Rail on the road back

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
The old Margaret River rail station and barracks when operating in Busselton as a miniature railway.
Camera IconThe old Margaret River rail station and barracks when operating in Busselton as a miniature railway. Credit: Facebook

Margaret River residents may soon have a new community space to enjoy, with a council plan to recapture and conserve the region’s railway history.

At last week’s Shire of Augusta-Margaret River council meeting, deputy Shire president Pauline McLeod urged colleagues to support a motion to buy back the Margaret River rail station barracks.

The historic, somewhat dilapidated structure is owned by former BP service station operator Bevan McCann after it was moved years ago to Busselton as part of the now defunct Whistle Stop Cafe.

Cr McLeod said the building could be bought and relocated to the Shire-controlled reserve on Clarke Road where the old Apex shed is also serving as the Margaret River Regional Environment Centre’s headquarters within the community garden.

The vision for the Shire-controlled space includes bringing those links to the region’s history together as part of a revamped community space.

“What drives this is preserving our heritage,” Cr McLeod said.

“The site can be a really great recreational space.” Cr McLeod told the Times the barracks were a classic example of old railway building infrastructure “and I think one of the few last examples left in the State”.

Shire president Ian Earl said he was one of the only councillors likely to remember when trains ran into the region, though he was about three at the time.

He said the rail buildings were one of the Shire’s significant structures worthy of preservation.

The proposal, backed unanimously by councillors, would see a project team formed and costs for the building’s relocation and restoration explored.

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