What would Andrew O’Keefe be thinking if he was alive today, about the section of railway that his company built under challenging conditions in 1888, to have it closed and all its infrastructure removed after less than 80 years in operation? Or to know that there is a rail trail named after him, which during the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic has seen many more people using it than used his railway?
Not only did Andrew build railways, he also produced food such as it was reported that he had the largest cheese making business in the Colony of Victoria, producing ‘O.K. Cheese’ at his ‘Adelaide Vale’ property at Muskerry near Bendigo.
Based on the attributes of this businessman and the once Strathfieldsaye Shire Councillor, its assumed he would have been chuffed to know that in 2021, there is a wine labelled ‘1888 O’Keefe Trail’ Heathcote Shiraz to complement such cheeses and other dining experiences! Given the opportunity now, the likes of Andrew would be out experiencing the popular O’Keefe Rail Trail by either walking, running, cycling, or just socialising with the chance to enjoy food and wine based on Bendigo a City of Gastronomy.
Would Andrew would be pleased that his name was again being talked about, perhaps at a social dinner occasion, or after the signing of business contracts, even this wine being opened by the winners of a Bendigo Cup horse race? Maybe he would, yet having died in 1904 leaving a wife and 10 children, one can only reflect upon parts of this pioneer’s story!