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Published July 2nd 2016
A charming application of adaptive reuse
Built in 1883, and last seeing service as an active building in 1992, the Burra Railway Station's life looked over. Another 20 years of inactivity, degradation and vandalism and the Station was destined to become yet another one of those building ruins that are dotted across the state. But fortunately, no more, and let's welcome the Burra Railway Station Bed and Breakfast.
Tucked inside the former Porters Room at the Station lies a rare opportunity to stay in a beautifully re-constructed and tastefully decorated Bed and Breakfast, and to have a modern experience within a railways setting. This unique setting sleeps two people comfortably in the queen size bed, and alternatively four people when the sofa bed is extended.
Entering the building through the sitting room the blend of modern furniture coupled with periodic decor is impressive. A conventional wood oven burns lightly in the corner, while the sofa and chairs provide enough room to relax and read a book or just chill and watch a DVD on the TV.
The former wood oven stove that was once used by the Porters on their rest breaks at the Station has been restored and sits as a feature piece in the small but cosy dining room. A full continental breakfast is available with a range of cereals, porridges, breads and jams, enough to suit every visitor.
Alongside is a newly built kitchen complete with a range of modern conveniences that one would expect to see in their own kitchen plus a a delightful DeLonghi coffee machine to serve that special treat each morning. Fully stocked cupboards supply all the cutlery and implements that may be required while with a sentimental touch the crockery has been salvaged from the former Commonwealth Railways dining room railcars that once serviced the rails in South Australia.
The bedroom is consumed by the large and comfortable queen size bed which faces west and avoids much of the early rising sun. The cute hat stand, former fireplace and other storage areas add to the décor and when combined with the high ceilings, they provide the perfect environment for a sleepin.
Once the men's urinal, the bathroom is now something that both genders would be proud of. The urinal has gone, and has been replaced with more modern facilities including a large shower alcove, mirror and vanity area. Soft towels and fluffy bath robes add to the feeling that this part of the building has a totally new lease of life.
The bed and breakfast has been open since March 2015 and has seen a steady flow of visitors, whose comments in the Visitors Book or on the Facebook page indicate their pleasure. While the bed and breakfast lends itself to shorter stays, some visitors have made Burra their hub in the mid-north and have stayed longer and made use of the washing machine and BBQ which are neatly tucked away in a back room.
The restoration of the Burra Railway Station Bed and Breakfast has been a labour of love for members of the Friends of the Burra Railway Station, and in particular Roy Taplin. A State Government grant provided funds for the materials, and the volunteers have put in many hours of effort to create the Bed and Breakfast, and to restore the main part of the Railway Station, which is open for visitors every day from 11am-1pm.
Future plans exist to take the restoration efforts further with the 2016 and 2017 focus being on the surrounds with a garden planned, and the possible acquisition of a railcar to sit pride and place outside the Station. The rail, platforms and other associated railway equipment lying idle in the yard are also on the radar for the Restoration Group, funds and energy permitting.
Enquiries and bookings for the Burra Railway Station Bed and Breakfast are available through their website or on their Facebook page. With so many things to do at or near Burra, the Railway Station is an ideal place to stay when looking for your next mid-north holiday.
I like old Railway Stations.Burra is one of my favourite country towns.Morning Sun photo is excellent.Have visited this station while undergoing restoration.The surrounding area once landscaped will be an outstanding addition to this historic town,(Pity Riverton Station is now hidden from view and not open to public)