Victorian Railways in the Moomba parade

Back in 1955 the Victorian Railways entered the first annual Moomba parade with a large-scale model of diesel electric locomotive B60 ‘Harold W Clapp’ – the pride of their fleet. Sixty years later, a photo of the same parade float has been doing the rounds of the various ‘remember when’ Facebook groups, ripped from the Victorian Government’s ‘Culture Victoria’ website – so what is the story behind the scale model?

Victorian Railways float in the 1954 Moomba parade
State Library of Victoria. Image H91.330/4268

Built to 1/3 scale, the model of B60 was constructed by Victorian Railways apprentices at the Newport Workshops, and was unveiled in 1954 to celebrate the centenary of railways in Victoria. It then went on display on the main concourse at Spencer Street Station.

Model of diesel locomotive B60 on display at Spencer Street station in September 1954
Public Record Office Victoria. VPRS 12800/P1, item H 2664

The 1955 Moomba parade commenced somewhere on St Kilda Road.

Victorian Railways float in the 1954 Moomba parade
State Library of Victoria. Image No: A29530. Accession No: H91.330/4252

These first two photos appear to show the start of the parade.

Victorian Railways float in the 1954 Moomba parade
State Library of Victoria. Image No: A29554. Accession No: H91.330/4277

Note the Victorian Railways staff riding on the float.

The official photographer then skipped ahead to Flinders Street Station to capture the parade.

Victorian Railways float in the 1954 Moomba parade
State Library of Victoria. Image H91.330/4268

They then turned around and captured a quick parting shot of the railway’s float continuing up Swanston Street.

Victorian Railways float in the 1954 Moomba parade
State Library of Victoria. Image H91.330/4268

Footnote

The ‘Flinders Street Station’ website has more on the construction of the model, as well as some photos:

In 2011 Malcolm sent me some photos of the patternmakers who built the B60 diesel loco at the Newport Workshop that was to be named ‘The Harold Clapp’. Malcolm was a 3rd year patternmaker apprentice in 1954 and along with patternmakers Max Small, Merv Williams and Anderson, constructed the model out of timber under the direction of Foreman Pattern-maker, Davey Yates.

Surprisingly enough, the model of locomotive B60 still exists today. By 1990 the model had been put into storage at the Newport Workshops, but it since been relocated to an enclosed shelter in the main workshop car park.

Large scale model of B60 near the administration offices

If you visit the North Williamstown Railway Museum, the model is visible when you peek through the cyclone fence into the workshop proper.

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2 Responses to “Victorian Railways in the Moomba parade”

  1. Andrew Waugh says:

    Sometime after 1962 the model was placed in the new Spencer Street station building. It was situated in the luggage room against the eastern windows that opened onto exit from the car park. Seeing the model was one of the highlights of catching the Overland in the seventies.

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