Stanthorpe celebrates Sir Henry’s

As part of Stanthorpe Shire Council’s Centenary of Federation celebrations, in October, guests were invited to board the Federation Steam Train. The journey was reminiscent of the trip taken by Federation father Sir Henry Parkes to Tenterfield to deliver his Federation Oration in 1889.

In 1889, a special train was laid on for Sir Henry, who had been in Brisbane discussing with the Queensland Government strategies for the defence of the separate colonies. Then travellers switched trains at Wallangarra before crossing the border due to different Queensland and New South Wales rail gauges.

Stanthorpe’s Federation Steam Train journey coincided with the launch of the newly refurbished break of gauge, the $4 million Wallangarra Railway Station Precinct. A grant of $100,000 from Centenary of Federation Queensland’s Community Assistance Program aided the project. It is also supported by Queensland Rail.

“The Wallangarra Railway Station has seen many people pass through its doors – the Queen Mother, Sir Henry Parkes, over 100,000 troops, immigrants travelling to their new homes, as well as general passengers like you and I,” said Council’s Economic Development Manager, Tom Knobel. “Until 1930, Wallangarra was a central cog in Australia’s transport wheel and it has taken the Centenary to make us realise we have a national icon at our back door. It is great that we have saved it now. It will stand until the next century.”

The Station is part of the Journeys and Junctions – The Wallangarra Heritage Centre. Here visitors can discover the story of the region over the last 140 years, its role in inter colonial politics, Federation and the course of the nation.