14 April 2009

The University of Queensland-sponsored Q150 Steam Train departs Ipswich today (Tuesday, April 14), embarking on a journey that will span five months and visit more than 30 Queensland communities.

The heritage-listed steam train’s trip is part of a year-long celebration of Queensland’s 150th anniversary of becoming a state.

On the train will be a UQ staff member and a postgraduate student, who will be collecting information for the Queensland Places Project, an initiative that aims to construct an interactive community website devoted to settlements with present or past populations of 500 or more people.

UQ Master of Philosophy student Janet Spillman, who will ride the steam train’s first sector from Brisbane to Rockhampton, said she was looking forward to chronicling Queensland’s past through her role in the project.

“We expect that Queenslanders who took their cameras on holidays between the 1950s and 1980s will have a treasure trove of images from all over Queensland,” Ms Spillman said.

“Its an exciting opportunity to collect images that bring Queensland's history to life.”

The Queensland Places Project is seeking contributions of colour slides and captions of Queensland towns to include on the website.

Professor Peter Spearritt, who is in charge of the project, said staff were looking for slides depicting distinctive landscapes, events, forms of transport, buildings or something unusual about the place.

The Q150 Train journey is open to members of the public and will correspond with community events in the towns it visits.

The journey is divided into six sectors and visits places such as Cairns, Mt Isa, Quilpie and Toowoomba.

Ms Spillman, who will travel to collect images during the train’s journey, said she had a special connection to regional Queensland and steam train travel.

She grew up west of Hughenden and relied on trains for transport, especially during the wet season.

“I remember long trips by steam train between Brisbane and Townsville, then out west to Hughenden,” she said.

“On one memorable occasion, I bought the wrong ticket and found myself on the milk train – it took nearly two days to get to Townsville, and when I arrived, my hair was very sooty!”

For more information about the Q150 Train, visit http://www.q150.qld.gov.au/CelebrationHighlights/q150Train.aspx

For more on the Queensland Places Project, contact Julia Fielding (07 3365 1399 or j.fielding@uq.edu.au on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) or Dr Marion Stell (07 3365 6337 or m.stell@uq.edu.au).

Media: Tegan Taylor at UQ Communications (07 3365 2659)