Western Australia’s last remaining railway roundhouse and associated turntable, the Collie Railway Roundhouse, has been permanently added to the State Register of Heritage Places.
This follows the awarding of a $998,532 grant from the Collie Futures Industry Development Fund towards the building's restoration – the first step towards turning it into a vibrant tourist destination.
The McGowan Government plans to restore the roundhouse with the aim of unlocking heritage, tourism and small business opportunities, supporting further economic diversification activity underway in the town.
The roundhouse and turntable were built in the 1950s to maintain steam trains servicing the coal industry and accommodate the increasing need for coal-fed electricity. The turntable is the only remaining electrically articulated timber and metal 100-foot turntable in WA. It stored and maintained steam locomotives prior to being decommissioned in the 1970s when diesel technology superseded steam.
The roundhouse is constructed using off-form concrete, making it unique in WA.
“The Collie Roundhouse is a significant historical site that demonstrates the development of coal mining in Collie,” says acting heritage minister Stephen Dawson.
“This reflects the growth of Western Australia in the mid-20th century and the increased consumption of coal for electricity generation that came with that growth. The built form of the place makes it a dramatic and dominant building located on the western entry into Collie.”
“For many years the Collie community have advocated for the restoration and historic recognition of the roundhouse and this is a big step in the right direction,” adds Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray.
“The new heritage listing of the roundhouse will be welcomed by the community as we move towards unlocking its true potential as an attraction that people will travel from across the state to visit and learn about its rich history.”
Images: National Trust of Australia