Southern Aurora Memorial GardenPrint Page Print this page

10-April-2019 (Kent Watson)
10-April-2019 (Kent Watson)

Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown / Kent Watson

The garden commemorates the crash of the Southern Aurora passenger train in February 1969.  The commemorative garden is designed to be a place of reflection, featuring a board listing the names of the people who died and who were injured in the incident. Story boards have been placed throughout the garden and lemon scented gums have been planted in memory of the victims. A sleeper carriage from the Southern Aurora is part of the garden. 

The garden has an overall theme of Helping Hands. It is a way of signifying how people stepped forward to help each other, whether women or men, staff or passengers, whether voluntary or paid, or whether local or from far away. Everyone did what they could. One of the key highlights of the garden area is embedding of words within the surface of curving and inter-twining pathways. The words to be embedded are positive human attributes displayed on the day of the tragedy like: courage, hope, love, generosity, kindness,

The garden was officially opened on the 10th February 2019 as part of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the tragedy. The garden is still a work in progress.

In 2021, two murals were added to the garden depicting the tragedy. 

On February 7, 1969, nine people died and more than 100 were injured when the Sydney to Melbourne overnight train, the Southern Aurora, crashed head-on into a Sydney-bound goods train near Violet Town.  About 10 kilometres prior to the crossing loop, where the two trains were set to pass one another, the driver of the passenger train, suffered a heart attack and died.

The train, carrying crew and more than 190 passengers, subsequently passed a red signal at 110 kilometres an hour, and collided head on with the goods train. The Southern Aurora bore the brunt of the impact with several carriages flung into the air and another six derailed.




Address:Cowslip & Daphne Streets, next to Railway Station, Violet Town, 3669
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.637632
Long: 145.718401
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Garden
Monument Theme:Disaster
Sub-Theme:Land Transport
Actual Event Start Date:07-February-1969
Actual Event End Date:07-February-1969
Designer:Southern Aurora Memorial Committee
Artist:Tim Bowtell (Murals)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 10th February, 2019
Front Inscription
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au