ATHRA Awards

About Graeme Breydon

Graeme Breydon was a key player in heritage rail in Australia, who died tragically on 21 August 2006 at the age of 55.

He served on the committee of Puffing Billy Preservation Society (PBPS) from 1988, becoming Treasurer in 1989. He served as a member of the Emerald Tourist Railway Board (ETRB), becoming Chair from 1999 until his untimely passing.

Apart from Graeme’s diverse PBPS and ETRB involvements, he was also Treasurer of the Association of Tourist Railways, Victoria Inc., known as ‘ATR’ for short.

Graeme represented the Association of Tourist and Heritage Railways in Australia (ATHRA) on Australasian Railway Association (ARA) committees regarding rail safety. In addition, he also represented the ARA Tourist and Heritage sector Australia-wide on the development of national standards and legislation for rail safety at the National Transport Commission (NTC).

In 2005 Graeme was awarded ARA’s prestigious Rail Industry Individual Award for Excellence.

Indeed, in one of his most significant achievements, Graeme was very successful in having the draft national rail safety legislation and regulations modified to accommodate the specific needs of the tourist and heritage sector.

For Graeme’s funeral on Wednesday 30 August, a special train ran from Belgrave conveying guests in its carriages and Graeme’s coffin on an open NQ truck behind loco G42. An estimated 400 people attended this fitting send off for a man who had made a monumental contribution to Puffing Billy.

Graeme has left a huge pair of shoes to fill, not only for Puffing Billy but also in the contributions he has made nationally through ATHRA, to the ARA and the NTC.

It is appropriate that ATHRA has named its safety award in memory of this pioneer of national standards and legislation of rail safety for the tourist and heritage rail sector.

[This brief note was adapted from Vale – Graeme Breydon, published in Narrow Gauge #183 published in 2006. Narrow Gauge is the journal of the PBPS.]