Link To Outr Own Site
The last train into the Tenterfield Railway Station was on October 24, 1989 but through the efforts of the local Railway Preservation Society, the station is 'staying on the rails'.
Ironically, the station ended 103 years of service just 100 days to the day after the then Premier of New South Wales, Sir Henry Parkes made his famous Federation Speech in Tenterfield.
At the opening of the Tenterfield Railway Station on October 16, 1886 by the Governor, Lord Carrington, ten trains were needed to carry the offical party and a furthur 67 trains arrived in the town in the next 24 hours.
An integrated national rail system was the dream of Sir Henry Parkes but state rivalry eventually saw the New South Wales government run the line as far as Jennings on the New South Wales/Queensland border to meet the different gauge Queensland line with all the necessary transhipment facilities opening on January 16, 1888.
The Tenterfield station was designed by John Whitton, who was considered to be the 'father' of the Australian railways, revealing his desire to build impressive stations at the larger country centres. With its station master's residence, goods shed, barracks, railways yards and signalling equipment, the station remains today very much as it has for generations.
It's an impressive stone and brick composition, having elaborate gables matched by smaller flanking pavilions, a brick support platform and original signs and seating within a pleasantly landscaped forecourt.
Internally, most of the original detail has been retained including cedar joinery with cupboards, benches and tables, marble mantel pieces and moulded plaster ceilings.
Over the years several hundred items have been collected ranging from dog spikes and soup spoons to rail trikes and trolleys and a vast array of photographs.
The historical museum display extends through all rooms including a display of early lamps in the ticketing office, panels of photography in the waiting room and a Victorian wash stand in the ladies wash room.
Like the grand old steam engines that once pulled in and out of its centre, the Tenterfield railway station is becoming more like a living, breathing thing than a man made creation.
You only need to scratch an Aussie to find a railway lover but your visit to the Tenterfield Railway Station will stir the nostalgia of the great age of the railways with its diverse aromas of burning coal, ripening fruit, produce, livestock, newsprint and mailbags.
It is difficult for us to appreciate the excitment and satisfaction felt by the people of Tenterfield and district when the railway line arrived in 1886.
It meant immeasurably more than fast, cheap and efficient transport... steam trains gave a first glimpse of the marvels of the machine age.
These 'iron monsters' created and controlled by man, were regarded as almost miraculous inventions and their daily arrival and departure aroused amazement in minds long accustomed to the slow, unchanging pattern of rural life.
Generations of open-mouthed little boys have stood, gazing in awe at the sight of the mighty locomotive, imagining themselves at the controls while the engine thundered down the tracks.
Small girls pestered their parents to indulge them in the magic of a train ride... all part of the fascination of trains.