The Bellarine Railway would not exist without the time and effort given by our volunteers, and this is especially true of Mr Wayne Pickett.
The Bellarine Railway started as a Sub-Group of the Australian Railway Historical Society in the 60s and evolved into the Belmont Common Railway (BCR). The new group registered as the Geelong Steam Preservation Society and used BCR as its trading name.
Wayne’s family home overlooked the society’s compound and railway track, near K-mart in Belmont (Geelong) and recalls around 1972, as an 8-year-old he would watch the work and activity from the backyard. Volunteering, at least within the rail preservation community, was gathering momentum at the time to save discarded steam locomotives from being scrapped. The notion of volunteering had already been instilled in him by his Father who volunteered at a local cricket club. Seeing his son’s keen interest in the railway, he took Wayne down as it was “good to have an interest”. With no formal membership program in place at the time, the society recognised him as a ‘Junior Supporter’.
Fellow society members said that Wayne was always full of energy and always looking to contribute to everything he could. When the railway moved to Queenscliff in 1976 after the Victorian Railways closed the South Geelong-Queenscliff line, Wayne continued to volunteer. He has done cleaning, track work, shop and booking office sales, train crewing and even a number of years as Vice-President.
His voluntary work set him on his career path by the age of 16, when he was offered a job by a society member who had a metalwork business in Melbourne, before accepting a job at a Geelong engineering business, where he still works today. His unique skills such as riveting, white metal bearing repair and construction, boiler plate repairs and pressure welding have been of significant benefit to the Bellarine Railway and earned him the position of steam manager and an Honorary Life Membership.
Wayne inspires as a volunteer, mentor and leader to both existing and new members of the Bellarine Railway community. He particularly enjoys productive days when he joins other members to achieve goals and can learn from each other. To him his contribution is no different to any other within the railway; he is just part of the team.
COVID -19 has challenged us all, but this hasn’t affected on Wayne’s contribution to getting us back on track so to speak. While there are other volunteers doing their bit, you won’t find Wayne sitting back and waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel – he and other like-minded volunteers are constructing that light!
To find out more about volunteering,
at The Bellarine Railway