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For 90 years, the Government Railway Workshops at Midland were the largest industrial workshops in Western Australia, training tradesmen to build and repair locomotive engines and rolling stock, while maintaining the railway network that was at the heart of the State’s economic development. Midland-trained tradesmen subsequently entered trades and professions as diverse as marine engineering, house building and lecturing in technical colleges.
Widespread community outrage greeted the State Government’s decision to close the Workshops, but numerous campaigns to prevent the closure were fruitless, and the gates finally shut in March 1994. The Workshops records the history of this important industrial facility, and is the product of two ARC grant-funded history projects that involved more than 200 hours of interviewing past employees, as well as collecting and archiving Workshops documents and photographs of significant note.
Edited by Curtin University historians Drs Patrick Bertola and Bobbie Oliver, the book was researched and written by experts in railway, labour, social and engineering history. It gives voice to, and preserves, the experiences and skills of the many Workshops employees whose contributions to the fabric of Western Australia might otherwise have been lost forever.
Won – 2006 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards (Western Australian History Award)
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