The South West Rail and Heritage Centre has regular open days, normally on the 4th Sunday of each month, with a special theme each time. Check out upcoming open days and event themes on the calendar to the left, and on the Centre's Facebook page.
Whilst at the centre, visitors can also view the historic rolling stock and agricultural machinery collections housed on site. Also on hand will be the men of the Capel Men's Shed with their hand made timber work, the blacksmiths working in the traditional way, and often special displays by visting groups on the theme of that day.
The Centre is in Turner Street Boyanup with entry by donation. Delicious refreshments will be available in the Picnic Van.
South West Rail and Heritage Centre
A new name and a new beginning
In March 2005 the Boyanup Museum was closed to the public due to safety concerns. In order to assist in the preservation of its rollingstock Rail Heritage WA offered to take on the lease of the museum site. This offer was accepted by the Boyanup Foundation and the Public Transport Authority.
Today the site with its railway and agricultural heritage is again open to visitors, but only for event days and booked groups until more work has been done. To find out more, or to offer to help, contact
In 1968 old carriages were collected from around the South-West by WAGR with the purpose of scrapping them. But the Mayor of Bunbury and the Tourist Bureau with political assistance got a stay of execution. Volunteers refurbished the six cars for operation.
The Australia Tourism Commission in 1973 gave a grant for the general overhaul of steam locomotive G233, provided it was matched by the government. A competition was organised and the newly overhauled locomotive became 'Leschenault Lady'. Later G123 'Koombana Queen' also became part of the 'Vintage Train'.
In the 1980s the railway yard at Bunbury was rationalised. This included the demolition of the Goods Shed as well as the Round house and left the Vintage Train without a home. As a consequence, with the aid of a Commonwealth Employment Program project the two buildings were relocated to railway land at Boyanup. Only one portion of the Roundhouse was rebuilt. This development gave the Vintage Train a home and in 1985 a museum was developed on the site.
In 1992 the Leschenault Railway Preservation Society Inc, formed by the volunteers who saved the Vintage Train, was wound up and its assets went to Australian Railway Historical Society (WA Div) Inc (now known as Rail Heritage WA).
Without sufficient volunteers to maintain the museum and its collection, the Museum also closed. On the museum site there is a wide selection of objects including railway vehicles, tractors, farming implements, agricultural machinery, assorted engines and machines, a small dairy display and a variety of small items. This relate to the railway and agricultural history of the South-West.
After compilation of appropriate reports recommendations were made as to the future of the museum and its collection. These are being implemented and with the assistance of funds from the South-West Development Commission and the Shire of Capel, the museum is in much better shape. One major piece of infrastructure, the old Goods Shed, has problems that still need to be addressed. When this is done the South-West Rail and Heritage Centre will have a bright future.
Volunteers, particularly those from the local region, are welcomed and there is a suitable task for everyone to do!^Back to Top
Railway to Boyanup
A full history of the railway can be found in the 'Westland' periodical Issue 266
In 1885 the Government felt that a railway from Bunbury to the surrounding district with its rich agricultural, pastoral and forest areas would be of great benefit. The Bunbury to Boyanup railway was opened in 1887, built and operated by a private contractor as a horse drawn railway. However in response to complaints the Government took over the railway and rebuilt it. It was reopened in 1891 to massive celebrations and the two H-class locomotives imported in December 1887 were finally to be used on the Boyanup railway. One of the locomotives, H18, is still extant and owned by Rail Heritage WA.
The Bunbury - Boyanup railway was the first railway in WA specifically built to serve an agricultural district. It was only the third section of government railway in the state. Due to its early railway development Boyanup was to become a very important railway junction with one line going through Busselton to Flinders Bay (with a branch to Nannup) and the other through Donnybrook to Northcliffe (with a branch through Boyup Brook to Katanning).
The early industries in the Boyanup district included dairying and timber milling. The timber industry was a larger user of rail transport until well into the 1930s. Other significant commodities transported by rail included fruit and garden produce and the transport of sheep and pigs. Passenger numbers were quite high - no doubt being a junction increased its popularity. It was a much busier railway centre than the adjacent townships of Dardanup & Capel.^Back to Top
Significance of the collection of railway items
Many of the larger railway items on the site (locomotives, carriages and wagons) are owned by Rail Heritage WA. Two railcars are owned by a private owner, whilst one carriage was donated to the Museum by Westrail along with a locomotive from the SECWA and a small shunting engine from Bunnings.
The former Vintage Train carriages that have been used for tourist purposes in the region since the early 1960s are owned by Rail Heritage WA.
In the museum collection are a number of small railway artefacts e.g. lamps, crockery, trolleys, signs, tools and personal items such as a uniform and tucker box. The 'Boyanup Refreshment Room' china plate is rare and highly significant for its links with the operations of Boyanup as a railway junction and refreshment place.
Railways represent a significant mode of transport for products of the area to intrastate, interstate and overseas markets.^Back to Top