Were you one of three Heathcote boys who rode to the station, after hearing the sound of a steam locomotive’s whistle on Wednesday 2 November 1966, as the loco prepared to leave the Heathcote Railway Station platform for the turntable? At the time, train enthusiast Ned Weiser was also at the railway yards capturing the moment, by taking a photo showing those three boys on bikes, loco K191 with its driver leaning out of the cab, and the weatherboard station building in the background.
K191 at Heathcote, 2 Nov 1966. Photo: Ned Weiser
It would be just 13 days later that USA’s astronauts Lovell and Aldrin would complete the last Gemini space mission!
Two years later, Nov 1968, the remaining section of the former cross country railway would be closed to traffic, followed later by all the Station and Goods buildings plus water tanks being demolished, rails lifted, turntable removed, and the elevated platform area ‘flatten’ to level ground. Nearly 47 years later, the O’Keefe Rail Trail would be extended past this very same area!
This rail trail’s installed 19th century replica station name board ‘Heathcote’ and interpretive board are all that identifies what once was an important transport hub for Heathcote’s community, yet the rail trail is now a popular attraction providing economic benefits for the town.
O’Keefe Rail Trail’s station name board and interpretive sign. Photo: Garry Long
The Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore Rail Trail would love to hear about stories or receive photos that relate to the former railway, perhaps recounting the passenger rail service’s Walker railmotor arriving or picking up at Heathcote, Argyle station, Tooborac station, and a number of other stations along the way to Heathcote Junction and Wallan. Or recalling stories heard being told by railway employees, who once lived in Heathcote. Information can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, FB, Messenger, or PO Box 578 Bendigo Vic 3552.