Pete’s Hobby Railway joins, with other rail enthusiast groups and the rest of Australia, in mourning the passing, last Wednesday evening (August 21, 2019) at the age of 73, of former Deputy Prime Minister and long-time railway “tragic” The Hon. Tim Fischer AC from acute myeloid leukaemia.
As patron of the local Junee Rhythm n Rail Festival, Tim was in town on Friday 9th March last year to officially launch the 2018 Festival at a small ceremony at the Junee Roundhouse Museum. He had brought along his “gold-plated” Eureka HO model 60 class Beyer Garratt… which he left behind after the ceremony (but it was quickly returned to him once “discovered”!). Nicholas Pyers, as President of Rhythm n Rail, presented Mr Fischer with a timber plaque reading “With appreciation to our Festival Patron The Hon. Tim Fischer AC on the Tenth Anniversary of the Junee Rhythm n Rail Festival – March 9th to 11th, 2018.”
After the Opening Ceremony, Tim visited Pete’s Hobby Railway, which was just around the corner from the Roundhouse and just happened to have “Torpedo”, Hunslet B/n 1187 of 1915, in steam. Within minutes of his arrival, he was in the cab with Matt, and as Acting Fireman, was soon releasing the handbrake for a departure from Loftus station. After posing for photos and signing one his books for Phil and Josh, he was off to his next appointment in his busy schedule, but carrying a souvenir of Pete’s Hobby Railway — a small grease patch on his trousers!
My last meeting with the great man was on Sunday 21st July this year, when the “Tim Fischer Riverina Special” operated from Albury to Boree Creek and return on behalf of the Albury Wodonga Cancer Centre — which benefitted from this LVR operated train. Whilst at Boree Creek, the Federation Council renamed the local park adjacent to the former station as the Tim Fischer Community Park.
In a fitting tribute, Lachlan Valley Railway Society has arranged for its three CPH rail motors to operate on Thursday morning (29th August) as a funeral train with his coffin from The Rock to Albury, prior to the State Funeral commencing at 1300 hours at the Albury Entertainment Centre.
On behalf of all the team here at Pete’s Hobby Railway, we express our condolences to the Fischer family. RIP Tim Fischer 03/05/1946 –- 21/08/2019