ECF has now submitted all reports requested by John Holland Rail (JHR) and JHR is currently writing a lengthy, detailed report for Transport for NSW. This report must be completed before any lease can be finalised. If the lease is finalised, there’s a good chance the Cottage can be part of the proposed Rail Trail.
In May 2006 Transport NSW began demolishing this historic building but was stopped by protests from the local community and LCC. Lease negotiations then commenced between Transport NSW and ECF but these talks eventually stalled. However, in March 2015, LCC Councillors voted unanimously to enter into direct lease negotiations with Transport NSW. More: newspaper scrapbook, 2015 LCC Report and Uniquely North Coast.
Proposed use of a restored Cottage is an archive/museum, with a focus on heritage of the Murwullumbah Railway. This use was based on the results of a written survey that had been well supported by the local community. The Cottage restoration and new use would be a great asset for the village.
The Northern Rivers Rail Trail has potential to further develop the North Coast in terms of tourism and road safety. There’s no doubt that Eltham’s heritage-listed rail precinct (which includes the Railway Cottage) would be a unique feature of any future rail trail.
This rare type of Gatekeeper’s Cottage was built by Albert Scouller and completed on 23 Oct 1894. Its simple design provided a very basic accommodation for staff. The Cottage was built adjacent the level crossing as it needed to be handy to both the level crossing gates and the busy station (see plan above). Its first resident was Gatekeeper, Mary Stewart (1894-96) and second resident was Station Mistress, Margaret Priest (1896-01).
ECF’s main fundraiser is Eltham Film Night, but we also have for sale a booklet outlining some history of Eltham and its Railway Cottage (see below). All fundraising goes to the Railway Cottage.
FOR SALE – History of Eltham Railway Cottage: is a glossy 25 page booklet. Price is $5 (+ postage). Please contact us to purchase.