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Heritage

Northam is home to over 180 heritage buildings- that’s the second-highest number of anywhere in the state. Soak up Northam’s rich heritage in one of our many heritage-themed experiences.

 

Northam Heritage Centre

425 Fitzgerald Street Northam

08 9621 1739

Nhforum11@gmail.com

Website

Please contact the Northam Visitor Centre ahead of time to ensure that the museum is open.

 

Take a trip back in time at Northam’s original train station. With numerous displays and exhibitions, monthly markets, and train carriages to explore the Northam Heritage Centre is not to be missed.

 

The arrival of the railway line in Northam in 1886 marked the beginning of significant growth and prosperity for Northam. The railway originally reached Northam as a spur line from the junction at Spencers Brook. A small wooden structure was built for a station by local builder James Byfield.

 

Following the discovery of gold in 1887 the government decided to build the Yilgarn Railway to Kalgoorlie to connect the port city of Fremantle with the rapidly growing Goldfields. Northam was successful in its bid over Newcastle (now known as Toodyay) and York to become the major railway service station. The expansion of the railway in Northam, not only brought prosperity through the gold rush, but also served to open up more land to farming and allowed produce to be transport to Fremantle for export. 

 

The Kalgoorlie line was completed in 1895 and a new station building was opened in Northam in 1900. In 1917 the line was once again extended to connect the west to the eastern states.

 

At its peak the railways employed 1200 people from the Northam district, from locomotive drivers, fireman, maintenance crew and gangers to station staff and cleaners. It lead to the development of workers housing and other small business in the West Northam area.

 

The station was officially closed on the 14th February 1966, when the track was realigned as part of the standard gauge project to connect all major capital cities with a single gauge. 

 

Many thousands of people have walked the platform of the Old Northam Railway Station, from miners and hopefuls travelling to the Goldfields, early settlers to all parts of the Wheatbelt, and servicemen during World War Two and the Korean War, when the Northam Army Camp was a major framing camp. After World War Two, many migrants from Europe arrived here for temporary re-settlement in the Northam Army Camp, and "Holden Camp", a former military hospital in Northam.

 

Today you too can walk the historic platform and explore the Old Station, learning more about the history of railways and Northam.

 

The Old Railway Station now operates as public museum, with more than 1000 items in the collection which are viewable to the public mostly originating from or relating to the Northam Railways. Other items of general historical interest have also been acquired over the years and form part of the museum exhibition as an insight into life of the past.

 

Of most significance in the museum collection is the PMR Steam Class Locomotive, No. 721, built by the North British Locomotive works, and placed on service with the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) in July 1950 as part of the post-war modernisation and re-equipping of the railways. It was used in service on the Northam Railways until 1972, with the coming of dieselisation.

 

Carriage AL59 on display at the museum had a long and significant history of use within the WAGR and the Eastern Goldfields Railway line. It was built in 1895 by the Oldbury Carriage and Wagon Company in the United Kingdom for the WAGR.

 

Carriage VW5138 on display started as AU307, a first class suburban carriage built in 1905 by Gloucester Railway carriage and Wagon Company in the United Kingdom. The carriage was built to help the meet the upsurge in suburban traffic being experienced by the WAGR.

 

Photographs in the collection include the Northam Railway Yards, locomotives, wagons, derailments, Northam Railways sporting teams and events and Northam Railways employee reunions.

 

A large portion of the collection consists of Western Australian Government Railways W.A.G.R. memorabilia. This includes railway tools, uniforms and various dinner plates, side plates, cups, saucers and glasses with the WAGR insignia on them. The Northam Railways piano is also a feature of the collection. There are documents including WAGR train register books, land leases, diagrams, work books, service maps, time tables, tickets, various forms and applications, newsletters and railways magazines.

 

Bilya Koort Boodja

2 Grey Street Northam

08 9622 2100

Open 7 days

www.bilyakoortboodja.com

Morby Cottage

70 Katrine Road, Northam

08 9622 3881

Open Sundays 11am-3pm

Admission Cost- $5 Adult, $3 Concession & $2 Children (CASH ONLY)

 

 

Morby Cottage is one of Western Australia's oldest surviving colonial residences. The cottage was built in 1836 by John Morrell, the first European to settle in Northam in 1832.

 

Morrell built the farmhouse using locally sourced materials, but the doors and window frames and panes travelled with him by ship, on his long and arduous journey from England. The cottage was crucial to the early colonial life in Northam, serving as the town's first church, school, courthouse, and retail and postal outlet.

 

Morby Cottage is open to the public on Sundays 11am - 3pm or by special appointment. Contact the caretaker, Yvonne on 9622 3881 for information or special bookings.

 

Visitor Centre Displays

2 Grey Street, Northam

08 9622 2100

tourist@northam.wa.gov.au

Open 7 days (9am-4pm)

 

The friendly staff at the Visitor Centre will be able to offer advice on places to see, stay and eat while you are in the area, information on heritage sites and the places of interest that you may enjoy during your stay.

 

The Centre includes an interpretive space featuring the “Sense of Place” Migrant Exhibition and a History of Ballooning display. While you are at the Centre you will also have the opportunity to browse through a wide range of local produce and artwork, and a great selection of souvenirs and gifts to remember your time in Northam. Free Wi-fi is also available at the centre.

 

Heritage Tours

(IN DEVELOPMENT, MORE INFO TO BE ADDED SOON)

Contact Northam Visitor Centre

 

Step back in time on one of our heritage tours. We offer both self-guided and bus tours allowing you to take in the splendour of Northam’s golden days at your leisure.

 

Bus tours require a minimum of 6 people per booking, and advance notice must be given. Alternatively, if you are visiting Northam by bus or coach, simply call us and book one of our friendly tour guides.