The end of an era

Built in 1901 this steam engine water supply tank collapsed last Friday, February 9.  Photo Deidre Carroll.

Built in 1901 this steam engine water supply tank collapsed last Friday, February 9. Photo Deidre Carroll.

Well known Grenfell identities Terry and Deidre Carroll have lived opposite the historic Grenfell railway steam engine water supply tank in Tyagong Street since 1965 and have observed the structure deteriorate slowly over the years.

Last Friday, February 9, the elevated water tank was leaning more than usual and was making a creaking noise, Deidre quickly went to retrieve her camera when she heard an almighty crash, the tank and stand had finally collapsed.

“It made such a thunderous crashing sound,” said Mrs Carroll “a sound that we had been expecting to hear for quite some time.”

This is truly the end of a historic era as the opening of the Grenfell railway line helped to establish the growing town at the turn of the century.

The antique tank was erected shortly after the Grenfell railway line was officially opened on Saturday October 26, 1901, and was used to supply water to steam engines up until the line was dieselised in 1967. 

The tank was supplied with water that was sourced from a purpose built dam approximately 1.6 kms away, known to many local residents as Company Dam.  

Three steam locomotives that regularly worked to Grenfell were Cowra’s two unique superheated 25 class locomotives 2531 and 2534 which both worked numerous goods trains on the branch between 1935 – 1959 while the state’s oldest locomotive 1405 also regularly visited Grenfell between 1933 and the late 1940’s on No.3 and 4 Passenger.

From the opening, until the demise of steam, there were two locations where locomotives could obtain water, Koorawatha and Grenfell. The Grenfell line branched from the Blayney- Demondrille line at the town of Koorawatha and was eventually closed between Greenethorpe and Grenfell in 1991.

Grenfell’s historic Railway station was extensively renovated by the Grenfell Lion’s Club in 1993-94 and remains a popular area for visitors to relax and even stop overnight during their travels. The precinct is often used for official community events as well as Lion’s Market days. The Grenfell RSL sub-Branch have recently set up rooms in the building to house their memorabilia as well as hold their monthly meetings. 

The surrounds have been established to include a covered children’s playground and BBQ area as well as public toilets and a drop zone for caravans. The precinct has been designed by the Grenfell Lion’s club so that can be well utilised for many years to come and is a wonderful asset to the town.

This image was snapped immediately after the collapse. Photo Deidre Carroll.

This image was snapped immediately after the collapse. Photo Deidre Carroll.