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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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