History of the Visitor Centre's new home

Published on Monday, 19 June 2023 at 12:22:23 PM

Photo courtesy Bridgetown Historical Society BHS 95-330

It was almost 125 years ago that the community of Bridgetown were awaiting the opening of the railway station, and today we find ourselves yet again eagerly anticipating the completion and reopening of the much loved heritage building.

As reported in July 1898 in the Bunbury Herald, giving updates about the project “The railway contractor is pushing on the work in connection with the Donnybrook-Bridgetown line. The station and buildings are well on towards completion. The ballasting of the station yard is also well in hand. The work generally appears to be of a most satisfactory nature which reflects well both upon the contractor and the staff.”

As our railway station will be nearing its restoration completion in the coming weeks, we take a look at some of the history of the Railway Station and the works it has had along the way.

Railway Station ‘soft’ opening, October 1898
Photo courtesy Bridgetown Historical Society BHS 10-468

The railway station building opened in October 1898, and the railway line officially opened 1st November 1898. There were some officials who could not be there for the opening, so they aligned the official opening to coincide with the annual Agricultural Show on December 1st 1898.

‘The special train from Bunbury and Busselton arrived at about 10.30, and on entering the station yard passed under a floral arch, on which were inscribed the words “Our engine means the development, advancement, and prosperity of our own town and country. Blackwood, the garden of the Colony. God save the Queen.” The engine severed the ribbon of blue and white, the colours of the district.’ - The Inquirer and Commercial News – Fri Dec 1898.

Official opening ceremony, 1st December 1898
Photo courtesy Bridgetown Historical Society BHS 11-037

Keeping the railway station looking good over the years was the station master, an article in The Southern Times, 1902 describes “Our very pretty Railway Station is being beautified by the genial station master, who is always most obliging. He deserves great praise for his skill and ability.”

Station master c 1910 -1920
Photo courtesy Bridgetown Historical Society BHS 95-335

By 1934, the building was requiring some improvements. The Blackwood Times reporting “Most of the building has been relined with jarrah in place of matchboard which was eaten badly by white ants. The building is being painted and this week a start was made to dress the gravel platform with tar. When completed the works will give the station an excellent appearance.”

Again in 1954 an article titled “Railway Station is “Spick-and-Span”” in the Blackwood Times. “External and internal appearance of Bridgetown’s railway station, one of the oldest in the state, has been considerably changed during the past two to three weeks with a coating of crisp, fresh paint. Railway goods shed is also receiving attention. Brightness of both these buildings will add a good deal to this part of the town, and will certainly give bus passengers the right impression concerning the intention of the present Railways Commission.”

Railway Station 2015
Photo courtesy Bridgetown Historical Society BHS 15-572

The station has been a major place of employment, a meeting place for local growers bringing goods to be sent to market, and an arrival and departure point for both visiting and local passengers and the transport of regular mail. It has also been important in providing a venue for community based environmental groups such as the Blackwood Environment Society.


We now welcome the Railway Station into a new era for Bridgetown, once again a place for visitors and locals.

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