PATRON Senator for Bendigo Michael Ronaldson visited Huntly on Sunday to launch a publication charting the history of the Bendigo to Murray River Railway.
The book, Bendigo to Murray River Railway 1864 to 2014, was compiled by Esma Turner from the Huntly and District Historical Society with information supplied from historical societies, railways museums and various other groups.
"We are, in my view, deeply privileged to have groups like the Huntly and District Historical Society," Mr Ronaldson said.
"Throughout Victoria we have a very proud history of historical societies.
"If it was not for the commitment and dedication of a fantastic group of volunteers we would have missed all this history.
"I look at all the kids around this room today, and they would have missed out on all of this, as well as us."
Mr Ronaldson described Bendigo to Murray River Railway 1864 to 2014 as a "ripping yarn".
"It's a story of tragedy, marriage, immigration and challenges," he said.
"It's also about economics.
"What this book does is describe a period of time that is well gone but should be very well remembered.
"To connect the Murray with Bendigo, which at that stage of course, was just starting to develop of a gold city undoubtedly helped the economy ... and if you look at what that railway meant, and you put it in some perspective, this railway line joined two colonies.
"That was way ahead of its time, way ahead of Federation."
Ms Turner, who compiled the book, said the railway from Melbourne to Bendigo was 150 years old in October 2012.
"Then the railway from Bendigo to Echuca was constructed between then and 1864.
"So, in 2014, in September, it will be 150 years old," she said.
Railway Engineers Australia Bendigo branch chairman Tim Dunlop unveiled a photo montage at the event on Sunday.
"It's very gratifying to be here today and see this great work come to life," he said.
"I'd like to congratulate the Huntly and District Historical Society and the work the volunteers do.
"It's invaluable, not only for the northern districts of Bendigo, but Bendigo as a region.
"It's very important we have volunteers such as Esma, her committee and office bearers that continue that work to preserve that history that, in some cases, would otherwise be lost."
To view photos from the event at the Huntly Hall on Sunday morning, visit www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au