History steams to life

FULL STEAM AHEAD: Kevin Fry of the Clermont Historical Centre and renowned expert Robert Kluck have been busy restoring the historic Aveling and Porter traction steam engine.
FULL STEAM AHEAD: Kevin Fry of the Clermont Historical Centre and renowned expert Robert Kluck have been busy restoring the historic Aveling and Porter traction steam engine. Photo: Contributed

AN iconic steam engine that moved a town out of a deadly flood zone is set to be the highlight of a free community event in Clermont in July.

The Aveling and Porter steam engine was one of two that moved Clermont after the 1916 flood.

In December that year, more than 60 people lost their lives in floodwaters after a tropical cyclone crossed through the Whitsunday passage.

In 1991, when the steam engine was in bits and pieces and deteriorating, it was acquired by the Clermont Historical Centre and restored.

In 1995 it was steamed back into town for the Victory into the Pacific, marking its second steaming since it was taken out of use.

Most recently, however, Clermont Historical Centre caretaker Kevin Fry has been working with renowned expert Robert Kluck to partially restore the engine to its former glory.

Clermont Historical Centre co-ordinator Deb Alvoen said the steam engine had undergone a full restoration.

"This time we've been able to strip everything back,” she said.

"The restoration is more comprehensive than before. We now have the expertise, tools and technology to do so.”

The steam engine has been on show for the Flood of Memories Exhibition, however its outing this July will mark the engine's first public steaming in more than two decades.

"We are very excited - for staff it's a privilege to be able to see,” Deb said.

"And it's also exciting that people can enjoy the historic piece.”

Clermont Historic Centre's free community event will be held from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, July 1.

To register your interest or for more information, please phone Clermont Historical Centre co-ordinator Deb Alvoen on 49833311.

Expressions of interest close at 5pm, May 26.

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