Vernor Station History

25/07/2023 Comments (0) BVRT Small Stations History Project

Pidna Station History

Pidna (meaning “ear” in one of the local indigenous languages) was officially named in 1912 and served as a water stop supplied by the local creek on the Brisbane Valley branch line between Wulkuraka and Yarraman that was completed in 1913.

The stations of Blackbutt, Gilla, Pidna and Yarraman Creek were established to provide access to the considerable forest timber in the area.

In 1920 the Qld. Minister for Lands outlined his vision for Queensland forests and silviculture at an Interstate Forestry Conference where he outlined his new Forestry Service in Queensland that he hoped would “secure the passing of a modern Forestry Act… with adequate funds and powers for the management in perpetuity of the forest resources of Queensland.”

The preservation and planting of new forests within this service was the responsibility of a radical forester, Harold Swain, who had studied forestry in Canada rather than Britain and antagonised the Queensland Public Service with his forward thinking and persistence in the face of their obstruction.

A soldier settlement was also established at Pidna to provide labour for the forestry industry and these returned men were employed building a tramway from Pidna station into the forest.

The soldier settlement at Pidna was unsuccessful much like the soldier settlement at Coominya at the lower end of the rail line. The causes of failure were ascribed to the poor sandy soil selected for the farms, lack of reliable water supply, the inexperience of the settlers in farming methods, and poor prices for produce due to the depression in the 1920s.

Haulage from the Pidna Scrubs at the time was by bullock and it was estimated that the total cost of constructing, running and maintaining a Tramway would be about two thirds that of bullock haulage.
There is little evidence of this track now and it is believed it was never completed.
Eventually Harold Swain left the Queensland Forestry Service to take charge of the New South Wales Forestry Service.

As an interesting footnote, after his retirement he accepted a commission from Haile Selassie to help reafforestation in Ethiopia. Harold Swain returned home to Australia and died in Queensland on 3 July 1970.

Concrete foundations of the station structures can still be observed near the Pidna Station sign, but otherwise little remains of what was once an important railway stop on the way to Yarraman.

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