WA has lost an internationally-recognised gem with the destruction of the heritage-listed Yarloop Workshops in the South West bushfires.
Some 95 structures were lost including homes and much of the town site as the out-of-control inferno swept through the old timber town, some 130 kilometres south of Perth.
Three people remained unaccounted for on Friday morning.
The Heritage Council has described the Yarloop Workshops as "the most intact example of an early privately-owned 20th century railway workshop in Australia".
It also said "the place, including the workshop buildings, tracks and yards constructed circa 1900 - 1910, comprises the most important group of early to mid-20th century timber industrial buildings in Western Australia".
Academic, Professor Lou Richards of Manchester University, after a visit described the facility as having "one of the finest examples of steam age engineering in the world."
An emotional vice president of the Yarloop Workshops, Carmel Hil, said from her refuge at the Bunbury Motel that she had fled the town with whatever valuables she could grab.
"We just didn't see this one coming," she told Radio 6PR's Gareth Parker.
"We made sure everything was secure at the workshops - but it's all lost now . . . all our heritage, 15 years of volunteering . . . all gone."
Ms Hill, who lost her home and everything in it, said the loss of the workshops would hit the town hard.
"People used to come from interstate, from everywhere, to experience the history. It was terrific," she said.
"We had the largest wooden pattern display in the southern hemisphere and the steam workshops were so popular."
Ms Hill wasn't sure what was going to happen next. Her immediate concern was how she was going to get a visiting girlfriend of 30 years back to Perth for her return east given all the road closures.
"I can hardly talk . . . I've got no idea when we'll be allowed back to Yarloop."
WAtoday contributor and former politician Larry Graham reported in 2014 that the historic workshops had earlier escaped another natural disaster.
"Opening in 1901 and operating for more than 70 years as the base for the gigantic and almost forgotten Millars' timber operations, Yarloop Workshops is a historical wonder-piece that was nearly lost to the state when cyclone Alby passed through the district in 1978," he reported.
"WA has little of its precious industrial history intact and this makes it even more important that this place is cared for. To do this, volunteers operate a shop, interpretive centre, restaurant and accommodation, all in addition to maintaining the workshops, equipment and the museum.
"The buildings and equipment on display are pretty much as they were in their working days, although I suspect things are much cleaner and less smelly now than they used to be.
"And this gives visitors the chance to see first hand where and how trade skills that no longer exist were used. Wheelwrights, coopers and patternmakers all worked their magic alongside electricians, fitters, laggers, boilermakers, carpenters, engineers, blacksmiths and turners."