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Lowood Railway Station (1884)

Railway Street 


Rail bridge at Lowood built 1884Rail bridge at Lowood built 1884Plans for the first section of 'The Brisbane Valley Branch Line' were approved by Queensland Parliament in October 1881.

The lowest tender was 42,200 Pounds from contractors O'Rourke and McSharry for the 30.4 km line from 'Brisbane Valley Junction' (at Wulkuraka) to its first (still unnamed) terminus, to be completed by 31 December 1883.

O'Rourke and McSharry had constructed rail lines westward from Rockhampton and Townsville and were currently completing the line from Bundaberg to Mt Perry.

Notice of official opening day 1884Notice of official opening day 1884The district around the first terminus was known as 'The Scrub', the northern end of the Rosewood Scrub. After the opening of Cairnhill Provisional School in 1881, some locals adopted the name Cairnhill for the settlement.

Rail authorities called the location '19 Miles', its distance from the Wulkuraka, before officially naming the line's first terminus 'Lowood'. Queensland Rail records give its meaning as "Descriptive of locality". 

Following many disputes between the Railway Department and O'Rourke and McSharry, Lowood station finally opened six months late, on Monday 16 June 1884. From Wulkuraka the line ran via Pine Mountain, Borallon, Fairney View, Fernvale and Vernor to Lowood. 

The first train carrying the official party and "500 passengers on free excursion tickets" stopped briefly at 'Lowood terminal' before returning to Fernvale where the line was officially opened by William Kellett, MLA for Stanley. 

 Tracks between Vernor and Lowood.Tracks between Vernor and Lowood.At that time Lowood's only other public buildings were Bethel Lutheran Church (1876) and Cairnhill Provisional School (1881), with many scattered farms and its oldest business, Hancock's sawmill, but no established township.

The Brisbane Courier lamented, "The line at present ends nowhere."

Although extensions were granted to O'Rourke and McSharry to complete their contract, the Southern and Western Railway Department eventually took over and completed the line, 12 months late, on 31 December 1884.

Lowood station built 1884Lowood station built 1884After the line opened, builders Worley & Whitehead of Ipswich were contracted to construct the shelter shed and office on the platform, and a goods shed and the engineman's and guard's cottages. The engine shed was built by Henry Wyman in 1885. 

The final cost of the Lowood section of the Brisbane Valley Branch Line was 69,091 Pounds, including rolling stock, buildings and land.

The telegraph line from Fernvale and a 30cwt (1520 kgs) capacity crane were added 1885-1887 and a 'Ladies Room' was built on the platform in 1888.