Celebrations with Euroa Connect. Source: Darren Chaitwood
The National Trust commends the community group, Euroa Connect, for their sustained advocacy work and successful application for an Interim Protection Order for the Euroa Goods Shed.
In October this year the National Trust was contacted by Euroa Connect asking for support in their advocacy work to retain their 150-year-old Goods Shed that was slated for demolition as part of the Inland Rail project. The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and Inland Rail are currently building and reusing rail freight routes from Melbourne to Brisbane via inland regional towns in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. In Victoria, this means adapting the current railway tracks and stations between Beveridge and Albury to cater for double-decker freight trains.
As railway stations and train routes have been so integral to Australia since their establishment, it is no surprise that this project has impacted heritage properties and significant historical elements of towns along the route.
The Euroa Goods Shed is the last standing of three identical Goods Sheds in Benalla, Violet Town and Euroa. The intact building, built in 1873, retains a number of original elements and built fabric including unique Gospel Oak Anchor corrugated iron from England, iron truss supports and a bluestone base. The building has no heritage protections or classifications.
Euroa Connect is an organisation created by the community to lead their advocacy efforts in protecting this significant building. As part of their advocacy, the group reached out to local historians, interstate heritage architects and former civil engineers for their opinions on the Goods Shed and the reports presented by ARTC. After a review of the material available, the National Trust submitted a letter supporting Euroa Connect and imploring ARTC to explore all their options before designing to demolish the significant Goods Shed.
Having successfully campaigned for an Interim Protection Order from the Heritage Council of Victoria, the Goods Shed has been granted temporary state heritage protection until Heritage Victoria can undertake an assessment of the complete significance of the site. This allows the community and Euroa Connect breathing room to discuss alternatives with ARTC that do not involve the demolition of the building.
This is by no means the end of the road in the fight for the Euroa Goods Shed, nor is it the end for communities across the Inland Rail route advocating for their heritage. But this is a ray of hope to remind us that the local community’s voice is always the strongest and most important.
While many see the National Trust as being the tip of the spear when it comes to heritage advocacy issues, there are occasions when we get to stand in the background and applaud communities for their good work. Take this as your reminder that your letter, your email, your voice, can make a difference.