Hon David Templeman Dip Tchg BEd MLA

Hon David Templeman Dip Tchg BEd MLA

Minister for Culture and the Arts; Sport and Recreation; International Education; Heritage

    Celebrating 150 years of railways in Western Australia

    20/08/2021 7:10 PM
    • Commemorating the 150th anniversary of Western Australia's first railway
    • Exhibition launch of the restored Ballaarat steam engine
    • Relaunch of beloved Leschenault Lady steam locomotive 

    A number of community celebrations are taking place across the South-West region this weekend marking 150 years of Western Australia's railway heritage.


    Heritage and Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said an exhibition at Railway House in Busselton would open this Friday, sharing stories behind the remarkable history of the Ballaarat steam engine.


    The City of Busselton exhibition is one of three commemorative events over the weekend, with Rail Heritage WA organising the relaunch of the Leschenault Lady steam locomotive at the Boyanup Railway Precinct and Saturday's plaque unveiling at the heritage-listed Wonnerup House.


    Volunteer run Rail Heritage WA has played an instrumental role in the preservation and restoration of WA's railway heritage and was the driver behind the restoration of the beloved Leschenault Lady, which now resides at the South West Rail and Heritage Centre in Boyanup.


    The plaque unveiling at Wonnerup House on Saturday pays homage to this 150 years of railway history, and the role transport has played in WA's economic prosperity, as well as in shaping who we are and how we connect in our vast and geographically diverse State.


    Constructed in 1871, the State's first railway comprised 18 kilometres of track between the Busselton port and mill at Lockeville and Yoganup. Shortly after, WA's very first steam locomotive, the Ballaarat, was built and brought by sea from Victoria and earnt its keep hauling logs on the tramline.


    Right up until the mid-20th century, the original railway network was crucial to WA's growth and success - especially across regional areas - and will live on as unique tourist attractions for visitors to the South-West.


    Comments attributed to Heritage and Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman:


    "It is not an exaggeration to say that volunteers are the bedrock of the heritage industry, and it is their unwavering passion and commitment that underlies many heritage projects and initiatives in Western Australia.


    "Railway heritage combines tourism and cultural heritage, and the story of the original timber railway and the original locomotive, the Ballaarat, provides an added dimension to Wonnerup House and a new story for visitors to discover.


    "A big thank you to Rail Heritage WA and all rail heritage volunteers through the years who have been caretakers and custodians to these vintage machines.


    "The act of preserving these histories ensures they can be shared, visited, and reinterpreted by every new generation: a priceless gift to our future selves and I am pleased to be part of these celebrations marking an extraordinary 150 years of railways in our great State."


    Minister's office - 6552 5400