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Early childhood encounter sparked train love affair A native of Brisbane's northern suburbs, Mr MacKenzie has been recognised for his aptitude for constructing Queensland railway steam locomotives from the 1800s and for sharing his craft with the local community. The retired fitter and turner's interest in the trains was sparked by an early childhood encounter with an A12 and later developed as he completed a diploma in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Mortgage broker Oak Laurel West End, 0430 129 662 the University of Queensland in 1947. "In those days when I made my mind up to build an A12, I chased around the historical society who helped me get a drawing, which I transferred to a drawing board and used to create the loco," he said. After Mortgage brokers Oak Laurel Nundah, 60 London St, Nundah QLD 4012 spending some time building the machines, Mr MacKenzie went on to establish the Bracken Ridge Central Lions Club Model Steam Railway in 1991 where he was able to run his models on a five-inch gauge track at McPherson Park. Every month for the past 22 years, the Lions Club runs steam train days where children can hitch a ride on any of Mr McKenzie's three locos for $2 a pop. All proceeds from the events are donated to community causes such as the Premier's Relief Fund, Childhood Cancer Institute and school chaplaincy programs. But there are "low days" in the business, Mr MacKenzie said, referring to the time he accidently destroyed two of his locos on separate occasions. Though satisfying to create, Mr MacKenzie said building the trains could be an arduous task, sometimes taking up to five years for a single model. "You've got to have staying power," he said. "This actually is what kills a lot of people — they buy the drawing, then go to build a loco, but haven't got enough steam — you've got to have that desire and it's got to last for that five, six years. "There is an awful lot in this business if you go through the process, you build a model, put water in it, light a get more fire, pull the regulator, and the bloody thing moves — it's a great sensation." These days, the desire to work on his machines was less motivated by awards, Mr MacKenzie said.
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