A freelance writer, and amateur photographer Dora also teaches creative writing classes. Check out her website at www.creativejuicy.com
Published January 5th 2014
What is it about trains that brings out the child in grown males? The Train Shed in Sydney's Luddenham is guaranteed to have every male from the age of 2 to 82 in raptures for a whole day. But if you're not into trains, particularly if you have to catch one to work every day, you'll be pleased to know that The Train Shed is situated at Vicary's Winery, the Sydney regions' oldest continuously operating winery. I'd call this the best of both worlds, wouldn't you?
The Train Shed is an inexpensive way to treat the family to a great day out. Located on the Northern Road about 20 minutes from Penrith, Liverpool or Campbelltown, it's an easy drive on any of the tollways. With a Thomas the Tank Engine theme, people of all ages can ride the miniature trains, or operate the model train layout inside.
There is a big old "red rattler" double decker carriage which is very popular for kids' birthday parties. If the kids are Thomas the Tank Engine fans, you can buy all kinds of Thomas trains, puzzles, books, DVDs and toys.
The ride takes you across the bridge over the pond, past Gnome Knoll, Trevor and Crock's Scrapyard, across the bridge again, down around the Branch Line, through the tunnel and back up to Wellsworth Station.
When you're tired of all that choo-chooing, you can relax in the picnic area and enjoy a barbecue. Light meals are available from the cafe on the grounds.
Tickets are $6.00 per child, and each child may take one adult for free. A book of six tickets is $30 and an unlimited all day rides pass is $35 per child.
As mentioned the property is actually a winery. Vicary's Winery was originally owned by John Blaxland, grandson of Gregory Blaxland the Blue Mountains explorer. The property was initially used for cattle and sheep with the wool being shipped to England.
Many of the original buildings still exist on the property, like the circa 1860 farm house, with the woolshed and shearers quarters having been built prior to 1890. Cecil Vicary converted the woolshed to a dairy when he took over the property in 1916, and planted the vineyard in 1918. The first wines were made in 1923 and the winery opened for business.
Famous across Sydney is the Vicary's Woolshed Dance every Friday and Saturday night. You can relive the fun and nostalgia of days gone by and kick up your heels from 7:00 pm. There is a complimentary wine tasting until 8:00 pm and full bar facilities available in the Woolshed.
From 8 pm you can tuck in to some hearty fare, with soup of the day and damper. Second course is scotch fillet steak which you select from the barbeque and salad buffet. There's a variety of colonial salads and hot potatoes in jackets on offer too. Third course is a choice of tempting desserts and tea or coffee to finish. After all that, you hit the dance floor for a night of fun and frivolity.
The shed still retains its original history, with farm implements and interesting artifacts of the bygone era. Recently a new sprung wooden dance floor was installed adding to your dancing pleasure. There are also large open fires to keep you warm and cosy during the winter months.
The winery is now owned by Chris Niccol, a Roseworthy Graduate Winemaker who has worked at a number of wineries throughout Australia including the famous Minchinbury winery near Rooty Hill.
In 1996 Chris introduced his Heron's Wing range of wines and in 1999 the first "Kosher" wines were made for the Jewish market. The wines are well recognised throughout the industry and win several medals at national wine shows.