MANY might not have known the difference between a steam roller and a steam shovel, but that didn’t stop hundreds of visitors heading to Gympie over the Easter break to enjoy the inaugural Ultimate Steam Festival.
The event finished yesterday, and while organisers have hardly had time to draw breath, from all accounts it was a successful four days.
For the first time, three of Gympie’s heritage attractions combined forces to present an exciting and unique experience, not just for steam buffs, but for everyone.
A massive program included activities at the three locations.
Demonstrations included steam engines, portable and miniature blacksmith, wood chopping, traditional hand tools, woodworkers, whittlers and chainsaw carving and much more at the WoodWorks Museum.
At the Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum, visitors watched the starting of the boiler and then demonstrations of mining machinery, a steam roller, portable steam engines and agricultural machinery.
At the old railway station, history was brought to life with a rare visit by “Mary Ann”, the steam locomotive replica that normally runs in Maryborough. Mary Ann took passengers for a short run north along the Rattler’s line and back to the old Gympie station.
A popular highlight for overseas and local visitors alike was the famous Valley Rattler steam train rides to Amamoor.
Also enjoyed was the WoodWorks Museum’s replica 1860s steam-driven bush sawmill, and the Gold Mining and Historical Museum’s huge 1899 gold mine winding engine.
Entertainers also performed throughout the festival.