Leuralla NSW Toy & Railway Museum

One of the popular tourist destinations in the Blue Mountains is the Leuralla NSW Toy & Railway Museum. This is located on an escarpment at Leura with a nearby amphitheatre offering spectacular views over the Jamison valley.

Leuralla NSW Toy & Railway Museum

The house was built by the Andreas family in the early 1900s, replacing an earlier house that had been destroyed in a bushfire just before Christmas in 1909. Some of the exotic gardens were saved from the fire and were later redeveloped.

Leuralla gardens

The museum was established by Clive Evatt Jnr, a grandson of the original owner, and his wife, Elizabeth. The Evatt connection is further honoured in a collection of family memorabilia with a particular focus on Dr HV Evatt QC KStJ (1894-1965). Herbert Vere Evatt was an Australian politician and judge who played a significant role in world affairs, particularly during and following the end of World War II. There is an excellent overview of his life and achievements on the Australian Dictionary of Biography, including Evatt’s time as a leader of the Federal Labor Party and as President of the United Nations General Assembly.

Dr H V Evatt collection

The museum claims to have the largest collection of toys in the Southern Hemisphere and the collection includes decades of treasured items, including antique dolls, historic tin toys, teddy bears, Lego and board games. Rooms are set out along certain themes and contain an astounding array of toys. There are some wonderful images of toys from the collection here.

Some of the many toys in the extensive collection

The toy collection includes model trains, and there is large outdoor Matterhorn Mountain Railway with tunnels and viaducts. The beautiful gardens include railway signage from various locations, and a mock railway station.

Railway station at Leuralla

This mix of nostalgia and history, located in a grand old house set among 12 acres of beautiful gardens, is worth a visit on days of glorious sunshine, as well as on those days when the mountain mists roll in and rest a soft blanket upon the valley views.

Do you have a favourite toy memory?

Photo: entrance to Leuralla NSW Toy & Railway Museum

7 thoughts on “Leuralla NSW Toy & Railway Museum

    1. Hi Brendan, thank you for your comments. I didn’t realise Edward Hogben was the architect – thank you for sharing the link. Interesting too that Hogben played a part in modernising the facade of the Carrington Hotel, one of my favourite landmarks in Katoomba.

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  1. Oh wow, I would love to see this!
    Especially with the Evatt connection… I have the new bio of this remarkable man on my TBR and I am so glad his achievements are being properly recognised. (I was quite started to see that there is a plaque commemorating his work in the postwar UN in London. I’ve never seen any public monument here in Australia where he belongs.)
    My favourite toy? My father made a wooden zoo and a farm when I was little, and it was populated by small plastic animals which were quite the new thing in the 50s. I don’t think that plastic had been used for toys before that.

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    1. Hi Lisa, thank you for your comments. The Evatt connection piqued my interest too, as I was familiar with the name and some general details but really didn’t know what an interesting and accomplished man he was. The book on your TBR pile is the one by Gideon Haigh, I think (The Brilliant Boy), and I’ll need to add it to my pile too.
      Your wooden zoo and farm sounds wonderful. I can recall spending many happy hours with those plastic farmyard animals with fences and hay bales. It’s hard to imagine toys without plastic these days …

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      1. I really need to crack on with some of the NF on my TBR next year. If I were the sort of person who makes NY resolutions, I could plan to tackle it, but no, I do not do plans or goals, and especially not reading ones!

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  2. This is a lovely post. It would seem to me that most Aussies today are unaware of the achievements of Dr HV Evatt. he was so well thought of at that time that he (and Australia) did have quite an influence regarding the shaping of the UN.

    Trains and model trains have been a favourite of mine forever. I built model aircraft etc for many years. Apart form that there was the Meccano sets I had as well. In fact I have a train set and a Meccano set that I never let our kids play with. I also have a model of Eilean Donan Castle which is an exact replica consisting of ceramic blocks, that I will get around to building one day!

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    1. Hello and thank you for your comments. You are right about Dr HV Evatt, but perhaps there will be a greater appreciation and awareness of his achievements courtesy of Gideon Haigh’s book which was released earlier this year.
      There is something about model trains – and the real thing – that has an enduring fascination for many people. I looked up the Eilean Donan Castle which looks like an amazing place to recreate, and the ceramic blocks are a nice touch. Thank you for sharing, and I love how the toys and treasures which are associated with childhood can continue to give us pleasure decades later!

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