The award winning Bathurst Rail Museum brings the rich social history of Bathurst and our story as a railway town to life, with personal recollections and interesting artefacts. Explore the stories of local people connected to the Railways, past and present, who have contributed to making Bathurst the thriving city and community it is today.
The completion of the railway between Sydney and Bathurst in 1876 was instrumental to the development of the colony of New South Wales. The Main Western Line was celebrated as a marvel of engineering that opened up trade, transport and communication opportunities for people living inland.
The railway also marked a new social and cultural era for communities in inland NSW. Besides giving working class people access to stable jobs and vocational education, the Railway Institute in Bathurst offered support and leisure activities for railway workers and their families.
The museum is housed in the historic Railway Institute building. Built in stages from 1909, it was the place to be for rail employees and their families to enjoy social gatherings, celebrations, and gain access to important vocational education courses. A fitting home for the Bathurst Rail Museum, the building has been extended to house the museum and a model railway the size of a tennis court. This scale model of the Main West railway during the 1950s and 1960s, displays the Tarana to Bathurst line and is complete with operating trains.
Young children are encouraged to come and explore creative play with one of the world’s largest permanent Brio layout, in our dedicated Kids Central Space.
Museums and Galleries NSW IMAGinE Award, Innovation & Resilience – Museums 2020 (Winner)
Local Government NSW Leo Kelly Award 2020-Bathurst-Rail-Museum (Winner)
NSW Country Division Architecture Awards, James Barnet Award 2020 (Winner)
Urban Development Institute of Australia, NSW Award for Excellence, Social and Community Infrastructure 2020 (Winner)
Australian Steel Institute Awards, NSW Award for Small Buildings 2020 ( NSW Award winner, shortlisted for the National Award)
The National Trust Heritage Award, Adaptive Re-use 2020 (Shortlisted)
Australian Museums and Galleries Association, MAGNA Award, Permanent Exhibition of Gallery Fitout 2020 (Shortlisted)
Supporters: If you are interested in sponsoring the Bathurst Rail Museum, or other Museums Bathurst venues, please contact us to discuss your proposed sponsorship.
An experience that will engage and delight people of all ages with stories, interactive exhibitions and displays.
Stories of local people connected to the Railways. The Bathurst Rail Museum brings the rich social history of Bathurst and its story as a railway town to life with personal recollections, unique artefacts and a journey through the development of the railway in New South Wales.
Purchase a Plaque
Purchase a Plaque Become part of Bathurst’s Railway Family, purchase a replica brass engine plate with your family name, to be displayed in perpetuity at the Bathurst Rail Museum.
Small 120mm x 65mm $250
Large 240mm x 130mm $500
Large plaques also include the opportunity to have 150 words of your family history displayed on the website.
Contact ushereif you would like to purchase a plaque.
See Models of the No1, first locomotive to run in NSW.
Be mesmerised by the largest public HO scale model railway in Australia depicting the Great Western Line between Tarana and Bathurst, complete with working locomotives. As the train weaves its way around the layout, stories of the people who worked and travelled on the railway are revealed.
Young ones won’t want to leave Kids Central, an interactive play and learning space with one of the world’s largest permanent BRIO sets. Adults can relax with refreshments from our adjoining café.
Bookings are recommended.
Relax in style in our historic “American Suburban Cowboy” rail carriage, CBA547. Enjoy a snack from the Refreshment Room Cafe, or have it all to yourself with after hours function hire.
Bathurst local, Prime Minister Ben Chifley was an instructor at the Railway Institute building during his time as an engine driver for the NSW Government Railways.
His experience as a member of the railway union was formative to his political success.
He remained a passionate and dedicated member of the Bathurst community during his time as the 16th Prime Minister of Australia from 1945-1949.
The Railway Institute building was built in 1909 for training the railway workforce. Over time, it has been a library, billiards room, classroom and social room and has seen many happy gatherings of railway employees and their families. Social activities included choirs, jazz bands, social dances, weddings and games of tennis.