National Railway Museum – Australia’s Largest Railway Collection!
The National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide has the largest collection of railway paraphernalia, exhibits and artefacts in Australia. There are over a hundred exhibitions displaying not only South Australia’s railway history, but that of Australia and the private operators also. Displayed in two huge pavilions, this museum is absolutely overflowing with interesting and fun things to see and do. So much so, I truly don’t know where to begin.
Upon entering the first pavilion, Fitch Pavilion, my eyes were automatically drawn to the huge train carriages and engines. However, before exploring the trains I stopped to watch some of the video about the Tea and Sugar Train and scrutinised the many cabinets of memorabilia.
Then it was on to explore the trains. I was pleased to see that many were open for the visitors to climb aboard and have a look… including the very interesting Tea and Sugar Train. This train was used to take supplies to the railway workers and it included a pay car, butcher’s van and provision van. You can take a virtual tour of this interesting train through interactive technology such as video and touch screens.
Being able to look inside the carriages was like stepping back in time. It was interesting to see how different train carriages were in the past… things like including ashtrays and card tables for people to use; many had a dial above the seat so you could indicate the seat was taken if you left it for a short period.
Other interesting things in this pavilion include the coffin cart and the display of railway uniforms. I thought the uniform display was very creative. Inside what was once staff lockers, are displayed a uniform from many different railway workers. On the inside of the door is a description of their uniform and the role of the employee.
Like all forms of transport, trains had their role in the wars. There is a good display about Australia’s Railway and how it aided the war effort.
There are many more trains to see outside on the walk to Fluck Pavilion.
The Fluck Pavilion houses many more train engines and carriages. Dwayne became very interested in how the steam engine worked and even attempted to explain it to me… I attempted to listen! Also in this pavilion is Brake Van 7553 which featured in the Australian movie * Rabbit Proof Fence, and many more train carriages you can enter.
Free Train Rides
Then it was off to Callington Station for a free train ride. Announcements over a loud speaker will indicate when the train is departing and you can easily find the station by following the map you receive when you enter the museum. It is a 457mm [width of wheels] small train which will take you on a couple of loops around the entire premises. On this short journey you get to see a lot more carriages and other railway contraptions in the yard and goods shed. It is an interesting journey which allows you to see the old Woodville Train Station ticket booth, railway signals and signs.
Back in Fitch Pavilion I discovered a Model Railway display. On the display there are signs for the children to see if they can find certain objects on the model. For example – “can you see the Leyland Brother’s Campsite? The billboard for DETTOL? The people waiting for the train on the platform? There are heaps of things for the children to look for!
Furthemore, there is a display on Women in the Railways and also a display about operations and signals. There is a small theatre room which plays a 26 minute short film about the builders of the railways. It is called Iron Men Iron Road.
And there is so much more! This really is a very exciting museum, with much to interest the train enthusiast, history buff, tourist and even the ferroequinologist! Children will certainly have a lot of fun at this museum! There is simply so much for them to do. To recap just some of the activities for children… there is an interactive tour of the Tea and Sugar Train including touch screens and video, model railway, trains to climb into, and free train rides! So if you are trying to think of ways to keep the kids happy during the school holidays or on weekends you can’t go wrong with a trip to this museum.
Cost – Adult $12 / Concession $9 / Child (3-5 yrs with adult) $6 / Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) $32
Opening hours – Daily from 10:00am – 4:30pm
Location – 76 Lipson Street, Port Adelaide, South Australia
Facilities – Toilets, gift shop, vending machines, Cafeteria Car venue hire, seating area where you can take your own picnic.
Email – [email protected]
Website – http://www.natrailmuseum.org.au/
For more information click on the links below…
National Railway Museum Social Media Links
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*Rabbit Proof Fence is a 2002 Australian drama film about two Aboriginal girls as they walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of the Australian rabbit-proof fence. If you haven’t seen this powerful film click on the link below to get yourself a copy.
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this review, however our visit to the National Railway Museum was complimentary. Nonetheless, all opinions expressed in this review are entirely mine and Dwayne’s uninfluenced view of this activity.
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