Restoration of the Tallarook Railway Station

Tallarook Railway Station 1926

This building, first constructed in 1897, was used continually as an operating Railway Station until 1987, when use of the building was discontinued, although services continue to use the platform on a regular basis.

 

The building remained disused and abandoned until August 1995, when a railway enthusiast, Bruce McLaren, and his parents, Ken and Pat McLaren, took on a lease to use the building for community purposes as a museum commemorating the role of the station in the community and area, as well as a focal point for railway enthusiasts to gather several times each year and “train watch” the services which regularly pass on both the broad and standard gauge.

 

Restoration of the building involved repair of walls and windows which had been subject to heavy vandalism, as well as pumping out a former signaling tunnel under the building which was full to three feet deep of musty water and rubbish. Flooring had also been subject to substantial termite attack, and over half of the building required replacement. In addition, the former signaling frame had been removed in 1997 leaving a hole 3 feet wide and 30 feet long, which was originally covered with corrugated iron, and which necessitated the cutting of 13 floor joists to support the floor in this room. External painting was required as the building had not been painted for a considerable period of time, with the surface being also subject to water damage. Roof and gutters were also leaking into the building enhancing the conditions which termites thrive in, and following lifting of the floor, the property was treated to minimize further termite intrusion, although they have accessed the building a number of times over the period since Bruce took occupancy, requiring corrective work around doors and in several walls.

 

Since commencing the restoration project, Bruce has obtained all original plans of the building, which was modified in 1961 with the inclusion of a signal box into the building, and copies have been provided for visitors to see the significant building which once stood proudly to commemorate the role of an important station in a railway town. Photographs of the station and town have been obtained from various sources to support the museum role of the station building, including a number of aerial photographs which show much of the former railway infrastructure in the town. A copy of an original menu from 1904 when the station contained a railway refreshment room (from 1897 to 1927) has also been obtained and is on display, as are photographs from 1904 onwards.

 

At the time of commencing restoration, the building was also surrounded by weeds and dry grass which constituted both a fire and wildlife hazard, and restoration of the former station garden was started as a project, particularly after finding evidence of some of the original rose plants which adorned the platform. Over a number of years, the garden and surrounds have been added to, and local residents now claim that the Tallarook Railway Station is the best looking station between Seymour and Melbourne, with plants also being added on the platform opposite the station to minimize the intrusion of weeds and add colour to the station surrounds. Images of the Tallarook Railway Station and surrounds have also been added to this platform enhancing the museum aspect.

Local residents have watched the restoration of this historic site with interest, and been extremely supportive of the work undertaken, adding opportunities to display other historic items as they are identified, which are relevant to the station precinct, as well as adding stories of their time as they grew up in the area living and/or working in the station building during its working life. Railway staff at Seymour have also been extremely supportive of the efforts to restore the station and surrounds, providing assistance as they are able.

 

Further enquiries on the project and ongoing maintenance of the station and surrounds can be directed to Bruce McLaren via email at: smtallarook@bigpond.com           

© 2021 Tallarook Mechanics Institute Committee of Management Inc

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