VIDEOS & PHOTOS | Gunnedah Rural Museum creates exhibit for iconic miniature railway

Gunnedah Rural Museum is hard at work on two projects, which will be ready for its open day in September.

For two years, museum members have been busy designing and building a new exhibit to showcase the well-known miniature railway and village from Don McDonagh’s front yard.

Mr McDonagh donated his much-loved treasure to the museum in 2015. The set was damaged by fire in 2014.

Don McDonagh with his iconic miniature railway at his former residence in Barber Street.

Don McDonagh with his iconic miniature railway at his former residence in Barber Street.

The new exhibit will feature two trains, a bridge, a river, a station and a village. The village is being refreshed by Narelle Phillips, and her son Connor is helping with the design.

Musuem member and project manager, Owen Tydd, said the station was being made by fellow member, Ruddy Dormyer. There will also be a goods yard with an open shed and crane.

Owen Tydd and Bill Barry chat about the museum's new projects.

“It’s going to have some of the features of Gunnedah [station],” Mr Tydd said.

In the past year, a low brick wall, fencing, a foot bridge and a viewing area have been installed, along with the railway track and a long miniature shed, which will house the trains. Landscaping will also be carried out with the assistance of Gunnedah Garden Club.

Mr Tydd has been testing the trains this week to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“We’re just chasing the little bugs out of it, but I think we’ve got most of them,” he said.

“From now on, it’s just window dressing.”

Don McDonagh (right) pops out to see the trains in action. He is pictured with Owen Tydd. Photo: Cate Clark

Don McDonagh (right) pops out to see the trains in action. He is pictured with Owen Tydd. Photo: Cate Clark

The exhibit had a special visitor on Friday morning – Mr McDonagh himself.

“He was really thrilled,” Mr Tydd said.

“He said, ‘If you erected a monument on top of the mountain, it would be no better’.”

Among other visitors was a family with four kids who were keen to see the trains going.

“We fired them up. They were delighted, the little kids running around. It was great,” Mr Tydd said.

The museum is also making progress on a second project for open day – a sixth display shed.

A new display shed is being erected at Gunnedah Rural Museum.

A new display shed is being erected at Gunnedah Rural Museum.

Recycled materials are in use and the work is being carried out by locals through Work for the Dole. 

Museum member Bill Barry said the shed will house mostly agricultural machinery that has been sitting out in the weather because of lack of interior space.

“The shed will be full the day it’s finished,” Mr Barry said.

“There’s just so much stuff here.”

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