The first recorded settler in Goulburn established Strathallan in 1825 (on the site of the present Police Academy) and a town was originally surveyed in 1828, although moved to the present site of the city in 1833 when the surveyor Robert Hoddle laid it out.
Further along the time-line Queen Victoria decreed in 1863 through a document known as 'letters patent' that the town of Goulburn be granted the title of 'city' consistent with the awareness of Goulburn being Australia's First Inland City, the citizens of Goulburn are becoming more aware of the significance of the arrival of the railway in 1869 and the subsequent growth and development of the region.
From the first beginnings of the railway being a significant employer, there can be no doubt that the railway contributed to the growth and development of Goulburn plus the surrounding region.
In its heyday over 650 employees were gainfully employed at the Goulburn Loco Depot covering six 'trades' plus enginemen, cleaners, labourers and of course the clerical personnel.
Then in 1973 came the partial demolition of 16 radial roads roofing 'to save maintenance costs'.
As a consequence of the need for servicing steam locos being redundant and the lesser maintenance and servicing of diesel locos, particularly the 81 class locos not needing the same level of resources, in 1986 the Government determined to close the Goulburn Locomotive Depot.
The State Rail Authority (SRA) representative charged with this sacrilege in Goulburn had just previously demolished a smaller roundhouse at Taree. When the demolition in Taree was completed, a local enthusiast broke down in tears when he saw the damage. This response so affected the SRA man that he considered if and how he might be able to stop this sacrilege in Goulburn.
One evening in 1986, in the Goulburn Worker's Club, the SRA representative asked whether any railway men were present enquiring where he could find men and machines to demolish the Roundhouse.
Fortuitously several enginemen were actually in the club and so started the immediate endeavour to stop the demolition. The reaction was to start what eventually resulted in the sacrilege being halted.
The next day both the council, under the direction of a Mr John Dudley and the Tourism Office were alerted to the pending demolition. By the following Friday a 'Temporary Heritage Order" was issued to halt the commencement of the demolition work...all within four days of the overheard conversation being relayed. The responsibility then fell on the council, railwaymen and the community at large to develop a plan to save this historic treasure within two weeks. John Dudley had a reputation of having 'grandiose' plans for the actual site of the Roundhouse.
Enquiries are ongoing to collate additional information of the local action and persons involved.
A community meeting was called with the outcome being the formation by several current and retired railwaymen of the 'Goulburn Loco Preservation Group' which eventually became the Goulburn Loco Roundhouse Preservation Society Inc. (GLRPS).
The facility is now known as the 'Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre' (GRHC) and managed by the GLRPS.
The founding members included Paul Ings, Mark Nethery, Kevin Curry, Kevin Harrison, Scotty Thorpe and Phillip Fowler.
For over 30 years, a group of passionate railway volunteers have formed the Goulburn Loco Roundhouse Preservation Society Inc. dedicated to keeping Goulburn's rich rail story alive. The Society's operations are based at the Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre.
The continuing enthusiasm of the members of the GLRPS resolved in June 2019 that we should celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the railway into Goulburn on the May 27, 1869.
The result will see a grand weekend of celebrations on May 25 and 26. The principle VIP Guest will be Her Excellency The Hon Margaret Beazley AO QC.
The weekend will also see the arrival of a steam loco hauled train into Goulburn Platform 1 on Saturday May 25 at 12.30 pm. Following the Official welcome by Mayor Bob Kirk, the Vice-regal party will attend a VIP Lunch. This will be followed with a tree planting in Belmore Park by Mr Dennis Wilson. The special train will depart from Platform 3 at 3pm.
On Saturday, May 25 there will be a display of vintage and veteran cars and trucks, classic motor cycles and old machinery in Montague Street adjacent to Belmore Park. There will be music in the Belmore Park Rotunda and on the forecourt of the railway station.
Complimenting these 'crowd stoppers' from 10am - 4pm on May 25 and 26 will be a display of Historic Photographs in the former Railway Refreshment Room on Platform 2 and a display of signalling equipment on Platform 1. Books and souvenirs will be available for purchase on Platform 2.
Along Braidwood Road the Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre will be open from 10am to 4pm May 25 and 26. On display there are several vintage steam and diesel locomotives, other rolling stock plus a variety of railway memorabilia.
It is anticipated that there may be a vintage steam loco 'in steam'.