- Timeline History of Redwater Creek Steam and Heritage Society Inc trading as Sheffield Steam and Heritage Centre.
1993: OCTOBER: Inaugural meeting of the Society held. Site procured corner of Spring & Main Streets Sheffield. NOVEMBER: Old Sheffield railway station moved to the site. Site officially opened.
DECEMBER: Laying of the track began. DECEMBER : Restoration of the derelict Station began. It showed no signs of maintenance since the Roland Branch line closed in 1957. This photo was taken in July 1994 prior to the Kentish Council generously granting the use of 5 jobskills employees and $7000 to begin the relocation and restoration. 1994: FEBRUARY: First rolling stock moved to the site. MARCH: first SteamFest held.
First running weekend 30 March – 1st April
SEPTEMBER: Given an 115 year old house to put on the site. The relocation commenced on 01.09.1994. This section of the house was built in the 1880’s by a Canadian employed in Tasmanian to float logs down the Forth River. He was the first person to use tree climbing shoes in Australia. His house has been restored externally for use as a caretakers cottage. NOVEMBER 1994: All capital construction stops. Lengthy legal manoeuvres begin.
1996: FEBRUARY: Planning Approval for the first stage of planned development obtained…allowed to build only 1km of track. (read the book!)
2004: The Society completed 8 x 15m extensions (cost $14,000) on both sides of our locomotive shed to create a workshop and museum.
2008: Caretakers Cottage completed. Refurbishment of the station to include a café begins.
2009: Railway Station Coffee Shop refurbishment completed.
Completion of the mural relocation on the side of the locomotive shed
Funding granted for Men’s Shed construction.
2010: Construction of the first stage of the shed/Museum complex thanks to Tasmanian Govt. funding.
Construction of the Kentish Community Men’s Shed
2011: Completion of the 18m x 36m shed before the start of SteamFest.
Our first Steam Training Weekend – preparing the next generation of steam enthusiasts for hands-on.
2012: Developing training packages to provide competency training on the locomotive and on traction engines. 30 participants at our Steam Training weekend in October, several of whom obtained their high risk licences.
Youth and Family Focus team lined Nook Building & store shed and constructed more post & rail fence in the lead up to SteamFest.
The Men’s Shed and the Society have worked together to get plans approved for the Men’s Shed extensions.
Verandahs installed on the Caretaker’s Cottage.
Train running & traction engines and the roller into town during MuralFest added to the event.
Jeanette Fisher and the ladies kept the coffee flowing during the year at all of the running days
Plans prepared for the new toilet block.
A planning application for a caravan park development on our site. Council’s support of the proposal demonstrated by their intention to adhere the two blocks onto the main title.
The Society now has a 30 year lease over the site and the Council has extended the lease area to include the softball grounds.
2013: Held a very successful Kids Great Day Out on the November long weekend, adding to our growing list of special events throughout the year.
Youth and Family Focus team again a great help to the Society – strip footing around the big shed and great progress on the model railway club room.
The addition of ventilators to the big shed and the loco shed and the roller door to the station end along with lights.
The Living Murals gardening group took on Redwater Creek Railway as part of their project to beautify Sheffield.
Planning Approval from Kentish Council for the new toilet block. Engineering plans in the making.
Council added the 2 adjoining blocks they bought for the Society to our main block.
2014: A Foundations for Regional Renewal Grant allowed work to begin to upgrade the station kitchen to commercial standard. It was ready to use in time for the 2014 SteamFest, much to Barb Wells and Jeanette Fishers’s delight.
Won the Cradle Coast Regional Tourism Award (Festivals) and went on to win a Silver Award in the Tasmanian Regional Tourism Awards.
Purchase of Marshall Instructional Engine thanks to Ian and Renee Larcher’s initiative.
Acquisition of 2 Malcolm Moore Diesel locos which when going, will provide alternative to our Krauss.
With $99K grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund, the Amenities Block commenced construction.
2015: $130,000 Amenities Block completed. Volunteers finished painting and garden in time for SteamFest!
Prospect of a joint venture with track extension to the Honey Shed.
Winning judge’s commendation for best event in the Cradle Coast Tourism Awards.
Ruston Diesel donated by Don Railway and work begun to bring it back to service.
Purchase of the Skagit – the last surviving 55t log loading crane in Australia.
Work for the Dole team led by Lizard and Graham – this is how we can fulfil all the plans we have for the site.
The restoration of the 1910 Salisbury steam roller (the only Tasmanian built steam roller) was completed in March with many thanks to Peter Martin and Eric Howe. The Salisbury took part at the National Rally at Quercus Park, and to celebrate 150 years of traction engines in Tasmania in the Road Run to Sheffeld and also the Salisbury also participated at Bellerive.
Our 21st SteamFest broke all records, thanks in great part to the influx of engines and people into the state for the rally and the media interest created by the road run from Quercus Park in Carrick to Sheffield.
Publicity this year has been the best the steam movement has seen in Tasmania for many years.
- 3 write ups in English machinery magazines have put Tasmania on the map.
- The Chinese game show “Explore End of the World” filmed at our site in February and aired to a huge number of Chinese.
- SteamFest with Dick Smith at the helm received huge publicity which coupled with the road run publicity prior to that led to our most successful SteamFest.
2016: Site renamed Sheffield Steam and Heritage Centre to better reflect our goals.
Peter Martin won the inaugural Premier’s Tasmanian Volunteer of the Year Award in Hobart.
Full year of funding Work for the Dole 3 days a week enables much to be done on site. A number of WFD have become volunteers: Rebecca in the coffee shop, Damian Sturmey as guard and trainee fireman, Alan Walkley as trainee fireman and Mathew Brook on maintenance deserve special mention for their voluntary contributions.
Graham Shoesmith is now certified to drive the Krauss, giving us another much needed steam locomotive driver. Peter Martin, Chris Martin, Vivien Martin and Dale Fitch are the other drivers.
2017: Our brand new Miniature Railway (another Work for the Dole Project) was up and running just in time for SteamFest. Thanks to Graham Shoesmith for his vision & the work he and volunteers have done to get this established.
Kentish Council have appointed Redwater Creek Steam and Heritage Society to collect the camping fees from the motorhome camping area and the majority of these fees re retained by the Society. This source of income is greatly appreciated and we thank the Council for their continuing support of our group.
2018: Kentish Council significantly upgraded the streetscape in Spring Street and provided a grant for heritage lighting at the Sheffield Railway Station. The Society has built a white picket fence to complete the picture.
Work for the Dole work has continued and the Site Office / Police Station was completed. Other WFD projects included concreting the workshop floor and assisting with the construction of the 24 x 18 meter container storage shed.
Foden 2012 was purchased from the Hobart City Council and restoration of this has begun.
Restoration of the Hunslet and the building of the Little Lima Miniature Locomotive are continuing projects and the Krauss underwent a thorough 10 year inspection.
2019: Kentish Council completed much needed drainage upgrades on site which will assist water drainage and also enabled water to be connected to the Nook Building which is being converted into a Workers Crib room at the required standard.
Work for the Dole projects saw verandahs added to the Caretakers Cottage and Police Station, some main track sleepers replaced and the east bay of the new container storage shed concreted.
Redwater Creek Constitution underwent a few changes and were voted on at the AGM.
The Men’s Shed celebrated their 10 year anniversary.
Model railway has a fine model railway on display and a porch at their entry will assist with weather proofing.
Miniature Railway club began running as a sub group of Redwater Creek and a traverser has been built to lift visiting trains on and off the track.
2020: COVID-19 hits Tasmania and the state enters lock down just a couple of weeks after SteamFest is held.
- Running weekends stop for 6 months
- the Committee uses ZOOM to hold meetings
- outside COVID safe working bees work for many months to establish the Dulverton Station, island platform and the passing loop of track
- Fencing upgrades continue
- Pallet racking is installed into the new container Storage shed
- fencing upgrades continue
- approximately 400 aged sleepers are replaced on the main line.
- The heritage collection continues to grow with the Fowler Traction engine and the Tinkerbell portable engine moved onto sit on a long term loan from Don River.
- The Ruston Loco was finished and brought to site in time for a special run at SteamFest.
2021: COVID 19 continued to impact the Society and all the activities. We were able to hold SteamFest 2021 with extensive COVID-19 requirements. Live streaming was used to send the event around the world.
Work for the Dole recommenced after a 6 month layoff and work was undertaken on the Dulverton Station and more concreting.
Running days resumed in March 2020 and have continued throughout the year.
The sawmill was moved in many pieces onto the site to start the Heritage Timber Industry display and a grant for $105K was lodged but was unfortunately not successful. This facility has been planned for many years and will be a wonderful feature when it is completed. It is on hold until finding will allow for its reconstruction.
The heritage fleet grows again with the addition of two engines on along term loan from the National Trust – a Marshall Traction Engine and an Aveling and Porter Steam Roller.
The first Winter Solstice Festival was held and despite a cold night the event was well attended and well received.
The Society’s Strategic Plan was reviewed by the original author – Eamonn Seddon. Much has been achieved since 2016 but there are still many plans and goals to be reached and restorations to be completed.
Jon Wilkinson and Robert Vaughan worked on organising the workshop. Jon was the inaugural winner of the perpetual trophy for the Volunteer of the year.
Some more Constitutional changes were enacted at the AGM.
2022: SteamFest was reluctantly cancelled due to the new strain of the virus racing through the community and many volunteers withdrawing from the volunteer pool.
Work for the Dole – which commenced in 2014 – ceased to operate on site and the Society transitioned to having weekday volunteers two days a week. Graham and Lizard are volunteering their time to act as supervisors.
(updated October 7th 2022 by JR)