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Conservation on Track: Maryborough Railway Station Shines at Ceremony

UNESCO Bangkok recently held an award ceremony to honor the painstaking, years-long conservation and restoration project aimed at returning the Maryborough Railway Station to its early days of glory and international acclaim.

At a ceremony held at the Australian ambassador’s residence, Dr Tim Curtis, the Chief of UNESCO Bangkok’s Culture Unit, presented project architect Roger Beeston with the Award of Merit his team’s efforts received at this year’s Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Prior to presenting Mr Beeston with the honor, Dr Curtis, who lead the jury in this year’s awards, said he and fellow judges found several aspects of the work carried out at Maryborough to be exemplary.

 “In particular the jury was impressed by the collaborative involvement of all the stakeholders and for their expertise in reaching high technical standards,” Dr Curtis said. “The jury also praised the vision of Vic Track for initiating the heritage maintenance works program, which has provided a viable and sustainable use for this valuable heritage resource and for the Maryborough community and visitors alike."

Australian Ambassador to Thailand James Wise discussed the station’s unique place in his country’s history and the grand ambitions that forged it in the face of great challenges.

“At a time when there is throughout the region so much interest on the shape of rail infrastructure across Asia, this project recalls rail conditions in an era before cars, before the internet and before the modern logistics that we have today,” Ambassador Wise said. “I think you can imagine the excitement that there must have been when this station was opened in 1891.”

Accepting the award, Mr Beeston outlined how he and his team sought to restore Maryborough Railway Station to as close an approximation as possible of how it would have appeared in those early days.

"This is a story of a heritage place that had fallen into disuse and neglect which due to [several] conservation process employed has been returned to its full functionality and vitality in this case without the need for radical reworking and contemporary intervention," Mr Beeston said.

He outlined the immense challenge that he and his team faced in undoing the effects of decades of disuse and inappropriate repair works.

Using advanced forensic techniques and armed with images and vintage documents pertaining to Maryborough Railway Station in its heyday, Mr Beeston and his team of engineers set about trying to restore the site to its former glory. 

For more information on Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, please visit