With three Great Grandfathers and three Great Great Grandfathers having worked either within the Midland Railway Workshops or for the West Australian Government Railways (WAGR), it was a given that I’d be attending the Midland Railway Workshops Heritage Day in order to see the buildings that, in some way, played a part within the lives of my ancestors.
Running for nearly 100 years, construction on the Midland Railway Workshops began in 1897 with the first buildings completed in 1904. As the workshops grew, extensions were added and additional buildings constructed. Their main purpose was to build and repair steam locomotives, carriages, wagons, tracks, signals and station furniture for the WAGR. At their peak the workshops employed over 4,000 people and remained in use until their closure (which was met with widespread disapproval) in 1994.
Today, the Midland Railway Workshops are heritage listed and are a marvel to view. In some instances it almost seemed as if the men that worked there had only recently left, with clocks, safety notices, signage and even names of employees still attached to the buildings.
It was a beautiful day which made exploring the workshops a joy. People were everywhere and it felt good to see families, children and elderly revelling in an important piece of Western Australian history. Personally, I thank my Mum and brother for joining me and I hope they enjoyed the day as much as I did.