Richmond Vale Railway Museum has launched a fundraising appeal to raise money to help them rebuild after fire ripped through the area earlier this month.

Fire destroyed around 920 hectares of bushland on September 13, including a lot of the museum leaving behind an estimated $1 million damage bill.

But much of what they lost can’t easily be replaced, including 2 kilometres of track between the main line and Pelaw Main, stainless steel passenger cars, a 100-year-old break van and at least 30 hoppers which were all destroyed in the blaze.

The fundraising appeal is through called ‘Rebuilding Richi’ and Chairman Peter Meadows says they aren’t sure exactly how much money they’ll need but they know it will be a lot.

“The whole aim of the game is to finance the rebuilding of the track and the bridge. That’s what we need the money for because it’s just a massive job and we have to get something like, we need at least 3,000 sleepers so we’re talking about a huge job and that’s a part from anything else.”

The volunteers hope the fundraising appeal will get the museum back up and running quickly. Over the years a lot of members have put their own money into various projects at the museum but when it comes to such a large scale rebuild, it’s simply not the answer.

“We really need to have the place up and running within the next three months. It took us 30 years to build it, but I’m now 68 so I don’t have 30 years left to do it again,” said Peter.

The site has been closed off to both the volunteers and the public while assessments are carried out, and now it looks like there’s a possible asbestos problem to be dealt with as well as everything else.

“The council is involved and we’re going out today to talk to them about all of that site and when we can back on the site just to start the rebuild so at the moment we’re dealing with an asbestos problem and that will be dealt with within a very short time,” said Peter.

Peter and the volunteers are all forever thankful to the fire crews. Despite losing a lot of stock, the fire crews saved more than they lost. Crews managed to extinguish flames which got into the carriage shed and Peter says if they hadn’t, they’d have lost everything.

“We are extremely grateful – yes we’ve lost some stuff but they did manage to save the buildings which was terrific. Thank you to everybody and the community in general for their support. The amount of support we’re getting on emails, texts, etc. is just amazing so we’re really very thankful.”

A fundraising trivia night is also being held at Kurri Kurri Senior Citizens Hall on Saturday, October 28 from 7pm – tickets are available at $10 a person for teams of eight.

For more information, or to make a book, contact Graham Smith on 0408 333 604

To donate to the fundraising campaign head to