Sepia Saturday 192: A life in railway service

Sepia Saturday 192 smallToday’s Sepia Saturday image is “men in braces”, or perhaps working clothes, or newspapers.

In a way my post combines all of these elements. Among my photo collection is a photo of my grandfather taken for a news story.

James Joseph McSherry 1956
James Joseph McSherry 1956

James Joseph McSherry was an incredibly hard worker, having notched up a normal lifetime’s service with the Queensland Railways, building the old red rattlers at the Ipswich Railway Workshops and before that in the Townsville Workshops. Not content to just take his ease on official retirement, he signed up with Commonwealth Engineering (ComEng) to repair 1500 wagons in three years, completing the task (with his team) in two years. I suspect he was a demanding boss probably having high expectations of his working team.

News article JJ McSherry

By the time of this story he was 74 years old and had a staff of 254. Unfortunately the newspaper clipping is not identified by date or name but I suspect it may have been in The Telegraph and would have been sometime in 1956.

It wasn’t as if this was all he was doing either, because as an active member of the Hibernian Society he did lots of carpentry jobs for them and people in need. Even in his late 70s he was painting St Mary’s church West End in Brisbane and the Legion of Mary hostel in Indooroopilly. He was a dedicated worker for the Catholic church all his life, yet on his death there was very little representation at his funeral….sad.

29 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday 192: A life in railway service

  1. Great when you find an interesting article on an ancestor, isn’t it, especially with a photo included, even if you can’t immediately identify the source. I assume it’s not yet included in Tove, but did he receive a British Empire medal for putting out a fire near a bomb dump?


    1. I was lucky this clipping came to me via my Mum. And no, couldn’t find anything on Trove as yet…Brisbane papers finish earlier than that. Missed the reference to the bomb dump….


  2. I never thought about all that before — that trains had to be repaired, just like anything else; to have an ancestor who specialized in this is pretty amazing! Nice post.


  3. I think I have read about him previously?

    Love that first photo.

    I admire him for his high workmanship, efficiency and high standards but I certainly hope that I am not still working in my 70s.


  4. Hi CassMob do you know James Joseph ancestory. Is he related to me?. Here is a reply I submitted to a McSherry American Blog:
    “I am Daniel McSherry of 31 Springhill Road, Glenanne, Co.Armagh, BT60 2LF. Northern Ireland. Patrick McSherry (Married to Catherine Garland) who left Co.Armagh in 1752 and
    was responsible for the development of McSherrys town was my great grandfather (Patrick 1821-1891) great uncle. I live on the farm in the townland of Lisdrumchor which

    has been in the McSherry family for five generations and also own the lands in the town of Ballylane which was farmed by Patrick’s brother Bernard(1729-?).

    We are holding a McSherry Gathering in the townlands of Lisdrumchor and Ballylane on Saturday 28th June 2014. If you have any McSherry memorabilia, photographs you wuld like displayed please get in touch. If you have Ballylane McSherry genes in your blood you are more than welcome to attend. Do get in touch and book your flights early. Contact by email at: or

    Many thanks


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.