Tuesday, January 17, 2012


JAN 2012 - A sneak preview of the Royal Australian Navy HS-817 Sqn Sea King helicopter retirement 2nd last flight on December 15 2011.
I was in attendance covering the event for aviation magazine work and managed to get some interesting photos to share.

Full release of around another 300+ photos on my blog will be revealed in next month or so.

Phil Buckley

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Jan 2012 - Look back at my travels to a NSW town - Merriwa located in the far western upper Hunter- around 4hrs drive from Sydney.

I once had a useful connection with the town , due to working on a newly created heritage railway restoration project for 2years during 2009-2010.
As part of my role on the project, I helped lead the project as the elected President and my main role as a Co-ordinator / assorted media work.

As i worked on the Merriwa railway restoration project i managed to over time gather some interesting images showing progress. Name of the project has gone through a variety of changes since i worked on it such as Merriwa Rail Society to Merriwa Railway Society to Merriwa Railway Society Incoparated / MRSI nowadays.

Merriwa Railway Station seen September 2009 - awaiting the restoration to happen - note heavily overgrown weeds and bushes and decay across yard.

Merriwa Railway Station seen September 2010 - minor restoration work was done by this time

Merriwa Railway Station seen December 2011 different angle with only slightly more restoration occurring due to low volunteer turn out

Since i left the Merriwa project in 2010 , i am lead to believe the whole project is in limbo/very very slow progress if any at all, due to potentially low volunteer turn out combined with a few serious senior management problems involving nasty and poorly behaving society members. It is known that people running the project over the last 2years, have been actively involved in stalking and harassing fellow railway enthusiasts across NSW, which hasnt made the project popular to many across NSW...

I am the early stages of planning a rail tour business / company to take people on tours across NSW but i think i will bypass this Merriwa project until it is better managed. Maybe one day in the future, the Merriwa railway society project might get back on track with a change of board and members???

I visited as well in the town, a heritage listed building dating from the late 1800s - Bow Motel .....now Bow House. This motel is nowadays owned by the Merriwa Railway Society Co-ordinator Bryan Baker. I once worked with him on the Merriwa Railway project.

Here we see Bow Motel in 1905

Bow house now in December 2011 taken from exact same angle and location.

Phil Buckley

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sneak Preview from December 2011 Northern trip

Coming later on in 2012 - my Northern NSW trip of December 2011 a review - heres a small sneak preview of whats in store. 5 days, 45 railways visited and 2,900 photos.


April 2011 - After Tumut/Batlow, i ventured north to Gundagai, having done some research on what to expect. I arrived late afternoon and came across a wonderful railway site and what looked to be nearly fully restored and extremely well maintained. I had arranged to meet the President of the group as i was interested to learn more about the museum. I got a full tour and shown around until late at night. I then came back next morning and spent around few hrs at the museum examining it in detail.

The railway station dates from 1886 and the line was closed in 1984 due to flooding and costs. The station nearly got demolished in 1990 by the state government but at last minute a local Gundagai group GHBI took over and restoration has been ongoing since then. Most work was done in 1990s-mid 2000s with platform and building restoration by volunteers.

Neatly 20years on the museum is open to the general public and attracts many people every year and growing. Weddings, groups and international tourists are some of the inbound tourists.

The Gundagai railway station is currently the longest railway station made from timber building in NSW remaining from its era and as such is heritage listed.

A signal box and water tank are also present around the station in the yard. A turntable is missing, the large goods shed is intact and overall the railway yard is mostly intact with ground frames and railway track. Signals are seen at both ends of the railway yard.

Various displays are seen in the museum rooms and in yard. Rollingstock is displayed and includes a S truck goods wagon and a FHG guards van on the railway line.

With my visit i came away with a idea to encourage the locals to work with me to make the museum into a premier tourist attraction with improvements. After 6months in late 2011, i managed to gain the support and had a committee formed, which will now work solely on improving the museum into the future to attract more tourism. Many improvements are being planned.

Part of the work i have done since my visit in May is create a new webpage as they didnt have a online site , did media interviews and conducted research on a variety of areas for the museum.
I regularly visit every few weeks and attend management meeting as a heritage adviser on the project. It is definitely a museum with great potential i can see to expand and the hope is longer term , to restore the railway branch line towards Coolac and run some form of a tourist train with passengers.

More can be seen at the Gundagai Railway Museum webpage - http://gundagairailwaymuseum.wordpress.com

Station building

Yard features


Goods Shed

Turntable pit

The 2 famous Gundagai bridges - rail and road side by side

We leave you with a great view of the station basking in late afternoon sunshine

Next stop is Yass Railway Museum and a step back in time to when Yass had a railway to its town.