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we see around the Hinterland........

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Secret Trench in Maleny Primary School Grounds at rear of new Pre-School Building

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During construction of the Pre-school building at the Maleny State School in 1997-98 a section of trench was found.

The origin of the trench, about 4 foot deep was unknown to school authorities at the time. The banks of the trench were held in place with stones and timber shoring.

Was this an escape route from classrooms used by students in earlier years or was it a place where some secret meetings were held by teachers.....

I am sure that somebody out there knows the secrets of this find. Email us with the real story so we can spill the beans on this find.   (Left approx area where the trench is located)

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The real truth about those School Tunnels

as told by Truthful "Bob Barnes" Jones

This story has come about only after much investigation and research.

I was intrigued by an article in your web page www.hinterlandgrapevine.com in respect to some tunnels found in the yard of the Maleny State School.   I am well acquainted with the original plans for those tunnels and I can tell you truthfully the real reason they were constructed.   I am sure that some ancient "know-it-alls" will come up with a number of explanations such as: an air-raid shelter to protect citizens from Japanese shelling during World War 11, an entrance to a gold mine that strayed a little south of Gympie.   Whilst I know that there were a number of gold mines dug in the Maleny area during the 1800's this was not one of them nor was it a 1930's underground nightclub, a forerunner of the UPFRONT Club!

None of these outrageous stories is correct, and the following is the only genuine and authentic account of the events that happened in Maleny long ago.     However, I will let you in on the secret and real reason that these trenches were dug.   The authentic story is that between 1905 and 1918 these trenches were the start of a project that would make the Snowy River Hydro Electrical scheme look life a D.I.Y renovation on a Sunday afternoon.

If you examine the photos of the Hinterlandgrapevine Online web site with a strong magnifier, on one of the timbers you will see, barely discernible, a circle with bar across it with the very faint words "Maleny Central".      Seeing this I am convinced that what has been uncovered is so secret that very few Maleny residents were aware of it at the time.

Not even Milton Alcorn, whose knowledge of Maleny in general and schools in particular is unsurpassed, had an inkling of what I can reveal to you.     It all began in Brittain (as so many other momentous events have in the past and heady post-war days of the late 1940's and early 1950's.     Brittain was looking for a project that would put the "GREAT" back into that country and would demonstrate to the rest of the country that it was once again a leading performer on the global stage.

It is well known that in the last century Brittain had supplied and installed railways in almost every country of the world.    What was now proposed would eclipse this mammoth feat and, hopefully, prove to everyone the engineering expertise of Great Brittain.    It was decided in Cabinet that all the "red bits" on the school atlas, of which there was a great many, the great dominions of the British Empire, should all be connected to London by an underground railway system to be known as the "Jubilee Line Extension".    The globe would be criss-crossed with an elaborate network of tunnels, some of them extremely deep, giving direct access to the capitol of the Mother Country.

Maleny was chosen as the Queensland terminal of this scheme.    It was decided by Government, both state and federal, that in order to prevent a huge population influx of gold rush proportions, which the then tiny town of Maleny could not handle, very few people would know of this project until it was nearing completion.

There is still a resident of Maleny who came specifically to handle the project.     He did not want to be named, but we will call him Tom, he had held high positions in both the British and United States Air Forces.     His expertise was in building such tunnels.     Following cancellation of this project he was sent to the Snowy Mountains Scheme where he was one of the chief tunnel engineers.    Until recently he had a working model of this scheme in a shed named "The Engine Shed" in his back yard.    When this story was about to break the working model was removed and the shed dismantled in the dead of night.

I have spoken to him and he confirmed that there was a plan for a series of deep railway tunnels to join Great Brittain to important trading nations and partners.    Work commenced almost straightaway and a number of tests and trials were conducted.    New trains were designed and, because of the intense heat at the depths at which they would operate, the carriages were fitted with special carbon heat deflectors.    (Many years later, this idea was "snitched" by the Americans and fitted to their space shuttle vehicles with great success.

Within a few minutes of the trains leaving the Empire stations, the windows would take on a deep red glow and the compartments would become uncomfortably warm.    Children knelt on the seats and gazed in wonderment at the fiery landscape.    (Don't touch the windows dear, you'll burn your fingers"), and exclaimed "Core look at that."     However, for passengers arriving at Victoria or London Bridge into the usual all-the-year round British weather or drizzle, fog and icy winds, the overheating problem was soon dissipated.

Indeed, after only a few minutes of London gloom, most passengers were eagerly looking forward to the return journey.    Sadly, however, in the late 1950's and early 1960's a change of British government initiated what became known as the "East of Suez" policy, and all work on the lines east of Aden was cancelled.    Very soon after the "red bits" on the map began disappearing with frightening regularity and global fame for the small community of Maleny was nipped in the bud.

This was considered by most Australians to be yet another slap in the face, as they had recently been told that the British no longer required Australia's beef, wool, butter and wheat.    It was also suggested in some quarters that the tunnels of the future would connect Brittain with Brussels and Paris.    But at the time this was dismissed as being too silly to even contemplate.    Nevertheless, lines now terminated at Cyprus and Malta and some time later funds were redirected to work to the north of London, and to Finchley in particular, this being the constituency of Margaret Thatcher who declared the scheme a vote winner at the time.

So - when you are in London, having just left Heathrow terminal, four in the carriage packed tighter than a tin of Franklin's sardines, heading for a bed-and-breakfast in Kangaroo Valley around Earles Court, give a thought to what might have been.    Swaying on your leather strap, cast your eyes upward to the London Transport route map above your head and find the Jubilee Line (usually depicted in light grey).     Try to imagine a service from Maleny Central, terminating at Neasden or Cockfosters, with only one platform change at Magma Junction (North Hemisphere).

However, in the quiet stillness of the early morning, if you put your ear to the ground near the hole, I'll swear that you can still hear the rumble, and a tiny, distinct voice shouting  "stand well clear of the doors - mind the gap")

 

Ed:  Thanks to Bob Barnes for this important little known piece of Maleny History

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"Fact is stranger than fiction....."