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Whistle Blows on Rail History

SYDNEY faces the loss of significant rail and Labor union movement history unless more is done to preserve the Eveleigh rail yards, local group Friends of Eveleigh (FOE) has said. At the centre of the debate is the heritage listed Large Erecting Shop, the only remaining building at the rail yards still mostly intact and performing it's original function, according to FOE and the National Trust reports Robert Burton-Bradley with Picture by Tlmothy Clapin in Central of 27th February 2008

RailCorp plans to sell the site for development as part of wider plans to redevelop the Redfern-Waterloo area under the direction of the Redfern-Waterloo Authority.

FOE spokeswoman associate professor Lucy Taksa, director of the Industrial Relatlons Research Centre at the University of NSW, said the site was significant as the birth place of significant union and rail history in Sydney's past.

"The site is the oldest continuously operated workshop in Australia and was home to very significant industrial heritage items," she said.

"Its vital we preserve this fascinating site for the future before it's too late to do so."

RailCorp has already begun moving heritage items from the site to a new location in the Hunter

Valley, but FOE said they should be retained at the Large Erecting Shop.

Redfern and Waterloo community group REDWatch spokesman Geoff Turnbull said that the site was perfect for use as a rail heritage museum and that it could cost RailCorp up to $10 million to move some of the remaining rail engines and equipment.

"The site could be maintained as a tourist attraction and heritage site, but the State Government just want's to fob it off," he said.

A spokesperson for RailCorp said the department had no interest in retaining the site as a working rail facility and museum for heritage preservation.

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Source: Central of 27th February 2008