This weekend we will be celebrating Easter by eating delicious seafood on Friday and then gorging ourselves with Chocolate come Sunday but Saturday the 11th is a notable day in Quilpie Shire history for another reason.
On the 11th April 1917 (that’s 103 years ago for anybody who doesn’t have quick access to a calculator) the Quilpie Railway Station was officially opened. Fun fact, when the line arrived in 1917 Quilpie was then known as ‘Quilpill’).
Construction on the section of railway line between Charleville and Eromanga began in 1911 and at the height of construction there were over 270 men, plus horse teams and drays employed.
When the line finally reached Quilpie in 1917 there was no town, it consisted of scattered humpies. The final section of the line to Eromanga was never built due to wartime sacrifices making it impossible to source materials to build, making Quilpie the literal ‘End of the Line’.
When the Station opened it consisted of siding accommodation, goods shed, loading bank, carriage shed, 44 foot long ash pit, cattle yards, sheep yards, 1-ton crane, camping quarters, fork line, 30,000 gallon tank, platform 150 foot long and 12 inches high, shelter shed and office.
During its first full financial year of operation (between 1st July 1917 – 30th June 1918) 1112 Passengers, 1564 Tons wool, 22631 Cattle, 29231 Sheep passed through the Quilpie Railway Station.
The first regular passenger service to Quilpie commenced in 1935 and by 1951 two passenger trains per week ran from Charleville to Quilpie. This service continued through until 1994 when passenger trains to Quilpie ceased operating.
Before the construction and opening of the John Waugh bridge over the Bulloo River, the rail crossing over the river was utilised by cars when the river was in flood……
….and in this case in 1956 when 1840 sheep were walked across the rail bridge over the flooded river.
These days the Rail line doesn’t see much action apart from the very occasional stock train. However the line is continuously maintained. The original timber Railway Office was relocated to make way for the new building that still stands today.
The official opening of the new station office took place on the 26th November 1976. The original office now serves as a private residence in the town.
Plan your journey to the little town at the End of the Line in 2021 and learn more about Quilpie Shire’s fascinating rail history.