Gunnedah man opens miniature railway exhibit at Gunnedah Rural Museum

Don McDonagh’s iconic miniature railway has started a new chapter at Gunnedah Rural Museum.

The railway was unveiled at the museum’s open day on Sunday. Mr McDonagh expressed his gratitude to the museum volunteers for bringing his trains back to life, reflecting on the day fire damaged the set in 2014.

Don McDonagh with his train set at his Barber Street home, which was destroyed by fire in 2014.

Don McDonagh with his train set at his Barber Street home, which was destroyed by fire in 2014.

“I was in Tamworth Hospital when told about the fire and that my trains had been damaged,” he said.

“I thought to myself, what have I got to go home to? It was a very dark time for me.”

Mr McDonagh donated his set to the museum in 2015 and upon seeing the new display he was filled with joy.

“I couldn’t be prouder if a statue of me had been erected on top of the town hall,” he said.

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He also presented a railway bell from Central Station, Sydney, to museum president Ian Guest. The bell will be installed near the new exhibit.

Exhibit Project officer Owen Tydd said some of the trains in Mr McDonagh’s set were still being restored, and there was still some “window-dressing” to be done.


Don McDonagh – Donation of railway, track & buildings

Michael Broekman – Namoi Valley Bricks, donation of bricks & pavers

Tim Mackeller – MEX, donation of crusher dust

Lindsay Allen – concreating

Darrell Kingdom – electrical

Chris Cottington – Supply & errection of fencing

Gunnedah Garden Club – advice & plants for landscaping

Museum Members who assisted in construction of railway

Owen Tydd - (minister for mini railways)

Bill O’Gorman - (minster of works)

Rudi Dornmayr - building restoration

Jim Tudgey - building restoration

Narelle Phillips - painting of buildings

Conner Phillips - construction of river

Paul Gruber - earthworks & loan of cement mixer

Natasha Palmer – advice on brick and paver laying

Supply of Labour

Owen Jones

Paul Keast

Pat Gaynor

Ross Hayes

Brian Sampson

Lionel Hockley

Bruce Hosie

Geoff Phillips

Phil Schutz


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