Gympie Woodworks Museum’s latest acquisition is a half size model of the 1873 Queensland built locomotive the Mary Ann. The “mock-up” was built by John Terrill, pictured with museum manager Louise Parmenter.
Gympie Woodworks Museum’s latest acquisition is a half size model of the 1873 Queensland built locomotive the Mary Ann. The “mock-up” was built by John Terrill, pictured with museum manager Louise Parmenter. Craig Warhurst

Museum tracks down steam engine

A MOCK-UP of the first steam locomotive built in Queensland in 1873 is the latest acquisition for Gympie’s Woodworks Museum.

Museum manager Louise Parmenter took over official guardianship of the model yesterday from its creator, Maryborough’s John Terrill.

Ms Parmenter said she was thrilled to have “the missing link” which now completes their timber transport exhibit.

The museum was aware that the model existed but tracking it down proved a challenge.

Bauple Museum contacted Woodworks Museum with news of the find.

“I’m rapt to have it here,” Ms Parmenter said.

“I’ve been looking for her for years. It fits in here… we’re really happy.”

Mr Terrill said he originally built the mock-up as a centre piece for an orchid display, thinking it could also be used to promote the city of Maryborough.

With help from his wife Gloria, he used bits and pieces including an old boiler out of a heater, completing the project in about three months.

The original Mary Ann was built by John Walker and Company (now Walkers Limited) and was used to haul kauri pine logs out of the Cooloola Scrub (Cooloola National Park), east of Gympie.

The eight horsepower engine could haul 40 tons of logs and was designed to run at about eight miles per hour.

It ran on wooden rails and cut its own rails and sleepers.

The engine’s boiler stood upright, rather than horizontal, which meant the wheels could be closer together, allowing the locomotive to handle sharp corners.

The Mary Ann was destroyed by fire before the turn of the century however a full scale-working replica was built in Maryborough by rail enthusiasts and operates now in Queens Park, Maryborough.

The Mary Ann replica will pay a rare visit to Gympie for the Ultimate Steam Heritage Festival, from April 9 to April 12, 2010.

Mr Terrill’s mock-up will be a permanent fixture at the Woodworks Museum representing a very important part of the development of railways and machinery in Queensland and of course an integral part of the early timber industry.

“It will be good for educational tours – we have a lot of schools through,” Ms Parmenter said.

“The children will see a great display now ... this really links it all together.”

“It is the perfect spot for it here,” Mr Terrill added.

Gympie Times


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