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  • Writer's pictureOut and About

Midland Railway Workshops and Coal Dam Park - Midland

Updated: 4 days ago

I happened across the Midland Railway Workshop site one day when I got a bit lost. The area captured my interest so I decided to return to explore. We wandered around on a weekend and the area was deserted. During business hours on weekdays there is a little more activity around so choose which you would prefer.

Starting from the Midland Hospital site we explored all the way down to Coal Seam Dam weaving in and around the various buildings yet somehow we still missed seeing the large Platypus Mural by ROA on Foundry Road! We found a map of the precinct with a suggested walking trail after our walk!

Midland Railway Workshops

The Midland Railway Workshops are a cluster of early nineteenth century industrial buildings and are an iconic piece of Western Australian history. The Workshops officially closed in 1994 after operating for over 90 years. Despite the harsh, dirty and often dangerous working conditions, many thousands of former workers regretted the loss of the traditions, camaraderie and pride in workmanship that characterised their Midland working lives. The Workshops Precinct has been undergoing a process of urban regeneration. There are several information signs along the way giving historical notes on the buildings. You can still see the railway lines heading into the old workshops and the buildings themselves speak of a history of hard hot work.

When you arrive at the Main Gate near Railway Square make sure you head east along Yelverton Drive to see the Workers Wall - all the bricks are inscribed with a worker's name - and more of Kath Wheatley's statues. Have a look at the detail of the tools in "Three workers with gladstone bags."

Railway Square celebrates it's history through a peace memorial and heritage interpretation. Enjoy the Memorial Gardens, a relaxing place to sit and admire the majestic Workshops buildings. Take a look at The Peace Memorial, surrounded by a rose garden, which commemorates the 95 railway workers who enlisted from The Workshops and died in World War I and World War II.  

Also at the square you can enjoy the Water Line Exhibit, a linear misting and lighting feature that references the history of steam engines and movement of trains through the space. You can experience the exhibit four times within each two hour operating time window. (we missed it as we didn't know about it at the time!) Take a seat in the Shunting Yard, explore the 'Object Gallery' artwork by Stuart Green and take in the large urban art mural.

This stunning and popular park was a former coal dam, used to store coal stocks during the Midland Railway Workshops days. You can stroll along the boardwalk with viewing platforms around the dam. Along the way you’ll also find a number of public art pieces which recognise the area's history and growth.

On the way back from Coal Seam Dam explore the area between Foundry and Furnace Roads Keep an eye out for that Platypus on Foundry Road!

Midland Heritage

If you cross the Railway tracks you can explore more of Midland's history including the historic and supposedly haunted Midland Town Hall, officially opened in 1907. The clock on top of the dome, added after World War 1, serves as a memorial to the men who lost their lives during the War. Also dating from 1907 is the Old Midland Court House and across the road is the renovated Grand Central Hotel.

There are 5 more public art works to discover on this side of the tracks but we didn't discover the public art brochure until after our walk so will have to add it to the list of places to explore further another day. We did however see the urban art mural "Vampire Girl'.

To explore more of the quirky side of Midland visit

There are no toilet facilities along the way unless you divert to the shopping centre or the hospital.

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In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

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