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Last-ditch effort to save a piece of rail history

Wrought Artworks is holding an Open Day on August 17 to muster support for the ATP-based blacksmithing business, threatened with eviction by the Redfern-Waterloo Authority reports Anne Von Fehrn & Alex McDonald in City news of 3rd August 2008

“We have put everything into this to get it up and running,” said Wendie McCaffley, who co-owns Wrought Artworks with her business partner of 17 years, Guido Gouverneur.

Having received a formal eviction notice in March, Ms McCaffley, who describes the workshop as her “life’s work”, said she has been experiencing “terrific insomnia”.

“We made this abandoned workshop operational again,” she said. “We’ve recommissioned the equipment to work on Victorian restoration projects. We fix up Sydney, using original materials. We do bits for trains… rivets and things like that. We do Centennial Park’s pickets. Over the years we’ve gradually got everything going.”

Ruby Matthews from Friends of Eveleigh told The City News that the heritage items in the building will be emptied out if the eviction goes ahead. “[The Authority] is trying to find a palatable way to free up some buildings for development,” she said.

Mrs Matthews claimed the tenants in the nearby large erecting shop are under threat as well. That space, which is managed by Railcorp, is currently home to train restorers from 3801 Limited and The Powerhouse Museum.

Graham Quint from the NSW arm of the National Trust said Railcorp staff had already begun removing historic machinery from the shop. A spokesman for Railcorp confirmed that 134 pieces of “surplus heritage rollingstock” had so far been removed, with Railcorp now seeking “individuals keen to secure rollingstock for heritage and conservation purposes”.

But according to Ruby Matthews, many of these items were now being kept outdoors. “The bulk of the first-class carriages have been taken out of the security of an enclosed building and are now out in the open.”

• Show your support for Wrought Artworks on Sunday August 17 from 10am to 3pm, Australian Technology Park, Bays 1&2 cnr Garden and Boundary Streets, Redfern

City News: Last-ditch effort to save a piece of rail history