Restoring an old Queensland Railway carriage and collecting memorabilia from Queensland Rail to finish the job. The carriage is number 1072, an Evan's Car used in Brisbane suburban services from 1924 through to 1990. Your thoughts, contributions and comments are welcome!
Leaping ahead in the renovation process to the day when we eventually move in and use 1072 as a home away from home. As part of that long-dreamed-of day it is my intention to deck out the carriage with as many period QR bits and pieces as possible and collecting to that end has begun in earnest. That includes crockery, silverware and just about anything else that I can get my hands on.
I picked up these three items as a job lot on Ebay for the astonishing price of $20. In fact the two plates were on offer with the cup thrown in for free because it was stained. A quick wipe with a plastic pot scourer and it came up good as new!
“QRR” stands for “Queensland Refreshment Rooms”. There were a number of these dotted throughout the network in the days of steam at major stops and junctions along the line. The idea was that, as the loco was being refreshed, recoaled and watered, the passengers could do the same with a readily available food and drink service. While there are many fond memories of these rooms there are several contemporary reports complaining that they were expensive and offered poor-quality food in a monopoly situation.
These particular items were made for QR by the famous pottery firm of John Maddock and Sons of Burslem in England. While they are more famous for producing highly decorated fine china, they also had a division specialising in hotel ware. Among their more famous clients was the White Star Line, making all the crockery for the Titanic.
The 1896-1906 mark
One of these marks indicates that the two plates were made between 1896 and 1906 while the mark on the cup has proved to be harder to date and is probably much younger. A list of potters marks as used by John Maddock and Sons can be found here. The plates are 8.5 inches and 8.9 inches in diameter and all have the QRR Crest and a margin of double chequered pattern.
I don't know when this mark refers to
That’s as much as I know about these items and, if you can add more details, please let me know. I’m also after more plates, cups and other QRR crockery so if you have some knocking around that you don’t need, please get in contact with me!
Here's a recent photo looking at the inside of 1072. Specifically this will be the dining area made from two of the original seats. These used to run the full width of the carriage but I shortened them so as to create an aisle down one side of the carriage.
The varnished wall is the bulkhead that will separate the dining area from the bathroom. It's constructed of panels of solid recycled maple given to me by one of my wife's mate Bob set in a frame constructed out of maranti from the local Bunnings. The empty rectangle in the middle of the wall accommodates an original NSWGR pair of photographs of Jenolan Caves; not QR I know but I remember these carriage pics from the trains I caught home from school and, having a geological background, how could I resist this little masterpiece! There's even a good chance that the photographs were originally taken by Frank Hurley.
The side wall shows the toplights that I've had to remake but, unlike the originals, the toplights in the main cabin area have clear glass instead of green or red coloured glass (although we have gone for this touch at either end where the bedrooms will be).
The internal colour scheme is based on colour matches to the original paintwork and inspection of 1074 which has been restored for display at the Ipswich Carriage Works. The best match for the interior yellow is a colour called King's Gold from the British Paints range while the red trim is Deep Indian Red from the Solargard range by Dulux. I didn't appreciate that this is a different colour to the Tuscan Red of the exterior, the closest match I've found being Headlands also from the Solargard range.
It wasn't until after I'd repainted a sizable area inside the carriage with the King's Gold and Deep Indian Red that I realised this was the original state colours for Queensland and the master bedroom was looking like the locker room for the Brisbane Broncos! But once I'd got over this minor shock the effect inside the carriage looks just right. I've also gone for a gloss finish on all interior paints as well as being exterior quality paint.
I'm currently working on a table cut from a single slab of silky oak. More on that in a later post. You can also make out a little bit of the original floor which I had professionally sanded and coated earlier this year.
This blog is all about collecting items once owned by or manufactured for Queensland Railways. I welcome contributions from any other collectors of QR material out there to share their knowledge and expertise here.
Personally, I started collecting QR when I purchased a 1924 Evans Car in 2005. My intention is to restore the carriage (number 1072) to a condition suitable for a holiday home for my family but, in the process, I've been collecting whatever original QR material I can find (and afford!) to fit her out with.
While collecting QR memorabilia it has become apparent that there is very little information readily available on various items and I hope to start a repository of such information here that will be of interest and use to other collectors and those interested in railway memorabilia.
So welcome to the Collecting QR blog! I hope that you find something interesting here and invite you to add your knowledge and expertise to this fascinating area of collecting.
1072 before I got her. She's standing in the back-blocks of Ipswich Carriage Works, neglected for the best part of a decade and about to be auctioned off. A friend at Zig Zag Railway took this pic.
A more up-to-date shot with renovations in full swing. Currently she's standing in a relo's sheep paddock near Wellington but we're hoping to move her closer to Sydney so that we can work on her more easily.