News Release

Young People Get on Board to Help Restore Historic Railway

Local Healesville community members were joined by members and leaders of the Maroondah Stake (diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Melbourne, along with an army of energetic missionaries, to participate in a 'working bee' held at the historical Yarra Valley railway station on the morning of 16th June.

More than 200 volunteers attended the working bee, most of them young people, donning bright yellow Helping Hands vests as they cheerfully helped with the restoration of the station, cleaning, painting and even working on the rail itself.

After a hard morning’s work, participants were rewarded with a train ride through beautiful Healesville.

Yarra Valley Railway, a volunteer-run not-for-profit organisation, is currently in the process of restoring and operating portions of the historic Yarra Glen - Healesville line to bolster both local tourism and educate visitors on the unique regional heritage and landscape.

The Railway, once a former Victorian Government line employed to transport both lumber and livestock from the surrounding valleys to metropolitan Melbourne, ceased operation in 1983 and subsequently fell into disrepair, being ravaged both by recent bushfires and the passage of time.

Brett Whelan, President of the Yarra Valley Railway, has worked on the project for many years and explained that the restoration was intended to create more variety of activity within the Valley.

“We're Australia's largest volunteer infrastructure project anywhere in the country.”

With around 60,000 volunteer hours given each year, Brett says the project has begun gaining 'real momentum'.

Diversity is key to the strength and unity of the current community effort, according to Yarra Valley Rail organisers. Volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and ways of life, yet the compelling takeaway, according to Brett, is the way in which 'these diverse individuals and groups are able to come together as one on one project to make [the restoration] happen.'

Following a tradition set by early pioneers of the LDS Church who sought to emulate the sacrifice and service of Jesus Christ, Church members today seek to go about doing good and serve their communities. (See Acts 10:38)

When asked about the importance of community service, Maroondah Stake President Damon Page replied, “We have a tremendous capacity to do much good and certainly there are many opportunities to relieve those around us as we live the teachings of Jesus Christ and look outwards rather than inwards.”

“It was a tremendous sight to see so many families and young people sacrificing their time and individual pursuits to join together and serve the community.”

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.