The Ferguson Street level crossing removal saw T Projects working with the Western Program Alliance to commission artist and photographer James Voller. James visited the nearby Newport Rail Museum, to photograph their extraordinary collection of steam, diesel and electric trains as well as a host of other railway exhibits. The legendary locomotive "Heavy Harry" will feature in the resulting public art, encasing one of the station’s utility buildings at the Ferguson Street level crossing and new North Williamstown Station.
‘Heavy Harry’, the heaviest steam powered train to ever operate in Victoria, was manufactured in 1941 and now lives only a short walk away from the Ferguson Street level crossing, lovingly cared for by volunteers at the Newport Rail Museum, who this year held celebrations to mark the museum's 80th birthday.
"Yardwork", was specially designed to fit a 20-metre long utility building, to be built on the eastern side of the station, through the specially perforated steel panels. The artwork reflects the Williamstown’s pivotal place in Melbourne’s rail and industrial history. While Williamstown’s maritime past is well known, rail manufacturing goes back 150 years and continues to this day.
James said it had been an honour to have access to such a well-preserved piece of history.
'The history of trains is in sync with how Melbourne has grown – across history so many important resources were brought in off the back of trains,' he said.
'It’s so important to be conscious of the past even as we’re moving forward, and also important to see public artwork playing a part in these new builds.'