When the package was opened there was a black Trainbuilders box inside, even more strange. Opening the box I found a brass round water tank and a plaster round brick stand, now this had a few questions running through my mind. What was a VR water tower doing being delivered to me? Who sent it? Why was it sent to me? Is this for a AMRM review?
Further examination of the box revealed an unsigned letter and a USB thumb drive. The letter said that the sender had noticed that my Bylong station yard didn't have any steam watering facilities and that this water tower would fit the bill. The letter also explained that the brass round water tank was from a Trainbuilder model of a VR round water tank that looked very similar to a style that had been built in NSW in the period 1892-93. A master of the brick tower base had been built in polystyrene from plans and information in the Australian Journal of Railway Modelling issue 9 and Byways of Steam issue 2. Also included on the USB drive were ten photos by Graeme Henderson of the water tower at Meranburn.
Intriguing, OK so who sent me this?
Examination of the packaging showed that it was post marked Glen Innes NSW. Right, that narrowed it down. At this point Christine said, "It must be from Rohan".
As some of you who follow the Bolivia blog would have worked out by now it was from Rohan Fergusson.
See Rohan's recent blog post here.
I contacted Rohan and he owned up and said that had purposely not signed the latter, wishing to remain anonymous. I thanked him of course and we had a discussion about the various styles of round water tanks with brick bases that were built as the rail network stretched out across the state and how he painted the brickwork and cast iron water tank (see Rohan's blog post).
Now another part of the discussion was that Rohan had inadvertently thrown the back story of my layout back about 20 years to 1892-93. About 1910-11 there was a push by locals to get a railway line but this didn't eventuate until the early 1980's when White Industries was given the contract to build the line from Sandy Hollow to Gulgong to extract coal from a mine at Ulan. I had decided in about 1978 that I would build a layout based on the non-fact that the line had been built after successful lobbying by the locals. This was the basis for the one station Bylong layout that was exhibited by the South Coast Shunters and Muddlers, a small group consisting of Peter Malone (my brother-in-law now into hot rods), Terry Flynn, Paul Morecom, Christine and myself. Christine suggested that we exhibit the layout and we successfully exhibited at several exhibitions winning a number of trophies, AMRA NSW 1979 Most Popular layout, AMRA NSW 1980 Most Popular layout, AMRA NSW 1980 Best Layout and another from a North Shore exhibition (Epping Club I think) in about 1980 that later fell and broke so I removed the etched award plate that I now can't find (must look for it, it will still be around). This group was the nucleus of a group that grew as meetings were held at my place until the early 1990's when it moved to Ron Cunningham's place and became the Ramblers.
Anyway back to our discussion,as we talked I realised that I had thrown the timeline back even further as I had introduced a riveted cast iron water tank to my Bylong layout in 2015. This water tank is at Cassilis and it was based on a plan I have dated 1885, so I had actually tripped myself up!
Here are photos of the Cassilis water tank and one of a possible placement for Rohan's brick round water tank at Bylong.
|3D printed riveted cast iron water tank on timber stand at Cassilis
This is an early 4 part pilot model - now printed in one piece but requires a floor
|Rohan's gift, a type 1 round cast iron water tank on a brick stand
Now I will have to add water columns and perhaps an ash pit or two, oh well, I will put it on 'the list'.