Project Description

Gilbert Alfred BRENNAN (Gil) was born on 31 August, 1924. He spent his childhood at Worsley and Whitaker’s Mill before moving to Perth in 1941 to work at the Midland Workshop making munitions for the Second World War.

In 1943 Gil joined the Government Railways as a cleaner in Fremantle, then Wyalkatchem in 1944. He moved to Busselton in 1945 where he became a fireman on steam locomotives. He transferred to Margaret River for 12 months in 1948 then trained to be an engine driver which he achieved in 1954.

Timber was a thriving industry in those days and trains freighted wood via the Nannup and Flinders Bay lines to Busselton for export. At that time the journey from Busselton to Flinders Bay took eight hours. He talks about the people with whom he worked and the sidings along the railway lines, including interesting anecdotes about mishaps. He recalls the transition from steam to diesel engines confessing that he always loved steam.

Gil played football, tennis and cricket. He was Captain of the Busselton Tennis Club for three years. He married Jean, also a keen tennis player. From 1950 (Flinders Bay) to 1988 (Bunbury) the railway lines closed giving way to road transport.

Gil drove the Busselton Jetty train, including in the last week before the jetty closed in 1971. He retired by choice in 1984.