Werribee zoo features in train station tales

Werribee Zoo is one of the local landmarks included in a podcast about Werribee Station and its surrounds. (supplied) 417383_01

A lack of investment in public transport infrastructure might be a big issue in Wyndham these days, but fortunately the area wasn’t ignored when Melbourne’s suburban rail network was being established in the mid-19th century.

Since it opened in 1857, Werribee station has linked Wyndham to the rest of Melbourne, as well as Geelong and regional Victoria, and now its story is being told in a podcast series produced by Metro Trains.

The current operator of Melbourne’s suburban rail network has just released 83 new episodes of the Storytown podcast, which details the history, people and places located near train stations right across the city.

Werribee is included alongside the likes of Dandenong, Berwick and Moonee Ponds in the last batch of episodes, with local landmarks Werribee Mansion and Werribee Open Range Zoo receiving particular attention.

“It’s wonderful to be part of the Metro Trains Storytowns podcast project and spread the word about the fantastic experiences that Werribee has to offer,” said Werribee Open Range Zoo director Dr Mark Pilgrim, of being including in the series.

“It’s incredibly exciting that the thousands of people who travel through Werribee station every day will now have the opportunity to hear about the special, immersive and authentic African-inspired adventure at Werribee Open Range Zoo,” said Dr Pilgrim, adding that the podcast will also spread the word about the zoo’s $88 million expansion.

“This will see Melbourne Zoo’s growing Asian Elephant herd move to Werribee in late 2024 and roam a 21-hectare purpose-built habitat that will be the gold standard in animal welfare.”

Storytowns is the brainchild of Melbourne producer Jarrod Pickford who was inspired to link travellers with local communities via geo-located audio while travelling overseas in his 20’s and 30’s.

Since launching in 2019, Storytowns has offered hundreds of free geo-located podcast tours throughout Australia, helping people explore and connect with their surroundings.

Pickford said making podcasts on Melbourne’s train stations had been especially enjoyable.

“Melbourne is like no other city and we have loved bringing the suburbs to life with these podcasts.”

After an initial run of Storytown podcasts on the rail network proved popular, Metro Trains commissioned the latest series, bringing the total to 126 episodes.

Metro Trains chief executive Raymond O’Flaherty said the podcasts and the stories they tell had clearly struck a chord with commuters.

“With more than 14 thousand downloads already, these new podcasts are making train travel a more unique and interesting experience for our passengers.”

The podcasts can be accessed for free via the Storytowns app which is available for download at www.storytowns.com.au/metro.

Cade Lucas