Custom Search

April 20, 2010


Castledare Miniature Railway
Castledare Miniature Railway is a fond memory from my childhood. The joy of riding around in an open cart pulled along by a miniature steam train. The train travels along a 5km track along the Canning River. It is a memory I'll not forget.

The Railway is located in Wilson, a southern suburb of Perth, Western Australia, on the grounds of Castledare Boys Home, an orphanage run by Christian Brothers. It was a purpose built institution for the treatment and training of intellectually handicapped children, underprivileged boys, and English migrant children, in many ways ahead of its time. It is the only known school developed according to the new ideals for treatment of the intellectually handicapped in the late 1920s in Western Australia.

Castledare is a site of early settlement in the Canning district, and the homestead Niana represents the growing wealth of the district at the turn of the century.

Castledare Boys Home closed down in 1984, but the original Niana homestead remains in place, and the later development into a children's home remains clear. The miniature railway continues to run today.

But sadly, in the 1960s and 1970s, the swamp around the area was filled using asbestos tailings from the James Hardie factory at the invitation of the Christian Brothers. The base for the track was also laid using asbestos, as were some of the old paths.

James Hardie has been embroiled in Asbestosis and Mesothelioma cases from previous employees for a number of years. But now there is a case involving a visitor to the Castledare Boys Home in the 1970s.

Child's play sparks fears of a new breed of asbestos victims - The West Australian, August 2009.
Young asbestos victim a 'tragic case' - The West Australian, April 2010.

Modern asbestos laws would not allow this to happen today. It is a shame that such a fantastic memory is now tainted. My heart goes out to the victim, to Castledare, and to the people who grew up and worked at the home.

See also : Vintage Cove Website | Vintage Cove on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment