New Life for Old Bones: Railway Station, Bridgetown

Published on:
Thursday, 6 July, 2023

Designed by legendary WA engineer CY O’Connor and opened in 1898, Bridgetown’s heritage-listed weatherboard and iron railway station remains a largely original structure.

The Station operated from 1898 to 1988 and was the largest on the Donnybrook-Bridgetown Railway line, which ceased service in 2005. Today it is one of two surviving stations on the line.

Planning for conservation of the building began in 1999 and State Heritage was obtained in 2001.

By 2014 the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes was had its eyes set on relocating the Visitors Centre and Jigsaw Gallery to Station.

Initially the community was opposed to the Visitor Centre’s move, resulting in progress stalling, but community sentiment has changed in the past decade and there is now a keen desire to see the Station opened up once more with the Centre inside.

In 2021 the Shire engaged a Heritage Architect to scope the new and subsequently engaged a local building contractor in November 2021.

Works included timber cladding and brick chimney repairs, reinstating original columns and verandah detailing, repairing of timber joinery, and placing of a new galvanised roof.

Due for completion by the end of June, the project will ensure this rare window into the role railways played in the Blackwood region’s economic development remains standing for locals and visitors.

The Station won’t sit as an empty window into the past either, with the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes revealing its visitor centre was aiming to move in by November this year.

Use of the Station as a visitor centre serves two key purposes – giving the centre a far more prominent site in town and enabling public access to the heritage building.

The Station falls within the wider Bridgetown Railway State Precinct which comprises railway lines, a passenger platform, the station building, goods shed a five-tonne crane, and loading gauge dating as far back as the 1890s.

Renovation of the building has played a significant part in demonstrating the suitability of the building to accommodate a visitor centre, and the inclusion of exhibition space is seen to add value to the visitor centre operations.

With ample nearby parking and the popularity of the RV Friendly parking in the railway car park, the new location is expected to be easier for tourists to access

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