Trainworks Museum:- Thirlmere Australia (Video Included)

Thirlmere is about 90km (55 miles) from Sydney in New South Wales (Google Map) it’s only a small town, but has a lot of railway history. The town was originally named after Lake Thirlmere in England, of course Thirlmere here in Australia has beautiful lakes as well, and when the Europeans first started to settle at Thirlmere, around the late 1700’s they pitched tents up near the lake.


Thirlmere grew with the creation of the Great Southern Railway around 1860, a lot of people came to the area to work, most of course were railway workers, who pitched up tents, it was said in some areas you couldn’t even see the ground, there were tents back to back. As things progressed with the railway, so did the work, timber mills were built for the making of the railway sleepers for the rail lines, the lakes were used for water for the steam trains.


In the early 1900’s the Great Southern Rail line was changed to avoid steep grades, this changed Thirlmere to a farming community. Around 1960 coal mines opened which again drew workers to Thirlmere, the coal mines of course are still there today.
Thirlmere has always had a train museum “The New South Wales Rail Transport Museum” which is Australia’s largest and oldest train museum. Each year on the first Sunday in March, Thirlmere holds the “Festival of Steam”.

Now there is a brand new train museum called “Trainworks” I think the new part of the museum was added to the old, and everything was revamped, this has now given more space to add some amazing collections of the old trains, and there are still some wonderful trains to be added. Naturally the steam festival is still held every year.

The Observation Room end of the Governor-General’s carriage, one of the most luxurious railway carriages in Australia. It represents the work of the most skilled artisans employed in the New South Wales Government railways in the early 1900s, especially in the work of local timbers. The carriage was built at the Eveleigh Railway Carriage Workshops, Sydney, in 1901 for the use of the newly appointed Governor-General of Australia, the Earl of Hopetoun, John Adrian Louis Hope Hopetoun (1860-1908). The Carriage is being prepared to be moved to the new Trainworks Museum at Thirlmere. Picture: Charles Brewer (Picture Gallery)

The dining room area within the PAM11, the State Premier’s Carriage. Picture: Charles Brewer (Picture Gallery)

See more amazing photo’s at the Trainworks Museum Picture Gallery:-

Museum Main Web Site

Learn more about Thirlmere in Wikipedia

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13 Responses to Trainworks Museum:- Thirlmere Australia (Video Included)

  1. travelrat says:

    I love old trains, & must make a note to visit this one next time we’re in Sydney; we saw the ZigZag Railway last time, but, since it was re-laid to the 3’6″ gauge, which wasn’t used much in NSW, most of the locos and rolling stock were from Queensland or South Australia.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi travelrat,
      The Zig-Zag is an unreal railway track around the mountains, it just seems to go forever.

      Definitely next time your in OZ and are going to visit Sydney, I think it would be well worth going to see this. I haven’t seen the New Museum yet, but it’s on the list. The old Museum was a huge complex, especially if you take in the old lines etc. so with this new bit it should be great.

      If you haven’t already, I think it is well worth keeping a link to the Museums web site, it is full of information, and lets you know what shows are coming up. (Link in the post)

  2. Selma says:

    I love old trains too so I will go down and see this museum when I get the chance. It makes me feel good to know that the trains are being preserved somehow. It would be a shame to just let them disappear.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Selma,
      They built a complete new work area at the Museum especially for the reconstruction of the old trains, and I agree, I also think these things are well worth preserving.

  3. malc50 says:

    Thanks Mags for this information. My wife and I were at a nephew’s wedding in Melbourne in 2004, and stayed on for a week to see the sites – Sovereign Hill, the Dandenongs, the Great Ocean Road, the Queen Victoria Markets, Lygon Street, etc.. We reckoned we would do the same thing with other capital cities – stay at serviced apartments, dining out each night, and taking day trips to places of interest. We haven’t done Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart yet, but hopefully we will get around to it sometime! Havagoodweekend, Mal.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Mal,
      What a great idea, there is so much to see around all the Capital City’s sounds like the best way to go about it. Sydney may be a good place to put on your next list after you finish all the hard work you are currently doing, you will need a nice break after it all.

      • malc50 says:

        Hi Mags, We will visit places in Australia eventually. At the present time, my wife is keen on celebrating her 60th birthday on a river cruise on the Mekong River from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon, Vietnam) to Anghor Wat (Cambodia) in late November / early December 2011. We haven’t made any bookings yet, but are seriously looking in to it. Cheers, Mal.

  4. Barbara Rodgers says:

    I love the thrill that races through my body when a steam train comes rumbling into a station. Thanks for giving me a taste of Australia’s railroad history. We have a steam train tourist attraction near here – it’s been about 30 years since we’ve been – maybe it’s time for another visit!

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi Barbara,
      Railway and Steamboat, sounds like a fun place, and a great day out. Seems they also have some new attractions as well, it’s been a long time since you went you will have to put it on the list. These places can be a lot of fun.

      I agree, you just can’t beat the old steam trains coming into a station.

  5. gitwizard says:

    Interesting bit of Australian history, steam trains are big news over here in the UK too.

    • magsx2 says:

      Hi gitwizard,
      I love watching the old steam trains, and they are still a lot of fun to take a ride on as well. This new Museum was mainly done to be able to fix up all the old carriages, it will be fantastic when they get all the displays together.

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