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Frank Johnson well remembers the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the railway's arrival in Goulburn.
It was May, 1969 and the young district engineer of railways had only been posted to the city for one year. He was 21, "the ink hardly dry" on his civil engineering degree and he was in charge of 50 men maintaining 80 miles of track.
But he also had another duty that month.
Goulburn was going all out for the 100th anniversary celebrations, welcoming NSW Governor Sir Roden Cutler and his wife to town.
"There was a special train from Sydney, Sir Roden planted a tree in Belmore Park, there was a street parade and a ball on the Saturday night," Mr Johnson said.
"My boss, Don Hegarty, was on the organising committee and he got me involved. The railways in Sydney sent down a lot of photos and memorabilia from Sydney and my job was to transport them to the Lilac Time Hall."
Now living in Sydney, Goulburn holds a special place in Mr Johnson's heart. The city was his first posting but he met and courted his future wife Nadia Koschenow here before transferring to Broken Hill two years later. Nadia was among the first intake at the new Goulburn Teachers College.
Family ties and heritage have drawn the couple back for regular visits. The Post first met them enjoying the Our Living History festival in March. They are also members of the Goulburn and District Historical and Genealogical Society.
"It's a lovely place and not nearly enough is made of it or recognition given to its history," Mrs Johnson said.
Her husband has documented his career for Australian Railway History. He is also a member of Engineers Australia heritage committee.
Mr Johnson worked in government railways for just over 40 years, rising to the rank of divisional engineer. Later he managed major projects.
When he first came to Goulburn as assistant engineer, the sector employed about 1000 people locally and 45,000 statewide.
"It was the first time I had absolute responsibility for people," he said.
"They were real salt of the earth people and were hard workers. I generally found that country people had a better attitude to work. I learnt a lot from them."
This article first appeared on www.goulburnpost.com.au
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