Thursday, March 14, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

How A Rail Turntable Is Now Part Of A Mountain Bike Trail

In 1886 The Kungurri turntable was built by Cowans Sheldon in England.  It is a 40ft turntable and its job number was 1492.  There were two turntables shipped to Australia back in the day. The sister turntable now resides down south and there are now only a handful of these still working in Australia.

Councillor Alison Jones shared how this piece of history found its way to the Finch Hatton mountain bike trails.

“I remember in my previous term of council former Cr Dave Perkins mentioning that he and the Pioneer Valley Rotary Club were taking a look at it and thinking about how it could be repurposed,” Cr Jones shared.

“Years later here I am in a briefing about the Mountain Bike Trails and design of the Finch Hatton Trailhead and the Director Jim Carless says, ‘We really need a piece of large equipment that is representative of the valley from years gone by’ and so I had a quiet chat with Cr Bonaventura and contacted Dave Perkins to see where I needed to find out more information about the turn table.”

Mackay Sugar had the turntable stored in a yard after it was removed to allow for a road widening.

“With all the people we had called to get the information, we had created a following which we called the KTTG and this small group were on-site checking it out and were keen to help Mackay Sugar restore her,” Cr Jones said.

Councillors Bonaventura and Jones approached Mr Carless, who agreed that using the KTT as a feature in the trailhead would be a fitting tribute to its heritage.

KTTG are now trying to gather the stories to be documented on-site.  

“Last year, one of my Facebook posts on the KTTG attracted a comment from Albert Ramsamy, who at the age of 14 said he used to turn the rail motor on the turntable back in the day. These were exactly the stories we needed,” Cr Jones said.

While the turntable is locked, the KTTG are hoping that once a year they may be able to run a challenge to see who can turn the table the fastest.

Caption: Members of the Kungurri Turntable Group on-site at the Mountain Bike Trailhead in Finch Hatton during the installation of the historic turntable. Photo supplied: Alison Jones

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