Inside the Vice-Regal Carriage
When Queensland Governor steps aboard Special Car 445 – the Vice-Regal Carriage – on his way to Emerald, Barcaldine and Longreach, he will be riding the rails on board a piece of Queensland’s history.
Built with pride at the Ipswich Railway Workshops, the Vice-Regal Carriage entered service in September 1903.
Inside, it is upholstered in cream and old gold, and decorated with native Queensland timbers. The car includes two state rooms with a bathroom, an observation room with lounge chairs and a dining room for six.
The exterior was originally varnished wood but is now painted in the Indian red colour scheme typical of wooden cars on Queensland’s railways.
In 1920 it carried the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII until he abdicated from the throne to marry Wallis Simpson. Its last royal visitor was Princess Alexandra, who used it for a journey between Brisbane and Nambour in 1959.
The first Governor to travel by train to Longreach was Sir Henry Norman in 1892, only a short while after the railway line reached the town. Governor Norman said that he would normally order that the children at the government school should have a holiday for his visit – but the problem in Longreach was that there was not yet a government school. A government school was established in 1893, and some 60 years later, our current Governor’s father would serve as its Principal.
Image: Lady Wilson and the Queensland Governor's aide de camp on the observation platform of the train, Blackall, Queensland Station, Queensland.
The Vice-Regal Carriage is considered a working item of rollingstock in the QR fleet. On the 8th of May it was linked up to the Spirit of Outback with the Governor on board, travelling to the storied towns of the West as they fight their way through a historic drought.
Image: Sir John Goodwin and Lady Goodwin arriving at Gordonvale, Queensland, 1928.