Fire has destroyed the long established, popular York eating place known as Yorkies Coffee Carriage.

The novel cafe located along the Avon River near the South Street traffic bridge was the brainchild of Michael and Jenny York and had a dedicated, regular clientele who turned out in all weather to eat a range of tasty burgers, fish and chips and other meals on the menu. It also attracted a healthy passing trade.

The kitchen itself was located in a vintage railway carriage carefully fitted out for the purpose. The carriage still had its wheels which ran on a small section of track that rose up from the river flat. The carriage could be pulled up onto higher ground when the river flooded as it did several times over the years.

Tables, chairs and shelters were located on a paved area beside the carriage where people could sit and eat their meals and enjoy each others' company. For those who turned out on cold, winter nights, Michael stoked up several portable wood burning heaters to help keep them warm. Toilet and storage facilities were located in two smaller carriages set back on higher ground not far from the main area.

Michael and Jenny had leased the business to new operators who had finished trading as normal on Sunday night, January 12. After everyone had gone home a fire, thought to have been caused by an electrical fault, destroyed the interior and badly damaged the structure of the carriage. Its future is currently unknown.

Lindsay McNeill

ABOVE: The fire at Yorkies Coffee Carriage was investigated by police forensic officers.