ALL ABOARD: Graham Hibberd at the Bundaberg Railway Historical Society.
ALL ABOARD: Graham Hibberd at the Bundaberg Railway Historical Society. Mike Knott BUN071217RAIL4

Tales from region's rails will shock you

THERE are many tales to be told about the old railways around Bundaberg, some which will leave you gobsmacked.

Bundaberg Railway Historical Society's Graham Hibberd shared one of these stories with the NewsMail.

It was the day before Australia Day in 1940 when a husband and wife boarded a steam train at Aramara heading for Maryborough about 3.30pm.

Henry and Edna Dale were expecting their second child and were headed to the Heritage City to be closer to hospital.

But the train ride took an unexpected turn about 45 minutes into the ride.

Mrs Dale went to the toilet in her carriage.

Moments later she realised she was in childbirth and, while on the toilet, her baby was delivered.

The toilets in the trains of yesteryear were different to today's, Mr Hibberd said.

Connected to the pedestal, the waste pipe would shoot out from the side of the train to dispose of waste.

The infant has passed through the loo and was thrown to the side of the railway track.

It was estimated at the time the train was travelling anywhere from 48 to 56km/h.

In those days, the steam train had no emergency stop and had to continue to Thinoomba, Mr Hibberd said.

Mr and Mrs Dale were taken to Maryborough's Lady Musgrave Hospital.

Reports at the time stated passengers on the train were of the opinion that there was no hope left for the baby to be found alive.

However, Maryborough police inspector Noel Carseldine recalled that a similar incident had happened in Melbourne years earlier.

Under his order, a police search party was organised about 6pm that evening.

The four-man party searched the railway line on a pump trolley as the sun set.

Mr Hibberd said it was believed that an officer heard a cry about 9.20pm.

And not too far away they found a newborn infant, covered in ants.

It was reported that one officer recalled the little boy looking like a possum in the grass when they found him alive.

He was bundled up and reunited with his parents soon after.

This is just one of the amazing stories told at the railway museum at North Bundaberg.

  • The Bundaberg Railway Historical Society is open over the school holidays, except the week of Christmas.


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