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The Depot
No 112 — January 2016
Photo of Working oh the railways exhibition
'Stevo' leads the Valley Heights Mixed through the ribbons at the official launch on Sun 25 October 2015
(Photo: Peter Stock)

In this edition

1.   Greater Blue Mountains Heritage Trail
2.   World War I Honour Board
3.   Raffle prize winner enjoys cab ride
4.   Valley Heights at the cutting edge!
5.   Valley Heights Mixed Official Launch
6.   Visitors to Valley Heights
7.   Transport Heritage NSW open days
8.   ARHS Christmas outing at Valley Heights
9.   Santa visits the Valley
10. Retirees Group
11. 2016 membership
12. Odds and ends
13. Vale Col Jarrett (1926–2015)
14. Future Happenings

The Depot Diary in 2016

Thanks to all those who responded in various ways to edition 111, the first of the “new look” DD.

With happily few hiccups the Diary was distributed by “Mail Chimp” to the majority of you. If you received this via Australia Post, please spare a thought for our treasurer who is trying to balance the books, as the cost of printing and postage is only going one way, UP! It also saves some of our hardy volunteers the effort of collating and distributing the printed version in person. Please let us know as soon as possible of an email address (perhaps a neighbour or friend?) where we can send this (and other gossip!). That will enable you to keep abreast of the latest news and at the same time help us spend our hard earned funds on worthwhile projects.

For THNSW members we are also making good headway with articles and updates both in their monthly e-news and “Roundhouse” magazine.

There is an audience out there that is just waiting to read your stories of railway or related interest (not necessarily just about us!) Any feedback, ideas and suggestions can be sent anytime to (articles may be edited for space or content reasons).

My special thanks to the contributors to edition 112, and to our webmaster, Grant Robinson for his ongoing assistance and patience. We all hope you read, enjoy, digest, discuss and share this and future diaries. By the way, how did you go with the quiz question? Answer and a new poser on the last page!

Keith Ward, Publicity Manager VHLDHM

1. Greater Blue Mountains Heritage Trail

As a founding member of BMACHO (Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations) we were pleased to be involved with the launch of the Greater Blue Mountains Heritage Trail (GBMHT). The concept encourages tourist sites throughout the Mountains to all open on the same day (4 times a year) so that visitors can enjoy a wide range of attractions, and the Museum opened specially on Saturday 3rd October.

Although originally planned as a non-running day, the leaflets printed by BMACHO are based on information supplied when this concept was first conceived, a year or so ago. These show that we are offering rides, so a last minute decision, with the generous co-operation of STARPS, meant that we could keep faith with our published offer.

However, due to annual boiler maintenance on both the Steam Tram and “Stevo”, the special GBMHT Open Day on Saturday 2nd January, was not able to include rides, but still provided a high level of enjoyment for those who attended. “We’ll be back for more!” was a common catch phrase on the day.

Valley Hts station photo#1


Mid-week events, although needing extra planning and volunteer support, are always welcome. Valley Heights is the perfect site for special interest groups and attractive rates can be negotiated for birthday parties, wedding photography, film shoots, and so on. Please contact Keith Ward at the Museum on (02) 4751 4638 (leave message) if you know anyone who might be interested.

2. World War I Honour Board

Our World War 1 Honour Board was unveiled by Louise Markus, Federal Member for Macquarie, on Wednesday 7th October. The Board commemorates 18 local railwaymen who enlisted for WWI.

The event was attended by over 40 other invited guests, including: Trish Doyle, State Member for Blue Mountains; Councillor Mick Fell (BMCC); Neil Cram (Patron); Major Lee Monzo 1/19 RNSWR; Tim Rafferty, acting SM, Valley Heights Station; Shirley Evans & Pamela Smith, authors; Jan Koperberg, BMACHO; Doug Knowles, Glenbrook Historical Society; Jenni Edmonds & David Bennett from THNSW; members of the Britt family: Peter, Maureen, Eddie, Rosemary, Thomas & Marjorie; members of the Honey family: Peter, Stuart, Geoff & Stephen. These direct descendants of two of the men recognised on the Board were deeply moved by the ceremony and two of them spoke fondly and emotionally of their recollections of their fathers. Many of the Museum’s Committee and other volunteers, without whom the day would not have been possible, were also present.

Following a guided tour of the Museum, the entire gathering enjoyed a tasty lunch, and our thanks go to those who helped with preparations or assisting on the day.

The book “Remembrance - Springwood District Honor Roll 1914-1919” was signed by those present on the day and will be available for our visitors to view.

The Honour Board is flanked by an Australian flag and a wreath of knitted poppies created by volunteer Eileen Ward and is mounted adjacent to the entrance to our Model Room.
Albert Honey descendents
Descendants of Albert Honey pose with loco 3214
Pamela Smith and Ttrish Doyle
Author Pamela Smith and State MP Trish Doyle
Louise Markus (Federal Member for Macquarie) signs “Remembrance–Springwood District Honor Roll 1914‑1919”
Descendants of Thomas Brett view the Honour Board and wreath
(Photos: Andrew Tester)

3. Raffle prize winner enjoys cab ride

Sunday 11th October saw the arrival of a special guest at the Museum. Jenny Griffiths, long-time volunteer at Heritage Express, and winner in one of our raffles, was accompanied by her husband, David, when she claimed her prize.

On duty, on time and ready for action, Jenny assisted the STARPS team with all the preliminaries, including fire lighting, oiling and general prepping. A great time was had by all!
Jenny Griffiths on Stevo
Jenny Griffiths in the cab of Stevo (Photos: Keith Ward)
The same day was the occasion of the long awaited low key unveiling of “Stevo” the Stephenson 0-6-0ST No 2. Coupled with the S‑truck and the recently accredited LFA carriage, the newly dubbed “Valley Heights Mixed” plied its trade up and down the usual 25 minute ride and the whole consist performed faultlessly on its first outing!
Valley Hts Mixed unoffical launch
Valley Hts Mixed passengers at unoffical launch
The Valley Heights Mixed & passengers on the unofficial launch day 11 Oct 2015 (Photos Keith Ward)

4. Valley Heights at the cutting edge!

The iPhone “app” that will enable visitors to enhance their experience and engage with exhibits was also launched on Sunday October 11th. Unlike the recorded explanations played on a device hanging round the neck, common at other museums & galleries, the “GiddiGuru” app stays on the user’s phone for use at other sites and all the information downloaded from us is stored for future reference, and can be sent to friends etc. We are planning to add audio files over the next months to add to the experience. As more sites come on board as participants, there’s confidence that this will be a great boost to tourism in the region and raise our level of interaction with visitors.

The “GiddiGuru” team was again on hand two weeks later to promote this innovative and exciting new concept. There was a limited but satisfactory response from prospective users. As not all devices are currently supported, and of course, not everyone has a suitable phone, the numbers taking up this free offer may be low to begin with. This opportunity to engage with our visitors in a novel way will lead to the recognition of our Museum as a venue that embraces the technology of three centuries!

How does it work? On arrival, visitors are encouraged to download the free app (Apple iPhone only at present) to their phone. Five transmitting beacons are discreetly located around the site and send a signal to the phone when they are in range. An audible prompt allows the user to view an image and read text about some of our key exhibits. Try it when next at the Museum!

5. Valley Heights Mixed Official Launch

Stevo at official launch
Stevo at the official launch of the Valley Heights Mixed (Photo: Andrew Tester and Keith Ward)
Passengers on mixed
Passengers in the LFA at the official launch of the Valley Heights Mixed (Photo: Peter Stock)
The big day of the “Official Launch” of Stevo in its role as a revenue raiser dawned bright on Sunday October 25th.

The S-Truck & LFA179 carriage were duly hooked up and proceeded to thrill and delight visitors to the Museum throughout the day. This very well publicised and patronised event also brought customers eager to try our other special activities, including a “crafty” exercise…

The craft opportunity was kindly arranged by Anne Frederick from Thirlmere. Visitors and volunteers alike were able to “get their hands dirty” (gloves optional!) by creating a piece of history! As part of a project jointly funded by THNSW and Transport Sydney Trains, 8,447 clay impressions of early 20th century railway artefacts will be formed to recognise the 8,447 railway workers from NSW alone, who enlisted for WWI. As we know from our own Honour Board, not all of those men returned alive and the railway volunteers made an enormous contribution to the war effort. These clay pieces will be fired and become part of the floor at Thirlmere, as a permanent and fitting tribute.

Thanks also go to Celeste Coucke, artist and co-creator of the project, who supervised this activity on the day and Eileen Ward who assisted. All the kids (and most of the “big kids” too!) enjoyed this community interaction!
Clay tablets
Artist Celeste with STARPS people
Clay impressions of 20th century railway artefacts, with artist Celeste Coucke and “crafty” conductors Peter Stock & Bruce Irwin
(Photos Eileen Ward)
A photographer from the Penrith Press was in attendance and took plenty of shots. Two of these were included in the following Tuesday’s edition, along with a supporting article — over half a page in total. A follow up item was also included in their online version.

6. Visitors to Valley Heights

Filming at Valley Heights…

Tuesday 27th October: Another film crew booked one of our large exhibits to shoot some very “interesting” scenes! Blood stained actors and a tutu-clad actress (amongst others!) made ETB6039 (the “U-boat”) their home for several hours and, accompanied by a large dead fish, seemed to enjoy themselves!

One of the film crews that last year used the museum as a backdrop for a music video has made the end result available to us for distribution. The Blake Dantier Band is a local outfit (all the members are former students of Blaxland High) and put out a highly listenable modern country sound. There is a link to the clip on our website, or you can view here: Youtube
Blake dantier band
Blake Dantier Band at Valley Heights (Photo: Keith Ward)

Annual General Meeting…

Saturday 14th November was the date of the Museum’s 24th AGM. This event was extremely well attended by members and was the opportunity to mingle with our patrons, Louise Markus (MP for Macquarie), Blue Mountains Mayor, Mark Greenhill and member Neil Cram. Other notable visitors were Councillor Mick Fell and Jan Koperberg, Secretary Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations (BMACHO). THNSW was well represented by Andrew Killingsworth (CEO), Andy McNeill (Head of Finance), and Shane Blatchford & Jeff Muller from Broadmeadow. Chairman Bruce Coxon was re-elected after his successful first term in the role and outlined the year’s high points, including greater and beneficial interaction with “Head Office”, and his goals for the period ahead, with emphasis on succession planning and funding for new projects. Despite the light rain, several of the Museum’s newer projects were showcased, including “P” class steam loco 3214, and electric loco 4601. The occasion concluded with a sausage barbecue to celebrate a successful year which saw gate receipts up nearly 60%.
3214 and 4601 under restoration
Restoration projects 3214 and 4601 showcased on the day of our AGM (Photo Keith Ward)

London Transport Museum MD…

Friday November 20th: the Museum was proud to entertain Mr Sam Mullins, long standing Managing Director of the London Transport Museum. Sam was delivered to the Museum by the Steam Tram which had been specially fired for the day by our friends from STARPS and which was a “first time” experience for our overseas visitor.

Volunteer Eileen Ward arranged morning tea, which was enhanced by a cake to celebrate Sam’s birthday. His gift pack to commemorate the occasion included some Valley Heights mementos, as well as Tramway books donated by STARPS plus some fly repelling head gear!

During his guided tour of the Museum, Sam never complained once about the temperature and even accepted the invitation to fire “Stevo”. After an impromptu “Q & A” session in the roundhouse, and accompanied by CEO Andrew Killingsworth, Sam was safely returned to Valley Heights station on the Tram, which trundled its way back to the Museum for a welcome rest from the 39 degree heat.
Happy birthday Sam
Happy Birthday Sam
One to remember!
            (Photo: Rod Hawkes)
Chair Bruce Coxon with Sam wearing Aussie head gear
            (Photo: Peter Butler)
Sam on tram
Sam having a break from firing the tram
  (Photo: Rod Hawkes)
Q&A session in the roundhouse
 (Photo: Keith Ward)

7. Transport Heritage NSW open days

Several members from Valley Heights made the pleasurable train trip to the city to avail themselves of the special open days for THNSW members at Eveleigh and/or Chullora on Saturday 21st November.

Rare behind the scenes opportunities were thoroughly enjoyed by those taking part.

The organising of these events meant that some of the State’s precious historic exhibits could be viewed in appropriate and hopefully permanent, surroundings.
Valley Heights team enjoys one of the exhibits
(Photo: Keith Ward)
exhibits at eveleigh
Preserved carriage and vintage diesels at Eveleigh (Photo: Keith Ward)

8. ARHS Christmas outing at Valley Heights

The Christmas get-together of the Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW) was held on Sunday December 6th and 100 pre-booked visitors from around the state flocked to the Museum.

“Stevo” was again available to power the LFA carriage. Delegates arriving by rail boarded the ”Valley Heights Mixed” from the platform at VH signal box.

After a morning tea in the roundhouse, the visitors were split into 4 groups for guided tours of the Museum’s highlights, culminating with a close up look at 5711. Thanks to Bruce Coxon, Ted Dickson, Rod Hawkes & Andrew Tester for sharing their knowledge & experience. A photo shoot under controlled conditions was available for the keen ones.

A wonderful lunch was provided by the Ori Café in Springwood and the afternoon was satisfactorily filled with free time for the ARHS members to wander and enjoy further rides, including shuttles to the signal box. Many photos were taken on the day and a good time was had by all! Some wonderful feedback has been received relating to this event and a certificate of thanks is on show in the meal room.

4601 on display
4601 on display during the ARHS visit
VH Mixed preparing to return to the signal box platform
The VH Mixed preparing to return to the signal box platform
(Photos: Grant Robinson)


9. Santa visits the Valley

We held our popular Santa event over the weekend of 12th & 13th December.  Whilst we were busy on both days, numbers were slightly down on last year. The weather may have had some impact on Sunday’s attendance, with a few morning showers. Santa arrived on the Steam Tram, flanked by his trusty elves, to a welcoming throng of enthusiastic (and some a little overawed!) children. The range of festivities, including gift bags, ample photo opportunities with Santa, plus the jumping castle, was enjoyed by children of all ages and of course the Steam Tram was on hand for rides throughout the day. We’ve been told that Bruce Irwin, Andrew Tester and Glenn Hargrave know something about Santa’s real identity and our thanks go to them for their contribution! Likewise, our colourful elves bore strong resemblances to the Tolhurst girls, Megan & Lydia, and their help is greatly appreciated!

The Blue Mountains Gazette complemented our paid advertising for the event with a nice write-up in their Christmas feature and the Penrith Press again provided a photographer for Santa Sunday, and a 1/3 page article, with two good images included, appeared in the December 15 edition, following our advert the previous week.

Late afternoon saw the arrival of a large group from Winmalee Rural Fire Service which held its kids’ Christmas party at the Museum. Santa (RFS style), having been delivered on our Tram, held court in the roundhouse and dispensed personalised gifts to the expectant children before the “Firies” made good use of our gas barbecue, followed by another ride and a guided tour. A great opportunity for us to reward another volunteer group for their sterling efforts in the community!
Santa and elves
Santa and elves (Megan and Lydia Tolhurst)
(Photo: Eileen Ward)

10. Retirees Group

  1. We still keep ourselves busy although December was a little unusual for us. (See below)
  2. Volunteers are always welcome. We are at the Depot the week after the second Saturday. Feel free to drop in and have a ‘look’. Our future weeks start on February 15th, March 14th, April 11th and May 16th.
  3. Most of November was occupied in finishing the lining of the small Exhibits store room. This was a bit of a difficult job trying to fit ‘square timber into non square’ spaces. It was suggested to our leader that we adopt a chain saw and axe approach but Dave Grove insisted on measuring and cutting straight to ensure a proper job. It worked out that he was right as the finished job looks a treat.
  4. Our December week was spent tidying up and then making preparations for the Christmas luncheon held on the Tuesday – many thanks to Rudi Glajcar for organising all the food.
  5. The rest of the week was spent preparing Santa’s ‘room’ – Santa visited Valley Heights on Saturday and Sunday (12th and 13th).
Jeff Russell, Membership Officer VHLDHM

11. Valley Heights Loco Depot Heritage Museum 2016 Membership

Thus far 56 members have renewed their Membership for 2016. We had about 160 financial members for 2015 so it is hoped that many of those members will renew to help continue the work of the Depot. Please note that the membership fee is now $20 and $10 for school children.

Obtaining Membership Forms.

  1. If you have access to the internet, obtain a membership form by logging onto our website and
    • Click on About us on the left hand side
    • Click on Get involved
    • On right hand side under Join the Blue Mountains Division click on VHLDHM membership form.
  2. If you do not have access to the internet (and thus receive the Depot Diary by mail) there should be a membership form included with this edition.

If for any reason you cannot access or did not receive a membership form please email me at or ring me on 4751 2471 and I’ll post one to you. If you visit the Depot, membership forms are in my pigeon hole in the lunch room.

Life Membership

Life Membership is awarded by Transport Heritage NSW to members of THNSW. Recently three members who have contributed much to VHLDHM have received their Life Memberships. They are Tim Ball, Bruce Saunders and Andrew Tester.

Honorary Life Membership

At a recent Committee meeting nine members of VHLDHM were awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Blue Mountains Division of the Transport Heritage NSW (that is, VHLDHM) for their outstanding contributions to the Depot. Most of these members have volunteered for over 20 years. They are;
Ray Beharrell, Col Burne, Steve Corrigan, Dave Hunt, Terry Matchett, Bob Matthew, Roslyn Reynolds, John Stanley and Ross Stenning.

A condition of accepting the Honorary Life Membership is that all these members continue their hard work at Valley Heights (only joking – in reality I know that they will). Well done folks!

Congratulations to these twelve members.

Volunteering at the Depot

We always need extra volunteers to perform all the categories of work listed on the back of the membership form. Feel very welcome to make contact if you would like more information about volunteering or would like a ‘behind the scenes’ tour at the Depot – to help you decide how you can help continue the good work of past and present members. Valley Heights Depot is a great place to volunteer.

To all our members, I hope 2016 treats you and yours very kindly.

Jeff Russell, Membership Officer VHLDHM

12. Odds and ends


We fell just short of our target of 1,500 ticket sales this year. Despite the best efforts of John Carter on Open Days, and many other generous members who purchased and/or sold tickets, there were a number of unsold books at the time of the draw for the 8 prizes, performed by Santa on 13/12. Prizes have been distributed in order of drawing, as a “Winners Choice” raffle enables the holder of the first ticket drawn to have first choice of the prizes, and so on.


Keith Ward took part in a full day workshop at the Norman Lindsay Gallery on Friday 23 October. This dealt with both preparation for and recovery from natural disasters, obviously including fire and flood, but making the point that there is often water damage to contend with following a fire event through burst pipes or firefighting efforts. With a strong emphasis on “hands-on” as well as theory, this day provided the opportunity to learn & practice basic techniques of soot removal, and handling of waterlogged documents & books. Although the session focussed on domestic situations, there are of course parallels for institutions such as ours. Earlier in the week, National Trust staff & volunteers attended sessions dealing with conditions found in museums & galleries.

A fire equipment familiarisation was conducted by volunteer and Fire Officer, Dave Hunt, on December 8. This two hour session involved a thorough inspection of the locations of all the firefighting devices around the site and an explanation of their operation & application. A program of more formal “hands-on” training will be established in due course.


Andrew Tester, Grant Robinson & Keith Ward, with assistance from Ted Dickson, have been working on an updated version of the Museum’s trifold brochure that was printed some years ago by the Office of Rail Heritage. This will show some new photos plus other content and will reflect all the exciting changes and additions to the Museum over that time. At the time of writing a first draft has been received from “Head Office’ for our evaluation.

Special donations

Bunnings Valley Heights has kindly donated 12 branded umbrellas for our visitors’ use and are available for use on Open Days and events. Ed Manning painted a special bin to be used as storage for the brollies!
Shunting the guard van
Shunting lesser seen exhibits at Valley Heights: 4 wheel HG guard's van (Photo: Grant Robinson)

13. Vale Col Jarrett (1926-2015)

Col was a volunteer member at Valley Heights. He was born in Grafton and left home when he was 13 to trap animals for a living. Col joined the Australian Army and, just after hostilities ceased, he was sent with his infantry unit to Japan where he spent about 18 months.

By trade Col was a painter and his skill in this area was obvious with his efforts at the Depot. His wonderful sense of humour made him a delight to work with. Col used to tell all that he was a veteran of the Boer War. One of Col’s famous stories had him on a station in Melbourne carrying his luggage when one of those long lines of luggage carts approached him. He asked for a lift from the driver who refused Col’s request. Col mentioned that he was a Boer War veteran and the driver promptly changed his mind and help Col load his luggage and drove him to the required destination.

Col certainly had a strong sense of adventure. He had a glider pilot’s licence and he joined the crew of the ‘James Craig’. He rang his daughter one evening asking her to guess where he was – many metres above the ocean sitting in the crow’s nest!

Col married twice – his first wife died after 40 plus years of marriage and later he spent many happy years with Rona. Col was very fond of Scottish dancing and loved travelling.

(Photo: Peter Butler)
His love of railways was evident – not only was he was a volunteer at Valley Heights but also he volunteered at 3801 Ltd and at Oberon Tarana Heritage Railway where he slept overnight during their working weeks.

Above all, Col was a good bloke who was easy to work with and whose presence always assured those around him were entertained.

Rest in peace Col.

14. Future Happenings

Kettle to Cargelligo

Strange Modellers of Universal Trains (SMUT) presents: From Cootamundra to Lake Cargelligo by steam, with loco 3217 provided by Lachlan Valley Railway. Leaving Cootamundra 6am Saturday 19 March, returning 4pm Sunday. Part of the proceeds from every ticket will go to restoration of STARPS exhibit 1022 at Valley Heights. Places are limited. Access tour details and bookings from the VHLDHM home page.

Special dates

Sun 14 February
Valentine’s Day Special Offers for ladies
Sat 27‑Sun 28 Feb
“Trains, Trams & Ts” event for the “Roaring 20s Festival”. Period dress competition – all visitors (including members) should dress up for the chance to win a prize!
Plus Vintage car displays; Morse Code demonstration; Old time school classroom (Sunday) and more. Live music to be confirmed.
Sat 19‑Sun 20 Mar
Kettle to Cargelligo
Sat 2 April
Special Open Day for Greater Blue Mountains Heritage Trail (BMACHO)
Sun 10 April
Seniors “One-for-one” special pricing arrangement
Sun 24 April
Seniors “One-for-one” special pricing arrangement

Open Day – visit by Chrysler Restorers Car Club
Sun 22 May
“Teddy Bears Day Out” – a return of this popular event is a highlight of the year
Sun 26 June
Open Day – visit by Austin A40 Club


LHS Local Hire Shop card
Austrains logo
Blue Mountains Coffee Roasters logo
On Track Models logo

We wish to thank our other important sponsors:

  • Bunnings Hardware, Valley Heights
  • Jenolan Caves
  • Featherdale Wildlife Park, Doonside
  • Richard Butcher, author
  • Blooms the Chemist, Springwood
  • Springwood Historical Society
  • Turning Page Bookshop, Springwood
  • Abcoe, Penrith
  • Macquarie Road Auto Repairs, Springwood
  • Headway Hair, Springwood
  • Scenic World, Katoomba
  • Royal Hotel, Springwood
  • Mac’s Daks Menswear, Springwood
  • Hunter Shoes, Springwood
  • Coles, Winmalee
  • Signwave, Penrith
  • Terrys Truck Hire, Springwood

Publicity Manager’s Trivia Quiz Corner

What is the connection between Australian sport and one of the stations on the famous Bluebell Railway in England’s south?

Depot Diary 111 trivia quiz: From which defunct railway platform could a good diver (with a running jump!) end up in a major Sydney river?
Solution: Log Cabin
Tram and trailer during ARHS visit
Stream tram 103A & trailer on display during the ARHS visit on 6 Dec 2015 (Photo: Grant Robinson)
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