The full interview can be found at tv.bushorchestra.com/Professionals/videopages/dave_moyle.html and www.safeworlds.net
Wahgunyah is on the Victorian side of the Murray River and has a population, according to a road sign, of 961. However, directly across the river in New South Wales is the town of Corowa which has 8,000 people and around eight thousand more in the surrounding district.
Dave Moyle moved to Wahgunyah in 1988 from Marysville (now known for the devastating bush fires earlier this year in February). He noticed that the railway track to Wahgunyah from Springhurst and Rutherglen had only recently been closed and decided the railway should be preserved in some form. (See the enclosed map for the positions of these towns).
He also had an interest in the river plains and biodiversity of the area, and sought to link these two passions together, thereby retaining the river flats where the railway line lay and avoid residential or industrial development. Dave decided to run a tourist railway.
The idea was well received by people on both sides of the state border, and soon a considerable number of people had joined an association that he named the "Stringybark Express Museum and Heritage Park."
Currently there are two ongoing projects. The first is this river plains concept. Dave Moyle has researched and written a twenty-page development plan, aptly named the Wahgunyah Beach Railway, which illustrates a two-foot gauge line, that former Deputy Prime Minister and railway enthusiast Tim Fisher refers to as the sugar train gauge, running to and fro along the river plain where the existing railway tracks will be retained.
The second project is a light rail on the existing broad gauge between Rutherglen and Lilliput (near Springhurst, see the enclosed map) as a commuter and tourist service. The last commercial passenger train ran on this line in 1993; and the last fright train in 1998. It is now maintained by the Stringybark Express Museum and Heritage Park association members - but it may be a little time yet before that project gets under way.
Dave explained to Mark Tronson that the On Track E-Railway magazine was initiated three years ago. Its initial objective was to cover rail interest from Junee in the Riverina of New South Wales, across to Corowa and Wahgunyah west and south to Seymour in Victoria.
It's an On Line publication and it is bright, with plenty of colour and photographs. It now has a world wide audience and a truck load of E correspondences to keep Dave Moyle busy most evenings.
When living in Marysville, Dave Moyle somehow came across one of Mark Tronson's railway books, 'All Night Sitter', and read his Christian testimony within its pages.
Forty years ago Mark Tronson was a locomotive engineman. He became a Baptist Minister in 1977, and over the following years he wrote 16 books on railways which included anecdotes from working railwaymen.
Years later when Dave became the editor of On Track someone gave him a copy of a Truckies magazine where they have an article by the Truckies Padre. "Why not a Padre for 'On Track'?" he asked himself. Dave Moyle contacted Mark Tronson, who responded with enthusiasm.
That is how the Footplate Padre came into being. But there is more... the cycle continues, as the Footplate Padre himself now receives oodles of emails and correspondences from people all over the world who read his Footplate Padre articles.
The Stringbark Express Museum and Heritage Park enjoys Dave Moyle's passion for railways, interest in conservation and the positive aspects of tourism.
The Footplate Padre is a personal link between Mark Tronson's Christian ministry and his own passion for railways and interest in tourism.
Both these men also communicate their various ideals in a way that appeals to a modern audience.
"Dave Moyle's two projects coming to fruition in the near future will benefit this country region of the Murray river and preserve some history at the same time," commented Mark Tronson, the Footplate Padre.