One of our most loved historical artefacts, the Kalamunda History Village locomotive, has stood since October last year, shrink wrapped, following an asbestos finding.
The Kalamunda History Village attracts over 13,000 visitors each year. The majority are coordinated through a very popular school excursion program, welcoming over 100 schools from the Perth metropolitan area. The locomotive has become a historically significant symbol for the Village, Kalamunda and the Perth Hills, since the Shire purchased it in 1968 and placed it on the Railway Reserve.
The asbestos fragments were spotted during maintenance works to clean and paint the train. The Shire acted quickly to close the Village and make the site safe, engaging an environmental consultant to test and confirm there was no further risk to the community.
Since then, the History Village has returned to its usual hours of operation and is open to the public, but many people have asked, what’s happening with the train? We’ve had a big decision to make about what to do next with this beloved local icon. Naturally community safety is our top priority.
Our options varied from disposal, full remediation, permanent encapsulation, surrounding it in a sealed viewing enclosure or sealing in the asbestos with a protective coating. Each option came with varying associated costs, timeframes and statutory approval requirements.
We have chosen to see if we can get some external funding to offset the costs and have submitted an application for a Lotterywest Heritage and Conservation grant. But I am pleased to say Council decided to move toward full remediation and restoration of the locomotive.
This is the only option that will deliver permanent asbestos removal and return the train and History Village to the way it was, and how it has been enjoyed by so many over the years.
Sometimes preserving the past is a critical part of building the future.