By Elizabeth Craig. Reproduced from the Sutherland Shire Historical Society Bulletin, May 2021.
One of the first priorities of the Jannali Progress Association when it was inaugurated in 1924 - with W.H. Mitchell as its President - was to lobby for a greatly needed railway station.
Residents in Jannali had to walk a mile and a half to either Como or Sutherland to catch the train. Steam trains travelling south to Sutherland could not stop at Jannali because of the steep grade (one of the steepest in NSW).
However, Betty Tierney, whose family lived in Jannali Avenue near Louise Street, remembered the train would slow down as it came out of the cutting at Jubilee, allowing her father, Thomas returning home from work, to jump off before it laboured up the hill to Sutherland.
If he had heavy items to bring home, Betty's brothers would wait for the train, armed with torches so that their father could see where to throw out the items to be picked up.
For years the Progress Association agitated for a railway station. They petitioned Council, the Commissioner for Railways and the Ministry of Works.
They installed a sign nearby, 'WE WANT A STATION HERE'. Eventually both the Council and the Railways contributed to the cost of building the station, as well as lowering the cutting and installing an overhead bridge.
The grand opening of Jannali Railway Station was held on Saturday, 7 February 1931 to great fanfare, with large crowds and a 'fine display of bunting.
Six-year-old at the time, Betty Tierney recalled it was a big event and a happy occasion, with women dressed up and wearing hats.
Mr E Kinsella, MLA, officially opened the railway station, after which Mr Mitchell presented Shire President, Councillor Seymour Shaw with a pair of silver scissors to cut the ribbon strung across the bridge.
Mr David Kirkby, the Shire Clerk, was the first to drive over the new bridge.
The ladies of the Progress Association had 'tastefully laid out afternoon tea under a spreading gum tree' presided over by President Mitchell, and to which Betty noted the kids were not invited!
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.