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History of the Mary Valley Line

History of the Mary Valley Line and Gympie Railway Station.

The discovery of Gold by James Nash in 1867 brought an influx of people to the banks of the Mary River seeking their fortune. This flood of people brought the need for food and supplies for the miners, their families and the community which was soon to become Gympie.

This meant that a reliable means of transport was needed and the most efficient means of transport of the day was rail, so to connect Gympie to the outside world it would need be made a part of the newly established railway system introduced into Queensland in 1865.

Of course things of this nature (then as now) take quite some time to come to fruition. So much so in fact that even thought the local community of Gympie began to agitate for a railway in very short order.

It was not until 1877, that the Queensland Parliament approved the construction of a railway line from Gympie, northwards to the Port of Maryborough. The railway line between Gympie and Maryborough was opened on 6 August 1881. Gympie was opened as a dead end station, but this situation would not be the case for long.

Due to the continued production of gold, Gympie quickly grew in economic and political importance. Before long, pressure was brought to bear for a railway line to connect Gympie to Brisbane. In 1889 the line to Brisbane was opened and Gympie became a through station.

Prior to this travellers from Brisbane had to travel by coastal steamer to Maryborough and then by train to Gympie or return by stagecoach to Noosa and then steamer to Brisbane. Travelling into Gympie Railway Station from the south required a long climb from Monkland station to Gympie (109 feet - 30 metres - in the last mile - 1.6 kilometres - the heaviest grade on the North Coast line). Even today, when approaching Gympie from Monkland the Rattler does struggle on the last section of line.

The original Railway Station was demolished in 1911 to be replaced by the present Railway Station which was completed in 1913. (This building is now the headquarters of the Mary Valley Heritage Railway). The new station building was part of a major redevelopment of the Gympie Railway yards which included new signalling, Signal box and refreshment rooms. The Signal Box stood about five metres north of the last building on the platform and was decommissioned in 1980. The original refreshment rooms are now the tea rooms of the MVHR and were closed as a Railway establishment in 1975.

With the upgrading and electrification of the Main North Coast line in 1989, Gympie was relegated to a freight and goods depot, and later Queensland Railways closed the station in the late 1995. The MVHR became the custodians of the Gympie Railway precinct in 1997.

There are two facts about Gympie that visitors may find interesting, the first is that the length of Gympie Railway yard limited the size of trains heading north during World War 2 and the second is that the rail line connecting the locomotive depot to the lines opposite the Gympie Railway Station is called the Burma Road after the military campaign in Burma during the Second World War.

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