Rail­way Goods shed restora­tion query RE­CENTLY I at­tended an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -

at the Beech­worth Rail­way Goods Shed and was told ( not for the first time) that Indigo Shire Council was “restor­ing” the Goods Shed.

The Ox­ford Dic­tio­nary of English de­fines “re­store” as:

Re­pair or ren­o­vate ( a build­ing, work of art, etc.) so as to re­turn it to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion. ‘ The build­ing has been lov­ingly re­stored’. What­ever the council is do­ing it is not restor­ing the Goods Shed.

It seems they are go­ing to turn it into a 5 or 6 star rated build­ing to house a cafe, art gallery, cy­cling hub, etc. to suit var­i­ous busi­ness in­ter­ests, hardly a lov­ing restora­tion of its orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

I was also told that the re­main­ing rail­way track would be buried in con­crete be­cause it was a “trip­ping haz­ard”.

I did point out to the shire’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives that I had re­cently vis­ited the Sey­mour Rail­way Her­itage Cen­tre where visi­tors were al­lowed to walk on the tracks and climb on the en­gines and car­riages. They had no an­swer to this. It be­came in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous that Shire’s “re­stor­ers” knew very lit­tle or noth­ing about the rail­way age in Beech­worth.

The rail­way to Beech­worth was opened on Septem­ber 30 1876.

The last train ran on Jan­uary 3 1977. Indigo Shire ap­pears not to care about a hun­dred years of Beech­worth’s his­tory.

The Goods Shed is the only largely in­tact build­ing re­main­ing from the rail­way age in Beech­worth and as such should be re­stored and pre­served not “mor­phed” into a shadow of its for­mer self.

This is just an­other ex­am­ple of Indigo Shire’s dis­re­gard and ne­glect of the colo­nial his­tory of Beech­worth.

There is the lax or non en­force­ment of her­itage sig­nage rules and the ap­proval of in­ap­pro­pri­ate de­vel­op­ment near the his­toric heart of Beech­worth.

There is an over­whelm­ing ob­ses­sion with cy­cling tourism to the detri­ment of the her­itage which makes Beech­worth a very spe­cial place.

It is im­por­tant that what re­mains of Beech­worth’s price­less his­tory is pro­tected and pre­served for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Once it is gone it is gone for­ever. John Har­vey Beech­worth

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