Eveleigh Workshops

Much of the suburb of Redfern was known as Eveleigh in the early days. In fact, Redfern railway station was originally known as Eveleigh railway station. Eveleigh was named after the estate of Lieutenant J. R. Holden, so called after his birthplace in England. The Eveleigh railway yards were located immediately south-west of the station. Construction began in the early 1880s on a new workshops complex, occupying an area of over 60 acres, bounded by North Newtown, Erskineville, Redfern, Alexandria and Chippendale. Originally the workshops serviced and repaired the growing NSW rail fleet, but in 1908 Eveleigh began manufacturing steam locomotives. By this time more than 3000 people were employed at the site. Many workers lived in the area, but many lived in other suburbs and until the 1980s commuting workers alighted at the purpose-built Macdonaldtown Station, located in the middle of the complex. Included in the complex was a running shed, opened in 1884, for steam locomotives used in the daily duties of train haulage.

The Eveleigh Railway Yards are some of the finest historic railway engineering workshops in the world and Eveleigh contains one of the most complete late 19th century and early 20th century forge installations, collection of cranes and power systems, in particular the hydraulic system. The main purpose of the workshops was to provide the maintenance and repair of locomotives and railway stock and the manufacture of rolling stock such as wagons and passenger carriages.

The site for the Eveleigh railway yards was chosen in 1875, resumed in 1878 and the compensation price settled in 1880. Approximately 100,000 pounds was paid for 64.5 acres of land. Clearance began two years later. Much work went into the design and construction of the buildings because of the sandy nature of the soil. The workshops were set up on both the north and the south sides of the main western and southern railway lines. The Engine Running Shed, now demolished, was the first building completed. The yards continued to grow and expand, and functions were continually changing. In later years workshops at Chullora in 1937 and later Clyde took over aspects of work formerly performed at Eveleigh and functions were rearranged accordingly. Re-organisation and attempts at modernisation in the 1970s came too late. Too much of the machinery was suited only to the steam locomotive era. Buildings containing old equipment, machinery which had become progressively inappropriate to a modern transport era saw the yards decline gradually until their closure in 1988.

Air Raid Shelters: These are scattered along the existing rail corridor, generally located along embankments or cuttings. There are numerous collections of machinery within the buildings on the site, including equipment adjacent to the Locomotive Workshops, and machinery inside the buildings. In 1991 the NSW Government announced the creation of a technology park at Eveleigh in association with the University of NSW, the University of Sydney and the University of Technology. Decontamination works were carried out to cleared areas of the site progressively. In 1994 Paddy s Markets returned to Haymarket. City West Development Corporation took ownership of the Locomotive Workshops, bays 1-15, in addition to the New Locomotive Shed and the Manager s Office.

Locomotive Workshop: The external walls are of sandstock brickwork laid in English bond with arched window and door openings picked out in white bricks. The pediments have circular vents filled with louvres. The brickwork is modulated into bays forming piers which strengthen the walls. Externally, brick walls feature sandstone cornices, parapets, sills and base courses. The stone generally extends the full depth of the wall. Along the south side of the building are a series of annexes of varying dates of construction. Along the south of the building are two sets of tracks and several associated turntables. To the east in the space between the Loco Shop and the new Loco Shed a track lays parallel to the building, sections of which are now exposed. The locomotive workshop was closed in 1988, at which time the main rail workshops were moved to Enfield.

Carriage Workshops: The construction of these workshops are essentially the same as the Locomotive Workshops.

Paint Shop: A large single storey building containing 8 roads in the brick section and 5 roads in the adjacent metal clad section. Each road is separated by a single row of cast iron columns which support the saw tooth south light roof.

Turntable and Workshop: This is located west of the Large Erecting Shop. A section of the old workshops, which faces onto Wilson Street, has recently been converted into a large theatre space. Numerous advertisements and television programs including MasterChef Australia, So You Think You Can Dance and the auditions of Australian Idol, have been filmed there.

Australian Technology Park occupies the site of the former Eveleigh railway yards. It is the home of a growing community of researchers, entrepreneurs, incubator businesses, start-ups, mature technology companies and education organisations.

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