Queensland Museum’s Top 10 New Species of the Decade

Over the last decade our biodiversity team have been busy describing 1,171 new species. Here’s the top 10 species described by Queensland Museum scientists from 2010 – 2019.

Desis bobmarleyi

D_bobmarleyi_female

Desis bobmarleyi is a small spider with a 6mm long body and long hair like his namesake

It uses this long hair on its legs and abdomen to create an air bubble around its middle that enables it to breathe and survive between the high and low tide zones. During high tide these extremely rare and unusual animals hide in the air chambers, but during low tide they are vagrant hunters found on corals, barnacles or debris. It was this behaviour that inspired us to name this new intertidal species in honour of Bob Marley’s hit song High Tide or Low Tide, which played during our field research in Queensland’s Port Douglas.

Saltuarius eximius

new leaftail gecko_Conrad Hoskin_9

A spectacular leaf-tailed gecko from Cape Melville, north-eastern Queensland, which was listed by Suny College of Environmental Science and Forestry (New York) as one of the top ten species (globally) for 2014. The lizards are about 20cm  long and are believed to be a relic species from the time period rainforests were more abundant in Australia.

Jotus karllagerfeldi

J. karllagerfeldi (Mark Newton) 2

A species of jumping spider of the genus Jotus described in 2019. The name of the species karllagerfeldi was chosen as the black and white spider was “reminiscent of the signature look” of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The spider was found near Lake Broadwater, a lake near Dalby, Queensland.

Burwellia staceythomsonae

IMG_9704

Ranger Stacey’s Pinwheel Snail’ is about .25 of a millimetre and very intricate. It has all the attributes of a rainforest relict and is known only from a single shell specimen from the higher reaches of Mt Dalrymple (altitude 1144 m).

Litoria pinocchio

Foja Mountains story - NGM

A remarkable tree frog from New Guinea’s rugged forest covered mountain. The small green tree frog has a small spike like a short nail protruding from the tips of it snout.

Oristicta rosendaleorum

Queensland Museum - New Damsel Fly - Rosendale

The first new species of damselfly discovered in a decade, this new species described in 2017 is is about 4cm long and has a long, thin, mostly dark-coloured abdomen with a pale tip in the male. Damselflies are a small flying insect with two pairs of wings, similar to a dragonfly.

Pseudopataecus carnatobarbatus

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The goatee Velvetfish, Pseudopataecus carnatobarbatus was described in 2012 based mainly on specimens collected from the Montgomery Reef area, Kimberley, WA – which has the highest tidal range in Australia, with spring tides of 11+ m.

This species lays among the seaweed with its extraordinarily long fins waving gently in the current, in wait for prey of small shrimps and fishes. It is named for its goatee ‘beard’, composed of numerous fleshy barbels on the chin. These break up its outline and when wiggled, help to draw in prey. It allows algae to grow on its skin for camouflage, but periodically releases the outer mucus layer to reveal the mottled reddish skin within.  Despite being a sluggish swimmer, it copes with huge daily tidal currents. Its habitat ranges from a shallow rockpool to 10 metres deep within a few hours.

Antechinus mysticus

Buff-footed Antechinus

A new dasyurid marsupial from eastern Queensland, Australia: the buff-footed Antechinus, Antechinus mysticus was found in former Queensland Museum curator Steve Van Dyck’s kitchen cupboard in Samford, Queensland.

Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus 

Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus2QM

Plectorhinchus caeruleonothus or the ‘Blue Bastard’ is a previously undescribed species of Sweetlips living on the shallow reefs of northern Australia that has remained unrecognised by science. The ‘Blue Bastard’ can grow up to one metre in length, and undergoes an amazing transformation in colouration between juvenile and adult growth stages.

The often solitary fish also exhibits a unique ‘kissing’ form of aggressive behaviour between rival males, thought be in defence of their territory, where they will rush each other and lock jaws in prolonged and violent struggles.

Bazinga rieki

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Found in shallow water in the Brunswick River in northern New South Wales, the Bazinga jellyfish was named in honour of the Big Bang Theory’s character Sheldon Cooper.

Bazinga rieki could not be placed in any known family or suborder of rhizostome jellyfish, so a new family Bazingidae was erected; it represents a new sub order of Rhizostomae, called Ptychophorae. Bazinga rieki has a thick round translucent and colourless body, the aboral (upper) surface of which is covered in tiny warts with yellow centres.

Aircraft repairs at the Railway Workshops

One hundred years ago, spare parts for aircraft were difficult to find. There were few operational aircraft in Australia, and the new era of air travel was only just dawning around the world. So when Sir Ross Smith and Sir Keith Smith needed new engine components and a new propeller for their Vickers Vimy, in which they had become the first people to fly from England to Australia, they received an offer from Queensland Rail to manufacture the required parts at the Ipswich Railway Workshops. The required repairs resulted in a month of public engagements in Brisbane and further celebrations for the flight crew.

On 12 November 1919, pilots and brothers Ross and Keith Smith, with mechanics Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett, left Hounslow, near London, bound for Darwin in their Vickers Vimy bi-plane bomber, carrying the registration ‘G.E.A.O.U’, known as ‘God ‘Elp All Of Us.’ The aircraft, with its two Rolls Royce Eagle Mark VIII engines, carried the crew 17,910 kilometres across France, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia through difficult weather and landing conditions at an average speed of 137kph. They landed successfully in Darwin on 10 December and claimed the £10,000 prize awarded by the Commonwealth government as the first crew to fly from England to Darwin.

PlaneThe Vickers Vimy and crew with visitors in Darwin, December 1919. Thomas Macleod Queensland Aviation Collection, Queensland Museum Network.

Although they managed to complete the arduous flight from England to Australia in just 28 days, it took them almost twice as long to make their way from Darwin to Sydney. With the tired engines needing an overhaul but the wet season looming, the crew pushed on out of Darwin, hoping to reach Sydney in 5 days. However, after 11 days in hot conditions and with numerous running repairs, the damaged port-side propeller had split through and when leaving Charleville, there was a bang and a flash of fire out of the port-side engine and multiple parts were needed to repair it.

Offers of assistance came in from around the country. Famous overlander Francis Birtles said he could drive a new propeller and parts from Sydney. The Vickers Vimy crew sought spare parts around Australia, but could not secure what was necessary, knowing what they needed could be shipped from London. The Defence Department offered some of their aircraft so that the crew could complete their flight to Sydney and the other capital cities, leaving the Vickers Vimy behind. In the end, Ross Smith accepted the offer of assistance from James Walker Davidson, Commissioner for Railways, for new parts to be manufactured at the Ipswich Railway Workshops so that the Vimy could be repaired and complete its journey.

CraneDamaged Vickers Vimy engine being loaded for rail transport to Ipswich. Thomas Macleod Queensland Aviation Collection, Queensland Museum Network.

Vickers Vimy campVickers Vimy camp, awaiting repairs near Charleville. Thomas Macleod Queensland Aviation Collection, Queensland Museum Network.

The damaged engine and propeller were loaded on to rail cars and they arrived, along with Ross and Keith Smith, and mechanic Jim Bennett in Ipswich on 2 January 1920. Chief Mechanical Engineer C F Pemberton took supervision of the engine and propeller when they arrived at the Ipswich Workshops. Accounts suggest that Jim Bennett stayed at the Workshops as he was never far from the engine. Sir Ross and Sir Keith stayed at Bellevue Homestead.

The Workshops staff set to work on their projects. They did not have patterns or drawings to work from for the propeller or the engine connecting rods, so they were required to make exact copies based on the existing parts in front of them. According to Workshops records, the Pattern Shop used “nine layers of Queensland maple, stuck together with hot animal glue” to make the new propeller. The alloy connecting rods were forged with the same attention to detail and the Workshops built a stand for the engine and propeller to be tested on.

PropellerThe new propeller with Ipswich Railway Workshops Pattern Shop staff Guy Page, Clem Boyd, Frank Hazlewood, foreman J Millar, and Vickers Vimy crew mechanic Jim Bennet. Queensland Museum Network/Queensland Rail.

Damaged Propeller piecesPattern Maker Guy Page souvenired two pieces of timber from the damaged Vimy propeller and made them into straight edges, using them for his trade at the Workshops. H11250. Photos by Peter Waddington, Queensland Museum Network.

Valve inletA valve inlet believed to have been souvenired from the damaged Rolls Royce engine during its time at the Ipswich Workshops for repairs. H295. Photo by Peter Waddington, Queensland Museum Network.

Queensland MapleAnother souvenir from the airmen’s visit to Brisbane, a small block of Queensland Maple, signed on one side by Sir Keith Smith and on the other by Sir Ross Smith. Thomas Macleod Queensland Aviation Collection H22425. Queensland Museum Network.

While the work was underway, Brisbane took its opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the crew. Sir Ross Smith’s and Sir Keith Smith’s public engagements included a dinner at Government House, a reception at Brisbane Town Hall with Mayor Alderman McMaster, luncheons with The Returned Soldiers’ League and at the Queensland Club, dinner at the United Service Institution, and the presentation of an illuminated address by the King and Empire Alliance.

On 12 January, the aviators were entertained at a dinner held in their honour by the Queensland Section of the Australian Aero Club. As the Brisbane Courier described:

The distinguished aviators were entertained at a dinner at the Belle Vue Hotel last night by the Queensland Section of the Australian Aero Club, Mr J J Knight (president) occupying the chair. The table was appropriately decorated with the Australian Flying Corps’ colours – royal blue, maroon, and light blue – streamers being suspended from a shield, with the motto ‘Per ardua ad astra’, to the ends of the table. Overhead was a line of triangular shields, with the names of all the stopping places along the line of route. A miniature Vickers Vimy aeroplane was electrically driven over the heads of the guests, and on arrival at the end where the Australian Arms were displayed was greeted by the band playing ‘Australia Will Be There’. The table was decorated with crimson roses and candles softened with red, white and blue shades. The toasts honoured were ‘The King’, ‘Our Guests’ and ‘Future Aviation in Australia’. A tribute was paid to the distinguished airmen by Major Macleod, O.B.E., Lieut. Bowden Fletcher, D.F.C., Major V D Bell, O.B.E., and the chairman, this being the first gathering of airmen to greet the aviators in Australia, a number of those present being comrades of the guests Sir Ross’s and Sir Keith’s speeches were particularly appropriate.

Signed MenuSigned menu for the Australian Aero Club, Queensland Section, dinner congratulating Sir Ross Smith and Sir Keith Smith, held at Hotel Belle Vue on 12 January 1920. Thomas Macleod Queensland Aviation Collection, Queensland Museum Network.

Rangoon BadgeSigned table decoration, representing one of the stops on the Vickers Vimy flight from the Australian Aero Club, Queensland Section, dinner congratulating Sir Ross Smith and Sir Keith Smith, held at Hotel Belle Vue on 12 January 1920. Thomas Macleod Queensland Aviation Collection, Queensland Museum Network.

With the propeller and engine repairs complete, it was decided to hold a public test of the assembly at the Workshops on Saturday 31 January 1920, from 3:00pm. A special train was arranged to bring the public from Ipswich Station to the Workshops, and admission of sixpence (6d) was charged with proceeds going to the Ipswich Hospital and Ambulance Funds. It is estimated that a crowd of over 1000 people attended the engine test, as it was reported that 28 pounds, seven shillings, and threepence was raised in admission.

On what became known as ‘the day of the big wind’, the Queensland Times reported “Sergeant Bennett was seen making several adjustments adjacent to the engine. The object thereof was revealed a couple of seconds later when the propeller assumed a wonderfully increased rate of speed, which was accompanied by a dinning whir.” The success of the engine repairs were proved in the running of the engine from most of the afternoon, with the crowd impressed by its loud roar and cyclonic wind blast.

Engine TestingCrowd gathered at the Ipswich Railway Workshops to view the engine testing, 31 January 1920. Thomas Macleod Queensland Aviation Collection, Queensland Museum Network.

TicketTrain ticket to view the engine testing at the Ipswich Railway Workshops, 31 January 1920. Queensland Museum Network.

The engine, propeller, and crew returned to Charleville by train and proceeded on their route to Sydney where more celebrations were held in their honour. Their unscheduled stops in Queensland had proved entertaining and interesting to the public in Brisbane and Ipswich, who had seen little of aviation at that time. One hundred years later, an average of 2,977 domestic aircraft and 729 international aircraft move through Brisbane Airport each week.

Jennifer Wilson
Senior Curator
The Workshops Rail Museum

The Train that Blew Away

It’s hard not to look at the first trains used on the Queensland Railways as being toylike. Locomotives like 1865 built A10 No.6, proudly displayed at The Workshops Rail Museum are small and charming, but of course still heavy and hardly delicate. So it might come as a surprise to learn a train was blown off the tracks as if it were only a toy one stormy night in 1875.

Body ImageA10 No. 3 stands next to a much younger colleague in 1914, demonstrating just how small early QR locomotives were (Image courtesy of Keith McDonald).

The train had left Toowoomba on January 25th and was due to arrive at Warwick at 7:45pm that night. But halfway through the journey, a storm broke across the railway’s path. Closing windows proved no use, and there were two inches of water inside the carriages before too long. Suddenly, just outside Cambooya, a violent crash hurled passengers from their seats. The wind had scattered the train, tipping the wooden carriages onto their sides and smashing them to pieces. The locomotive was derailed but remained defiantly upright, potentially saving its crew from being badly burned by escaping steam or burning coal. Miraculously only one person was slightly injured. News was sent by horseback to Toowoomba with a rescue train arriving at 1:30am the next morning.

According to the Ipswich Observer, one passenger was heard to ‘damn the narrow gauge most emphatically’ upon returning to safety. Possibly a fair criticism of Queensland’s smaller, lighter trains given the circumstances. The ill-fated train’s guard that night – Charles Evans – later went on to be the Commissioner of the Queensland Railways in 1911. I can’t imagine there are too many railway bosses out there today that can claim that level of hands-on experience!

David Hampton
Curator
The Workshops Rail Museum

 

The Railway’s Own Cricket Champion

While working on a small collection of cricket trophies that had been donated to the Museum a few years ago, I began to research the man who had been awarded them. What I discovered was the remarkable story Ray Argus; a fast bowler and very handy slogger for the Ipswich Railways Cricket Club. The Second World War interrupted his remarkable career and he did not play again after deciding to retire in 1945 but for two and a half seasons Argus was unstoppable.

Raymond Robert Argus first came to the attention of the Ipswich cricket media in early 1937 playing for Kilcoy in the Upper Brisbane River Cricket Association competition. At the start of the new season in September 1938 it was announced that Railways had gained new players for the coming season from beyond the local district, including players from Victoria, Murgon and 26 year old Argus from Kilcoy. The 1938/39 Ipswich A Grade cricket competition was comprised of teams from Booval, Alberts, East Ipswich, Goodna, Past Grammars and Ipswich Railways.

Argus joined the Railway Department in March 1938, becoming a Temporary Coach Builder at the Ipswich Railway Workshops. In his debut for the Railways side, Argus bowled 3/19. With his first season starting well, the Queensland Times (QT) observed that he was a ‘fastish’ bowler and by November of that year, he was really starting to let the opposition have it.

His most clinical performance for the 1938/39 season came against Past Grammars when he bowled 4/8 in seven overs. This good form led to a representative call up, and Argus was chosen for a side made up of Ipswich A Grade players to take on a Queensland Cricket Association Warehouse Rep side from Brisbane in January 1939. The game was played at the Ipswich Showground with the Ipswich team defeating the Warehouse side. It was noted in the 31 January 1939 edition of the Queensland Times that ‘R Argus bowled splendidly to capture five wickets for 15 runs’.

Ray Argus had made quite an impression during his first A Grade season, but Railways still finished in fifth place – second-last on the table.  However, the 1939/40 season would see a remarkable turnaround in luck for the side.

For the 1939/40 season, Argus bowled a club record 67 wickets for the season. He had spells of 5/27 against Booval, 4/33 1st innings and 5/20 2nd innings against Past Grammars, 8/42 against Alberts and 7/32 against Goodna. Perhaps, even more, astonishing, though, he also scored one of the quickest centuries that the competition had ever seen.

After bowling an eight-wicket haul against Past Grammars, Argus came in down the order and belted a score of 112 in only 44 minutes. The QT described his batting as ‘cyclonic’. (In a game against East Ipswich in the 1938/39 season it took one of East’s batsmen 45 minutes to score 3 runs – no wonder Argus’ performance stood out in an era with such glacial scoring.) Argus’ abilities were a big factor in helping Railways to improve and the team played so well that they won the A Grade Premiership (the reserves side also won a premiership so Railways won ‘the double’ for the 1939/40 season).

The 1940/41 season was another successful outing for both Argus and his Railways side. The A Grade side became back-to-back premiers and Argus was awarded the P. Fallu Cup for the most wickets taken in a match.

Named after an Ipswich Solicitor who was a partner in the Dale & Fallu Law Firm. Argus was awarded the P. Fallu Cup after taking 14 wickets against Past Grammars in a single match (8/38 1st innings and 6/33 2nd innings).

The Railways cricket side of the late 1930s/early 1940s experienced tremendous success, but like the rest of the world at that time, the Second World War had become an all-consuming urgent endeavour.

The administration announced that the 1941/42 cricket competition would take place despite the war. Argus continued his excellent form and put on another batting masterclass, scoring 61 runs in only 32 minutes against East Ipswich. He scored 34 of those runs in the one over, hitting four 4s and two 6s.

Dwindling numbers due to enlistment necessitated a one-month break in the competition in mid-December 1941. Hopes that the season could be salvaged were dashed in late January 1942, when the competition was altogether abandoned due to the war, with many of the teams no longer able to field a full side.

Argus was a coach builder, which was a protected job, and he stayed in Ipswich during the war. Cricket returned to Ipswich in October 1945 for the 45/46 season, but it was noted in the QT that Railways would be without some of their pre-war stars, including Argus.

Frustratingly, I was unable to discover why Argus didn’t play again after 1945. He would only have been 33 years old when cricket resumed, but perhaps he decided to retire a legend, rather than risk his reputation. He remained dedicated to the Railway Cricket side and became a committee member and the club’s delegate to the Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association. He was awarded life membership of the Railways Cricket Club in 1954 after 17 years of service. He resigned from the Railway Department in 1959.

Rob Shiels
Collection Manager
The Workshops Rail Museum

Life BadgeIpswich Railway Cricket Club Life Membership badge present to Ray Argus in 1954 after 17 years of service to the club. Queensland Museum Collection.

Title image caption: Ipswich Railway Cricket Club – A Grade Premiers 1939/40. Queensland Museum Collection. Photograph by Whiteheads Studios.

Tick off everyone on your Christmas gift list

Explore our range of well-priced gifts for the whole family including STEM toys, sustainable gifts, books, homewares and more.

T93291

With the 25th of December fast approaching, we’ve pulled together a selection of Christmas gifts for under $150 to help you find the perfect present for that special someone in your life.

Our products are inspired by Queensland Museum’s vast collection of objects, specimens and artefacts. All profits from the Queensland Museum Shop are contribute to our ongoing research and exhibition programs.

Shop our curated gift shop online or visit in store today. Happy shopping!

Shop our top picks

Fauna, Australia’s most curious creatures

Product 1

Readers are introduced to facts that delight, amaze and induce sheer wonder at the clever design and adaptability of our much-loved native fauna. Shop now. 

Bird Bingo

Product 2

Bird Bingo brings a fun and educational twist to the traditional game as players learn the names and colourings of both their favourite species and weird and wonderful exotic birds. Shop now. 

Logiblocs Smart Circuits

Product 3

By plugging together Logiblocs in different combinations you can create circuits and virtually write your own simple program to build each new invention. Shop now. 

Tobbie II. Micro Bit Robot Kit

Product 4

The Tobbie II Robot combines micro:bit technology with your imagination to create a variety of activities that you can program! Shop now. 

Essentials Pouch

Product 5

The Essentials Pouch is the perfect all-rounder! Ideal for cosmetics, tablets and tech devices & it is great as a clutch bag to add a pop of colour to any outfit. Shop now. 

Half Moon Hand Bag

Product 6

Lightweight, and just big enough for the essentials, with a long soft leather handle for the ultimate comfort. Shop now. 

Shop by category

Eco Gifts

ECO Gifts

Discover our range of sustainable, planet friendly gift ideas for adults and kids. Shop now.

STEM

STEM Category

Spark a love of science with our fun educational science gifts for all ages. Chemistry sets, robots, constructions kits, educational books and more! Shop now.

Australian Nature

Australian Nature

Our range of Australian made products celebrate everything Australia has to offer. Perfect for sending or taking overseas. Shop now.

Aboriginal Designs

Aboriginal Designs

Our collection of quality indigenous gifts and souvenirs feature contemporary Aboriginal artwork from artists around Australia. Shop now.

Give a gift that keeps on giving

Museum lovers will enjoy an Annual Pass membership which gives you year long access to play, question, test, observe and talk your way through SparkLab, discounts on exhibitions, special offers and much more. Choose from adult, concession, child (5-15 years) and family annual pass options. Shop now.

9 Things To Do These School Holidays | Summer 2019

Keep little hands busy and out of the heat this Summer school holidays with these awesome indoor activities across our network of museums. 

We’ve pulled together a guide full of hands-on activities and events that’ll keep your kids entertained while keeping their brains busy. From investigating live science experiments to constructing a 3D spider, you won’t want to miss making memories and discovering something new on an unforgettable family day out.

Queensland Museum | Brisbane

Spiders-blog

1. Spiders – The Exhibition opens 6 December

Explore the fascinating world of spiders, some of the most formidable and often feared creatures in Australia. Come face to face with live Sydney Funnel Web, Trapdoor, Hunstman, Redback, and Tarantula spiders!

Did you know this exhibition will host an interactive area for all ages to enjoy? Build a web using magnetic shapes to create intricate designs just like a spider.

Put your construction skills to the test and build a giant 3D Spider in this ultimate puzzle. Show off your best moves by challenging a Peacock Spider to a dance off.

Buy tickets now.

Sparklab---blog

2. Get up close with live science experiments at SparkLab’s Science Bar

Check out what’s floating, flaming or under pressure at the Science Bar. Ask questions, predict outcomes and direct part of the investigation.

There are seven Science Bar experiments daily and are included in your SparkLab ticket. These drop-in programs are short, intimate experiences that are tailored to the audience.

Buy SparkLab tickets here.

3. Explore over 1300 objects at the Discovery Centre

Animal lovers will enjoy playing, asking questions, learning and getting up close to a multitude of species in this exciting space.

If you’ve made an interesting backyard discovery, our experts are on hand to identify your mystery specimen or object.

Don’t miss seeing the live snakes, stick insects, giant cockroaches, and geckos who call the Discovery Centre home!

Located on Level 4 of the Museum. Free entry.

The Workshop Rail Museum | Ipswich

Bush Mechanics - Blog

4. Bush Mechanics – The Exhibition

Based on the popular ABC television series, Bush Mechanics – The Exhibition showcases the ingenuity of outback mechanics in the context of Warlpri storytelling, music and art.

Explore through a range of items from the series, including two original cars, clay figurines, specially commissioned artwork, or try your hand at some of the resourceful nyurulypa, or tricks, by assembling the discarded parts that make up the exhibition’s bush driving simulator and other interactive displays.

In addition, sit back and enjoy some of the original footage from the television series, filmed in Central Australia.

Included in Museum entry.

Summer Days - Blog

5. Summer Days at the Museum – Under Construction

Make tracks to the Museum these summer school holidays for Summer Days at The Workshops Rail Museum.

Our school holiday program Under Construction gives kids the opportunity to get their hard hats and create a masterpiece with LEGO® and other construction systems, so they can dream it, design it, and build it! Then venture into the Sciencentre to learn all about science of travel, through integrative activities.

Make a day of it with entry to the Museum and all exhibits included in your ticket – see real life steam trains and diesel locomotives, test your skills on the train simulators, and more.

Buy tickets online.  

Cobb+Co Museum | Toowoomba

Questacon Travelling Exhibitions - Saturday, 29 October 2016

6. Discover science that moves you with Science on the Move

Questacon’s Science on the Move is on its way to Cobb+Co Museum this Summer. Opening Friday 6 December, the exhibition’s intriguing investigations will engage the mind and body.

Enjoy, discover and explore principles of light, music and sound, human biology and health, force and motion, ecology and the environment, electricity and magnetism, human population and genetics.

Recommended for kids aged 6-14, this hands on exhibition addresses topics of varying complexity, engaging all ages about the wonders of science.

Uner the Sea - Logan Leaf 2019

7. Venture Under the Sea this summer

Uncover creatures of the marine world as we bring the ocean to the museum for the summer school holidays.

Thanks to the team at Ocean Life Education, Under the Sea will have kids getting up close and personal to marine animals where they can hear all about their day to day lives, learn lots of interesting facts, and be inspired to appreciate and take responsibility for the marine ecosystem.

Meet marine animals including jellyfish, sea horses, baby sharks, sea cucumbers, sea stars, baby stingrays, turtles, crustaceans, coral and more.

Dates: 13-19 January at 9.30am, 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm daily. Ideal for ages 3-12 years.

Learn more online.

Museum of Tropical Queensland | Townsville

Rescue-Raw-NatalijaBrunovs-017

8. Be a hero with the action-packed exhibition Rescue

How would you react in a high-pressure scenario with lives at stake? Rescue puts you in charge as you discover what it’s like to be involved in land, sea and air rescues.

Get ready to experience the challenges, technology and training used by specialist rescue teams through a range of exciting hands-on exhibits. Take the controls of a full-size helicopter simulator, navigate jet skis around obstacles, find your way through a smoke-filled room and much more!

Ideal for all ages, Rescue features 17 full-body science challenges where kids and adults can test their abilities, role-play and to use their problem-solving skills to solve simulated rescue scenarios.

IMG_6564

9. Have fun with drones in special coding workshops

Ever wanted to learn how to code and fly a mini-drone? Well now is your chance!

In this immersive workshop kids will explore drone coding concepts and learn how drones can be programmed to solve autonomous tasks.

Presented by STEM Punks, this hands-on session will show participants how to create algorithms to control of a drone and its accessories. At the end of the class, kids will combine their new skills in coding and drones to complete a fun search and rescue mission!

Dates: 6-10 January at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. Ideal for ages 7-12 years old.

Buy tickets here.

Visit Queensland Museum Network today

Make sure to bookmark this page so you can easily refer back when it’s time to plan your school holiday adventures.  View our opening hours, and Museum locations and maps to plan your day. Enjoy!

Farewell to Steam in Queensland

The year 1969 saw most steam locomotives in Queensland drop their fires for the last time. These machines had been a part of life in Queensland for over a hundred years. Harnessing the elemental forces of fire and water they had carried foreign armies on their backs, fed entire cities and made countless awestruck children late for school. But by the end of that year, most Queensland steam locomotives stood cold and silent. Booming voices issued from brass vocal chords no more and steel once burning to the touch contracted and went cold. Lines of locomotives sat at the Ipswich Workshops waiting to be dissected and rendered like the carcasses of whales.  Their metal sinews sent across oceans and fed to foreign factories, perhaps returning to Queensland as shiny new consumer goods. Could the ghost of a 137-ton Beyer Garratt haunt the body of a transistor radio? Wouldn’t it be just a little uncomfortable in such a small space?

Blog Image 1Locomotives sit idle and unwanted at Ipswich in the mid-1960s
(Image courtesy of QR/TWRM)

This is a story about progress, farewells, and maybe even a little heartbreak for those that really cared. It’s the story of steam’s final curtain call, the end, and what came after.

The Queensland Railways had emerged from the Second World War bruised but triumphant. The population of Brisbane had doubled overnight with the arrival of American troops, ambulance and munitions trains crossed the state and workshops juggled war work with keeping the trains rolling. By the wars end the railways were worn out and a new transport landscape was emerging. Air and road travel was beginning to muscle in on territory traditionally dominated by railways. To remain competitive and mend a railway wounded by the pressures of wartime, QR made the decision to modernise their ailing systems. Inevitably this would mean farewelling steam locomotives in favour of more efficient forms of traction.

Initially, it seemed steam might continue to play a dominant role for decades to come. In fact, some of Queensland’s most iconic steam locomotives were commissioned in the immediate post-war era. The Ipswich Workshops built their last steam locomotives in the late 1940s. Designed to haul Brisbane commuter trains and constructed using modern techniques these bulky tank engines were painted in a cheerful blue hue and became known as Blue Babies. The Beyer Garratt’s – the largest steam engines to ever run in Queensland – arrived in the early 1950s from Britain and France. Painted crimson and measuring 27.4 meters long they found work on all sorts of trains but were banned from the Toowoomba range due to the excessive heat they generated in the tunnels on that line. Despite their modern features, these shiny new steam locos would struggle to compete with what arrived next.

Blog Image 2Beyer Garratt No. 1001 being tested in Manchester, England, before being partially disassembled and shipped to Queensland (Image courtesy of QR/TWRM)

The age of the Diesel Electric Locomotive was ushered in with the unloading of 10 new locomotives from a ship in October 1952. Built in Pennsylvania U.S.A, the engines went to work immediately hauling wheat from the Darling Downs into Brisbane. Over the summer of 1952/53, they reduced the number of trains needed to haul freight between Toowoomba and Brisbane by 106 trips. They were stronger and more efficient than their steam-driven peers. They also offered far greater comfort to their crews, with cabs fitted with fans, padded seats, and even cooking facilities. It became clear that the future of QR was with a fleet of these impressive new machines.

Blog Image 3One of Queensland’s first Diesel Electric locomotives, a 1300 Class, is unloaded off
a ship in 1952 (image Courtesy of Keith McDonald)

Steam was increasingly displaced by diesels as the 1950s rolled into the 1960s. Each diesel could effectively do the work of 2 to 3 steam locomotives. In the west of the state where water supplies were poor a diesel locomotive could venture without concern. They placed less stress on the tracks than steam engines and weighed less. This allowed them to haul longer trains over lightly laid tracks where the strongest steam locomotives were too heavy to travel. As a new decade beckoned steam had almost been completely eliminated from Queensland’s Railways.

Blog Image 4Diesels quickly replaced steam on the railways more prestigious passenger services. Locomotive 1302 is seen hauling the Inlander at Gailes (image Courtesy of Keith McDonald)

Many locomotive crew members were pleased to see the decline of steam and with it the uncomfortable and dirty working conditions of a steam locomotive cab. Others were sad to see them go. It seems that to some the shift in technology also signified a change in the social dynamics of their work. Some men didn’t feel the same comradery with their colleagues working diesel as they did with steam. Others shunned the relative comfort of diesel power in favour of the ‘honest’ hard work associated with steam. For all crews, regardless of their personal opinions, the end of steam bought to a conclusion a way of life practiced in Queensland for generations.

Blog Image 5The comparatively clean and modern conditions of a Diesel Electric Locomotive cab,
seen here in 1967 (Image courtesy of QR/TWRM)

Whilst there were varied opinions about steams passing amongst railway personnel, Queensland’s railway enthusiast community was dismayed by steam’s looming extinction. This passionate group contributed much to our archives on steam’s twilight years. Notes were taken, photographs snapped and even sound recordings made of locomotives hauling trains. The Queensland Division of the Australian Railway Historical Society (established 1957) had even grander ambitions to document and preserve. Working closely with the railways the society successfully lobbied for the establishment of a museum that would display retired steam locomotives out the front of the Redbank Railway Workshops. The society also began running railway tours in the mid-1950s, with special trains hired from QR. The society continues this tradition today.

By 1969 steam had retreated almost entirely. Plans for the new museum at Redbank were well advanced and candidates nominated for display. One of these engines was A10 No. 6. This diminutive locomotive – built in Glasgow in 1865 – had been only the 8th locomotive to operate in Queensland. The Glaswegian was sold out of QR ownership in 1896 and found a new life hauling sugar cane in Bundaberg. Miraculously it remained in use with the mill until 1965, when the mill owner offered it back to QR as a 100th birthday present. It then became something of a goodwill ambassador, being used on a variety of special tours. The ARHS Queensland Division scheduled a final farewell trip for the engine in July 1969. Entrants in that year’s Ipswich Colour City Queen competition formed a guard of honour for the engine as it left Ipswich Station. Hauling six coaches, and accompanied by a Beyer Garratt on another train A10 No. 6 headed to Shorncliffe. The elderly engine needed assistance from a diesel to climb Albion hill on the outward journey, but a further indignity was to come. Just like Don Bradman was out for a Duck on his last test, old No.6 failed at Northgate on the way home, and the Garratt had to haul both trains combined back to Ipswich. The eldest of their number had fallen, for the rest of Queensland’s steam fleet, there were less than 6 months to go.

Blog Image 6A10 No. 6 seen gallantly hauling its 6 coach train near Nudgee on its final run
(Image courtesy of Brian Martin) 

Blog Image 7A10 No. 6 retired to display at the Redbank Locomotive Museum
(Image courtesy of Keith McDonald)

Ipswich – where generations of families had thrived with the presence of steam – set the stage for the final steam-hauled service in South East Queensland. Railway enthusiast Ron Thirkill – at that stage just a young lad- was amongst those to take one last trip by steam. It was the 28th of November 1969, and C17 No. 917 hauled a mixed train from Ipswich to Yarraman, where it would meet up with sister locomotive No. 997 and double head back to Ipswich. On the outward trip a number of passengers, including Ron, decided to leave the comfort and safety of their coach and ride an empty log wagon up the Blackbutt Range. Fellow passenger Stan Moore snapped a photo of these daredevil passengers. Sitting in the front row was a future curator of The Workshops Rail Museum. The train returned in darkness and the sun set on steam in the city which had been its cradle. The last steam revenue service for the entire state would take place in Mackay a few days shy of Christmas 1969.

Blog Image 8Enthusiasts ditch the comfort of passenger accommodation to ride South East Queensland’s last steam-hauled train in the open air! (Image courtesy of Stan Moore) 

Blog Image 9The final steam-hauled train in South East Queensland pauses at Esk as the locomotives take on water (Image courtesy of Stan Moore) 

With the stroke of a pen, the Queensland Railways went from having 178 steam locomotive on the books in 1969 to just 15 in 1970. Most of these remaining engines were residents of the Redbank Locomotive Museum. 3 were kept at the Ipswich Workshops and maintained in operational condition to run at special events and haul charter trains. Through this initiative, vital skills were preserved and passed down. Eventually, the Queensland Rail Heritage Fleet would be formally established working out of the Ipswich Workshops in the early 1990s. The Redbank Locomotive Museum was closed and its residents returned to Ipswich, where several were rebuilt to operational condition. The Heritage Fleet is a remarkable legacy of those final days of steam. Maintained and restored by a dedicated team of Queensland Rail employees it represents one of Australia’s best collections of heritage locomotives, railmotors, and carriages.

Blog Image 10AC16 No. 221A undergoing overhaul work in the Ipswich Erecting Shop in July 2019  (Image courtesy of David Hampton) 

Even old No.6, the elderly Glaswegian that didn’t quite make its final curtain call in 1969 got a second chance. Rebuilt to operational condition in 1991 No. 6 has toured the state, participated in Queensland Rails 150th birthday and hauled Santa from Ipswich Workshops to the Riverlink shopping mall at Christmas. Since 2002 No.6 has been proudly displayed on behalf of Queensland Rail at The Workshops Rail Museum as the oldest operating steam locomotive in the Southern Hemisphere.

Blog Image 11A10 No.6 seen crossing the Stoney Creek Bridge on the Kuranda line north of Cairns after rebuilding.  (Image Courtesy of Keith McDonald)

Whilst the age of steam is long gone, it lives on in the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life. From those who vividly remember daily commutes hauled by some smoke breathing behemoth, to those born well after its demise but still drawn to steam’s unique charm. In Ipswich, if you listen carefully, you might still hear an otherworldly song rise up from the workshops as a locomotive heads out on a charter, or catch the smell of coal smoke on the breeze. A comfort no doubt, to those who couldn’t bear to think those times forgotten.

David Hampton
Curator
The Workshops Rail Museum

 

 

We are custodian of Queensland's natural and cultural heritage, caring for more than a million items and specimens in collections that tell the changing story of Queensland.