Bridgetown’s historic railway station will get a new lease on life with the Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire endorsing the architectural designs for its transformation into office space for Bridgetown community groups at its meeting on June 25.

The historical building dates back to 1898 and is listed with the State’s Heritage Council as having local and state significance “as tangible reminders of the importance of railways in the economic development of the lower South West region and the State”.

It was designed by CY O’Connor, the engineering genius who designed the Perth-Kalgoorlie pipeline and the Fremantle Harbour.

With architect David Singe’s designs approved, the project now requires funding to go ahead. This may come from government economic stimulus funding or from the Shire itself.

The original concept was for the railway station to become the new home for a relocated Visitors Centre but strong reservations about that proposal were raised during community consultation.

So from late 2019 the Shire changed tack.

“We’re looking at options as to who goes in. The Blues at Bridgetown and Blackwood Landcare are possibilities with others to be considered,” said Shire president John Nicholas.

$1.5 million worth of Commonwealth funding is available for local economic stimulus following the drought and the Covid 19 pandemic and Mr Nicholas is confident of funding the project.

The shire is also seeking a State Government contribution to funding.

“It’s shovel-ready, it’s ready to go,” Mr Nicholas said.

The railway station is one of several strategic projects in the pipeline for the Shire, including redeveloping the Greenbushes railway station and the Bridgetown foreshore, upgrading the Town Hall and building a youth precinct.

Mr Nicholas said the Shire’s strategic planning was essential to ensure the facilities were available for the expanding population moving to Bridgetown and Greenbushes as a result of the Greenbushes Talison Lithium mine expansion.