Rex Bradley

Posted: October 19, 2012 by Serendipity in Photo, Victoria
Tags: , , , ,

Rex Bradley, cleaning the window of a restored vintage carriage, sees
the Ghan’s maiden journey to Darwin as a unifying event for Australia.
Picture: Ken Irwin

Train club pedophiles

  • Liam Houlihan
  • From:Sunday Herald Sun
  • September 12, 2010 12:00AM
  • A MELBOURNE train club popular with children has become embroiled in a legal row over allegations it is soft on pedophiles following a series of molestation claims.

Steamrail Victoria is a not-for-profit club based in Newport whose members restore vintage trains and run trips for hundreds of children.

But a Sunday Herald Sun investigation can reveal:

ONE adult Steamrail member has been convicted and sentenced for indecent assaults against minors at the club.

ANOTHER member, Steve Bucton, was convicted of a child pornography offence and given a court-ordered community sentence. He has since returned to work for Steamrail and is listed as a manager on its website.

AND two more adult members are being investigated by police for alleged predatory sex offences at the club.

Bucton was caught by police with more than 60 images of child porn on his computer. In 2004, he was sentenced to five months’ jail to be served as an intensive corrections order, but returned to Steamrail to do it.

Corrections Victoria admitted the controversial move – dubbed “the pedophile placement” by critics – occurred.

But a Corrections spokeswoman said it would not happen again as the site had been reviewed and deemed unsuitable.

“Sex offenders are (now) banned from undertaking community work at any site where children would attend,” she said.

But sex pest laws have not prevented Bucton remaining a manager at the club, which has strong links to children.

He is listed on Steamrail’s website as the Diesel Rail Manager.

Another Steamrail member, Rex Bradley, was accused of molestation by three boys under 16 who attended the train restoration club, insiders said. Bradley, a volunteer and carriage cleaner with the club, was convicted in July 2006 of two counts of indecent assault over the incidents.

He was given a 12-month community-based order by a magistrate.

Disgruntled former Steamrail volunteer Alistair Parr claims another two men also sexually assaulted teen volunteers, but were tolerated by senior members.

Mr Parr, who claims he was sexually assaulted at the club in 1994 when he was 17, said he was expelled from the club in late 2004 because he advised the three minors to talk to police about Bradley assaulting them.

By contrast, he said the club covered for Bradley when he left during his police investigation, with the Steamrail newsletter stating that Bradley had hung up his broom for family reasons.

But Steamrail chairman Ken Dunning said Mr Parr was expelled not for being a whistleblower, but for being verbally abusive and threatening.

Victoria Police are investigating two other alleged sexual assaults against teens at Steamrail.

Mr Dunning said the club had always tried to do the right thing but was being judged by contemporary standards on incidents that were years old because of a vendetta by Mr Parr.

He said the club contacted police instantly when they learnt of Bradley’s offending.

“Those blokes have been to court, done their time…Steamrail was upfront about it all,” he said.

The romance of old rail endures

January 17, 2004

The Ghan gives train enthusiasts the urge to make tracks for the tropics, writes Catharine Munro.

They may devote their time and energy to coaxing vintage trains back to life, but would never turn up their noses at the shiny new Ghan.

For train enthusiasts such as the volunteers for Steamrail Victoria, who gather every Thursday at garage number two of the Newport Rail workshop in western Melbourne, the Ghan’s maiden journey from Adelaide to Darwin is a red-letter day.

It’s as big as the first east-west trans-Australia rail journey, says Rex Bradley, a retired school teacher who is paid to clean carriages for the volunteer group.

It’s probably, he ventures, on par with the 1962 standardisation of the rail gauge.

“The train actually unites the whole place,” he said. “It’s a unifying thing. It does make this country one. It’s one of those things that keeps Western Australia in the federation.”

Says volunteer Michael Fedor, a bus driver, who names the sheer length of the 2979-kilometre trip as its key attraction: “It’s actually opening up the heart of Australia.”

The men are among about 20 volunteers who were this week busily preparing for a chartered day excursion on a 98-year-old carriage that was taken out of service in 1983.

The day trip will be cooled only by the passing breeze, and powered by a diesel engine. But despite their fondness for old technology, no one in the workshop is so attached to heritage rolling stock that they would pass up the comfort of an air-conditioned carriage ride to the tropics.

Of a longed-for future journey on the Ghan, Mr Bradley demands “a decent cabin, decent companions and the lounge car would have to cater to my needs – cold beer”.

Volunteer retiree Alf Jones, along with school crossing supervisors Ted and Theresa Hignett, had all entered competitions to win free tickets to Darwin by rail. No luck so far.

In the Newport workshop, Ghan sceptics don’t appear welcome.

For Steve Bucton, 47, a locomotive driver with Freight Australia, who has been helping restore steam engines for 25 years, driving trains for work is not enough.

He has also travelled across South-East Asia by train, and visited Alice Springs twice on the Ghan. “At some stage it would be nice if I could get a chance to get on and go all the way through,” he said. “I would do it simply because it’s there.”


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