FUN TIMES: Bob Truscott on the minature railway he had set up in his yard on Elliott Heads road. Photo: contributed
FUN TIMES: Bob Truscott on the minature railway he had set up in his yard on Elliott Heads road. Photo: contributed contributed

Mourning for train man

THE man who was known to hundreds of school students for his miniature railway in the yard of his house on Elliott Heads Rd has died.

Robert (Bob) Truscott was second born to the late Walter and Gladys Truscott in 1927.

When Mr Truscott was two the family moved to Barolin Rd, South Kalkie, now Elliott Heads Road, Woongarra.

Daughter Wendy Driver said for 85 years Mr Truscott lived a very rewarding life on this site.

He grew up on the farm helping his father grow sugar cane.

In 1936 Mr Truscott, his father and brother dug a well for water after a severe drought.

"The well was successful and their farm was one of the first to use flood irrigation in South Kalkie,"

Mrs Driver said. In 1951 the family bought a whole stick harvester that Mr Truscott later converted to lay the whole stick cane in bundles ready to be picked up by the cane loader.

Mr Truscott taught himself to weld and had some patents on items of farm machinery used in the cane industry.

He continued to work on the cane farm until his retirement in the mid 1980s.

He married Dorothy Nash in 1950 and they recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

In 1980 he joined the Australian Sugar Cane Railway and served as president for 19 years and was the patron until his death on Wednesday.

His son-in-law Ross Driver taught him to drive steam locomotives and he visited Port Douglas to gain his steam ticket

. From 1988 he and Mrs Truscott gave many years' service to the society working as driver and ticket seller on the roster.

He was also involved in the restoration of the locomotives that the Society owns.

In 1982 the Truscotts bought a 5" gauge model steam and diesel locomotives and carriages.

"They established Doroba Railway in their yard - the name was rarely used as most people called it Truscott Trains," Mrs Driver said.

Mr Truscott built another diesel loco and invited kindergartens, playgroups and preschools to visit.

"During the next 28 years countless children and their families visited and rode the train and enjoyed morning tea," Mrs Driver said

. A money box in the shape of a locomotive collected donations that were forwarded to The Shepherd Centre in Sydney.

Their grandson Scott was born profoundly deaf and learnt to speak through a correspondence course with the centre.

Mr Truscott also honed his fitting and turning skills and with input from friends Ces Jensen, George Punter and John Blaik built a steam traction engine.

For nearly 50 years the Truscotts enjoyed caravanning each year through the eastern states of Australia.

Mr Truscott was Citizen of the Year in Woongarra Shire in 1989; received a Seniors Award from the state government in 1995; a Centenary Medal in 2001 and together with Mrs Truscott they both received an Order of Australia Medal in 2008 for their service to the community.

Mr Truscott is survived by his wife Dorothy and family Ross, Wendy, Scott and Jaime Driver.

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