Letters to the Editor || Bladen Brooke on preserving our heritage

West Tamworth Railway Station.
West Tamworth Railway Station.

It is great news about the negotiations to preserve West Tamworth Railway Station.

I lived in Hercules Street and as a young boy and I used to go down and sit on a Railway Gate and watch the proceedings in the Marshalling Yard. 

It must be remembered that West Station was the end of the line for many years, prior to the erection of the Viaduct. 

The Marshalling Yard consisted of a Turntable capable of turning around the train engines for their return journey. As well there was a very large workshop capable, I think, of holding four engines, enabling boiler cleaning repairs etc.

On occasions I would be allowed to enter the Station Masters Room and watch the paper tape emerge from the Morse Code receiver. There was no phone communication at that stage and all communication between stations was in Morse Code!

There was a large Railway Storage Shed into which goods for Tamworth and up north were stored for collection. The entry was via a gate at the end of Hercules Street which I think still exists.

On the Eastern side of In Street there was a large storage shed owned by Thibaults in which they stored their bulk merchandise arriving by rail.

All have been removed... the only remaining vestige of a by-gone age is The West Tamworth Railway Station.

• Another interesting side light was the saving of Out Street. 

When the Manilla/Barraba Line was established it was used on occasions to convey Coffins for burial in the Tamworth Cemetery! 

An application was made to Tamworth Municipal Council to close Out Street. This was vigorously opposed by the then Mayor and Station Accountant Mayor Harry Varley. Harry had established an attractive garden opposite the station of which he was very proud.

However, he was able to produce an ordinance which stated: “no road will ever be closed over which a funeral has passed”

Our Out Street remained open!

• With the establishment of the Manilla/Barraba Line a small rail platform was established for the Tamworth Showground and trains were despatched up the line to bring families down for a day out at the show!

I wonder if any photos exist of the old Marshalling Yards/ Turntable/Loco Shed etc?

• Another interesting fact was that in 1879, after many requests were made to establish a Post Office in West Tamworth, eventually a Telegraph Office and a Letter Receiver was set up at the new Railway Station at West Tamworth. People had to come to the Railway to get their mail. It didn’t last long as Hanley Bennet was able to get a Post Office set up in Belmore Street in Henry Ison’s no longer used Produce Store.

Bladen Brooke OAM, 

Boambee East