The museums are open 7 days a week during NSW school holidays!

Plaque Stories

Bathurst Rail Museum Plaque Stories

Stories of the people and families of the Bathurst railway community

Have your family rail story included on this page by purchasing a large commemorative large plaque to be displayed at the Bathurst Rail Museum.


Ray Bant Plaque No.23
Ray Bant was a proud railway man. His trade was Fitter & Turner Machinist. He worked at the loco workshop in Bathurst for some 50 years. He started on steam engines and his passion for them was well known. Ray made many lasting mates during his time at the loco workshop, his nickname was ‘Benny’.

When the NSW Government decided to downgrade the loco workshop at Bathurst and transfer majority of the jobs to Lithgow, along with Bill Hamilton they formed a committee to keep the work at Bathurst. Ray and Bill has countless meetings with local MPs (Clive Osborne and Mick Clough). They fought a long, hard and sometimes heated campaign. The Government announced not only the jobs kept, but a new updated loco workshop would be built.

Ray was an Alderman on Bathurst City Council for 27 years and was a proud resident of Bathurst, his beloved city.


Begg Family Plaque No. 32
The Begg family moved to ‘Restdown’, on Eleven Mile Drive in 2015. Peter was 14 years old, Lucinda 12 and Rupert 8. They loved raising their family in the Blue Mountains when the idea of experiencing rural life became possible. Historic ‘Restdown’ was offered for sale on 65 acres of prime river flats.

A deep collective breath was drawn by the family as they moved in. Kangaroos bounded, cattle grazed, chickens hatched, rabbits hopped, snakes appeared, dogs and cats wrapped around the hearts, hands and day to day lives of the family. Michael maintains his property valuation business in Leura while expanding to include Bathurst. He fulfils his dream of flying his own aircraft with Bathurst Soaring Club. Ann converted the farm cottages into comfortable visitor accommodation, indulging her hotel manager background.

The property was regenerated with eucalyptus, casuarinas and soon the Saltram Creek running through the land flourished again.


Vic & Harry Bonham Plaque No. 69
During the Depression, Vic Bonham worked only one day in four as a fettler on  Bathurst Railway.  At home was his wife, four children, and three relatives.

So the Railway income paid the bills, and food came from a thriving vegetable garden, supplemented by rabbits, wild ducks, and some sheep from his small acreage at Duramana.

Then in 1952,Vic’s son Harry, with young wife and baby, needed a job, so he joined the Railway too, first as a cleaner, then studied to become a fireman/driver – a job he followed for the next twenty-seven years. This took him as far as Sydney and Dubbo, often staying overnight in cold, railway barracks, where the kind lady would put a hot water bag in their beds. The Good Old Days!

In spite of the difficult hours, Harry made many railway friends and stayed in the job until retirement 27 years later.


Arthur (Pat) Buckley Plaque No.40
Pat Buckley was 1st Assistant Station Master, Bathurst from 12 July 1962 until his transfer to 5th Station Master, Woy Woy on 7 March 1970.

The son of a railway ganger, Richard Charles (Dick) Buckley, who maintained a length of line west of Molong, Pat had joined the railways permanently as Junior Porter, Molong on 15 December 1941.

Pat and his wife Olive had five children. The youngest four being Robert (Bob), Stephen, Anne and Jennifer. After the move from Molong to Bathurst the children continued their education at Bathurst South PS, Bathurst PS and Bathurst HS. Bob, Stephen and Anne are graduates of BHS.

The eldest child, Richard (Dick), re-joined the family in Bathurst when he was appointed Office Manager, Robins Shoes. A short time later Dick became the Assistant Production Manager.

Olive contributed to the activities of the Mothers Clubs at the schools the children attended. Pat was an active Brother of Lodge Barham. The family were regular members of the congregation of All Saints Anglican Cathedral.

Pat retired from his position as 4th Station Master Woy Woy on 14 June 1984.


Carpenter Family Plaque No. 58
I was 14 years old when Mum and Dad would go to the Railway Institute to play Euchre. There was often a dance in the hall and if the men were short of woman, they would ask if we could partner them. Mum would let us as she loved dancing. George Hutchison’s mum would play the piano.
I remember Ben Chifley as Prime Minister and when he passed away. My Dad, Thomas Carpenter worked on the Railway and knew him well as did my brother, Max Carpenter, who was an acting Fireman. My son, Dennis Cranston also worked on the Railway before leaving Bathurst at 18 to go and work at the steel works at Port Kembla.
My name is Joyce Cranston (nee Carpenter). I am 88 years old. I bought a plaque to acknowledge my Dad, brother and son all worked on the Railway here in Bathurst.


Jim Conlan  Plaque No. 24 
Jim Conlan started work at the Bathurst loco on 29th April 1946, as a Cleaner. Jim had just married Ruth Gunning who had grown up at 19 Russell St. Her father, Ernie Gunning, could remember seeing the first train arrive at Bathurst when he was a small kid, with the sunlight glinting on the brass fittings on the engine.

Jim was born in Quirindi and met Ruth during his army training, at Bathurst. After the war, they married and within weeks, he was living with Ruth in Bathurst just before he started at the loco shed. They soon moved to Brilliant St in South Bathurst, putting Jim within a few minutes walk to work.

Jim continued as a Fitter’s Assistant until he retired, at age 60 in late 1976. He passed away, unexpectedly, in December 1988. A large contingent of railway workmates attended his funeral.


Denis Chamberlain  Plaque No. 57 
Denis John Chamberlain OAM commenced working as Shop Boy at Eveleigh Carriage Works 17.8.1959. On 11.4.1960 appointed an Engine Cleaner at Lithgow Locomotive Depot, and then appointed in August 1960 to Acting Fireman on steam locomotives. Went on loan to Goulburn, return to Lithgow 1961 and transfer to Bathurst Locomotive Depot. Appointed Fireman at Bathurst 22.1.1962.

Involved in the 6023 Garratt locomotive mishap at Brewongle 7.11.1962 with driver John Porter and reduced to Engine Cleaner for six months 18.1.1963 – 27.6.1963. Again, appointed Fireman 18.7.1963. Leave railway 7.8.1963.

Married Margaret Dawn Hargans 5.6.1964 and had children Janice, John and Beverley. Denis has written numerous publications and two railway books: Diary of a Challenge 1992 and Railway West Chronicles 2010. Bathurst historian and researcher and RSL Executive for which he was awarded an OAM in 2015. Awarded ANZAC of the Year in 2018. He went on to greater and better things.


Albert Dawson Plaque No. 54 
Albert Ernest Dawson 1902-1988. ‘Albie’ began his working life at the Bathurst Railway in 1920, as a Junior Porter. He progressed through to the Parcels Office and had a variety of positions, before he became a Signalman at Western Signal Box. Albie assumed this position with pride and commitment for 40 years, until his retirement in 1967.

Albie married Doris Hicks and they raised one girl and three boys. Ronald worked on the Railway for 10 years as a Fitter and Turner. Laurie worked as a Sheet and Metal worker on the Railway for 5 years.

Albie enjoyed his retirement, spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was well known for his interest in poultry, displaying his birds at the local country shows.


Max Elms Plaque No. 91 

The machine shop at Bathurst Loco was a very busy place during the steam era. There were 10 tradesmen and 2 apprentices occupied in manufacturing and machining a large variety of components for the steam locomotives. 

With the introduction of diesel electric locos to the region, the demands on the machine shop gradually diminished. The tradesmen were re-assigned to maintain the fleet of diesel electric locos. I was the last machinist to leave the shop and I have many fond memories of the men I worked with over the years. 

After transferring to Bathurst Railway Workshops following the closure of the loco depot, I was initially involved in workshop maintenance and then as supervisors of both diesel engine overhaul and wagon repair and maintenance.


Brian Hayes Plaque No.66
Brian Hayes began work with the NSW State Rail Authority in 1945 as a junior porter. He retired after 43 years in 1988 as Chief Clerk of the SRA Workshops at Bathurst.

Through his SRA career, Brian held various positions, including Relief Clerk, which necessitated him travelling throughout the Western areas. He was a proud railwayman. Steam locomotives were the prime movers in much of Brian’s career although it eventually gave way to more modern forms of engine.  Over the years, he worked with many fettlers, guards, drivers, and firemen.

Brian was born in Griffith but spent most of his life in Bathurst with his wife Marion and his 4 children (2 sets of twins!). He had a close association with sport in the Bathurst district, including rugby league (as a player and then a referee), cricket, hockey, etc and was a keen squash and table tennis player. Brian had a close association with motor racing at Mt Panorama and for many years was in charge of gate control for race meetings, working closely with the late Ivan Stibbard.

Brian’s brother Kevin also worked at the SRA in Bathurst for many years, giving the local depot a real family connection.

Brian passed away on 21 July 2014.


Humphrey Family Plaque No. 42
William Leslie Humphrey 6th August 1917 – 29th October 1953.
Clarice Enid Humphrey (nee Maisey) 18th March 1912 – 14th March 2007.
Married 26th August 1944.

William, (known as Les) worked at the Railway from when he left school at age 15 until his accidental death in a car accident aged 36.

Les worked as a Shunter in both Bathurst and Lithgow Railway Yards; Les was employed as a Switchboard Operator at Bathurst Station at the time of his death.

Les and Clarice had four daughters, Kristine, Frances, Bronwyn (who pre-deceased him) and Elizabeth.

Les was a well-known Bathurst identity, having played football for Charleston’s Football Club and for his competitive swimming with the Bathurst club. Clarice was known for her community involvement and charitable work.

They are both remembered with love and admiration by their descendants.


Gerry Jones Plaque No. 76
Gerald Jones began his 44 year career with the NSW Government Railways at Penrith in 1934.  He served at stations around the far and mid north coast between 1940 and 1952 in places such as Camira Creek, Rappville, South Grafton, Delungra and Turrawan.

He was stationed at Lue, Ivanhoe and Rydal before his move to Perthville in 1959 where he and his wife lived for many years and raised their 5 children.

Perthville Railway Station was a vital service to Perthville and surrounding areas.  The Jones Family were well known and valued members of the Perthville community.

After the closure of Perthville he was stationed at Bathurst, Grenfell and Tullamore before he took on travelling NSW stations revising dangerous goods handling with staff.

He retired in 1978.


Stephen McKelvie  Plaque No. 33 
Bathurst Station Manager 1995-2016
CountryLink Travel Centre Manager 1990-2016
38 years’ Service 1979-2017

Joined the Railway at Lithgow in 1979 as a Station Assistant, working his way swiftly through multiple positions before moving to Bathurst as a 3rd Grade Relief Clerk in 1982. Passionate about maintaining the historical integrity of Bathurst Station, quality and customer service, Stephen was in 1990 promoted to CountryLink Travel Centre Manager to establish the Domestic Travel Agency and oversee Bathurst Station & forecourt renovations.

In 1995 this position was enlarged to full control of Bathurst Station Management and shortly thereafter Blayney, Tarana & Rydal Stations.

2006 awarded RailCorp’s highest individual Customer Service award for Excellence in Customer Service in NSW.

His ability to integrate modern railway developments whilst maintaining the historical significance of Bathurst Station and precinct over 3 decades of service was recognised with a National Trust Heritage Certificate in March 2016.


Doug Moore Plaque No. 44 
Douglas Vincent (Doug) Moore  was born 30/1/1922 at Dubbo NSW, one of 5 sons of Charles and Linda Moore from Wongarbon. As a 16-year-old, in 1938, he moved to Sydney to take up a position as a Junior Porter at the Sydney Telegraph Office.

In 1942, Doug served with the AIF in Borneo as a Signaller. After the war, he worked with the Railway at Strathfield, Lithgow and Bathurst in the ticketing office.

In 1961, Doug married Thelma Feebrey, a local widow with three sons, Harold, Ken and Mervyn (Milo).

Secretary-Treasurer and later Life Member of the Bathurst Railway Football Club, Doug helped, supported and encouraged young players from the far west to work and play football in Bathurst.

Doug retired after 44 years of service to the Railways on the 31/12/1982. He passed away on the 8th February 1999. His legacy includes 6 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and 10 great-great grandchildren.


John Morris 1948-1990 Plaque 77
John H Morris (Jack/Johnny)

Born in Bathurst, educated at St Philomena’s Catholic Primary School in Seymour Street and St Patrick’s School George Street.

Left school in 1948 and joined Bathurst Loco Workshops as apprentice Fitter and Turner on steam engines and later in his career worked on diesel engines.

He travelled to Eveleigh Railway Workshops one week a month to undertake TAFE classes.

During his time with the railway he travelled away to work on train derailments and also participated in many workplace improvement, including getting 470 into service.

John retired when the Bathurst Workshops closed in 1990 after 42 years of service.

John was also an active member of St John’s Ambulance and undertook National Service training.

John passed away on 25 July 1995.

He is survived by his wife Carmel and five children, 13 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.


Michael (Boysie) O’Connell Plaque No. 61
Michael (Boysie) O’Connell left school at 15 due to his father’s illness and delivered goods for the Railway. After his father died, he studied at Railway Institute and became a pay clerk. He married Vida and had 9 children.
He won the NSW Railways Singles Tennis Champion 7 times.
“Country Week” 1939 – Bathurst defeated Newcastle.
He played a tennis exhibition match against Wimbledon champion, Jack Crawford.
Bathurst Tennis Champion, undefeated 1933-1951 and was an officer WWII.
Offers for Sydney, but family came first.
He won singles titles- Cowra, Lithgow, Mudgee, Portland, Parkes, Trundle, Crookwell.
He organised tournaments and coached, with particular devotion to disadvantaged and junior tennis.
Moved to Young 1953- won Singles there 7 times, triumphant into his fifties, President of Club – 19 years.
Represented NSW at the Australian Cherry Growers Federation.
He was given an award for “a lifetime of excellent service and dedication”.
He died in a farm accident at 88, still enjoying work and winning tennis.
Tom Pratley, NSW Sport Administrator, wrote to newspapers: “Bathurst’s best ever tennis player, a great administrator, all-round sportsman, a thorough gentleman.”

Kathleen (sister) – clerk, Goods Office.
Jack (brother) – cleaner, fireman, driver.


Frank Phillips Plaque No. 104

ASM – Raglan – 1944-75 

Known as Frank, born in Narrabri NSW in 1907 to William Rogers Phillips and Elizabeth (Tribe), our father started his journey with NSWGR in May 1925 as a Junior Porter in the South Grafton District. He worked his way up to Porter by 1928 and in April 1929 transferred to Junee. He returned to Grafton in 1931 where he stayed until 1937, where he worked at lots of small stations and crossings down the track; these included Wauchope, where he met his future wife, Isabelle Bourne. They moved to Penrith for a year where he worked as a Shunter and Guard Assistant before becoming Night Officer at Kundabung until August 1944. 

In 1944, Frank took up the position of ASM at Raglan where he worked for the next 33 years until his retirement. In a days work here, the men changed signal lights, loaded wool bales/produce, herded cattle and sheep onto trucks, as well as shunting engines and rolling stock. Frank died in 1994, always remembered by his family.  


Richard Plicha Plaque No. 103

Richard first joined the Navy straight out of High School in 1981. During his Naval career he achieved many goals including completing his Civil Engineering Diploma, coming first in the State in his final exams. Richard worked his way up the ranks to Petty Officer before discharging in 1996 to spend more time with his wife, Linda and sons, Charlie, Anthony and Daniel. They decided to call Bathurst home.  

In 1997, Richard started work at RailCorp as a boiler maker welder, but soon his talents were noticed. He was asked to fill the role of Production Manager, overseeing teams of trade and non-trade personnel in the repair, maintenance and modification of rail wagons and heavy steel fabrication. In 2001, Richard became the Technical Manager which was by then the Bathurst Rail Fabrication Centre. Richard stayed in this position until 2018, until he sadly passed away from cancer at the age of 54.  


Gordon Powyer Plaque No. 70
Born in 1924 in Wellington, Gordon returned from war service to meet and marry Ellen Bourke from Bathurst. After a brief career in hospitality Gordon began his railway life at the Bathurst Locomotive Depot in 1949. He started as a cleaner, then fireman, before becoming a driver in 1961.

In 1966 Gordon transferred to Eveleigh, where he retired in 1985. He saw many changes, transitioning from driving Steam to Electric Diesels and XPT. Gordon’s proudest moment was being invited to drive the first XPT to Dubbo in 1982.

There is a strong family tie, with his wife’s father Patrick Bourke (#71 – tragically killed on the line in 1932), his brother-in-law Bill (#73) and his two nephews Robbie (#74) and Peter (#75) all employed on the railway.

Despite many hours of separation from family (a legacy of a railway man of this era) Gordon was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.


Oliver Samuel Sims Plaque No.85
Oliver Sims also known as “Ollie” to his workmates and friends. Started his Apprenticeship on the 7th of March 1902, at Everleigh workshops in Sydney at the age of 16 years old.
In December 1907 Oliver Sims moved to Bathurst Railway to work as a boiler maker. Oliver was granted leave from the railway in December 1916 to join the Military.
In 1919 Oliver resumed work at Bathurst Railway after being discharged from the Military.
Oliver Sims married Ada Hatton, they had a son Raymond and a daughter Nola.
Oliver loved to surf and play cricket; in his younger days he won many swimming competitions at the old North Sydney Baths.
In 1935 Oliver became a foreman in the mechanical branch at the Bathurst workshop. He remained as foreman until February 1950 when he retired.
In retirement he loved to spending time looking after his 4 grandchildren.


Robert Walkington  Plaque No. 35 
Robert Arthur ‘Bob’ Walkington worked for the Railways for 1926 reaching the honour of the states’ number one Driver, retiring as Special Class Driver in 1972 after 46 years of service. In the early 1970s Bob and his Fireman Daryl Garvey had the privilege of driving the first long freight train to pass through Bathurst and the first Indian Pacific Passenger Service.

Bob drove the Royal Train, carrying Queen Elizabeth II from Sydney to Newbridge. Bob received the Imperial Service Medal in 1973 for outstanding service.

Bob passed away in July 1987 and at the time was survived by his wife May and daughters Merle Pallor, Thelma Ingersole and Janice Patterson.


G.D.J. Wright Plaque No. 51
George Wright (1913-1982) started working at the Bathurst Railway in 1937 aged 24 as a casual Cleaner. Over the next 41 years he became a Fireman in 1943,  Firelighter in 1947,  Boilers Attendant in 1952 and then Fitters Assistant in 1956 until he retired in 1978. As part of his retirement he was entitled to First Class Pass Privileges which he never used as he always said “what’s the point of going away when you just have to come back?”.

George received the nickname ‘The Post’ by workmates as he apparently had the ability to fall asleep while standing up.

George was happily married to Lillian Peime, they had 6 children and made their home in Railway Parade which made his commute to work easy, as he just walked down the railway line.

In his retirement George enjoyed fishing, gardening and watching cricket but mostly loved seeing his grandchildren.