The turning of the first sod for new extension line to Urangan by then-Premier Digby F. Denham.
The turning of the first sod for new extension line to Urangan by then-Premier Digby F. Denham.

Railway opened up opportunities for early Bay settlers

WITH rail travel not a particularly relevant form of travel in Hervey Bay any more, it is remarkable to think of the difference it made to the early settlement and growth of the area.

As Hervey Bay Historical Society president John Andersen recollects, the railway opened up some excellent opportunities for early settlers.

Dusty Main St heading into Pialba.
Dusty Main St heading into Pialba.

After Pialba was first settled in 1863 by Boyle Martin and his family, there was a steady influx of new settlers to much of the rural areas stretching from Takura through to River Heads.

This was where the good farm lands were found, offering the pioneers not only a place to grow crops to sell but also providing the farmer with food to feed his family.

Of course, as there were no shops, the farmer of necessity had to be self-sufficient.

A smaller number of settlers opted for the land closer to the beach, particularly around the Pialba area.

The building of the railway line from Colton Junction near Maryborough to Pialba was the start of the big influx of new arrivals to Hervey Bay.

The line to Pialba was opened in 1896, then shortly after, it was realised that an extension of the railway line from Pialba to Urangan would greatly benefit development especially as there was an excellent opportunity to utilise the deep water just off shore at Urangan.

Soon planning was under way and the first sod was turned by the then Queensland Premier, the Honourable Digby Denham.

The branch line from Pialba to Urangan was opened in 1913 and in the same year construction of the iconic Urangan Pier began which was then officially opened in 1917.

 

A steam train at Urangan in the 1920s.
A steam train at Urangan in the 1920s.
Tennis courts in Pialba's Main St in the 1930s.
Tennis courts in Pialba's Main St in the 1930s.


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