Committee wants historic link to drive tourism
The Finley Railway Precinct Committee has grand plans to better link Finley’s historical sites, but it needs locals to help.
Newly elected vice president Syd Dudley said the plan is to link the soon-to-be opened Close Foundry Museum to the old Railway Museum on Endeavour St and then the Finley & District Historical Museum on Murray St.
He said a walking track could become a major tourism attraction for Finley, but would rely on funding being available.
In the meantime, Mr Dudley said new members are needed to help preserve the Finley railway precinct.
‘‘We really need to retain the history of the site. It’s an identity within itself, but we believe there’s potential for it to be a tourist attraction, particularly in conjunction with the Close Museum and Finley Museum.
‘‘We believe a walking track between these sites can make it attractive.
‘‘Any tourist dollar is critical to the economy of the town, and bringing tourists and their spending dollar is essentially the survival of these small towns.
‘‘Something that needs to be acknowledged is our existing members who have maintained the site and kept it progressed and alive to the point where I believe, with new ideas and new money, we can probably advance the site to make it suitable for visitation and incorporated in this tourist picture we have.
‘‘Of course we can have the vision but we need the effort, and that’s where the importance of new members is going to be critical.’’
Mr Dudley said early discussions about funding opportunities for the linking program have already started, but stressed there is still some way to go.
‘‘We’ve had discussions and initial consultation with South West Arts (about funding), but we’re still in very early stages,’’ he said.
‘‘Whether that will evolve is yet to be determined but their promotional activities and with the broader picture they embrace, I think there’s some virtue in working with them.
‘‘We’re also hoping we can get a closer association with the Berrigan Shire; I think that’s been a neglected part of the process.’’
The old train station was closed in 1989 after the train service stopped running through the town, leaving the historical station to become derelict and a popular site for graffiti tagging.
Restoration of the site began in 1993 thanks to the help of the late Jill Webster and Jenny Robertson.
The railway precinct is now full of historical artefacts including old uniforms from station staff, signage, ledger books, lights and plenty of photos of the railway and town.
Finley Railway Precinct Committee members (from left) Syd Dudley, Kathy Williams and Maree and Allan Matheson.
Finley train station in its prime, about 1898. Closed in 1989, the station has now been transformed in to a historical precinct which has the potential to become a greater tourism asset.