Benalla treasure, Charlie Mead welcomes Inland Rail

Charlie Mead sees the Inland Rail project in Benalla as positive example of progress for his hometown. “I always look to the future, I never look back,” Charlie says.

May 31, 2021

Benalla station worker Charlie Mead

“I helped build the overpass to the station and [the project] is going to pull it down. But I’m quite happy about it because things have got to move forward.”

Charlie started his career constructing railway lines and other infrastructure in 1957. He held roles including leading hand, boss of a work gang and acting ganger, which saw him maintain safety of the track from Benalla to Mangalore. 

He helped build the current Benalla Station Approach Road bridge in 1975. ARTC acknowledges this was a controversial project that saw the demolition of refreshment rooms and a three-story tower.  

Charlie remembers the days when freight trains were the major transport mode for goods across Australia, including mail, grocery products and even livestock such as cattle and sheep. 

“At Benalla, the cattle were herded over from the stockyards to the station, loaded onto the train and taken down to Melbourne,” he said.

“In those days, the rail system kept the country going; the train stopped at every station.” 

No task was too great for Charlie. He always did what he was asked and gave from his heart. He was considered a very honest worker. 

Charlie retired after 30 years working on the railways. For many years afterwards, he volunteered at Benalla Train Station, tending the gardens and helping passengers as they disembarked. He’s been known to dash home to get a sandwich or piece of fruit cake for a light-headed traveler and kept a spare blanket and a jumper in his car to help those in need, especially during the winter months. 

Charlie is a regular visitor to the ARTC pop-up shop in Benalla and the team look forward to his friendly, humble presence. We thank Charlie for having a chat with us for this video. 


May 31, 2021


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