Rosewood History ©

Accident at the Rosewood Level Crossing 1937 (1925 Chevrolet)
Photo courtesy of Spencer Yarrow


19th March 1908 – Driver Collapsed
The Sydney mail train had just drawn clear of Rosewood Railway Station and was proceeding slowly when the driver (James Davidson) said to the fireman, “Come on Jim” and suddenly collapsed and fell from the engine. The fireman immediately stopped the train. Davidson, who was found to be in an unconscious condition, was taken to the mail compartment. The fireman drove the train to Ipswich, where he driver of the local train, timed to leave for Brisbane five minutes after the mail train, assumed charge. An officer of the Ipswich branch of the Ambulance Brigade accompanied Davidson to Brisbane. Dr John Thomson and the Ambulance Brigade met the train on its arrival at the Roma-street Station. By that time howeve,r the driver had recovered sufficiently, to be taken to his residence at Red Hill by some friends.

4th October 1911 – During shunting operations at Rosewood, Porter Howman met with an accident which necessitated the loss of the foot. It was not clear how the accident happened. The station master said he was holding the points, and Howman must have been standing on the rod of a waggon and slipped and the wheel passed over his foot.

12th July 1913 – Rosewood. A railway accident occurred at 6.30 p.m. when the Mulgowie train was partly derailed on the points at the western end of the railway yard. Fortunately the train, under Driver Byrne and Guard Hardgrave, was proceeding cautiously into the middle road, the points having been previously set by the assistant stationmaster, Mr. W. Nock. From appearances the first waggon to split the points was a big loaded C.M. from Paree to Roma street. This was the third waggon from the engine, and the two intervening waggons were also slightly derailed. The accident was sufficient to block the main line for a time. However, Mr. J. R. Allen (chief stationmaster) and his assistant cleared the cattle siding promptly. The Sydney mail, as well as other passenger trains, were able to cross without any serious delay. For some reason the Marburg train was delayed at Walloon for some considerable time, and this caused a good deal of inconvenience. The breakdown gang from Ipswich was soon on the spot, and the waggons were placed on the rails. The work of righting the line, which had been pulled out of position, was attended to by Ganger Reddan, and the necessary repairs were effected during the day.

24th August 1913 – The passenger train from Toowoomba arriving here about 8.30 p.m. met with a mishap at the same spot as that at which the Mulgowie train was derailed a few weeks ago. The tender and one carriage were derailed. The pilot engine from Grandchester was sent for, and had the train ready to leave for Ipswich on the arrival of the breakdown gang. The train left here three hours late. The mixed train from Brisbane to Toowoomba was similarly delayed owing to the line being blocked. On close inspection after the accident the inter-locking gear was found to be in order. The line was put in order early to-day by Ganger Reddan and his party.

23rd September 1915 – Alexander James Lawlor’s dead body was found on the rail way line on the 23rd of September between Rosewood and Thagoona.  Magisterial Inquiry

1st January 1921 – While engaged in shunting operations on Saturday morning, James Noonan, a porter at the Rosewood railway station, had his hand caught in the coupling, the two middle fingers being severely crushed. He was attended by Dr. Wallace.

18th March 1921 – Ethel Wagner, aged 12, from Mill Street, Rosewood, was run over by the Marburg train at the railway level crossing, Rosewood, on the night of March 18th and subsequently died. She was the younger daughter of Mr & Mrs Martin Wagner and a pupil of Rosewood State School. Ethel left home about 7p.m. with the intention of attending the mission in St Brigid’s Church. When she reached the level crossing close by to the sawmill, she was knocked down by the Marburg train.     Magisterial Inquiry

10th May 1923 – A fire broke out at Calvert in a railway wagon loaded with lucerne chaff, and resulted in the total destruction of 160 bags of chaff, and in the wagon being badly damaged. Thomas Edward Tilley was the driver. Thomas Arthur Byrnes, the railway guard, had charge of the train. It was loaded with goods and left Ipswich on that morning for Grandchester. The train arrived at Calvert about 1.5 p.m. Just prior to leaving, Edward Loftus Barrett, the fireman, alerted Tom Byrnes to smoke coming from the bottom of a carriage. They had a look at the wagon and as soon as they removed the sheeting the flames burst out from the bags of chaff. The fire seemed to originate at the bottom of the wagon and was not caused by a “hot box.” With some difficulty, they removed the wagon from the main line, and from danger of the fire spreading to a wood mill nearby. They and left the wagon in the charge of Ganger Peck and his men, who had come to the spot. They then took the train to Grandchester.

24th July 1925 A peculiar accident occurred at the Rosewood railway station. The council’s new roller, driven by Mr. A. Freeman, was being drawn on to the weighbridge to be weighed when it crashed through the bridge completely destroying it. Fortunately, the horses had just passed over the bridge.

25th July 1925 – A fatality was narrowly averted at the level crossing near the Rosewood railway station when one of the numerous motor trucks, which are constantly running between the wood mills and the railway station, was struck by a “down” goods train. A lady passenger and the driver of the truck had a narrow escape from serious injury. The truck, which was owned by Mr. E. Hughes, was being driven by one of his employees, who had brought in a load of wood to be consigned to the city, and was returning from the goods shed to Mr. Hughes’ wood mill. It was preceded by another motor truck, which had just negotiated the crossing. The driver of the second truck evidently failed to note the “stop” signal or the close proximity of a downward train, and had not crossed the rails when the truck was struck by a passing goods train. The engine caught the rear end of the truck and swung it on to its side. The lady was thrown across the “up” cattle grids, and the driver was also ousted from his seat. The train was immediately brought to a standstill. Beyond suffering from severe shock and bruises, the occupants of the truck received no further injuries. Some damage was done to the truck. The serious consequences which might have attended the accident drew the public’s attention to the necessity of exercising particular caution at this busy crossing.

24th May 1926 – When engaged in shunting at the local railway station, Mr. V. D. O’Sullivan had his foot badly crushed between a truck and the ramp of the platform. He was attended by Dr. Wallace and the Ambulance conveyed him to the Ipswich Hospital for treatment. He had only commenced duty as a porter at Rosewood station the week before.

7th July 1926 – 6 p.m. Passengers on the Warwick Mail train known as “the sweeper” were alarmed when the train crashed through the railway gates on the Toowoomba side of Calvert at 6.10p.m.. The passengers were greatly alarmed and many women screamed with fright. Almost every carriage was scored for its entire length by the steel parts of the large double gates, in some places two inches deep. The guard had a fortunate escape, as flying wreckage struck the door just by him when he was looking out. The steel catch of the gate caught in the engine’s steam pipe and it took half an hour to effect temporary repairs. The loco managed to limp through Lanefield to Rosewood, where a message was sent to Ipswich, for another engine. One eventually came from Brisbane.

14th April 1929 – A sad fatality occurred at Rosewood when Michael Roy (“Tup”) Farrell (26), youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Farrell, was accidentally run over and killed by a train at the Rosewood Railway Station. On Saturday he represented the local collieries at a meeting held in Ipswich and in the evening journeyed to Grandchester, where he attended a concert and dance. He returned to Rosewood in company with other passengers by the goods train, reaching here at about 1.30 a.m. Mr. A. Roberts, of the Railway Department, who was on duty at that hour, was about to leave the station shortly after 4 o’clock when, by the light of his lantern, he observed the mutilated body of a man on the line about half-way between the office and the over-bridge. It is not known how the fatality occurred, but it was surmised that Farrell, on leaving the station some time after the departure of the train, was struck by a goods train which followed. Dr. Wallace, Sergt Tighe, and. Rev. Father O’Rourke attended the scene immediately and rendered what assistance was possible.

10th May 1937 – Rosewood Level Crossing Smash. Train and Car Collide
Four passengers in a motor car had a miraculous escape from serious injury at Rosewood when their vehicle crashed into a goods train which was shunting at the level crossing in the main street about 5.30 o’clock. The car was carried along by the train for about 10 or 15 yards, and came to rest on a cattle grid, a heap of wreckage. Mr. Herman Wendt, with his wife and his daughter Miss Vera Wendt and Mr. Norman Wells, all of Rosewood, was driving along the road which runs parallel with the railway line. He was crossing the rails and going out of Rosewood in the direction of Sloane’s Hotel and had to make a right-angled turn. Owing to the fact that the blinds of the car were down, he did not see the warning light at the crossing or the shunting train or hear the shout of the guard. The car collided with a truck and was carried across the road and thrown clear of the rails. The sound of the crash soon drew a crowd to the scene, and there were many present to help extricate the occupants of the car. Though they received a shock, the only injury was sustained by Mrs. Wendt, who suffered abrasions to an ankle. After medical examination the occupants of the wrecked car were taken to Lanefield by Mr. Norman Ruhno.

31st July 1941 – Car and Mail Train Collide at Rosewood.
Two men, George Sellars, about 62 years, a farmer, and his son, Alfred, 23 years, had a remarkable escape from serious injury when their car collided with the Sydney mail train at the Rosewood level crossing about 5.20 p.m.. They were returning to their home at Rosevale. They were admitted to the Ipswich General Hospital suffering from shock and bruises.

Several people witnessed the accident and the noise was heard for a considerable distance. Sergeant F. N. Aspinall was standing on the verandah of the Court House and saw the car turn from Railway-street and go towards the crossing. He then saw Mr. C. Greet, who was standing near the crossing, raise his hand to warn the motorists to stop, but apparently they did not see the signal. The car had almost cleared the line when the engine of the express train struck the back of it.

Both men were flung from the vehicle, which was hurled about 30yds along the line. The driver of the train immediately stopped the train and Sergeant Aspinall and members of the railway staff rushed to the scene. The injured men were carried to the School of Arts nearby, where the local Ambulance attendant, Mr. H. J. Connolly rendered first-aid. Mr. Sellars sen. regained consciousness before the Ipswich ambulance arrived. He was treated for a severe injury to the right shoulder. He also had several teeth knocked out and was severely shocked. His son had injuries to the chest, a bruised left forearm and suffered from shock.

The car, which was a steel bodied sedan, and was driven by Alfred Sellars, was extensively damaged on the driver’s side. The bumper bars, both doors, running board, and mud guards were twisted, and the steering wheel, up against which the driver was thrown, was also smashed.

Sergeant Aspinall and a number of helpers afterwards cleared the wreckage from the line. The train was held up for about 7 minutes.

31st January 1943 – Thomas Matthew Baker (47) died from injuries received at the Calvert railway station the after being knocked by a train.

28th March 1946 – Michael Rody Ahearn, of Mt. Walker, died after having been injured as a result of a collision at the Rosewood level crossing between the car in which he and his daughter Joan were riding and the Brisbane bound mail train. It accursed at 6.11 p.m. Michael died in Ipswich hospital that night and Joan survived her serious injuries.

There were no gates, but a warning signal was operated by the station master. Thomas James Ruffles, of Newmarket, an engine-driver, sounded the whistle as he approached the crossing. “Just as I was about to go across a car shot in front,” he said. “I suppose it was a couple of feet in front of my engine when I caught sight of it. I applied the brakes, but heard a grating sound. When I pulled up, I came back. I found a man and woman lying near the crossing. I saw a crumpled-up car near the crossing.”  Read about it here.


Derailment at Marburg, Ipswich, 1948
Photo: Picture Ipswich

1st March 1948  Marburg Smash. Guard Leaps for Life from Runaway Train. [Queensland Times, Tuesday 2 March 1948, page 1]
A guard miraculously escaped serious injury in a leap for life from a speeding, run-away, engineless train at Marburg at 7.20 o’clock last night. He had travelled five miles in a nightmare ride from Tallegalla, down a steep grade, and across three level crossings. He was the only person aboard.

The string of five coal hoppers (carrying 100 tons of coal), the guard’s van, and a water gin, careered through the Marburg goods yards, smashed through a stop block and fence, and crossed Louisa-street to be stopped by a 5 foot embankment.

The guard left the van just before it crashed through the gates at the railway crossing on the Lockyer-Darling Downs Highway at Marburg, along which there is usually a continuous stream of heavy traffic. Fortunately the road was clear. The guard, David Bolter (45), married, of Rowland Terrace, Ipswich, suffered only a large lacerated wound to his left cheek, abrasions and contusions to the forehead and face, abrasions to his right hand and forearm, and severe shock. He stated later that he heard trucks on the road, and fearing a collision jumped from the guard’s van. Bolter staggered to Proudlock’s store, and was taken to Matron Sirois for medical attention.

Train was Shunting
It is understood that the waggons were attached to an engine which had just commenced shunting at Tallegalla, having left Marburg for Ipswich late in the afternoon. Bolter later told the police that he had screwed down the brake in the guard’s van, but when it was uncoupled it commenced to run down the grade. Driver of the train was Patrick O’Connell, and the fireman was Selwyn James Beckwith.

Despite the force with which they hit the embankment the waggons are not badly damaged. All are upright, the coal waggons being still on the rails. The buffers of the guard’s van climbed upon to the water gin, which was leading, and the bogies are torn off both units Springs lie on the roadway.

The train was one of the first to run since engine crews resumed duty after being stood down because of the rail strike.

“Cloud of Dust”
Arthur Dixon of Marburg who lives near the goods yard at Marburg said that he was sitting on the front verandah when he saw the train smash through the closed gates at the railway crossing. “The waggons sped past at easily 50 m.p.h., sparks flying from the wheels. As the water gin hit the stop block and tore across the roadway I could not see for the cloud of dust. I thought there might be someone in the carriage and dashed to the scene, but found the compartments empty.”

Mrs. W. J. Wilkes who lives only 50yds. from the scene of the accident, said, “I was sitting down to tea with the six children, when I heard the terrible crash. I didn’t know what had happened.” Late last night the road was still blocked.

12th April 1948 – Engine Derailed Near Marburg
When a breakdown crew was required to assist an engine of a coal train which missed the points and was partly derailed at Kunkala, it was history repeating Itself. On the last occasion, however a few days after the commencement of a strike, no breakdown crew arrived. The engine stood there for about six weeks. This time there were no hitches. The men were on the job quickly, and the engine returned to Ipswich at 11 o’clock that night. No one was injured, and traffic was not held up. The engine left the rails at the same set of points on both occasions during shunting operations.

16th June 1953 – Two men were admitted to the Ipswich General Hospital following a level crossing smash near Marburg at 7.20 a.m. The accident occurred at the Malabar crossing, about two miles beyond Marburg, on the Marburg-Rosewood line. The incident involved an empty goods train and an empty timber truck, to which a trailer was attached. Both vehicles were travelling towards Marburg when the collision took place.

The driver of the truck, Robert Cochran (24), of Marburg, was admitted to hospital with suspected head injuries, a possible fracture of the fight elbow, abrasions to the leg and shock. His passenger, August Kleve (62), of Rosewood, sustained head injuries, a probable fracture of the skull, fractured ribs, lacerated left ear and shock.

The truck which was owned by Roughrigg Colliery, was extensively damaged and was forced 53ft. from the point of impact. Rosewood ambulance conveyed the injured men to the Ipswich hospital. Their condition was later reported as satisfactory.

27th April 1959Derailment at Marburg, Ipswich  Picture Ipswich