Trains and cafes are not something typically associated with Airds.
But that’s set to change.
The Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation have purchased two old train carriages which will be converted into a cafe and community space.
Once up and running it would be the only cafe in Airds meaning residents would no longer be forced to leave the suburb for a barista-made caffeine hit.
Barista courses, which would be accredited through TAFE, would also be run out of the carriages.
Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Darryl Wright – who was awarded an Order of Australia last week – said it was left field approach aimed at helping local youth find a career and obtain a qualification.
“We are always thinking about what to do for the young ones – they are our future,” he said.
“We try to come up with different ideas (about how to engage young people).
“You shouldn’t be afraid to think outside the box and do different things. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because that’s when you learn things.”
An application was lodged recently with Campbelltown Council to install the carriages which were purchased from the Australian Railway Historical Society for $1000 each.
Once given the green light, the carriages will then be transported from Canberra to the site at 187 Riverside Drive, Airds.
Mr Wright said the carriages would be joined and the connecting walls knocked down to form one large space.
The internal space will then be fitted out while local young people will be called upon to help paint the carriages.
“We will hopefully be up and running by Christmas,” Mr Wright said.
For an example of what the finished product may look like, residents only need make their way west along Narellan Road.
Cake Biz at Narellan has an old train carriage behind the shop which has also been done up and fitted out inside.
All funds raised from the Airds cafe will be injected back into the community through a range of projects that focus on food security and healthy living.
Mr Wright said healthy lifestyles and diets were a big focus of Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation, which already had a community kitchen and community garden.
“When we have functions, we don’t serve anything that’s unhealthy,” he said.
Mr Wright said Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation and TAFE had already teamed up to help local young people undertake courses such as bricklaying and plumbing.
Once the carriages are decked out barista and other hospitality-related courses would also be available.