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Anzac troop journey to be re-enacted across Queensland

MOVING TRIBUTE: In the week leading up to Anzac Day, a steam train will re-enact the journey many Queensland soldiers took during the first and second world wars.
MOVING TRIBUTE: In the week leading up to Anzac Day, a steam train will re-enact the journey many Queensland soldiers took during the first and second world wars. Queensland Rail

A CENTURY ago, 550 men lined up on the platform at Winton train station, ready to create the Anzac legend on the beaches of Gallipoli.

For 66% of them, it would be a one-way trip.

A similar story is shared by regional towns across Queensland and, in the week leading up to Anzac Day, this historic trip will be faithfully recreated.

A steam train with 200 passengers on board will leave Winton on April 19, making its way across the state and arriving in Brisbane on April 24.

It is a journey 100 years in the making.

Every passenger on the trip can share their story of military history.

Graham McVean is a leading committee member who has dedicated the past 16 months to making the Troop Train a reality.

It has been described as the pre-eminent event commemorating the centenary of Anzac Day.

"The idea came about after I visited Lester and Mary Anderson in Blackwater," he said.

"They suggested a troop train and I thought it was the greatest idea I'd ever heard. Luckily so did Ken."

Mr McVean refers to the federal member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd.

"Our first obstacle was money," he said.

"We wanted a steam train.

"We wanted the trip to be as authentic as possible. Then we were told it just couldn't be done."

Each electorate across Australia has been granted $125,000 for centenary celebrations.

Initial quotes placed the troop train at a cost of $128,000.

Without losing hope, the committee quickly enlisted the help of supportive federal MPs Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott, Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss.

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Combining their celebration budgets, the troop train suddenly became viable.

"In every town, we will host a wreath-laying ceremony to honour the contribution of the soldiers, and the fallen," Mr McVean said.

"But it's the passengers who are making this trip - 100% of the passengers are over 60 - and they each have their own family histories connected with the war."

  • Day 1 - Sunday, April 19, Winton, Queensland
  • Day 2 - Monday, April 20, Longreach, Queensland
  • Day 3 - Tuesday, April 21, Emerald, Queensland
  • Day 4 - Wednesday, April 22, Rockhampton, Queensland
  • Day 5 - Thursday, April 23, Maryborough, Queensland
  • Day 6 - Friday, April 24, Brisbane, Queensland

Topics:  anzac, anzac-centenary, gladstone, steam train




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