History worth keeping
AS A relative newcomer to Toodyay (but not to the Wheatbelt) I am informing myself about the history of the Avon Valley.
Currently I’m reading Old Toodyay and Newcastle by Rica Erickson and Toodyay – The Good Old Days by Wally Chitty.
Each a terrific read (recommended), although with different timeframes and perspectives.
It has made me realise how fragile the colony was at times and the tenacity needed to settle and develop the Avon Valley region.Read more
What struck me about Wally Chitty’s largely anecdotal account, which is mainly confined to the 20th Century, is the sense of spirit, innovation and community.
Both he and Erickson have included photographs and maps which, collectively, have made me see how much architectural heritage we have lost both in town and beyond.
Chitty includes a map of the main street which illustrates all the buildings and businesses that existed in the first half of the 20th Century.
Toodyay is universally appreciated for what remains of our historic architectural heritage and village charm, not to mention the superb setting.
That is a large part of why we love living here and why Toodyay is such a drawcard for tourists.
The shire has a responsibility, within reason, to preserve and conserve the town’s heritage and I’m sure we all try to work within their guidelines to do just that.
However, sometimes it is the little things that are, or aren’t implemented, in the name of progress or convenience, that work against our goal.
The renovation of The Victoria Hotel is to be applauded.
It is so good to have two operational pubs in town, each offering something different, both of which need to be appreciated and patronised.
However, the new modern doors on the street façade of The Vic are an oversight.
If heritage matters, they should be reviewed.
Another concern is the Ringa Railway Bridge which is located near the Coorinja Winery.
I am under the impression that while some people know about it, few people have seen it.
Built in 1888 as part of the infrastructure for the Toodyay-Clackline rail line, it remains standing today as the longest wooden railway bridge in WA.
It is a sight to behold and is in relatively good condition.
The Ringa Railway Bridge cannot be seen clearly from the main road, but when next visiting the Coorinja Winery take a stroll a couple of hundred metres past the cellars where the bridge is in all its glory.
In the meantime, let’s be more vigilant about our heritage – it matters.