Log in

Forgot your password?

RWHT Project possibilities - for discussion

This is a brief outline of some areas suitable for RWHT projects. It also provides an idea of the areas heritage & tourism potential and the size of the challenge. This overview has been produced by Geoff Turnbull to encourage ideas for 2010 RWHT projects.

As certain undertakings already apply to the North Eveleigh site I have incorporated the NE HIS elements into this document (in italics) along with other suggestions that have been raised over the last couple of years. I have not looked in detail at what may be required under the ATP CMP (under revision), the ATP HAMS (unsighted) or what may apply to CarriageWorks.

Built Environment Heritage Interpretation

The North Eveleigh Heritage interpretation Strategy (HIS) specifies some work that needs to be undertaken as part of the redevelopment of the North Eveleigh site. As much of the Heritage Material has been removed from North Eveleigh it will be necessary to identify some of the items previously dispersed that might be able to be returned as envisaged in the HIS. The strategy (NE HIS 2.2b) below could also be applied to new buildings on the ATP where functional parts of the former rail site have been removed. A working group could work on this area. 

The RWA’s North Eveleigh Site Heritage Interpretation Strategy requires:

-         an integrated heritage interpretation which best reflects the site’s history.

-         Heritage interpretation is a means of sharing Australian culture and history within communities and with other communities, new citizens, visitors, and people overseas. It is also a means of passing on the knowledge and appreciation of Australian culture to new generations. 

On specific North Eveleigh sites it provides the following undertakings on Proposed Works:

NE HIS 2.1 Carriages – As a former Carriageworks, passenger carriages will be used as the primary physical means of interpreting the site. Unfortunately, it is impossible to use carriages that were constructed in the workshops as these carriages, of timber external construction, are not suitable for long-term outdoor display. Obtaining such carriages is also problematic as only a limited number survive and these are vested in other preservation projects. It is proposed to use carriages that meet the requirement for durability and that have an association with the site through repair or maintenance.

Three carriages are proposed:

·      A passenger carriage located on the fan of tracks in the square in front of the Paint Shop. On the side towards the Paint Shop the carriage form static display, illustrating the position of a carriage on the fan of tracks. On the other side the carriage there will be a deck and ramps to reach carriage height, facilitating its use as a kiosk or coffee shop.

·      A stainless steel baggage carriage will be located on the rail corridor end of the traverser between the Paint Shop and Carriage Works. This would assist with an understanding of the role of the traverser and would contain displays interpreting the stories of the workers at Eveleigh and of railway history. The baggage carriage has few windows, making it suitable for internal displays as well as being secure.

·      A third carriage will be located adjacent to the parkland to the south of the site. This carriage will be used for interpretation of the history and culture of Aboriginal people in the Redfern area and their role in the workshop complex. 

NE HIS 2.2b Interpretation in Commercial Buildings - Machinery or apparatus pertaining to industrial processes carried out in the workshops will be located in foyers of new building as at ATP. 

NE HIS 2.3 Interpretation of The Fan of Tracks - In addition to the location of a passenger carriage on the fan of tracks, interpretation will take place in the open part of the foyers of the commercial buildings located on the fan of tracks. In addition, the fan of tracks will be interpreted as part of the landscaping of the extensive open space in front to the Paint Shop.

Heritage Walk(s)

Opportunity for a number of short walks with possibility of making up a comprehensive walking tour of the former Eveleigh Railyards. These might be thematic walks (social history / manufacturing processes / political and labour history) or walks / tours through a particular building – Locomotive Workshop / Carriageworks / LES / Blacksmith Shop etc.

  • What are the locations across the site that needs to be included? RWA Heritage Buildings & any that no longer exist but should have interpretive signage where they used to stand
  • What is needed at each location to tell the story for that stop on the walk? - Plaques / audio visual / heritage items etc
  • What logistics are needed to for self guided tours walking tours / audio guided tours / tour guides. How could these be phased in?
  • What are the cost recovery and merchandising possibilities associated with a walks programme
  • NE HIS 2.4 Interpretation as Part of the Heritage Walk - Use of the Heritage Walk Bridge, the Baggage Carriage and Coffee shop as part of an organised Heritage Walk through the North Eveleigh and ATP sites. This will use audio discs available for hire as well as tours organized by volunteer guides.


What opportunities are there for specific attractions such as active heritage displays at Blacksmith Shop and Large Erecting Shop or display of key heritage railway assets in ATP Bats 1&2 North and under the metropolitan rail heritage strategy? Are their key items that need to be restored / cleaned up and made accessible to tours?


What opportunity exists for special events such as

  • open days
  • workers reunions
  • heritage conferences
  • dramatic re-enactments
  • rail tours linked to Eveleigh
  • railway art & music festival


What opportunities exist for an in depth heritage experience – eg blacksmithing experience, restoration experience, etc


Is there an opportunity further down the track for some heritage accommodation / boutique hotel linked to heritage activity on the site?

Heritage Backdrops

Opportunities for use across the site for filming, stills and promotions using Heritage buildings and heritage processes for backdrops

Lost Trades

What opportunities are there for work experience / trades training / volunteering in the metropolitan rail heritage strategy and elsewhere across the site?

Workers Wall

What is required to deliver a Workers wall and how does this interact with recording the social history of the site

NE HIS 2.2 Interpretation Through a Worker’s Wall - Provision for interpretive plaques set on the brick wall of the Blacksmith’s Shop, to form a Worker’s Wall in the manner of the Welcome Wall at the national Maritime Museum in Sydney. The names of those who worked at Eveleigh would be set into the wall in combination with an online database to record and store the stories of workers.

Workers Voices

NE HIS Strand - Worker’s history – the stories of the workers; their varied backgrounds and skills, on the North Eveleigh site. There are a number of published and unpublished sources that will be used to supply photographs and text for interpretive panels throughout the site.

Accessible database of Workers, their stories and their social history (see also Worker’s Wall above)

  • What records, histories and archives currently exist? – eg ATP 1996 Management Plan for Moveable Items and Social History, Material from Eveleigh Open Day with Bob Carr etc
  • How do we record peoples stories quickly before more people die off
  • Is a physical repository required?
  • Is a physical site for an exhibition required or should this be spread across the site?
  • How are stories added to the site and the voices preserved and interpreted into the future?

Railway History

NE HIS Strand - Railway history – the story of the development of the NSW Railways and railway technology on the site. As above, using published and unpublished sources and artifacts at present held by Railcorp.

  • Need to record people talking about the manufacturing process and equipment they were involved with
  • Need to display and interpret equipment across the site
  • Is there specific equipment than can be demonstrated? What needs to be done to do this? Under what circumstances should the equipment be demonstrated?
  • Need to interpret roles played by various buildings (standing and removed) and the functions and processes undertaken within them
  • Make accessible and intelligible the equipment stored in Bays 1 & 2 North.
  • Document and make available the Role played in NSW railways (eg almost all works in NSW were planned there)

Eveleigh’s Place in Australian History

  • Aboriginal Involvement at Eveleigh and the Railways including the fight for equal wages
  • The Role of Migrant Labour at Eveleigh
  • Eveleigh and the Wars – recruitment, service and armaments manufacture
  • Eveleigh, Unions and Labour History
  • Eveleigh and the opening up of NSW to the Railroads
  • Eveleigh and Heavy Industrial Manufacturing
  • The role (& lack there of) of women
  • Housing the Workers
  • etc

Aboriginal History of Redfern & Eveleigh

NE HIS Strand - Aboriginal history – from earliest times through to today’s community. Research has found two early colonial images looking from Newtown to the heads of Botany Bay. These images form the basis of an understanding of the landscape prior to the arrival of European settlement. Interpretation of the history and culture of Aboriginal people in the Redfern area and their role in the workshop complex would be done in full consultation with the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.

  • Pre-contact Aboriginal Occupation
  • The Europeans Arrive
  • Aboriginal life and employment in Colonial Times
  • 20th Century Employment
    • Eveleigh and the Railways
    • Other employers in the Redfern Area
  • Pubs, Cafes, Sport and Cinema – Socialising in Redfern
  • The Aboriginal Rights Struggle The 1996 Referendum
  • The formation & History of Aboriginal Organisations & places connected to Redfern
  • CoS Eora Journey elements in Redfern
  • A Keeping Place and a place to tell the Aboriginal story
  • What are the opportunities for Tourism
  • Key Aboriginal events throughout the year that could help tell the stories

Histories of Redfern Waterloo & Darlington

  • History of settlement in the area – pre & post colonial
  • Local Government
  • Key Heritage sites
  • Heritage Walks around Redfern
  • Diversity in Redfern and Waterloo

Sydney University

  • What opportunities are there for linking Sydney University attractions to what happens at Eveleigh & Redfern Waterloo

The History of Public Housing in Redfern Waterloo

  • The post war Housing situation
  • The dream of the Housing Commission
  • The Green Bans & the struggle for “Waterloo”
  • BEP2 and the Plans to redevelop public housing
  • The Changing nature of public housing
  • Migrant Communities and public Housing
  • Is there an opportunity for training in Heritage building trades?

RW Heritage on the Web

To make material widely available it will be necessary to have much of the material available digitally on the web. This opens up a number of issues which need to be explored.

  • What is required?
  • Can it be supplied by an existing organisation or is something new needed? If something new how will it be managed post RWA?
  • How can this be achieved and maintained?

Large Erecting Shop (LES)

Rob Mason RailCorp Dec 2008 - “In progressing implementation of the Government's Sustainable Rail Heritage Asset Management Strategy, RailCorp has been reviewing options for a metropolitan heritage facility and has, with the concurrence of Redfern Waterloo Authority, factored in the Large Erecting Shop. This review has led to the RailCorp Board's recent endorsement of a plan for RailCorp to retain the building for rail heritage related uses. RailCorp intends to use the Large Erecting Shop primarily to accommodate its heritage electric fleet, under the custodianship of the volunteer group Historic Electric Traction. RailCorp is also in discussion with 3801 Ltd about providing accommodation for that organisation's heritage train operations, which involve some items in the State's core heritage fleet, at the site. As well, RailCorp is looking to provide some limited capability to undertake rolling stock restoration and skills training, in addition to a layover facility for heritage groups operating core fleet rolling stock. RailCorp's plan for the Large Erecting Shop is consistent with the Friends of Eveleigh proposal that the workshop be retained for continuing rail heritage purposes. It is also part of a broader investment by the Government in both fixed and moveable State rail heritage assets across NSW.”

RailCorp, Office of Rail Heritage, 3801 Ltd, HET and other heritage operators using the LES for layover, reprovisioning, restoration and skills transfer for volunteers and apprentices as part of RailCorp’s  Metropolitan Rail Heritage Strategy need to:

  • explore how the LES’s part in the Eveleigh story can be best told as part of walking and site tours
  • explore the LES’s potentials as an operational heritage attractor to Eveleigh
  • explore how activity at the LES can compliment other proposed Heritage activities at Eveleigh
  • Assess proposals for a mezzanine viewing area and exhibition space as per FOE proposal mentioned above & 3801 Ltd’s proposal

ATP Heritage Equipment

The ATP CMP 1995 and Plan for Moveable Heritage 1996 and the December 1997 $ for $ Heritage Grant of $300,000, all recognised the importance of the equipment now covered on the ATP’s S170. There remains a need for the equipment especially in bays 1 & 2 North to be appropriately displayed, their role in the manufacturing process explained and interpreted. To this end heritage groups proposed to the Minister that she should consider making a Heritage Grant towards this work to replace the original 1997 Heritage Grant which is understood to have been largely returned to the Heritage Office. With or without such funding this project could be handled by the ATP and it would be an essential component of the explanation of the site and the industrial processes used historically.

An Integrated RW Heritage Tourism Strategy

The tourism and educational offering from the areas detailed above will be most successful if the various elements come together into a co-ordinated offering especially those elements relating to the former Eveleigh rail yards. To achieve this there will need to be a long term co-ordination mechanism and the establishment of business plans that will enable the heritage activities and the co-ordination mechanism to operate in the long term with the minimum possible requirement for government funding. 

Geoff Turnbull

Ph: (02) 8004 1490 Mob: 0418 457 392 mail@redwatch.org.au

18 January 2010.