Helping lay the concrete for Barossa Valley Machinery Preservation Society’s new shed in the Angaston Railway Precinct on Friday were Malcolm Rothe, David Mitchell, Phil Martin, Dirk Meertens, Mark Graetz, Geoff Rowett with (front): Philip Holmes and John Anderson.

They might be nicknamed “rusties”, but members of the Barossa Valley Machinery Preservation Society are anything but, putting in a sterling effort to complete their new home at Angaston Railway Precinct.

Volunteers swapped their steel capped boots for rubber Wellingtons to wade through the final delivery of cement for the floor of the shed.

Shovels and spirit levels in hand, the team spent five days working under the guidance of Tanunda tradie, Malcolm Rothe, managing to reduce the cost of the concreting which was initially beyond the Society’s budget.

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Group president, Mr John Anderson said the floor was only made possible through the hard work and determination of members who were keen for the shed to be dirt-free.

“I put a budget to our members at a meeting a fortnight ago, I said if we help Malcolm with the work we could do it. One of our members said he’d put in $10,000 if the club matched it and within the week, the club matched it, that gave us the $40,000 to put the floor in.

“We are so proud of what we are doing. I said to the guys the other day, I think they need a pat on the back!”

The entire project will be finished on time and under budget, a rare feat that has put a smile on the faces of all involved.

“The Barossa Council were kind enough to give us this site and they gifted us $55,000. Then we have a $105,000 loan from Council which we are paying off over the next 10 years. The rest of the money we’ve earned through fundraising.

“In the last five or six years we’ve done no real restorations because we’ve been putting our money away. We looked like miserable, tight people, but we were building up our bank account – we had a vision.”

Running clearing sales for members and going to the Royal Adelaide Show every year are just a few of the ways the Society has been bringing in the cash. Generous member donations along with community and business connections have also made an impact, with the Society managing to save thousands on building materials and trades.

“You save a $1,000 here and $500 there and it all adds up.”

The pitch of the shed’s roof matches that of the historic Angaston Railway Station and together with the Goods Shed the Society restored a few years ago, the precinct is set to become a unique attraction.

“We believe this will be the heritage hub for the Barossa,” John said.

The Barossa Valley Machinery Preservation Society’s extensive collection will start rolling in soon, with everything set to be in place by the end of June when they need to vacate their former Tyne Street location which has been sold.

An official opening date is yet to be finalised.

“We just want people to know that yes, we are very grateful to Council… but members have done a hang of a lot of work to achieve the vision.”

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