Community use of vacant rail buildings program

The Community Use of Vacant Rail Buildings Program restores regional station buildings to their former glory, preserving them for future generations to enjoy.

It also contributes to social and economic wellbeing in regional Victoria, by providing spaces for people to get together and for local groups to use.  

The buildings are restored in conjunction with heritage architects, to ensure the restorations are as sympathetic as possible to the original building designs.

The Community Use of Vacant Rail Buildings Program won the ‘Best Government Leadership’ award at the Property Council of Australia’s national Innovation and Excellence Awards in 2017. 

The following projects are currently completed or underway:


Works under the program have transformed the historic Avoca Station building into a community arts and garden precinct.

The formerly disused building is now providing the community with a permanent area for visual and performing arts, alongside a flexible community meeting and event space. The surrounding area will be developed into a community garden.

The works were delivered by Ballarat-based builders Searle Brothers.

They included demolition, internal and external restoration and landscaping. They also involved installing new windows, doors, accessible toilets, a kitchenette, electrical and other services, fencing, asphalt and paving.

The Pyrenees Shire Council has taken on the head lease, with Avoca Community Arts and Gardens Inc. taking on the sub-lease to manage the use of the affordable new community spaces and to further develop the precinct.

The station building was officially opened by  Minister for Regional Development, Jaala Pulford, at a community celebration on Saturday 25 March 2017.


We have restored the historic Dingee Station building to create a new library, providing a meeting place for local students and reading groups. 

It is the Dingee community’s first permanent library, replacing the current mobile library service. 

The new library has longer opening hours, and offers people a place to socialise or study close to the town’s main attractions.  

We worked with Loddon Shire Council, Dingee and District Country Women’s Association, and the Goldfields Library Corporation to establish a local ‘library agency’, who manage the library and rotate stock from other Goldfields libraries.

Bendigo-based builders FNG Group carried out the refurbishment, alongside heritage architects Quadratum Architecture.

The building was officially opened by Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan on Thursday 9 November 2017.


Construction is underway at Willaura Station, to convert the station building into a multi-use community and meeting space.

Once the works are complete, Ararat Rural City Council will lease the Willaura Station building and sub-lease it to community group Willaura Modern Inc.

Regionally based Searle Bros. are carrying out the works on the building, in conjunction with heritage architects Davison Architecture. 

Following the discovery of gold in 1900 at Mount William in the Grampians, Willaura Station was a disembarkation point for many diggers, and the station buildings are considered to be of local heritage significance.

Started 22 September 2016