Pompey’s next chapter

Written by: Rob Shiels, Assistant Collection Manager, The Workshops Rail Museum

In July 2016, Pompey, the black locomotive in the grounds at The Workshops Rail Museum will be moved to an undercover area at the Museum.

Pompey has been a popular display item since the Museum opened in 2002 and has been climbed on by thousands of adults and children alike in the last 14 years. Pompey has also held pride of place at the front of the Ipswich Railway Workshops complex since the early 1970s (only periodically being removed for restoration work).

C13797 - IPSWICH WORKSHOPS, ENTRANCE TO WORKSHOPS, GATE & TREES AREA 1985_SM
Pompey out the front at the Ipswich Railway Workshops, 1985. Collection of The Workshops Rail Museum/Queensland Rail.

However, 14 years in the Queensland weather will have an impact on even the sturdiest of objects. Therefore in the best interests of preserving Pompey, the locomotive will be moved from the grounds and put undercover. Eventually a full cosmetic restoration on Pompey will be completed but in the meantime the locomotive will be housed in the 8-9-10 road section of the Museum where visitors will be able to see it on display (and Pompey will remain an active participant in the Day Out with Thomas events).

Pompey is a very significant object to the Ipswich Railway Workshops site as it was used as The Workshops shunter between 1953 and the early 1970s. We believe it was affectionately named ‘Pompey’ because it threw sparks when shunting, reminding the men of a volcano, and the locomotive was thus named after the site of the famous volcano Mount Vesuvius that erupted in Ancient Roman times at Pompeii.

Pomepy shunting at IRW 1970_SM
Pompey shunting at the Ipswich Railway Workshops May 1970. Photographer Brian Martin.

Museum practice has changed since Pompey was last restored and installed in front of the Museum in 2002. In more recent times Museums aim to display and store objects in areas that have some environmental controls. The Museum is dedicated to restoring Pompey and when this work is completed Pompey will likely remain inside the Museum rather than return to the grounds. As a Museum it is our job to protect and care for Queensland’s treasures and by restoring and caring for Pompey inside will help us to preserve this very significant locomotive so future generations can continue to enjoy its story.

See Pompey’s record on the Queensland Museum’s online collections here.

Pompey 2002
Pompey being installed in the grounds of The Workshops Rail Museum, 2002. Photographer David Mewes.

See a snapshot of Pompey being moved: