A lifelong interest in steam locomotives and a boyhood dream of building my own miniature railway led to my wife Susan and I purchasing this 12 acre property in December 1992 with a view to fulfilling the dream. Luckily I had misjudged how much work was ahead of us or I’m sure we wouldn’t have started.
After spending the first six months wandering around the property on weekends taking levels and measurements I settled on a design for the track. The first sod was turned in June 1993 at the site of Glenfinnan station and work continued at a slow but steady pace until the main circuit was completed in October 1999 after completion of the curved brick viaduct, which was inspired by a large curved viaduct at Glenfinnan in Scotland. Our version took 18 months to build working mainly on weekends and contains approximately 7,000 bricks. To celebrate the completion of the main circuit, an opening ceremony was held on Sunday 17th October 1999. Friends and members of the Queensland Society of Model & Experimental Engineers helped celebrate the day with some members bringing their locomotives and carriages to test the new track. I had been so busy building the track that I had no locomotive of my own to run on it. Fortunately, I was able to purchase a suitable locomotive in November 1999 from its builder Geoff Murdoch. This freelance narrow gauge 2-6-2 locomotive (EMILY) has proved itself to be a powerful & reliable performer. It handles the sections of 1 in 50 & 1 in 40 gradients with ease.
The next stage involved the extension up the hill to Ferntree Gully and yet another bridge. This time in timber and inspired by a truss bridge on the now abandoned railway line just north of Tenterfield. The last section of track on this stage was completed in July 2005.
As the railway began to snake its way around we decided to plant a few trees for shade and a few shrubs to add a bit of interest. We soon discovered that landscaping is also a very satisfying pastime and started reading up on it with the hope that we might be able to create a suitable backdrop for the railway. The cooler winters have made it possible to grow deciduous trees and they now provide a spectacular sight in May as they show off their Autumn colours. Other plantings include Camellias, Magnolias, Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Wisteria, Clivias, Conifers and many other species.
The third stage was an extension out towards the entrance to the property. This involved the construction of a steel lattice truss bridge on brick piers over swampy ground. Two other bridges were also required to cross over a small creek meandering through this part of the property. An unloading/loading traverser and steaming bays were also constructed. Completion of this section was achieved in September 2011.
The next few years saw the construction of additional sidings, a locomotive shed and a timber footbridge based on the Queensland Railways design.
The current project (2020) is a one half scale Signal Box based on the one at Glenfinnan in Scotland.
A future branch line from Ferntree Gully up to a terminus near the house is under consideration.
Invaluable assistance and encouragement from friends has kept the dream alive.