long: 151.951604
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Technology
Actual Event Start Date:30-April-1867
Actual Event End Date:30-April-1967


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 30th April, 1967
Front Inscription
     1867 - CENTENARY - 1967



Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au