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The Ghan MemorialPrint Page Print this page

31-August-2014
31-August-2014

Photographs supplied by John Wilson / Graeme Saunders

A monument commemorates the Ghan, the railway line that extends from Port Augusta to Alice Springs and derives its name from the hard-working Afghans who ran the old-time camel communications network in the Australian outback.

Location

Address:George Crescent , Alice Springs Railway Station, Alice Springs, 0870
State:NT
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -23.6975
Long: 133.873056
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Technology
Sub-Theme:Industry
Monument Designer:Gabriel Sterk
Link:http://www.hss.uts.edu.au/centres/p…

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 9th October, 1980
Front Inscription

IN COMMEMORATION OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE INAUGURAL PASSENGER TRAIN INTO ALICE SPRINGS ON THE TARCOOLA-ALICE SPRINGS RAILWAY 9TH OCTOBER 1980.

IN THE PRESENCE OF H.R.H. PRINCESS ALEXANDRA, THE HON. MRS. ANGUS OGILVY, THE HON. RALPH HUNT, M.P., COMMONWEALTH MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT, THE HON. P.A.E. EVERINGHAM, M.L.A., CHIEF MINISTER OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY, THE HON. D.O. TONKIN, M.P., PREMIER OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE 831KM STANDARD GAUGE RAILWAY WAS CARRIED OUT BY THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS COMMISSION,

MR. K.A. SMITH A.M. O.B.E., CHAIRMAN
MR D. P. SMITH CHIEF CIVIL ENGINEER.

Back Inscription

THE GHAN.

 IN 1878, WORK STARTED ON A PLANNED 1800 MILE RAILWAY BETWEEN OUR SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN SHORES. SLOWLY THE LINE WAS PUSHED UP FROM PORT AUGUSTA TO OODNADATTA WHERE IT STOPPED FOR NEARLY 40 YEARS. IN THAT TIME CAMEL TRAINS RUN BY HARDY AFGHANS WORKED THE COUNTRY TO ALICE SPRINGS, FERRYING PASSENGERS AND FREIGHT UP FROM OODNADATTA. WHEN THE RAILWAY REACHED THE ALICE IN 1929, THE TRAIN BECAME KNOWN AFFECTIONATELY AS "THE GHAN".

THE STORY OF HOW IT RECEIVED THIS FAMOUS NICKNAME WILL PROBABLY ALWAYS REMAIN IN DOUBT. THROUGHOUT ITS LONG AND VALUABLE SERVICE, IT HAS BEEN VARIOUSLY KNOWN AS THE AFGHAN EXPRESS, THE AFGHAN SPECIAL, THE ROYAL GHAN, THE FLASH GHAN, HOWEVER, EACH OF THE RIVAL STORIES HAS ONE THING IN COMMON - THE NAME DERIVES FROM THOSE HARDY AFGHANS WHO RAN THE OLD-TIME CAMEL COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK IN THE AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK. 

SCULPTOR GABRIEL STERK
OCTOBER 1980

Source: MA,ACPH
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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