A unique industrial heritage space has opened up at Australian Technology Park (ATP) that allows the public to be taken back to a bygone era - where trains were run by steam and machinery made by hand.
Australian Technology Park Sydney Limited (ATPSL) has recently restored the historical Blacksmith Workshop in Bays 1 & 2 of the Park’s Locomotive Workshop building. The space has been kept predominately in its original state, but is easily accessible to the public with areas recycled for unique events.
“The goal with the restoration and redesign was to get people into this magnificent area where they can see what the workshop would have looked like during its operation. We wanted the space to maintain its past integrity whilst being flexible in its use – providing an opportunity for new activities in a historical space,” said Chris Saunders, General Manager of ATPSL.
From 1886 until the 1980s, when the Park was still the Eveleigh Railway Yards and one of the Australia’s largest industrial complexes, the Blacksmith Workshop produced equipment and tools for the building of steam locomotives in other parts of the site.
The restoration has seen the addition of a walk way through the Bays that allows patrons to pass through the area on their way to offices in the Locomotive Workshop. A glass balustrade has also been added to increase the visibility into the space, and an extensive lighting system that spot lights specific tools and equipment has been put in place.
ATP’s Director, Sales & Marketing, Ruby Chronis, said the restoration of Bays 1 & 2 has opened up some incredible opportunities for events and other exciting activities.
“Now the restoration is finalised this area is available for all sorts of functions and events. The works have made the space more functional for filming, photo shoots and anything that requires the edgy and nostalgic feel the Blacksmith Workshop gives,” said Ms Chronis.
While the north end of the Bays will be an exhibition and events area, the south part is still being used as a working space by Wrought Art Works. The company uses the tools, workspace and machines that were left in the area to create decorative ironwork with traditional blacksmith skills.
ATP volunteer and former Eveleigh Railyard Blacksmith, Dick Butcher, has been giving public tours of the area since the restoration.
Mr Butcher worked at the yards in the 1950s and 60s and says it is vital that this area be maintained and made available to the public as it is such an important part of Sydney’s history.
“The Eveleigh Rail Yards were one of the largest of its kind and produced some of the finest steam locomotives in the world. This space represents a unique part of Sydney and Australia’s industrial heritage and it is fantastic that the public can now see and be involved in it,” said Mr Butcher.