Exploring the locomotive … Patrick, 8, and Vincent Muir, 10, from Brisbane, with their grandfather Dennis Geraghty, formerly of Murgon

October 3, 2023

The long journey by the Murgon Men’s Shed to secure a steam locomotive to park beside the South Burnett Rail Trail was finally realised on Monday with the unveiling of C17 No 763.

Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien cut the ribbon to officially open the railway display, which also includes two partially restored carriages.

The 37 tonne C17 steam locomotive and 17 tonne tender were transported from an Australian Railway Historical Society storage area at Rosewood in early August.

They were in very poor condition upon their arrival, so the Men’s Shed members set about tidying them up and killing the rust.

The paint only went on this week, leaving the locomotive looking in mint condition on Monday although, sadly, it will never haul any more goods or people on Queensland rail lines.

The engine was built in 1927 by Walkers in Maryborough, a company which is still building trains!

This particular locomotive served in the Toowoomba and Ipswich areas, but C17s were the models which used to plough along South Burnett lines.

No 763 was retired from service in 1969 and placed in a park in Paddington, Brisbane, where it was a target for vandals before being shifted to Rosewood for safe keeping.

Murgon Men’s Shed president David Mollenhauer said the display would not have been possible without a $25,000 donation by Murgon resident, and Men’s Shed member, Col Pearen, which enabled the hire of the cranes and trucks necessary to bring the locomotive and tender to Murgon.

The locomotive has been placed under a specially designed shelter shelter in front of a wooden 1918 passenger car and steel goods wagon which the group are working on restoring, creating an eye-catching static display beside the former railway tracks.

The project received two grants from the Federal Government to help it become a reality: $15,000 from Round 6 of the Stronger Communities Program and $33,000 from Round 5 of the Building Better Regions Fund for the steel shed and annex.

“The Rail Display Complex is an exciting initiative at the start of the South Burnett Rail Trail that provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of Queensland railways and will boost tourism through the South Burnett,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr Mollenhauer said that whenever the Murgon Men’s Shed was open, the gates to the display area would also be open so that anyone on the adjacent South Burnett Rail Trail could come in and take a look.

Related articles:

Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien cuts a particularly tough ribbon, watched on by Acting Mayor Gavin Jones and Crs Kirstie Schumacher and Kathy Duff
Murgon Men’s Shed president David Mollenhauer with the freshly painted locomotive and tender … the display was still being worked on at 6:00pm the night before!
Members of the Murgon Men’s Shed lne up in front of their pride and joy … Col Pearen, second from left in the front row, donated the cash that was need to bring the locomotive from Rosewood to Murgon
Murgon Men’s Shed members Andy McInnes and Paul Roberts are actually from Wondai!
Betty and Merv Birch, from Kingaroy … Merv is also a member of the Murgon Men’s Shed

Train enthusiast Shane Urquhart, from Nerangba, shared some history about C17 locomotives

Rhonda and John Armstrong, from Murgon … John is another enthusiastic Murgon Men’s Shed member
The crowd gathered from the sun under the shelter of the shed erected especially to house the locomotive and carriages

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On Display

The C17 locomotive was the main attraction on Monday, but there was also a display of vehicles from the Goomeri Chrome Bumpers car club, tractors and other vehicles restored by the Murgon men’s Shed:


One Response to "Railway Dream Becomes A Reality"

  1. Dennis is my brother and we lived in the railway house opposite the post office.

    Our father was the station master and would have ridden in that locomotive whilst shunting the many different types of railway wagons etc with other railway employees.

    Our father, Tom Geraghty, retired from the railway as Assistant Station Master at South Brisbane when they were handling both the Queensland and New South Wales trains.

    As a young lad, I was fortunate enough to once ride in the engine when it went all the way to Proston.

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