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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mudgee Historic Railway Station


The station building, when opened, was rated as one of the select group of significant railway structures, surpassed only by regional stations in Newcastle, Albury and Hay.

Currently (2017)

The original Station building was categorised as one of approximately twenty 'first class' stations built between 1870 and 1890 (Late Victorian period) and reflects the John Whitton principles of railway operation.

Mudgee Station was classified by the National Trust (NSW) in 1977 and listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1978.

This station building in its original state, was acclaimed most impressive - and rated amongst the most significant railway stations of its day. However it required some considerable alterations in the 1900's to meet the needs of rail travellers, as lines were extended to new growing towns to the north.

Brief history – (with fascinating related activities).

*24th July 1879 State Parliament sanctioned the extension of the Rail line from Wallerawang to Mudgee. (This approval was piloted through Parliament by Mudgee's member Sir John Robertson. The news of the approval reached Mudgee at midnight of the same day. At this late hour the town 'bandsmen' were assembled who then played appropriate music until daylight).

*First 'Train' to arrive Mudgee:¬Wednesday morning, 10`" September 1884.
It was a mixed 'goods and mail train.

The towns people had everything ready for two days celebrations – town was gaily decorated – a banquet was prepared for the evening of the 10th -in the Engine Shed).

*11th September 1884 six trains arrived Mudgee: One train carrying the official party - Mr. Edmund Barton (Barrister, NSW MP, First Prime Minister after Federation in 1901), Railway Commissioner Mr. Goodchap, and two local Parliamentarians, Sir John Robertson and Mr. A.G. Taylor.
This marked the official opening of the Railway to Mudgee.

(These trains, ex Sydney, each pulled by two engines, collecting passengers en route, arrived Mudgee filled to capacity.

A tremendous feast had been prepared in 'Market Square' (now Robertson Park) for the celebrating townspeople and visitors. A roast bullock, five to six hundred loaves of bread and many ten gallon casks of beer were consumed – one large loaf of bread weighed 150lbs!

That evening a public Ball was held in the Engine Shed to commemorate the opening of the 'Rail Line'. And it rained – no one cared – feasting, dancing and revelry were the order of the day and night.)

* 14th April 1909, extension of 'Line' to Gulgong opened.

*In Nov. 1910, line Gulgong to Dunedoo was opened. In later years the 'Line' was extended to Binnaway, Coonabarabran, Baradine and Gwabegar (end of 'Line').

*With 'Lines' opening northwards - 'Mudgee Refreshment Room' (and kitchen) opened 5th Dec. 1911 to cater for travellers' needs. (These 'rooms' now encompassed what had been the 'Parcels Office, 'out of room' and western end 'open yard' space.

This development brought about a replacement Parcels Office' and 'out of room' being built upon 'open yard space' between eastern end of main building and men's toilet block).

There were numerous building additions/alterations over ensuing years:- 1917, 'Bar' facilities to the 'Refreshment Room'.

1920, verandah (Inglis St. side - near entrance 'Refreshment Room') enclosed to house a Telegraph Office; to provide communications with the departments of 'Station', e.g. 'Goods Shed' etc. Also alterations to main facade, and the alteration of some windows into door -ways.

1927, a 'furnace' to heat 'foot warmers' (a steel canister filled with reactive salts) was built. The 'furnace' with sheltering roof and 'coal bays', is still evident at western end of platform.

*Last 'Rail passenger services' (Dedicated 'Mail Train' ex Sydney to Mudgee & return ceased early 1970's. In lieu thereof a rail 'two car diesel' service (twice daily Monday to Saturday and one return service Sunday), connected with electric Rail service Lithgow. This subsequently ceased): Sunday Is` December 1985. (These 'services' replaced on the following Monday [2nd December '85.] by road Coaches - arriving/departing 'Station'.)

Dec 1991: One of the last trains to Mudgee carefully crosses
the viaduct north of Mudgee bound for Gulgong (David Johnson)

*Last Freight Train': 1992.

*'Line' Kandos to Gulgong closed 1992.

*'Line' Kandos to Gulgong re-opened September 2000; as an alternative route for some 'Freight Trains' during the 2000 Olympic Games.

Reopening Mudgee Station 2000 (Mudgee History)
Following maintenance (considerable 're-sleepering' and viaduct strengthening) 'Tourist' trains subsequently passed through/stayed in Mudgee [some overnight] on an irregular basis for some time afterwards.

        Related story: Rylstone line to re-open for show train (2016)

*'Line' Kandos to Gulgong finally closed again in latter half of 2007.
(On Saturday June 2007 a 'Rally' to protest against the coming 'closure of Line' was held.

The 'Rally' was arranged to raise awareness of the plight of country rail services [to/from Mudgee in particular]. Approx. 500 people attended; the central activity was conducted from an empty flattop rail wagon [the 'wagon' being one unit of a visiting 'Tourist Train'] positioned adjacent to Station platform awning. As part of the 'Protest' attraction Troy Cassar-Daly presented a number of musical items. Pertinent politicians and Railway officials were invited; only attending political/Rail representative was Orange Federal member.

This text from a leaflet prepared by members of

'ART and CRAFTS MUDGEE'

A delightful gallery full of' the finest locally made 'Art & Crafts'

Open 7 days 9am, – 4pm
At the historic Railway Station
Corner Church & Inglis Streets,
MUDGEE NSW 2850
Ph: 02 6372 2822

www.artandcraftsmudgee.com
Facebook.com/artandcraftsmudgee

The content has been researched/confirmed from old documents (or copies thereof), Mudgee Guardian papers and local knowledge, and to our belief is correct in events and dates. Thankyou also to the Colonial Inn Museum


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