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It is estimated that it took two kilometres of knitting to cover the vintage locomotive in Walhalla in Victoria's east.
The fully-adorned locomotive, along with other yarn-bombing installations around the town and railway station, was unveiled on Saturday and will add a splash of colour to the historic goldmining town during the month of July.
Tourists are being asked to share their photos of the yarn-bomb online to help raise awareness and funds for the revival of the vintage engine.
Train key to town's tourism successWalhalla, population 17, sits in a remote mountainous gorge in central Gippsland.
It was once a bustling hive of gold rush activity as thousands of miners and their families flocked to the isolated town in the hope of striking it rich.
But the gold diggers are long gone and tourism is now Walhalla's lifeline, so locals are hoping to boost visitor numbers by adding additional locomotives to Walhalla Goldfields Railway.
"We're eventually hoping to extend the railway track to [neighbouring town] Erica," train driver Graeme Skinner said.
"To do that we need more locomotives and more rolling stock.
"Currently our biggest loco that's in service can only pull four carriages."
The Walhalla Goldfields Railway carries about 30,000 passengers a year, with tourist patronage on the increase.
"People just love the fact that we're so isolated and it's a beautiful trip down the gorge," Mr Skinner said.
Last year the railway purchased a more robust and reliable 1970s diesel hydraulic locomotive from Queensland.
But to bring the engine into service, the 3.6 foot Queensland gauge will need to be converted to a narrower 2.6 foot Victorian gauge — an adjustment expected to cost more than $230,000.
A collective of knitters from across the Latrobe Valley banded together to help draw attention to the cause by staging a yarn-bombing event.
Winter woollies come flooding in
The team put a call out on social media for knitting groups around Australia to donate 12 by 12 inch knitted squares which could be sewn together to create a giant blanket to cover the locomotive.
"The idea was to get people involved … to sew the squares together to fit onto the locomotive," Walhalla Goldfields Railway spokeswoman, Lynda George, said.
"It's a bit like putting a jumper on Little Johnny, measuring it up so it all makes sense."
Soon after the launch of the Winter Woollies project, hundreds of new and recycled knitted and crochet squares came flooding in.
Knitters from Melbourne, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Murray Bridge in New South Wales and even San Diego in the USA donated their 12 by 12 knitted squares to the Walhalla team.
"We've had all manner of squares come in, some are just pieces of old jumpers that have been cut up, some are crocheted, some are multi-striped, some are plain coloured, some are patterned, some are knitted on a diagonal —so it is going to look amazing when it is finished," Ms George said ahead of the yarn-bomb's reveal.
Yarn-bombing unites crafters across locations
Yarn-bombing, the practice of covering public infrastructure with decorative knitted fabric, has become a curiosity of regional life in recent years, as an outlet of creative and social expression for crafty types that often knit in isolation.
"I got involved in yarn-bombing because eight years ago, I was a vibrant active person as a school teacher and I had an accident," Winter Woollies project co-ordinator Rowena Milbourne said.
"I suffer from an ongoing brain injury from this and I withdrew from the world.
"I needed a little something more than all the solitary things that I was doing at home."
Volunteer knitter Mel Beasley travelled from Tyers to attend the Wednesday knitting sessions and loves knitting hats and scarves for the homeless.
"It takes me about two hours to knit a 12 by 12 inch square and I've knitted about 20 of them so far," Ms Beasley said.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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