Midland is located 16kms from Perth and was named after the Midland Railway Company.
Brief History of Midland
During the 1880’s – 1890’s Western Australia was experiencing a boom in railway construction, thanks mainly to the discovery of gold and minerals through out the State. During this boom the government encouraged the building of private railway lines. In 1884 a London syndicate led by Mr John Waddington put in a proposal to the government for a railway line to be built between York and Geraldton (via Northam and Toodyay ). In return they wanted grants of land along the route. The proposal was accepted but with a few changes. The line was to begin in Guildford and go via Victoria Plains and Dongara. Mr Waddington’s company was to receive 12,000 acres
for each mile of railway built. As vacant land in Guildford was limited the Government eventually granted the syndicate a piece of land near York and Upper Swan Road (present day site of the town) to build its headquarters and workshops. The location was also to be the junction of the Government line which ran to York. With all parties happy with the changes the Western Australian Government signed the contract in 1886. Construction began immediately but was forced to halt due to financial problems.
In 1890 the syndicate, having solved its early financial woes, recommenced construction under the new name of the Midland Railway Company. It didn’t take long for a tent village to be erected on the site of the Company’s Workshops. The site soon became nicknamed “The Midland Junction”. Workers came from near and far to work on the new venture but there was inadequate housing for such large numbers. The government responded by declaring the area a townsite and releasing land for residential development. In 1895 a Municipality was declared but the government made the mistake of naming
the Municipality “Helena Valley”. The railway station retained the name Midland Junction which resulted in confusion. As a result in 1901 the town was renamed, Midland Junction (later shortened to Midland in 1961). In 1895 the line between Midland junction and Geraldton was opened for general traffic . This coincided with the Government’s announcement that their main government railway workshops were to shift from Fremantle to Midland Junction. Construction began in 1901 and by 1905 Midland had the most advanced and complete workshops of its kind in Australia. By 1909 there were over 1,200 people working at the Workshops. Click here for more information about the Midland Railway Workshops.
Things Are Looking Up In Midland
Midland developed quickly in the 1890’s due to the establishment of the Midland Railway Workshops. As workers flooded into the settlement (merely a tent city) seeking employment at the workshops a desperate need for infrastructure was soon realised. Schools, churches, hotels and Government buildings were soon erected as the area began to boom. Unfortunately, like so many towns in Western Australia, the boom would last until 1914, when the world found itself at war. In recent years to Old Midland Workshops have been converted into apartments, offices and retail shops.
Midland has also been focusing on creating a great collection of public art. Using local artists, including Kath Wheatley, Robert Juniper and Steve Tepper, the town has come to life with its unique collection of sculptures which seem to blend in so easily with the surrounds. Click here for more on Public Art of Midland .
Interesting Facts About Midland
During World War II, the Midland Railway Workshops, were converted into a munitions factory.
Hardly noticed at the Centrepoint Shopping Centre is locomotive R174 the only surviving loco of three used in the rescue of trapped miner, Modesto Varischetti in 1907.