Restoration on track


The wheels are in motion for a Glenorchy historical project.

Locals Vince Jones and Ian Kirkland are restoring an old railway wagon.

The dilapidated relic has been sitting idle for the last 40-odd years. It was originally used to move farm supplies, livestock, wool and scheelite to and from steamer ships docking at Glenorchy railway station – today’s wharf.

Jones remembers getting on the Earnslaw as a youngster and having to avoid sheep poo, because of livestock on the boat.

The wagon’s days were numbered when the Queenstown to Glenorchy road was put in in 1962.

Jones and Kirkland rescued the bedraggled wagon, which was being used to store fertiliser by fellow local Bob Koch, in May.

Jones: “It was a big enough job – but we thought it was going to be a monster one. The fundamental elements of the wagon were all in place.”

The metalwork, originally imported from England, was all intact, as was the underbelly. The deck, which had rotted away, was replaced. They still need to add macrocarpa sides and give it a lick of paint. All up they’ve spent about $1800.

The wagon has been plonked on existing railway lines beside the wharf.

Jones hopes it educates locals and tourists about Glenorchy’s history.

“We are getting new people coming in and we are trying to show them the culture and ethos of the community and how that came about. Its isolation shaped it, to a large extent. There has also been the will among people to preserve it too.”

The project is on track to finish soon – just a couple of hours’ labour left, Jones adds.