Successful Oficial Opening Celebration Day at Tarana on Fathers' Day
Oberon Tarana Heritage Railway Inc. in conjunction with 3801 Ltd and Tarana Hotel held a very successful celebration at Tarana on Sunday. Around 500 people from the district and further afield crowded the station to welcome steam locomotive 3801 on its journey out west. Not only did we plan a fun day on Fathers' Day but we also celebrated 150 Years of Railways in NSW and officially opened the OTHR project to restore the line to Oberon.
MP for Bathurst , Gerard Martin, was kind enough to give up his Fathers' Day and spoke to the crowd at the station about the important role the Railway had played in the development of the district and the significance of 2005 as the 150th anniversary of the first railway in NSW. He also officially opened the OTHR project to restore the line and took the opportunity to present a State Flag to the association. Oberon Mayor Bob Hooper (accompanied by his wife Helen) also spoke of the significance of the project and emphasised how Oberon Council is supporting the efforts to restore the line. MC for the day was local identity, Ian Gordon who dressed in period costume for the event.
I travelled with the train to Orange and back to distribute publicity material about our project and spoke to all the passengers on the train. They particularly commented on the people wearing period costume and many singled out baby Ellie Moorhead who was making her first public outing dressed as a baby would be in the 1850s. OTHR President Shane Moorhead looked resplendent in top hat, tails and white gloves - just the gear to wear when driving a steam roller! A number of passengers on the train took the opportunity to become members of OTHR and we now have over 100 members.
It was also lovely to see Herb Cunynghame on the platform. Herb was a long-time guard and shunter on the branch line and was the final station master at Oberon. He was noted having an animated conversation with the crew in the cab of 3801. Also attending was Bryan Williamson, the driver of 4901, the last diesel locomotive into Oberon.
Peter Culley drove Kellam's coach courtesy of Kellams and local manager John Brown. Peter & Christine were also superbly decked-out in period costume. The coach ran as a reincarnation of Number 2 Mixed train from Oberon to Tarana via Hazelgrove and Carlwood. A number of other locals and OTHR members dressed in period costume for the day and this included Keith Jones, Joan Fletcher, Arthur Robinson, Marina Meznaric and others – if you wore costume, could you please contact us so that we can arrange a celebratory certificate?
The weather could have been kinder to us but at least the rain stopped before the main celebrations. Unfortunately it prevented the roller from being unloaded as the ramps were too slippery, making it too dangerous - so the kids lost the opportunity to have a hay ride behind the steam roller.
Special thanks go to 3801 Limited who facilitated the proceedings by making room in the tight schedule to stop at Tarana on our behalf. I think we made them proud and it was interesting to note that there were but a handful of people at Bathurst and Orange to welcome the train. This arrangement was made by 3801 Ltd to help us get our project under way and we are most grateful as it enabled us to use the drawcard of a steam engine at Tarana to raise much needed funds.
Rick Fletcher - Secretary