The railway line that was once the most expensive ever built by the State Government has been placed on the State Register of Heritage Places.
The 36km Pemberton-to-Northcliffe line was built between 1926 and 1933 and cost more than �290,000.
Heritage Minister Francis Logan said the line was a technical phenomenon because it covered extremely difficult terrain.
“At the time, the railway was a huge cost to the Government and represented a courageous decision by the then Premier, Philip Collier,” Mr Logan said.
“However, the investment paid off and the line provided significant benefits for the region and the State.
“Today, we have learned from the experiences of the past. We are still building rail lines at huge cost to the Government because we know that they provide immeasurable benefits to the whole State.”
The Minister said the Pemberton-to-Northcliffe line was a vital element in the network of State railways.
In addition to supporting the region’s settlement and timber industry, it was also responsible for the development of agriculture.
“It was also a significant public works project, providing local employment during the Great Depression,” Mr Logan said.
“Today, the railway is a popular tourist attraction, providing views of the beauty of the region, with re-growth Karri trees and forest and farmland settings.”
The Minister said the line included some of the finest timber bridges ever constructed in Western Australia, including the Warren River Bridge, which is 127m long and 10m high.”
Mr Logan said the bridge was particularly impressive because of its picturesque timber structure comprising four tall pile timber trestles. It was also laid to a curve.
“It is also one of only five timber bridges known to have been built in the State which is 10 or more metres high,” he said.
In addition to the railway line, the heritage listing also includes the railway station at Pemberton, seven railway bridges and the remains of Northcliffe Station.
The Minister also announced the heritage listing of the unique Round House on Albany Highway in Mount Barker.
The Minister, who inspected the Round House during a recent visit to the district, said it was a unique structure that held significance to people in the area.
The Round House was built in the early 1960s by Dutch immigrant Hurbertus Johannes Van der Kolk.
It represents a high level of technical achievement in residential development because it could revolve 180 degrees.
“This rare and innovative concept allowed the owners to revolve the house to make the most of the winter sun or to protect the inhabitants from the summer sun,” Mr Logan said.
“It was an energy-efficient concept ahead of its time.”
The Minister said the house was also an early example of the evolution of a large farming property on the outskirts of a rural town to a small acreage used for residential or business purposes.
At the time of construction, it was recognised by the community of Mount Barker and the Shire of Plantagenet for social, cultural and aesthetic reasons as a unique building in the region, becoming a landmark on Albany Highway and appearing in promotional material for the area.
The other site included on the heritage list this week is the Doctor’s House in Norseman.
All new listings are open for public comment until October 19.
“The Gallop Government is committed to protecting and enhancing WA’s unique lifestyle, including significant heritage sites,” Mr Logan said.
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