Queensland Rail spends $900,000 on new roof for Townsville Station

TOWNSVILLE’s grand old lady, the heritage-listed Great Northern Railway Station, is getting a $900,000 nip and tuck, and a smart new roof.

State-owned railway operator Queensland Rail has commissioned Townsville builder A Gabrielli Constructions to conduct the works which also includes replacing several timber trusses and minor works such as painting and maintenance of gutters and downpipes.

A Queensland Rail spokesman said the project would include re-sheeting the roof to bring it back to the original red heritage colour and replacing trusses, including behind the two front gables.

“The roof of the old station has not been replaced in 51 years and at that time the station was not on the heritage register and was replaced in a different colour,” the spokesman said.

“As part of these works, we are looking forward to restoring the roof to its former glory and in its original colour.

“The Townsville railway station has significant cultural heritage value and all works will be undertaken with this front of mind.”

Builder Adrian Gabrielli said being a Townsville boy he was excited to be involved in working on what he was a beautiful heritage building and he appreciated Queensland Rail’s decision to use a local business.

“It’s good to see the State putting some money back into the city,” Mr Gabrielli said.

Its use as a station ended when the new Townsville railway station opened in 2003. The building is used as Queensland Rail offices, but there is talk about its possible sale. Mr Gabrielli liked the idea of its use as part of a cultural hub or art gallery.

The railway station, built over three years to 1913, has played a major role in shaping the history of Townsville and North Queensland.

It was the administrative centre of the Great Northern Railway, the Northern Division of the Queensland Railways, and was pivotal during the movement of troops and goods during World War II.

During the 1960s some of the station’s structures were removed and a west wing built alongside which some say should be demolished to improve the amenity for a lovely heritage building.

The re-roofing is expected to be complete by the end of October.

Report by TONY RAGGATT, Townsville Bulletin August 25, 2016 9:31am

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