Railways in Queensland – History in Pictures

On July 31, 1865, 150 years ago, Queensland’s first railway line was officially opened. The line ran between Ipswich and Bigge’s Camp (later named Grandchester). Since that time railways have continued to extend throughout the state and provide a vital link to remote communities. State Library of Queensland hold an extensive digitised collection of images documenting the history of Queensland Rail. These images can be perused via our One Search catalogue.

Official opening of the first section of the Ipswich to Grandchester railway, Ipswich 1865.The ceremony was attended by Governor Sir George Bowen, Lady Bowen and other officials. This was Queensland's first railway. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 150529

Official opening of the first section of the Ipswich to Grandchester railway, Ipswich 1865.The ceremony was attended by Governor Sir George Bowen, Lady Bowen and other officials. This was Queensland’s first railway. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 150529

 

First railway station at Ipswich, ca. 1868. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 22794

First railway station at Ipswich, ca. 1868. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 22794

 

Railway sheds at Ipswich, ca. 1876. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 196832

Railway sheds at Ipswich, ca. 1876. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 196832

 

Steam engine at Oxley Railway Station, Brisbane 1876. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 22811

Steam engine at Oxley Railway Station, Brisbane 1876. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 22811

 

Roma Street Railway Station in Brisbane ca. 1879. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg APU-049-0001-0012

Roma Street Railway Station in Brisbane ca. 1879. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg APU-049-0001-0012

 

Railway tunnel on Main Range near Toowoomba ca. 1879. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APU-049-0001-0032

Railway tunnel on Main Range near Toowoomba ca. 1879. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APU-049-0001-0032

 

Train at Roma Street Station, Brisbane. ca. 1880-1890. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 183736

Train at Roma Street Station, Brisbane. ca. 1880-1890. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 183736

 

Early day northern Queensland railway men, 1880s. Back row: R. Walker, G. Cranston, J. Love; middle row: W. A. Hooper, A. J. Eden, J. Reid, T. A. Hope; front row: R. McGhie, C. Clarke. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 22590

Early day northern Queensland railway men, 1880s. Back row: R. Walker, G. Cranston, J. Love; middle row: W. A. Hooper, A. J. Eden, J. Reid, T. A. Hope; front row: R. McGhie, C. Clarke. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 22590

 

Locomotive coal wagon and carriage on the bridge in Main Range, ca.1880. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APO-026-0001-0006

Locomotive coal wagon and carriage on the bridge in Main Range, ca.1880. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APO-026-0001-0006

 

Opening of Stanthorpe Railway Station, Queensland 1881. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 21415

Opening of Stanthorpe Railway Station, Queensland 1881. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 21415

 

Toowoomba Railway Station, 1882. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APO-004-0001-0001

Toowoomba Railway Station, 1882. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APO-004-0001-0001

 

Brushy Creek railway bridge on the Bundaberg line, ca. 1882. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APO-004-0001-0027

Brushy Creek railway bridge on the Bundaberg line, ca. 1882. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APO-004-0001-0027

 

Cairns to Herberton railway line looking from Freshwater Creek towards Redlynch Station ca. 1883. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APE-061-0001-0010

Cairns to Herberton railway line looking from Freshwater Creek towards Redlynch Station ca. 1883. John Oxley Library, SLQ. APE-061-0001-0010

 

Workers standing outside the entrance to a railway tunnel under construction Brisbane ca. 1884. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg APO-014-0001-0006

Workers standing outside the entrance to a railway tunnel under construction Brisbane ca. 1884. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg APO-014-0001-0006

 

Locomotive named Pioneer on the Western Railway construction site between Roma and Mitchell ca. 1885. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 1334

Locomotive named Pioneer on the Western Railway construction site between Roma and Mitchell ca. 1885. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 1334

 

Railway lines and bridge washed away by floodwaters Emu Creek near Warwick 1887. John Oxley Library, SLQ. API-002-01-0004

Railway lines and bridge washed away by floodwaters Emu Creek near Warwick 1887. John Oxley Library, SLQ. API-002-01-0004

 

Train standing at the Sandgate Railway Station ca. 1888. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 36151

Train standing at the Sandgate Railway Station ca. 1888. Later became Shorncliffe Railway Station. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 36151

 

Locomotive at the Cooktown Railway Station ca. 1889. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 68921

Locomotive at the Cooktown Railway Station ca. 1889. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 68921

 

Railway employees Toowoomba, Queensland ca. 1890. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 36959

Railway employees Toowoomba, Queensland ca. 1890. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 36959

 

Ipswich railway workshops ca.1890. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 6446-0001-0031

Ipswich railway workshops ca.1890. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 6446-0001-0031

 

Makeshift bridge of railway wagons during the 1890 flood in Auchenflower, Brisbane. Neg 22684

Makeshift bridge of railway wagons during the 1890 flood in Auchenflower, Brisbane. Neg 22684

 

Men working on the construction of a tunnel on the Cairns railway. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 67224

Men working on the construction of a tunnel on the Cairns railway. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 67224

 

Engine 281 in the locomotive sheds at Ipswich. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 6446-0001-0028

Engine 281 in the locomotive sheds at Ipswich. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 6446-0001-0028

 

Toowong Railway Station during the 1893 flood in Brisbane, Queensland, 1893. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 7604-0001-0006

Toowong Railway Station during the 1893 flood in Brisbane, Queensland, 1893. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 7604-0001-0006

 

Wrecked steam locomotive after its boiler exploded, Brisbane 1898. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 201024

Wrecked steam locomotive after its boiler exploded, Brisbane 1898. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 201024

 

Central Railway Station, Brisbane, Queensland 1901. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 150532

Central Railway Station, Brisbane, Queensland 1901. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 150532

 

Railway Station in Melbourne Street at South Brisbane, Queensland 1902. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 37415

Railway Station in Melbourne Street at South Brisbane, Queensland 1902. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 37415

 

Group of people standing under a welcome sign at Kingaroy railway station 1904. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 199718

Group of people standing under a welcome sign at Kingaroy railway station 1904. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 199718

 

Deep Creek railway bridge nearing completion Gayndah district 1905. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image API-073-0001-0007

Deep Creek railway bridge nearing completion Gayndah district 1905. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image API-073-0001-0007

 

Sydney Mail train on a stone viaduct in the Toowomba Range southern Queensland, ca.1905. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image APO-020-0001-0005

Sydney Mail train on a stone viaduct in the Toowomba Range southern Queensland, ca.1905. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image APO-020-0001-0005

 

Interior view of first class suburban railway carriage ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 38436

Interior view of first class suburban railway carriage ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 38436

 

Recruiting train at Wallumbilla Railway Station ca. 1915. APE-020-01-0001

Recruiting train at Wallumbilla Railway Station ca. 1915. APE-020-01-0001

 

Flood damaged railway bridge over the Burdekin River 1917. John Oxley Libray, SLQ. Neg 20655

Flood damaged railway bridge over the Burdekin River 1917. John Oxley Libray, SLQ. Neg 20655

 

Opening of the railway between Cairns and Townsville 1924. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 29664

Opening of the railway between Cairns and Townsville 1924. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 29664

 

Interior view of No. 5 Rail Dental Cliinic ca. 1928. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image API-081-0001-0042

Interior view of No. 5 Rail Dental Cliinic ca. 1928. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image API-081-0001-0042

 

Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander, October 2 1930. Caption: Special: Opening of the Kyogle Railway. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 702692-19301002-s001b

Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander, October 2 1930. Caption: Special: Opening of the Kyogle Railway. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 702692-19301002-s001b

 

Waiting for the train at Mount Isa Station 1931. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image API-094-0001-0003

Waiting for the train at Mount Isa Station 1931. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image API-094-0001-0003

 

Roma Street Railway Station in Brisbane ca. 1931. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 10189-0001-0166

Roma Street Railway Station in Brisbane ca. 1931. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 10189-0001-0166

 

Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander, March 26 1936. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 702692-19360326-s001b

Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander, March 26 1936. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image 702692-19360326-s001b

 

Crowds on the platform of South Brisbane Station to farewell soldiers, March 1940. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 105684

Crowds on the platform of South Brisbane Station to farewell soldiers, March 1940. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 105684

 

Rescuers inspect the wreckage of the Camp Mountain train disaster 1947. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 102662

Rescuers inspect the wreckage of the Camp Mountain train disaster 1947. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 102662

 

Staff on the platform at the Tully Railway Station ca. 1950. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 33128

Staff on the platform at the Tully Railway Station ca. 1950. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 33128

 

Train at Kuranda railway station ca. 1958. (Image in copyright). John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image lbp00059

Train at Kuranda railway station ca. 1958. (Image in copyright). John Oxley Library, SLQ. Image lbp00059

 

One of the last trains to cross at the Gabba Fiveways ca. 1967. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 161195

One of the last trains to cross at the Gabba Fiveways ca. 1967. (Image in copyright). John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 161195

 

Merivale Railway Bridge during construction, Brisbane 1979. (Image in copyright). John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 260530

Merivale Railway Bridge during construction, Brisbane 1979. (Image in copyright). John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 260530

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