BY YVONNE McLEAN
TWO steam engines which were a driving force of the pioneer timber industry between the Tweed and Logan Rivers have at long last, after several years of work, been restored for public display at the Gold Coast Historical Society's museum in Elliott Street, Bundall.
Along with many working items from those early years, the steam engines are now part of a unique collection recognised by the National Trust for its contribution to Gold Coast heritage.
The museum's next open day is on Sunday from 10am.
Day in, day out for many months, the society's president Bob Nancarrow, has worked at restoring these original steam engines to their former glory. They stand today as symbols of an industry that attracted loggers in their thousands in their quest for the riches of red cedar from the Tweed to the Logan.
The engines were manufactured in Ipswich, England and were imported by R.T. Johnston for his timber mill in Nind Street, Southport.
The mill was opened in 1876 and in 1886 became Johnston and Freemans. The mill flourished until the 1950s. It was later bought by Colin Sinclair and moved to the Molendinar Industrial Estate as Southport Timbers. The engines were donated to the Apex Club and later generously donated to the museum.
The Historical Society's founding president and now treasurer John Elliott, said the restoration of the two steam engines marked a significant page in the society's charter to seek out items of the past and restore them as faithfully as possible.
"All we need now to demonstrate the engines at work is a boiler ? perhaps one day we will acquire one. Bob has done a magnificent job in this final restoration of the 130year-old engines. He has spent hours pondering over research and today they most probably look as they did just off the production line. For students of Gold Coast and Tweed history - they are a must see," he said.
The society is preparing for two important events coming up.
On May 7 at the musuem grounds a reunion party will be held to celebrate vice-president Grace Cornwall's 80th birthday.
Grace, who describes herself as a true Gold Coast original of Mudgeeraba (she's nee Wintle, a renowned pioneer family) old girls and boys from her former schools, Mudgeeraba State and Southport High will join society members and herself for a time in history and some hilarity about old times, over a basket lunch.
On May 14 for a week, the society will contribute to the City Council's participation in the National Trust's (Queensland) Heritage Festival. On the Gold Coast the festival will be at the Robina Community Centre.
For more information on the above events contact John Elliot on 55322539.