Linking steam with education to train future engineers

Maryborough City Whistlestop committee has donated a C17 Locomotive static display to Maryborough State High School for students to refurbish.
Maryborough City Whistlestop committee has donated a C17 Locomotive static display to Maryborough State High School for students to refurbish. Boni Holmes

MARYBOROUGH City Whistlestop is steaming ahead with an idea sure to have engineering students all fired up.

The volunteer organisation donated its Qld Railways C17 Locomotive static display to Maryborough State High School as an education tool.

Whistlestop president Warren McPherson said the organisation was not in a position to help out with job opportunities.

"But we can probably do the best next thing which is utilising our assets and knowledge to forward the education to kids who will, quite obviously, eventually will take up those jobs," he said.

"If we can have them as well informed and educated as we possibly can, I think we have done our job."

Warren said it was purely and simply a chance encounter with school principal Simon Done that brought on this opportunity.

Warren said the locomotion was deteriorating from just sitting.

The Qld Railways C17 Locomotive model was built by apprentices in Maryborough's old railway workshops about 1950.

"There are photos of the model in street parades in the Wide Bay region," Warren said.

"The students will try to make it, I believe, as realistic as possible.

"Things such as the whistle, which is missing - we will get the drawing of that, then they will have to scale it down.

"It's a great project for the students and we can't wait to see it back in all its glory."

MSHS head of technology department and manager of the Training Trade Centre Gavin Grantz said the idea of the project was to develop the community links between the school and the wider community.

"Whistlestop is a very important part of our history and steam trains so we wanted to be part of developing the history of the area," Gavin said.

"As well as linking with our engineering history with steam trains.

"We know what they can do to help us because we put our kids out there but what can we do to help them," Gavin said of Whistlestop.

"So this project is part of us helping them.

"We have the time for a project which we can present back to Whistlestop - it's a two-way street - they help us with kids placements in industry and we help them with whatever we can and this is the start how we can help them and the community."

Gavin said they were hoping to have STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) classes involved.

"I want as many students involved as possible but mainly our Year 11 and 12 Cert II Manufacturing Pathways students," Gavin said. "Looking at ways of manufacturing, the structure - how it builds - particularly with the bridge which we will model from a genuine Queensland bridge.

"It will be a fairly sizeable project - stripping it all back, cleaning it all up, replacing broken and missing pieces - things like that. This is the start of what I expect to be a very long relationship between Whistlestop and the school."

Simon said this was going to be a great project not only for the kids but for the community.

He thanked Whistlestop for giving the students the opportunity.

"Our kids will get a number of competences out of this to be able to look at manufacturing, construction and even just looking at the history of how these magnificent engines worked in the area," Simon said.

Topics:  fccommunity maryborough maryborough state high school

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