Retracing the steps of the Anzacs

LAST year, more than 250 people enjoyed the trip of a lifetime when they completed a once-only five-day Anzac troop train re-enactment journey across central Queensland.

On board the immaculately restored historic steam locomotive were the relatives and friends of soldiers who lost their lives during Australia's many war involvements.

Elderly veterans, proud family members, keen train buffs and children and young people recalled the human costs of war as the 1956 heritage locomotive, with nine restored carriages in tow, wound its way from Winton to Brisbane, via Longreach, Emerald, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Maryborough and Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast.

Along the way, the travellers paid their respects for lives lost and celebrated stories of immense bravery on the frontlines of many bloody and terrifying battlefields.

The troop train re-enactment commemorated 100 years since the first Anzacs stepped foot on Gallipoli's shores.

The project was the hard work of Gladstone's Graham McVean who spent two years bringing his dream to life.

During the trip, Mr McVean recalled how a simple conversation with Lester and Mary Anderson from Blackwater got the wheels in motion.

"They said 'Why don't you do a troop train - a re-enactment of the troops going through to their embarkation points?'," Mr McVean said.

"I thought it was the greatest idea I'd ever heard."

Twelve months have gone by since the train pulled into its last stop at Roma Street in Brisbane but the memories live on thanks to the release of a special full-colour commemorative publication jam-packed with photos from the five days.

To get your copy of the 100-page booklet, produced by Australian Regional Media, call Mr McVean on 0418 357 777.

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