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Bruce Baskerville and Matthew Pavlinovich.

Historic bid to save Tuohy Gardens

Tuohy Gardens is in a state of disrepair, with grafitti plastered on the inside of the fence and rubbish strewn across the ground.

Put up for sale last week by the MRA, attempts to open the site up for public open space have consistently failed.

However a heavily graffitied plaque at the back of the site and a set of railway tracks, visible only on the edge of the gardens where they protrude from the asphalt, may hold the key to saving the Gardens.

On Wednesday, Midland and Districts Historical Society chairperson Matthew Pavlinovich nominated the Tuohy Gardens  to be listed on the State Heritage Register.

It was the brainchild of MDHS member Bruce Baskerville, and the evidence combined by Mr Pavlinovich and Mr Baskerville is compelling.

A plaque located at the back of the site reads: “This plaque was unveiled on Thursday, February 27 1986 by Hi s Excellency Professor Gordon Reid, Governer of Western Australia, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the turning of the first sod, signifying the commencement of construction of the Midland Railway between Guildford and Walkaway.”

The construction of the Midland Railway began in 1886.

Train tracks from the original Midland Railway are also clearly visible on the site, and Mr Baskerville said that without the original train line, Midland would not be the same.

“This train line is one of the main reasons Midland is what it is today,” he said.

“This is undeniable history and it is of significant historical value to Midland and the towns that were established on the back of that Railway.”

In addition, a line of Japanese Pepper Trees remain on the site.

These trees were planted in the 1930s as part of a beautification project by the Midland Railway Company.

While the submission may not halt the development, Mr Pavlinovich said the plaque , trees and tracks must be retained and should form part of any new development.

“It’s vitally important that whoever buys Tuohy Gardens should do so with an intent to preserve the rich history of this site.

“We would prefer if the site was re-opened as a heritage park but obviously the MRA have put it up for sale.”

About Liam Ducey

Liam Ducey is an experienced journalist, having worked in print media in Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Port Hedland, Bunbury and across the metropolitan area, as well as online for several Fairfax Media mastheads. His reporting has seen him awarded the 2013 Clubs WA award for Best Club Media Story and the Western Australian Football Commission Umpiring Media Award in 2014. He was a finalist in three categories in the 2018 WA Media Awards and is not at all salty that he didn't win at least one. He's recently had a baby girl, Emilia, with his wife Roselyn and has lost all concept of time and sleep.

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