Remember Murray Bridge's railway station refreshment room?

The main building comprised of a huge kitchen, 30 feet by 20 feet, a cool room, dining room, counter room and a cellar and had two bedrooms and a living room.

The kitchen staff were country girls from farms and lived in the dormitories.

On one end was a two-storey cottage for the restaurant manager and his wife, who more or less chaperoned the girls.

The complex was built of local hand-cut limestone.

There was a tremendous black stove in the kitchen; it had 12 plates and an outside flue, with a bakehouse in the back yard.

The refreshment rooms opened in 1886 and were leased for £115 per annum.

By 1889 it proved to be so busy the dining room had to be extended and a larger kitchen added.

In 1914 major reconstructions occurred once again, extending the dining room and veranda and adding four more rooms to the dwelling.

In 1925 the Railway Department took over the running of it.

Meals could be pre-ordered including breakfast of porridge or cereal, fish, steak and eggs or bacon and eggs.

A counter lunch of sandwiches, pies or pasties were served with quarter of an hour to consume.

Dinner at night, with the tables set with starched table cloths and sparkling cutlery, was a sit-down meal.

The menu was comprised of two soups, entrees and a choice of two main courses with sweets and savoury all for 2/6d with 25 minutes to finish your meal.

During holidays and Easter weekends trains would arrive at 4.30am with the dining room, tea bar and liquor bar opened until the last train at 4.30pm.

Anywhere from 3000 to 4000 people had to be fed during this time.

During World War II six troop trains would pass through in a 24-hour period.

Trestles were set up on the train platform and the men were given tea, cakes, hot entrees and meals of steak and kidney pudding.

All this finished in 1973 when the refreshment rooms were phased out.

No longer can you hear “the train will be departing in one minute, all aboard please”.

Murray and District Historical Society Inc, “a community saving our past”

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