History & Heritage

Of the Past, For the Future

For 100 years, South Eveleigh was a pioneering industrial site: the place that created the infrastructure that drove Australia forward. Today it’s pioneering a new future focused on the tech revolution, while maintaining the same industrious spirit in bringing change to life. 

With deep Indigenous connection

"Hard to imagine now, but before these rugged industrial edifices of brick and iron arose, this was a place of tranquil sandhills and wetlands - The Blackwattle Swamp. The Gadigal people - one of 29 clans of the Eora nation - fished its waters and lived upon its diverse array of flora and fauna." (Eveleigh Stories)

Indigenous people have a long and continuing connection to the area now known as South Eveleigh. The Eveleigh Workshops provided employment for many Indigenous people and was one of the first to offer them equality of conditions with other workers. 

Indigenous workers who moved in from the country often had family connections in the area which is one of the key reasons why Redfern became the centre of modern urban Indigenous Australia. 

In reinstating the Eveleigh name, we are recognising the significance of the original Eveleigh workshops that provided opportunity to past indigenous generations, ensuring they feel a part of its future. 

A pioneering industrial site

South Eveleigh is home to what was once a large-scale 19th century railway workshop known as the The Eveleigh Railway Workshops. Today, the workshops are one of Australia’s most significant heritage listed sites due to their major contribution towards the establishment, operation and growth of the NSW railways and the greater development of NSW from the 19th century onwards.

The Locomotive Workshops were the heart of the Eveleigh Railway enterprise and were opened in 1887 by the NSW government for the maintenance and manufacture of steam locomotives. Once considered the largest and most technologically advanced workshops in the southern hemisphere, the workshops acted as the primary centre of railway construction in NSW until the opening of Chullora Workshops in 1923.

Although many of the structures do not exist in their original state, the workshops are home to one of the largest and most unique collection of Victorian blacksmith machinery in the world. The workshops maintain their unique character and remain as one of the only living interpretations of the technological, social and cultural developments of the NSW railway operations for the last 100 years.

With significant social value

The workshops were a place of exceptional craftsmanship and were strongly connected with cultural and social developments in working conditions across Australia which have since become a significant part of the Australian cultural identity. The respect of Indigenous workers was just one of these developments.

Now a blacksmith school

Two of the blacksmith bays within the Locomotive Workshops continue to operate and are inhabited by Eveleigh Works, a blacksmith school dedicated to teaching traditional and contemporary blacksmith techniques to the community. Their courses are open to the public with a focus on hand forging techniques, metal sculpture, knife-making and tool-making.

2017 marked 130 years of blacksmith work on the site. Mirvac and their partners, acting as caretakers and in collaboration with Eveleigh Works will ensure the maintenance and protection of the rare heritage machinery collection for the future.

Today

Our carefully considered plans to revitalise the precinct will deliver South Eveleigh as a unique cultural and innovation hub. One which celebrates it’s magnificent history whilst making it a place welcome to all.

Today, South Eveleigh is pioneering new standards as an urban regeneration project, set to become one of Australia’s leading smart neighbourhoods.