Residents save railway cottage (for now)

Eltham residents Lesley Schreiber (left) and Genevera Hoover and outside the Eltham Railway Cottage, which they have saved from demolition last week and now hope to see preserved.

When Eltham residents Genevera Hoover and Lesley Schreiber saw a bulldozer trundle into the village last Thursday on dusk, they knew something was afoot.When

the two women discovered the bulldozer had been brought in by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to demolish the Eltham railway cottage, they leapt into action, rallying around 30 residents to stand in its way on Friday morning.

The group immediately called Lismore City Council, who revoked the demolition order they had previously served to the ARTC, temporarily saving it from destruction.

This whole thing has been sprung on us so quickly we want to save the building and the entire community is behind us, Genevera said. Its been standing since 1894 its a local icon and the heart of our little village. It may not look like much, but it holds an enormous amount of history.

Lismore Council has set up a meeting with the ARTC next Tuesday, May 23, to discuss the future of the building. Councils director of development and governance, Lindsay Walker, says he hopes to see it saved and understands the community has lots of ideas for its use.

Hopefully we can get an outcome that will save the historical core of the cottage, he said. Its an element of rail infrastructure thats no longer replicated and sits well within a small village environment. It adds to the fabric of the village.

Council, who says the cottage is in a dilapidated state and has been badly vandalised, have now fenced the building for safety reasons.

Concerned Eltham residents have been busy establishing the Eltham Foundation, which will explore ways to preserve the cottage.

It could be a tourist information centre, a railway museum, a coffee shop or simply left as it is whatever happens we want to see it restored, Genevera said. It would be an absolute crime if it was pulled down.

An ARTC representative was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

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