All aboard with fresh plans for Trentham Station

June 15th, 2020All aboard with fresh plans for Trentham Station

FEW places seem emptier than disused railway stations. The whistles, smoke or steam, the flurry of travel, all are gone.

FEW places seem emptier than disused railway stations. The whistles, smoke or steam, the flurry of travel, all are gone.

Trentham’s heritage-listed station stopped operating just two years short of its century, in 1978.

There are, however, signs of life on Friday nights when two food vans lure locals for burgers and a yarn.

A check of Hepburn Shire Council reports turns up a study released in September 2013 which talks of $450,000 to be spent developing “a museum/interpretive centre”, with support from the Friends of the Railway Station and the Trentham Historical Society

Now, the Friends of the Railway Station has become Trentham Rail and Tramway Association (TRATA), and it struggles after a three-month COVID-19-enforced shutdown.

But TRATA now says they are coming back strongly with ambitious plans to smarten the place up and expand.

Painting the historic station is on the schedule, says TRATA treasurer John Gray, pictured with some locals, from left, Ivy, Lilly and Georgia with his grandson Eli.

“We want to reorganise the structure and make it more interesting. A couple of carriages have been upgraded and made more attractive.”

One carriage has been a tearoom and is now fitted out for a sausage sizzle spot at the monthly fundraising market, which may restart in September. “We hope for more space under cover and to expand the 15 to 20 stalls up to 30.”

Standing on the former Carlsruhe-to-Daylesford line, the station building, platform, goods shed, and a short section of track are still in place. The town’s Information Centre is there, in spite of long-dreamed-of plans to move it to a new “Hub”.

Mr Gray said the goods shed could become a community base for workshops and meetings, with an undertaking from the station owners, VicTrack, to do work on it.

Another aim is to set up a museum in the area, showing memorabilia collected over the years.

Car shows and tractor pulls have been held at the station and Mr Gray says work on the track will enable more tractor pulls.

The station is also the starting point for the Domino Trail, an easy walk following the old railway line into the Wombat Forest six kilometres to Lyonville.

Another intriguing aspect of rail transport in the district was revealed in the Spring, 1971, journal of the Light Railway Association by an A. N. Hall.

He writes of visiting his old home district of Korweinguboora, and by chance finding a brake shoe used on the horse tramway run by Trewhella Bros, of Trentham.

“I originally found this brake shoe on the route of the line in 1920, and carried it home. It has since been used by my brother as a small anvil.”

The tramway ran from Trewhella Bros sawmill at “old” Newbury, about eight kilometres towards the settlement of North Blackwood. “The `old’ Newbury town does not exist now,” he writes, “although when the sawmill was there and mining was in full swing it boasted a theatre and three hotels.

“Some 30 years ago the Newbury post office was shifted from ‘old’ Newbury to Garlick’s Lead, and the latter town then took the name Newbury.”

 The Trewhella Bros sawmill at “old” Newbury closed before the start of the 20th century.

Anyone interested in joining TRATA or the monthly market should ring 0477 179 237.

Words: Kevin Childs Images: Kyle Barnes

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