Axedale Racecourse platform reincarnated
March 20, 2013
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Last year we started on a recreation of the Rifle Butts platform. Once again, a lot of sweat on the part of the Friends and more generous business support saw a representative platform created near where it once was located. (You’ll find it just east of Pratts Park Road and Rifle Range Rd, Bendigo East.)
Not content to rest on his historical infrastructure re-creation laurels, Ken Hanson convinced the Friends that the Axedale Racecourse platform would be the next project. This platform was not part of the original railway construction carried out by Andrew O’Keefe in 1888. But picnic trains to the races were so popular that local lobbying saw this platform built around 1910. Although it was originally approximately 400 feet long (122 m), it disappeared after the line was closed and even the locals didn’t remember where it was. The Friends rediscovered its location when some members were seeking historical connections with the former railway line and the rail trail.
It’s not back in all its glorious 400 feet, but a section of the platform’s ‘facing’ has now been rebuilt to its original height. It really gives you a feel for where you’d have stepped off the train in sartorial splendour with your picnic basket to go to the races.
Down and dirty: members of the Friends shovel fill behind the new facing at the Axedale Racecourse platform. Project director, Ken Hanson, is measuring up in the foreground.