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George Steams Ahead To His 90th Birthday

Tags: Tony Piccolo MP / Light Electorate / Building Communities


  • By Tony Piccolo
  • Feb 06, 2018
George Steams Ahead To His 90th Birthday

Local rail historian George Rau has long had an interest in trains as far back as he can remember, and that is a long time, since he recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

Nothing excites Mr Rau like the history of the rail system in Gawler, and in particular, those manufactured in the James Martin Foundry back in late 1800s and early 1900s.

Born and bred in Gawler to Harold and Catherine Rau (nee Ford), Mr Rau unsurprisingly spent his whole working life (45 years) in South Australia Railways, where he was kept busy repairing and maintain the rail carriages.

Educated at the local public school, Mr Rau has amassed a huge collection of drawings and photos, second to none, of Gawler’s rail history.

Mr Rau laments the day that the Commonwealth closed down its sites in South Australia and disposed of historical documents charting the States rail history.

Local Member of Parliament, Mr Tony Piccolo said Mr Rau has had an enormous interest in the town history as far as I can remember.

Mr Rau is often hard saying when you have an hour I will show you plans and photos of the locos built in Gawler.

“I have plans and records of all the locomotives built in Gawler, from when the town was one of the country’s biggest manufacturer,” Mr Rau said.

“Have plans of the wagons that were built as well,” he said.

Mr Piccolo said in its heyday Gawler was a leading manufacturing town designing and building not only locomotives but also an array of farming machinery and equipment.

“It is no accident that George is in huge demand as a guest speaker on the rail history of the town,” Mr Piccolo said.

“He lives, breathes and I’m sure he also dreams about Gawler’s rail history.

“There is no doubt that George’s historic collection is priceless, as many of the documents can never be replaced,” he said.

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