Glen Innes History: Recalling the busy comings and goings of the station

Vital link: The approach to the Railway Station C 920s.
Vital link: The approach to the Railway Station C 920s.

Jean Rendell, then Jean Mangleson, worked in the Railway Refreshment Rooms in 1928:

"Two trains went up to Brisbane in the early hours of the morning, six days a week. There was the Express followed in half-an-hour by the Mail.

"The Glen Innes Passenger came in at 2pm and departed at 5pm.

"The Express and the Mail came thundering in again each night at 8.50pm and 9.20pm, bound for Sydney from Brisbane.

"...When the train came in the din was unimaginable. There was the manager beating on an iron bar hanging outside the bar door making a sound like the old railway-gate's alarm gone mad.

"... No woman ever put her foot inside the bar, except the manager's wife, who served.

"...The fare was good and cheap. The coffee made in a big iron pot on the kitchen range from grounds in a muslin bag, with a little mustard and salt added and half hot milk cost threepence (2 1/2 cents) as did meat pies, sliced fruit, cake sandwiches and thick buttered toast - all well worth battling for.

"It was always a frantic ten minutes.

"...on payment of a deposit and receipt of a ticket it was possible to take the cup and saucer and whatever beverage on the train. The voucher with the cup and saucer would be handed in at the next refreshment rooms along the line to receive the deposit back.

"The cups and saucers were of splendid quality heavy ironstone china monogrammed with RRR, made to withstand rough handling.

"The doors opened half-an-hour before a train was due and then the customers would start, departing passengers and friends, taxi drivers, rival Inverell bus proprietors [Glenister and Makenzie owned a Fageol and Col Pedlow had the Black and White] and their barrackers for bus custom, standing on a winter's night around the coal fire warmed by a fragrant cup of coffee, often laced with rum from the bar..."

From A New England Kaleidoscope by Jean Rendell, 1999.

If only more people would record their reminiscences! It can be easily recorded on a mobile phone with ephemeral emails instead of written, stamped and posted letters, photos rarely printed out... so much personal history is being lost.

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