Volunteers working along what was once the ‘Great Northern Railway’ have been honoured multiple times at this year’s Heritage Heroes Awards.

The Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society (PRRPS) has been recognised twice: once for preserving a significant piece of South Australian history, and again for helping the region’s youth develop trade skills for the future through its contributions to the Pichi Richi Trade Training Centre.

This regional facility, based in the PRRPS workshops at Quorn, allows youths from schools across the mid-North, including Port Augusta, Quorn, Booleroo Centre, Leigh Creek, Hawker and Orroroo, to be trained in building and construction, woodworking, sheet metal work, and shop fitting, while contributing to the maintenance of Pichi Richi Railway.

The Hon Ian Hunter MLC, Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation announced PRRPS also won a Premier’s Commendation Award in the group category for operating and maintaining the historic Pichi Richi Railway in the State’s Mid North.

"Heritage Heroes is a wonderful opportunity to thank the people who do so much to care for our state’s heritage", Mr Hunter said.

"This year’s recipients include local history groups, architectural firms, community groups and individuals from all over the state and all walks of life."

Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society President, Mr Dion Chandler, said "This is significant recognition for what has been a labour of love by a dedicated group of volunteers over the past 40 years."

"Starting out with only picks and shovels, the train line from Quorn to Port Augusta in the Flinders Ranges has been fully restored, along with heritage buildings and an extensive collection of heritage carriages and locomotives, some dating back to the 1880s."

Further up the old line the honours continued. PRRPS congratulates the Farina Restoration Group for their Minister’s Award in the group category, for their work restoring Farina (formerly Government Gums), 285 km north of Quorn.

Farina was once a stopping point on the Great Northern Railway, which travelled through Quorn. The line was extended to Oodnadatta and then to Alice Springs in 1929, which is known as the ‘Old Ghan Line’. PRRPS have been glad to contribute to the group’s restoration by providing track and an old livestock wagon to display in the town, as a reminder of its railway history.

PRRPS would like to thank the South Australian Heritage Council, the Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources and the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre at the University of South Australia for supporting the Heritage Heroes Awards.