Preparing for centenary of Amiens railway line
THE site of the old railway terminus - a piece of land that is currently being redeveloped by the Amiens History Association and is the recipient of a council grant announced last week - was also the spot where Edward, Prince of Wales, famously opened the railway line on June 7, 1920.
Alec Harslett, vice-president of the Amiens History Association, said the infamous story about the historic and regal opening begins with the Prince, as he prepares to start his formal, railway-opening speech.
Mr Harslett said the Prince was a chain smoker, and, as he readied himself for his speech, he threw a half-smoked cigarette on the ground.
"Some lady, a local woman, picked it up and finished smoking it. At the end of the ceremony, the Prince felt sorry for her, and gave her a new cigarette.”
The Prince, whom Mr Harslett said "must have been a bit of a character”, was also presented with a stuffed koala.
The grand opening of the terminus will be re-enacted doing celebrations to mark its 100-year anniversary in 2020 at what is now the Amiens Legacy Site.
Amiens was named after the First World War battlefield in northern France, and construction of the Amiens railway line began in 1919.
Mr Harslett said the Passchendaele Forestry shed has been relocated to the site as part of its redevelopment, and the Southern Downs Regional Council grant of $945 would be used to buy and install a water tank.
"We relocated the shed which is in place, and we'd like to capture the water off the roof, which the water tank installation will help do. We're in a location that has no facilities so we had to sort ourselves out for water and power.”
The redevelopment of the railway terminus, off Goldfields Rd, will also involve the relocation to the site of a 1909 railway carriage which is being renovated.
Mr Harslett said the railway carriage had been passenger carriage, and in the Second World War was converted to a hospital carriage for the Townsville to Brisbane route. The carriage has also acted as 'tent wagon' accommodation for railway workers and a travelling Queensland Arts facility.
"The branch line was opened in 1920, from Cottonvale to Amiens, and there was a lot of little towns along the way named after WW1 battlefields, including Amiens,” Mr Harslett said.