Our Community

West Coast Wilderness Railway (WCWR) is an intrinsic part of the west coast’s history and community. We are guardians of our local heritage, and we take pride in maintaining our community’s historic traditions and respecting and celebrating the past.

During the 1980s and 1990s, community support led to the provision of state and federal funding to restore and reopen the railway. When the railway was closed once more in 2013, the community rallied again and lobbied the government to ensure the closure was not permanent.

Community traditions
The Mount Lyell Picnic was first held in the early twentieth century, when Queenstown was a thriving centre of more than 5,000. This was the community’s major annual social event, and today we work with the community to maintain this tradition. WCWR donates to this event and also runs a subsidised train for locals from Queenstown to Strahan when access to the line allows.

West Coast Workforce Pathways partnership program
The inaugural Workforce Pathways program, a partnership between Queenstown’s Mountain Heights School and West Coast Wilderness Railway concluded in December 2023 after ten weeks of workforce familiarisation placements for the school’s year ten cohort.

The partnerships was created to establish a pathway to future employment for local kids, whilst also encouraging greater year ten attendance, which meets the needs of our organisation and the school. Each student spent a week at the Railway experiencing the breadth of workforce options, from track maintenance, locomotive workshop, right through to café, on train and administration roles.

The program was a trial run for 2023 and students feedback has both organisations very excited about future prospects. We look forward to returning to this community program in 2024.

Sponsorships, donations and support
The WCWR supports the community through sponsoring local events and activities. We also support numerous local and state charities and encourage local organisations to reach out to us to request support.

Student mentor
The railway offers important work experience opportunities to high school students from Tasmania and, in some cases, nationally.

We also offer special rates to students from Mountain Heights High School and Strahan Primary School to travel on the railway.

‍Emergency support
WCWR is a member of the West Coast Emergency Management Committee, and we provide assistance to the local community in emergency situations.

Caring for the environment
The rugged wilderness of Tasmania’s west coast is one of our region’s greatest assets. To contribute to the protection of our environment, WCWR operates from a philosophy of ‘nothing wasted, nothing left behind.’ We implement a range of actions to fulfil this organisational philosophy, and continually review and seek ways to further reduce our environmental footprint.

‍Economic contribution
West Coast Wilderness Railway is a significant local employer and contributor to the economy of the west coast.

Most of our team are local residents, and many are third or fourth generation west coasters, whose employment with WCWR enables them and their families to continue to live on the west coast.

Driving visitation
WCWR works closely with the local tourism association and provides support as committee members and across the marketing subcommittee. The local tourism association is an active industry group that works closely with local council and other industry bodies to ensure the West Coast region is represented on a national (and even global) stage.

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