Curator gives inside word on rail museum’s free open day

One of the city’s most-loved attractions, The Workshops Rail Museum, is opening free of charge to all visitors this Sunday, 11 November. Ipswich First ran a few questions by museum curator David Hampton in the lead-up to the open day.

What are three things folk might not know about The Workshops Rail Museum?

The museum tells the story of rail in Queensland and many people are surprised at just how popular train travel used to be.

Everything used to travel by train, from sheep dogs to members of the royal family. Here, you can see all manner of wagons and carriages that carried all sorts across the state.

Like most museums, The Workshops Rail Museum has only a fraction of its collection on display at any given time. The rest is stored in purpose-built collection stores, but unlike many other museums, at this one, you can see into the stores through windows and get a glimpse of the rest of the collection.

The Workshops is also home to the Queensland Rail Heritage fleet where history is kept alive by rebuilding and maintaining steam locomotives. Anytime you hear or see a steam train puffing its way around Brisbane suburbs, that train has come from the Ipswich Workshops.

What’s the oldest exhibit on site?

The oldest object displayed in the rail museum is A10 Locomotive No. 6. This little steam locomotive dates from 1865 – the earliest days of railways in Queensland.

No. 6 is the oldest operational steam loco in the southern hemisphere and is jokingly referred to by some railway workers as ‘the family silver’.

What’s the newest exhibit on site?

It might look new, but in actual fact our newest object on display is more than 100 years old.

Hunslet 326 – a locomotive used to haul trains to the trenches of the First World War – is on display after a five year restoration.

This little locomotive has a fascinating story to tell. We are excited to be sharing this story in the lead-up to the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Can you eat at the Workshops?

Visitors can buy coffee and cake or even lunch at the Trackside Cafe or bring a picnic – the museum grounds are yours to be enjoyed.

What ages is the museum best suited to?

All ages! There is something for everyone from the young train fan to the history enthusiast.

Families love the interactive exhibitions and wide open spaces to visit and move around in. We are also a favourite for people who remember when steam trains were live on the tracks.

What else should we know?

The Workshops Rail Museum also hosts various touring exhibitions throughout the year – including Underworld: Mugshots from the Roaring Twenties which continues to February 2019.

The museum is open daily from 9.30am to 4pm and admission will be free of charge to all visitors on 11 November, 2018.

The Workshops Rail Museum open day for 2018 includes Remembrance Day activities, market stalls and plenty of fun for children.

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