Thursday, 19 September 2013

To Begin at the Beginning...

It seems that many well to do families of the 1800s always had one son who was the black sheep in the family. So it was with Kevin. While his older brother was the finest engineer Britain had seen, Kevin preferred wine, women and song. One night he stole a pig and a chicken for a bacon and egg roll for the next morning’s breakfast. The Bow Street Runners came knocking on his door and served him with a warrant. Before he knew it eight months later, Kevin was stepping off the boat in Sydney Cove for fourteen years.

He was assigned to a new whaling settlement near the NSW border where he worked as a convict labourer. The owner of the whaling station had a number of properties in the Monaro District and wanted a way to send his produce to the coast and his fleet of steamships.

Kevin had a great answer. His brother had been building quite a railway in the west of England and knowing a thing or two about engineering, he spoke to Boyd, the wealthy entrepreneur. Boyd loved the idea and commissioned Kevin to start building right away. The Great Eastern Railway was born.

However, there was a catch. Boyd didn’t want any huge industrial scene near his nice town so the main railway facilities were built to the south. Kevin was allowed to choose the name of the railway facilities. His brother had built a massive station in London; Kevin was going to build a city of the same name on the south coast of NSW, just to prove that he was better. With the facilities came a small settlement town for the people who worked there.

The railway spread to the north towards Sydney, where it met the Illawarra Line at Bomaderry. The line further south of Nowra was then known as the Sapphire Coast Line. The railway spread west towards Wagga Wagga through the Snowy Mountains and the Monaro district and south to Melbourne, especially during the Victorian gold rush. Though Boyd was long gone, as the railway spread, Kevin’s settlement of rail workers’ cottages at Paddington South Coast grew into a large town and finally into the city on the border as we know it today, the jewel in the crown of the Sapphire Coast.

That’s the historical justification of an HO scale model railway based on the New South Wales and Victorian coastal border and a start of a blog to record its progress.