Grandchester railway station
|Population||504 (2011 census)|
|LGA(s)||City of Ipswich|
|State electorate(s)||Electoral district of Ipswich West
Electoral district of Lockyer
Grandchester is a town in the Lockyer Valley region in South East Queensland, Australia. It is located 76 kilometres (47 mi) west of the Brisbane CBD and is situated on the border of the Ipswich and Laidley local government areas. The name derives from the old English name for bigge (Grand) and camp (Chester), which was the initial name of the locality, and suggested by the wife of the Governor of the day when the railway opened. At the 2006 census, Grandchester had a population of 504.
Grandchester was the initial terminus of the first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world. The first track opened to traffic on 31 July 1865 from Ipswich, as the Queensland Government was keen to prove the viability of its controversial 'pony railway'. The construction of the Victoria Tunnel through the Little Liverpool Range to the west of Grandchester was behind schedule, and so although it served a very small population, Bigges Camp (as it was initially known) became the terminus for 10 months, until the line was extended to Gatton. The original railway station, including the former Station Master's residence, still exists.
Grandchester Post Office opened on 1 January 1866 after the arrival of the railway and closed in 1978.
Grandchester is the home of one of the last known surviving steam-powered flat-belt sawmills in Australia. The engine powering it was manufactured in 1908, and the mill has been in operation from 1945. It was destroyed by a fire, sometime in the early hours of 6 May 2007.
Work on the long process of restoring the mill to its former glory started almost immediately in the days following the fire. The mill is operating once again with work still continuing on the restoration. This will ensure that this important piece of history is preserved for the generations that follow.
Grandchester has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Franklin Vale Road: Franklyn Vale Homestead
- Ipswich Road: Grandchester Railway Complex
- Symes Street: Grandchester Sawmills
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Grandchester (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- (8 February 2004). Grandchester. Sydney Morning Herald.
- Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, July, 1965 pp121-136
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- Grandchester Sawmill fire. Ipswich City Council Media Release. 9 May 2007.
- History of Heritage Listed Grandchester Sawmill. Grandchester sawmill. Retrieved 4 July 2013
- "Franklyn Vale Homestead (entry 15503)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
- "Grandchester Railway Complex (entry 15504)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
- "Grandchester Sawmills (entry 15505)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
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