Rozelle Tramway Depot War MemorialPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Heather Stevens

The War Memorial commemorates former employees of the Rozelle Tramway Depot who were killed in action or died in service in World War One. It was originally unveiled in 1916 and contained the names of six soldiers. Additional names were added at a later date. 

When the Rozelle tramsheds closed in 1958, the monument moved with the workers to the nearby Leichhardt bus depot.  In 2018, the monument was restored and was placed back in its original location.

At least 150 tram workers left to fight on the Western Front in France, and 34 of them never returned. The monument was commissioned by staff at the Rozelle tramsheds in Sydney in 1916, and it was cast in cement by Irish-Australian sculptor Edwin McGowan. The monument was paid for by the comrades of the tramshed workers.  

The statue was the first in Australia to depict a digger and the first to be installed at a workplace.  Unusually, the statue depicts a soldier in a relaxed pose, with an open collar and rolled-up sleeves.

Yesterday afternoon official regulations were relaxed at the Rozelle Tramway Depot, and visitors were allowed to witness the unveiling of a war memorial in the form of a statue. Seats were provided on the well-kept lawn in the centre of which the monument to Rozelle tramway men, who have fallen, was covered by a Union Jack. Wreaths were placed at the base of the monument. Sixty men of the Rozelle Depot formed a guard of honour, and the  Massed Tramway Inter Depot Bands were in attendance, under Bandmaster K. Davidson, and the secretary, Mr. T McMaster. Mr. W. Phillips, Depot Master, presided and on the improvised platform were Mr. T. Keegan,M.L.A., Military Chaplain, the Rev. John Boardman, Mr. K. J. Doran (Tramway Traffic Superintendent), Mr. C. H. Neale (Assistant Tramway Traffic Superintendent), Mr. J. Hormann(Outdoor Superintendent), Mr. H. Mark (District Superintendent), Mr. T. Perks (District Superintendent), Mr. J. M'Carthy (President of the Tramway Union), Mr. Heydon (Depot Master, Dowling-street), Mr. David Ford (hon. secretary Rozelle Tramway Monument Fund), Mr. ClaudeThompson (secretary Railwayand Tramway Service Association), and others.

The chairman said he was sorry that the Governor was not able to unveil the memorial. He had received a letter from his Excellency expressing his regret, and letters of apology from the Chief Commissioner, Mr. Fraser, the Commissioner for Tramways, Mr. Milne, and the Secretary for Railways, Mr. Spurway. The memorial was in honour of six men who had given their lives for Australia while fighting under the Union Jack. There were 150 of the Rozelle depot men at the front, and many others had volunteered. Altogether over 900 men from the traffic branch of the Tramways Department had enlisted. The monument had been designed and executed by Mr. E. M'Gowan, a young sculptor, now resident in Sydney, who was a King's Prize winner at South Kensington, and the winner of the Taylor Art Scholarship at Dublin. The unveiling ceremony, in which Mrs. Doran was assisted by Mr. Keegan, M.L.A., showed the figure of an Australian soldier just having fixed bayonets. The inscription on the front tablet is as follows:- "Glory to God. Honour to the dead. To the memory of the men of Rozelle tramway depot, who gave their lives for their country in the great war, 1914-191-. Erected by their comrades." The names on the tablet are G. F. Sandilands, W. G. Robertson, H. Chadwick, F. Beck, T. A. Stewart, and J. G Bell.
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), 27 November 1916.


Address:1 Dalgal Way, Tramsheds Precinct, Forest Lodge, 2037
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.876056
Long: 151.178709
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:04-August-1914
Actual Event End Date:28-June-1919
Artist:Edwin McGowan


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 26th November, 1916
Front Inscription

Glory to God

Honour to the dead

To the memory of the men of Rozelle Tramway Depot who gaves their lives for their country

The Great War

1914 - 1919

[ Names ]

Erected by their comrades


Left Side Inscription


[ Names ]

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