Burra Railway Station


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (17:35): Thanks to the member for Reynell for that, and I wholeheartedly agree with her. Research into cancer, and particularly childhood cancer, is something very dear to my heart. My parents, my mother, would know that list and a much, much longer one inside out, so thank you for that contribution. I rise to use the time available to me today to talk about a very positive project that is going on in the electorate of Stuart at Burra at the moment.

I was privileged to meet Mr Roy Taplin last week at Burra. He is a man of extraordinary skill and extraordinary humility as well. He is currently renovating the Burra Railway Station, and he is doing an extraordinary job. He is the man who led the renovation of the Burra Town Hall. For anybody who has not been there, or not had the opportunity to see it, if ever you are passing through that town I really do strongly recommend that you just park out the front (there is always plenty of parking), walk up the steps, and just poke your head in and have a look around. You will be made extremely welcome. It is one of the very beautiful town halls in the electorate of Stuart.

Mr Taplin is leading this work on behalf of the Burra Railway Preservation Group, which has a number of very active and capable members. Probably the two leaders (but certainly not the only ones) would be Meredith Satchell and Pip Edson. While they are certainly active, and working, and helping, and coordinating, it really is Roy who is leading the charge in a very hands-on way. He is the one who is ripping up all of the white ant-ridden floorboards and replacing them with beautiful floorboards. He is the one who is scraping back all the paint and filling in all the cracks in this heritage railway station, which—I am sorry I do not know the date—would be from the mid-1800s, I am sure.

He is the one who, remarkably, has uncovered the original frieze that went around the wall in one of the waiting rooms by painstakingly working back through the paint, pulling bits of wood off the wall that actually protected some of the frieze. The frieze was there originally and then, after that, some wood was put onto the wall for some other purpose. He has pulled that back, pulled back some of the glue and other things that were holding the wood there, and managed very carefully and very gently to uncover the original frieze that was there. Of course, they were able to make a stencil and replace it throughout the entire room as part of the restoration. They really are doing an extraordinary job.

As well as the interior restoration, of course, is the exterior. The Burra Railway Station had originally not only a covered roof over the platform but also a covered roof over the train tracks out the front of the platform. Unfortunately that extra bit of roof is no longer there, but there is a fairly extensive roof over the platform still, and that is in very good shape. I am told that in a month or two (in fact, I think in October) the very first event in the renovated Burra Railway Station—the renovations will not be complete, but it will be good enough to do this job—is going to be a local wedding, outdoors on the platform, under cover. So already this renovation is being put to very good use.

Another thing that they are doing is putting in a bed and breakfast. There will be two accommodation units with modern bathroom and toilet facilities and a modern kitchenette. It will be a combination of the best of the old and the new, but it really is an extraordinary job that they are doing. I would like to pay credit to the entire preservation group but particularly Mr Roy Taplin, who is doing all of this work, whether it is his own hands-on work, which it often is, or whether it is him engaging contractors and overseeing their work, which it often is. They are on a very tight budget, and I am pleased to compliment the government on having contributed a significant amount of money to this prior to the last election, which this group is spending exceptionally wisely.

It is part of a much broader heritage restoration effort throughout the township of Burra, and I really do recommend any members of parliament, or friends or family, who have the chance, if they have not been there before, please do go to Burra. An extraordinary number of beautiful buildings have been renovated. There is a strong heritage culture there. There is a strong art culture there. I have been to a few art exhibition openings and I have been to many other arts exhibitions but just not on the opening night.

It is a strong area for culture and for tourism, and for agriculture, of course. Agriculture was there in the district well before the town started, throughout the town's entire history and still exists very strongly today. Burra was, as I am sure all students of South Australian history would know, a very important mining town—a mining town that actually, through the copper that was mined there, saved the South Australian economy. There may well be mining there in the future one day.

But my focus here is really just to compliment the people who are doing wonderful work. They have an interest in the entire town, but their key focus at the moment is the restoration and the preservation of the Burra Railway Station. They are really doing an outstanding job and I thank them for doing that on behalf of their community. They are all volunteers involved in this group, so they do it for their pride and for their own sense of contribution, but they do it for the entire community as well


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