End Of An Era For The Bronte TrainSince the late 1940s, children have been venturing down to Bronte beach not only to frolic in the crystal clear waters of the renowned bogey hole, but also with the intent of boarding a brightly-coloured miniature train for five minutes of good old-fashioned fun.
Sadly, on Easter Sunday this year, the train’s owner and founder Kelvin Coleman passed away at the ripe old age old 86.
Mr Coleman had been there since the beginning, establishing the train ride with his father back in 1947, along with a number of other children’s rides that the pair built as part of their family business portfolio.
As age wearied him, Mr Coleman handed over his whistle and driver’s hat to family friend Peter Buchan, who took over the running of the train seven years ago and will continue do so into the foreseeable future.
Clearly saddened by Mr Coleman’s passing, Mr Buchan reflected on his generosity of spirit and love of what has become an Eastern Suburbs icon.
“He was the sort of person where you’d put the train away in the shed, but then little Johnny would come along with his mum and he’d virtually pull the train right back out and unpack it, because it might be the first time he’d ever been on a train,” Mr Buchan said.
“It was the joy of children having the experience.”
According to Mr Buchan, Mr Coleman remained a big part of the business, even in his old age, and would often venture down to Bronte if any problems arose.
“He wasn’t the sort of person to ask for help. He was very proud of the trains because he actually built them with his father,” Buchan said.