Locomotive running again in time for coal discovery festival

FOR the past 37 years, the rusty old yellow locomotive has lain dormant.

But just in time for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Burrum coal discovery, on Saturday and Sunday, it has been brought back to life.

It used to haul coal from underground to the surface at a mine south-east of Torbanlea but was mothballed when Burgowan No 13 closed in 1976.

A couple of years ago, it was moved to the front of the Burrum & District Museum in Howard along with a couple of timber coal wagons as a display.

Howard's Don Chew drove the locos at Burgowan No 13 and was one of the last men to switch them off when the mine closed.

He was also the first to start the Rusty 5 again after spending a couple of months working to get the diesel engine running.

Museum volunteer Dudley Mason started the task of cleaning the loco up and Don's brother Ian has helped rejuvenate the machine along with Ian Kerr who supplied a new engine cover.

Don said five locos were bought from Rosewood mine in Ipswich about 1966-67 and they replaced pit ponies.

"I drove them for about 10 years," he said.

The museum has a longer-term goal of laying some track so people can see the loco in action.

The Coalfest includes a street parade in Howard at 10am on Saturday; antique machinery displays and demonstrations and old mining photos at the town oval; old fashioned games and food vans at the school oval and a dinner dance at the community centre at 7pm.

Also, historical tours of the town will leave from the museum, which will be serving billy tea and damper, throughout the day.

Activities on Sunday include a combined church service and a fun run in Howard, an Active Riders sports day at Torbanlea and, for miners and their partners only, a lunchtime reunion at the Miners Arms Hotel.

To see the full program, click here.

 

Former coal miner Don Chew, of Howard, has worked to resurrect the old locomotive that once hauled coal at an underground mine near Torbanlea.
Former coal miner Don Chew, of Howard, has worked to resurrect the old locomotive that once hauled coal at an underground mine near Torbanlea. Tracey Joynson
Don Chew with the locomotive display in front of the Burrum and District Museum at Howard.
Don Chew with the locomotive display in front of the Burrum and District Museum at Howard. Robyne Cuerel


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