We all know what the railway did for Goulburn, mayor Bob Kirk told the crowd at the Saturday May 25 gathering to celebrate 150 years since the first steam train came to the city.
Goulburn, at the end of the line to Central Station, became "a hub for all points further out," and a conduit for the transport of stock and goods to the state capital and its ports.
Rail's arrival bolstered business, the economy and employment and was the making of the inland city, which responded by building what is now its heritage character.
Quoting extensively from a full-page article in the Post's predecessor, The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle of 1869, Cr Kirk borrowed from some of its phrasing to offer congratulations to "the indefatigable exertions" of the sesquicentenary's organising committee, led by the Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre's secretary, Terence Carpenter.
"Who'd have thought on a day in May we'd be celebrating 150 years since the arrival of the train and I'd have to go put on block-out," the mayor joked, adding "Such a fine day makes for a great celebration and I am glad so many have come along."
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, the 39th governor of NSW, said the day was "a lot of fun ... I'm not a rail nutter, as I know many of you here are, but I am a bit of history nutter and somewhere along the line, those two cross over," adding: "Unless we cherish our past and preserve it, it is difficult for us to value our present."
NSW Trainlink area manager Ian Mondon told the crowd that, at its peak, the station had employed more than 300 people: "Today, 15," citing technological and social reasons for the change, but there was "still a place for rail travel" in the modern age: "Within four years, we're looking to have a complete replacement of our fleet."
Cr Kirk accompanied the NSW Governor and her husband, Dennis Wilson, to Belmore Park, where Mr Wilson planted a memorial elm. The couple were later guests of honour at the anniversary ball, among many events that weekend.
Her Excellency also unveiled a time capsule to be buried under a plaque at the station and opened in 2069, containing a USB stick with drone aerial footage of the station, photos and timetables, a list of staff who have served over many years, and a copy of the Post.
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