July 11 was a special day for SteamRanger with the opening of the City of Victor Harbor’s railway turntable site and Liberal candidate for Mayo Georgina Downer announcing $200,000 funding for the tourism icon.
Located on Eyre Terrace, the railway turntable site has undergone a dramatic transformation into a space that pays tribute to Victor Harbor’s rich railway heritage, at the same time as providing a new public space for locals and visitors.
Construction on the $460,000 project commenced in March. Works have included new safety fencing, landscaping, seating, public art, shelter, paving, pathways, heritage interpretation and car parking.
The turntable mechanism used by the SteamRanger to turn their trains in the opposite direction is the main feature of the site.
Artistic elements with railway links have been added to complement the look of the space, including a shelter that is inspired by a train carriage, white picket fencing synonymous with railways, historical train numbers within the paving and quirky blue sheep to pay homage to livestock that were exported out of the region by rail from this site.
City of Victor Harbor mayor Graham Philp said the community should be proud of the finished product.
“The redevelopment of the railway turntable site has transformed a once desolate area into an inviting public space,” Mr Philp said.
“This project is the result of extensive negotiations with the state government to see the land transferred to council’s control. The support of SteamRanger has also been key to the success of the project and I thank them for their involvement. I congratulate council staff for all their efforts, as without them this would not have happened. ”
Liberal candidate for Mayo Georgina Downer announced the $200,000 funding for SteamRanger at the opening.
“The funds will be used for significant replacement of the railway tracks, upgrade of the turntable in Victor Harbor and the Middleton Bridge,” she said.
“SteamRanger is our heritage railway and an iconic piece of Australian history. It is important funding for tourism on the south coast and without track replacement, SteamRanger could not continue.”
Acting president of SteamRanger Andrew McDonough said the funds was crucial.
“It could not come at a better time, as it will cost $50,000 alone to repair the Middleton Bridge. The funding will assist SteamRanger to continue its service. We have 84 kilometres of track and approximately 200 volunteers, so we thank the federal government for this timely support,” Mr McDonough said.