Tribute to a PioneerReg McCallum

Reg McCallum and his late friend, Kevin Allery, were pioneers in the development of Rail Trails in Queensland, opening the first rail trail in Queensland over the Blackbutt Range from Linville to Blackbutt at Linville on 2 June 2006.  In November Reg accepted a Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation Achievement Award for their efforts. Right: Country Focus, 10/11/2006, page 1

On 22 January 2007 the Deputy Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, announced immediate government funding for three rail trails in Queensland.  This concept was developed from the Regional Trails Strategy prepared as a partnership between State and local governments and the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation: Reg and Kevin were both Nanango councillors at this time and had won a QORF award two months before the announcement.  Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the trails to be funded immediately was the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail that involved, “converting the disused Brisbane Valley Railway into a 140-kilometre recreational trail from Ipswich to Blackbutt”.

Reg McCallum

This trail has now been extended from Ipswich to the railway terminus at Yarraman with additional support from the South Burnett and Toowoomba regional councils but the whole trail had not been completed by June, 2017.  A 30k section within the Somerset region between Toogoolawah on the Brisbane Valley Highway and Moore on the D’Aguilar Highway remains undeveloped.

Reg McCallum served on the advisory committee for the rail trail’s development and was the inaugural chair of the Ambassadors of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail who maintain the trail in the South Burnett region on behalf of the regional council.  Over the last ten years Reg has offered his considerable talents to the many large groups who now regularly use the BVRT for their annual events. His memory of the region over the last 90 years has also served as the stimulus for most of the interpretive signage along the trail.

Above: Reg McCallum on the trail, 2010

Reg presents himself, with some authenticity, as the “Battling Bushie” or perhaps a horseman of considerable repute depending on his audience.  Only once in living memory, as far as we can discover, did he wear his Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for visiting royalty and we don’t expect to see it on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail any time soon.  We hope to see its recipient, however, for many years to come.

Reg McCallum is a Life Member of Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails and we are privileged to work with him.  On behalf of our members and those who derive so much pleasure from the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, we salute a pioneer and join the many Queenslanders who are proud to walk, ride and cycle in his footsteps. Above: Kevin Allery, centre Linville Sation 2007

Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails 

Stonehouse Moore in the fogBrisbane Valley Heritage Trails is committed to recording the history of the Brisbane Valley featuring the routes forged through the Valley the pioneers. These include the stock routes, mail and coach routes, rail trails, timber trails, heritage buildings tour and the wine trails. 

To date our efforts have focussed on the old stock routes, the rail trails and a tour of heritage buildings from Coominya to Nanango. 

Colinton HutThe original stock routes from the Brisbane Valley to the Newmarket sale yards were described in a folk song, "The Drover" first published in 1891, and now known as 'The Brisbane Ladies'. The cattle and sheep came from the Brisbane Valley through Toowong, past the still remaining Regatta Hotel and along Coronation Drive to Newmarket. After their sale the drovers returned through Caboolture, Kilcoy, Colinton and Yarraman to Nanango. There were no less than five stock routes out of Nanango that was the gateway to the South Burnett.  
Railway Bridge Harlin 1910
The rail trail in the Brisbane Valley links Wulkaraka (first called the Brisbane Valley Junction) just west ofIpswich with Yarraman that served as the terminus. It passed through Fernvale, Lowood, Esk, Ottaba, Toogoolawah, Yimbun, Moore. Linville, Benarkin and Blackbutt, with many smaller sidings along the way. It was commenced in October 1882. This was always a blind rail line, only carrying produce up and down the Brisbane Valley, in spite of constant agitation to link with Cooyar or Nanango. 

Inside Linville Railway StationIt was the quickest link for perishable produce from Nanango, so there was a well patronised bus and trucking service from there to Yarraman as long as the rail line remained open. Similarly farmers from Goombungee and Cooyar were necessarily linked to Yarraman by the trucking services that would eventually put the rail line out of business. The Brisbane Valley Rail Line was permanently closed in 1989. The last Ipswich to Yarraman steam train ran on 29 November 1969.  

Colinton War Memorial MonumentThe heritage buildings about the Brisbane Valley were usually homesteads built by the large property owners to house their families towards the end of the nineteenth century. They have replaced the moremodest accommodation of the pioneers except for the Colinton Shepherd's Hut. The tour includes Bellevue Homestead; Esk Heritage House; St. Andrew's Anglican Church, Toogoolawah, Caboonbah Homestead and Church; Cressbrook Homestead and Church and Stonehouse, none of which are open to the public; Colinton War Memorial; Linville Railway Station and War Memorial; Pioneer Hotel, Linville and Ringsfield House and grounds, Nanango that currently includes the Colinton Hut.