Jackson, Harrison and Lauchlan Kemp restored the signal tower at the Gayndah Railway Station.
Jackson, Harrison and Lauchlan Kemp restored the signal tower at the Gayndah Railway Station. Felicity Ripper

Students restore community treasure

FROM 1907 the Gayndah District Railway played a crucial role in driving industry throughout the region.

After the last steam train passed through Gayndah in 2005 significant artefacts were abandoned.

But three Burnett State College students are determined to preserve the railway's history.

On Tuesday Jackson, Harrison and Lauchlan Kemp unveiled the restored semaphore tower and after more than 100 hours of work between them, it couldn't be guessed that the monument was rusting away in a paddock just months earlier.

Burnett State College Deputy Principal, and father to the boys, Russell Kemp says he couldn't be more proud of the work they have put in.

"They took it down to every bolt and screw and sanded down the structure before rebuilding, painting and giving it a new signal arm,” he said.

"The tower will now be fully operational and children can come and see how a station master used to signal trains.”

Throughout the 1900s the tower was situated near the Burnett Highway with a series of pullies connecting it to a lever at the station.

The station master would pull the lever, signalling whether or not a train could pass through.

Burnett River Railtray Ambassador Mike Goebel with Russel, Jackson, Harrison and Lauchlan Kemp.
Burnett River Railtray Ambassador Mike Goebel with Russel, Jackson, Harrison and Lauchlan Kemp. Felicity Ripper

Along with the refurbishment of old carriages at the station, for Jackson and Harrison, restoring the semaphore tower will count towards a Bronze Certificate as part of the The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award.

To attain their certificates, the grade nine students are required to complete four sections of each level in the program; community service, skill, physical recreation and adventurous journey.

For three years the Kemp brothers have been helping to restore train carriages at the Gayndah Railway Station and therefore their contribution will count towards both the community service and skill components of their Bronze Certificate.

"After so many hours seeing the tower complete is a relief,” Lauchlan Kemp said.

"But we don't mind the work, it's what we like doing.”

Lauchlan wants to become a diesel fitter, Jackson has hopes of becoming a carpenter and Harrison wants to be a mechanical engineer.

After the effort the brothers have put in at the station Burnett River Rail Trail Ambassador Mike Goebel thinks they can do anything they put their minds to.

"They've been very dilligent, showing a lot of enthusiasm and commitment to their community.”


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