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Published July 8th 2013
Colonial railway history in two states at once
Wallangarra and Jennings are QLD and NSW's other 'twin towns'
Tweed heads and Coolangatta are not the only towns considered to be 'twin towns' which share the New South Wales and Queensland border. Located atop the Great Dividing Range on Queensland's Granite Belt is the town of Wallangarra (3 Hours from Brisbane) and nearby Jennings in New South Wales, which share the same historical railway station and an equally interesting history.
The train line from Brisbane reached Wallangarra in 1887, and the northern railway line from Sydney reached Jennings the next year. This was a hugely exciting development for people travelling between the two states as it finally meant rail travel was possible between both cities.
Note the two different awnings on each side. The two state colonies of NSW and QLD could not agree on the design which stayed consistent to the designs of other stations of the era. (image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Because of the different train line infrastructure used (known as a break of gauge) all passengers were required to change trains at Wallangarra/Jennings making the major station a popular meeting point and landmark for the twin towns. Passengers often had to wait lengthy periods while wool, mail and even circus equipment had to be transferred.
Since the two state colonies could not agree on the design of the station and the platform shares land on each side of the state border, the awning design is on the QLD half of the platform is consistent with the other railway stations in the state, whereas the NSW architecture resembles railway design in the rest of the state. This is one of the most unique things about standing on the platform itself as you can literally hop between two different states.
Unfortunately passenger services ceased on this line in 1972, but not before many residents used the railway line including Sir Henry Parkes who changed trains here on his way to nearby Tenterfield where he delivered his famous Federation speech which was pivotal moment in the push to unify the colonies in 1901.
Today visitors can enjoy a bite to eat at the Railway Museum Café which has hearty food including a red wine pie, (its pretty chilly here so hearty food is definitely the way to go) and good coffee and cake – so my mum has told.
The museum now located in what would have been the station's master office includes a collection of state railway memorabilia, press clippings and even a train simulator booth where you can conduct your own train. The authentic restoration and tasteful décor make you feel as you are standing in a bygone era, and remind you of the importance of rail in this early history of Australia.
The museum houses several room and early rail memorabilia as is complete with train simulator where kids can play train conductor
Plus the thrill of technically being able to stand in two states (one leg in each) is something that, for me at least, never gets old.
We stopped here for Breakfast one morning when holidaying in Stanthorpe in Sept 2013. Beautiful atmosphere with
Quality food, cheap prices & Smiling service. There is also a neat little Memento Shop on premises as well. Well worth a visit !