BY BEN HABIB.
I took some time over the Easter break to go for a walk along the decommissioned railway line that bisects the city of Wodonga. The last freight train rolled through the town in July 2010, ending the daily inconvenience of Wodonga’s main north-south road thoroughfares being temporarily blocked by goods and passenger trains. The last train also represented the passing of the last vestiges of late nineteenth and early twentieth century industrial development in the Wodonga area.
The historic Wodonga train station on Melbourne Road was built in 1873 as the terminus of Victoria’s Northeast Railway. It would be another decade before Albury and Wodonga were linked across the Murray River by rail, albeit through the cumbersome dual gauge arrangement resulting from the competing broad and standard railway gauges employed by Victoria and New South Wales respectively. In a manifestation of inter-colonial rivalry and then the vagaries of the federal political system, interstate passengers and freight had to be moved from trains on one line and alight waiting trains on the other. It was not until 1962 that a uniform railway gauge linked New South Wales and Victoria with a single railway line.
The new railway bypass through Gateway Island, north of Wodonga, represents the end of on era. The land on which the decommissioned railway now sits is slated for redevelopment, including a revitalisation of the Wodonga CBD and the installation of a linear park and bikeway.
Plans for the Wodonga CBD redevelopment can be found at the VicTrack website.
With that in mind, I took the opportunity to stroll along the old rail corridor and take some photographs of the area before the redevelopment begins.
If any of you have photographs of or stories about the old railway line that you would like to share with the readers of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on thumbnails to enlarge…
Dr. Benjamin Habib is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga. Ben’s research project projects include North Korea’s motivations for nuclear proliferation, East Asian security, international politics of climate change, and methodologies for undergraduate teaching. He also teaches Australian politics. Ben undertook his PhD candidature at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and has worked previously the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship. He has spent time teaching English in Dandong, China, and has also studied at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea.
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