The issue of where the break in the gauges would occur kept raising its head, in both the Queensland and NSW Parliaments.
Making Tenterfield the location of the break was roundly supported in NSW, especially by Sir Henry Parkes, and even some on the Queensland side, but the decision was finally reached with the break being at Wallangarra on the border.
In January 1888, the two states were finally joined by rail.
The steam industry was booming and by 1918 Tenterfield Railway Station was a major employer in the area.
Records show 74 employees consisting of 27 in the Locomotive Branch, 29 gangers and fettlers in the Perway Branch between Glen Innes and Wallangarra, 17 in the Traffic Branch and one employee in the General Staff Branch.
From the managing of timetables, the attention of passengers and freight, the maintenance of the tracks and equipment down to the cleanliness, everyone contributed to the running of the Station.
From 1914 to 1918, the line was used to transport soldiers going to and returning from the Great War.
A more recent history starts on August 7, 1961, when Max Cooper came to Tenterfield after being transferred from South Grafton where he was Relief Assistant Station Master.
Bringing his young family with him, Max became Tenterfield Railway Station, Officer in Charge. a position he retained until the line closed in 1989.
Talking to Max and his wife Margaret, I was given a picture of a much different station to the one we see today. A small garden at the northern end of the platform, a few rose bushes and not much else.
A very stark and drab landscape waiting for someone with vision to bring it to life. And Max was the person to do it.
Hanging baskets, crafted by Max and Trevor Weir in the parcel room, dangled from the ironwork on the awnings and entrance. Geraniums, aspidistras, nandinas, (cuttings taken from Margaret's own garden!), and tree ferns, filled the gardens on the platform and the park at the southern end of the Station.
Rejected sleepers were remilled and turned into planter boxes along with crafted cement planters.
Today, the gardens run the full length of the Station, the planters are full of plants, and the park a green oasis. A true testimony to the vision of the Station's last Officer in Charge, Max Cooper.
This is published as part of a regular series of columns exploring Tenterfield Railway Museum and its activities...
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