Wagon prize

Saturday, 15th July, 2017

Ruth Milne with her father-in-law’s food wagon that was used to supply the workers of Kidman properties. She is holding a lantern found in the back of the wagon. PICTURE: Emily Roberts Ruth Milne with her father-in-law’s food wagon that was used to supply the workers of Kidman properties. She is holding a lantern found in the back of the wagon. PICTURE: Emily Roberts

By Emily Roberts

A food wagon driven by Charlie Milne for Sir Sidney Kidman has made a journey to its final resting place at the Sulphide Street Railway Museum.

The wagon was donated by Ruth Milne because she wanted to ensure it would be preserved.

“It belonged to my father-in-law, Charlie, who was a drover for Kidman properties and when he passed away my husband got it,” Mrs Milne said.

“I wanted to ensure it had a home where it would be preserved.”

The wagon was stationed at the cafe at Silverton after Steve Radford and his partner Marg McBride offered to house it for the Milnes.

“Herb’s (Ruth’s husband) father had it in Wilcannia, then it came to our place for a while but we couldn’t keep it under cover,” Mrs Milne said.

“Steve Radford had the coffee shop at Silverton and they offered to take it.

“They did it all for nothing, so I would like to give them a big thanks.

“Now that my husband has passed away, I would like to have it settled before anything happens.”

Mr Radford brought the wagon back into the city and set it up at the Railway Museum.

“I’m amazed it didn’t fall apart on the journey into town from Silverton,” Mrs Milne said.

The food wagon still contains tinned items, lanterns, horse gear and it has wire netting underneath for a couple of purposes.

“Herb told me they used to put bags on the wire underneath and the dogs would sleep in it,” Mrs Milne said. “I told him they probably slept better than the men.”

She said her father-in-law kept the wagon under cover.

“When I first saw it, it wasn’t covered in dust,” she said.

“Charlie put about 20 tarps over the top to preserve it.”

Sulphide Street Railway Museum curator Christine Adams said it would have travelled all over NSW as far back as the early 1900s.

“The restoration will be minimal. We are just looking to clean the original dust off of it,” Mrs Adams said.”We don’t want to destroy the integrity of the wagon.

“We’re hoping to treat it with a preservative to help keep it.

“I think it’s a fantastic donation and it’s something people can enjoy.”

The wagon is at the far end of the Ron Carter Transport Pavilion.

“It’s something different,” Mrs Adams said.

“It’s positioned under the pastoral map of NSW which is really fitting.

“As we go, we will look into the history of it and develop a display.

“It was important to get it into place as we wanted to give Ruth some peace of mind.

“To see it contain so much history is wonderful.”

Mrs Adams said she was very grateful to Mr Radford for helping bring it in to town.

“We are very grateful. Ruth is happy now - it’s really exciting.”