Floods damage Bundaberg Railway Museum collection
THERE were tears at the Bundaberg Railway Museum yesterday as the dedicated staff returned to inspect the damage to their prized collection.
Bundaberg Railway Museum coordinator Graham Hibberd was devastated as he trudged through the mud-sodden museum picking up treasured artefacts along the way.
"We are just trying to salvage what we can," he said.
"Cleaning up is just the start we then have to start rebuilding our collection."
This was more than just a job for the Railway Museum staff but an opportunity for a group of mates to share a common passion.
"When you look at all the personal losses it is heartbreaking and puts things into perspective," Mr Hibberd said.
"But this is our hobby and life's work."
Mr Hibberd who has been in his position for 15 years, said it took a tremendous amount of effort to obtain some of these objects.
"You don't just get these things over night," he said.
"You make contact with collectors and spend a lot of time getting them."
Mr Hibberd said one of the museum's prized posessions was Des Murray's collection of photos newspaper clippings from his time as a guard on the old steam trains.
"We got a call from his widow who was cleaning up the house and said she had found more of his junk," he said.
"When I got there I said this is not junk. These are treasures to us."
But among the destruction, hope remained as Queensland Museum development officer Ewen Mcphee was on hand to help salvage what he could and advised residents to not throw things out straight away.
"Most of this stuff can be saved it just won't be in as good a condition," he said.
"Our job is to helpout small community museums and we will try preserve the local community history as much as we can," he said.
Mr Mcphee said the water and mud damage to the museum was extensive and it would take them some time to get their collection back up to previous standard.
"It appears to be a very comprehensive collection with loyal community members taking care of it," he said.
Mr McPhee said most of the documents would go into freezers so they would not deteriorate further and were hoping any local businesses with freezers to spare could get in contact with them.