Another magnificent image from the ARHS archives: an elaborately-decorated French locomotive! Or is it?
101 years ago this month, Victorian Railways A2 1001 was specially decorated for the visit of French General Paul Pau, who toured Australia towards the end of World War I to thank Australian troops for their defence of France against Germany and the other Central Powers. As was typical of visiting dignitaries in that pre-airliner era, General Pau travelled by special train, and A2 1001 was selected to haul it.
The decorations included fleur-de-lis motifs (even on the buffers!), and signs reading Bienvenue (Welcome) and Vive La France (Hooray for France). A2 1001, just one year old when pictured here, continued in service for another 40 years during which time it was renumbered 941. It was eventually withdrawn from service and scrapped in 1959.