plea for steam pic

Catherine MasseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
People on Ballaarat in Victoria Square 1983-198
Camera IconPeople on Ballaarat in Victoria Square 1983-198 Credit: Busselton-Margaret Times

Busselton, dust off your old photo albums because Ballaarat Room at Railway House needs your help as the 150th anniversary of Australia’s oldest surviving steam engine, the Ballaarat, approaches.

The museum is on the hunt for the full version of the black-and-white photo, pictured, believed to be of students of Busselton Senior High School or St Joseph’s School in 1984.

If found, the photo will be used in a special exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary next year.

City of Busselton Cultural development officer Jacquie Happ said the exhibition would record the memories and photographs of people who had interacted with the engine over the years.

“If people have photographs we would love to see them and include them in our exhibition which will be in August next year,” Ms Happ said.

Ballaarat arrived in WA from Victoria in 1871 and was the first steam locomotive operating in the State, hauling timber 20 kilometres between Yoganup and Wonnerup before the Maryvale mill closed in 1887.

The closure of the mill caused the locomotive to fall into decline and City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said it was a combination of luck and tenacity by heritage and engine enthusiasts that the Ballaarat still existed today.

“The Ballaarat was in service less than 40 years after the first settlers arrived in the region, making it one of Busselton’s oldest and most significant references to our early industry,” Mr Henley said.

In March 2017 Ballaarat was restored to its former glory and exhibited in a dedicated room at Railway House on Busselton Foreshore along with displays on the region’s early timber industry.

If you have any information on the photo or memories to add to the exhibition, contact Jacquie.

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