Old train station to be reborn

Published on 18 March 2014

The vacant Inglewood railway station and goods shed buildings will be transformed into a busy multi-purpose community space, thanks to the Victorian Government’s Community Use of Vacant Rail Buildings Program.

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today that Loddon Shire Council had taken on the lease of the property, which will be converted under a major rebuilding program.

Mr Mulder said Inglewood and Districts Health Service would use the converted station building, Workspace Australia and the Goldfields Choir will set up base in the goods shed and Foodbank will have the use of a new shed built alongside.

“The government believes Inglewood station and many other railway buildings around the state have been unused for far too long,” he said.

“Inglewood station is nearly 140 years old and, with these works, I look forward to seeing it serve the local community for decades to come.”

The station was opened amid great fanfare in late 1876 and became a busy transport hub for passengers, livestock and goods, with holding yards for sheep and cattle and saw benches for producing firewood.

It was both the departure and return point for local men and youths who enlisted to serve their country in the Boer War and two world wars to follow. 

Work to refurbish the buildings is expected to start in mid-2014 and tenants should be able to move in by spring.

Loddon Shire Mayor Cr Gavan Holt said Council was delighted with the Minister’s announcement.

“We are excited to be involved in this project, which will assist in building the prosperity of Inglewood and providing a highly useful facility for the community,” Cr Holt said.

“The redevelopment is being co-ordinated through VicTrack, which has held discussions with the prospective tenants, the Inglewood Tourism and Development Committee, the local community and Council.

“VicTrack will manage the project works and will retain ownership of the property.

“The many benefits to Inglewood include seeing such a historically significant building restored, a more effective provision of community services, creating a new business incubator service, a boost to economic activity in the Shire and the potential to attract new businesses.”

Chair of the Inglewood and Districts Health Service Peter Moore said the refurbishment of the station building would deliver flexible office space for allied health practitioners and allow for expansion of nearby health service facilities.

“We will be able to use the building for staff accommodation and also for group work such as cardiac rehabilitation, strength training and other community activities,” he said.

CEO Mike Parker agreed the announcement was great news for the organisation.

“We were about to develop a new service plan for IDHS, so the timing of this is absolutely perfect for us,” Mr Parker said.

Current Goldfields Choir vice-president Duncan Campbell said the goods shed would provide an open area for rehearsals as well as some space for storage.

“The choir had been using the town hall for practice and they’ve been very generous to us there, but with the redevelopment under way, it’s not going to be available for a while,” Mr Campbell said.

“Most recently, we’ve been using the Eucy Museum for rehearsal, but the goods shed will be a lot better acoustically.”

As well as funding the refurbishment of the railway buildings, the Community Use of Vacant Rail Buildings Program will assist community groups with rent and utilities up to June 2015.