Centenary of the Trans Australian RailwayPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Langman

The monument, which is a steel replica of the wooden monuments erected in 1967, commemorates the centenary of the linking of the eastern and western rails on the Trans Australian Railway.

In 1901, the six Australian colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia. At that time, Perth, the capital of Western Australia, was isolated from the remaining Australian states by thousands of miles of desert terrain and the only practicable method of transport was by sea. The voyage across the notoriously rough Great Australian Bight was time-consuming, inconvenient and often uncomfortable. One of the inducements held out to Western Australians to join the new federation was the promise of a federally funded railway line linking Western Australia with the rest of the continent.

In 1907 legislation was passed, allowing for the route to be surveyed. The survey, completed in 1909, endorsed a route from Port August (the existing railhead at the head of Spencer Gulf in South Australia's wheatfields) via Tarcoola to the gold mining centre of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, a distance of 1,063 miles (1,711 km). The line was to be built to the standard gauge of 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm), even though the state railway systems at both ends were narrow gauge at the time. Its cost was estimated at £4,045,000.

Legislation authorising the construction was passed in December 1911 by the Fisher Commonwealth Government. Work commenced in September 1912 in Port Augusta. Construction progressed steadily as the line was extended through mainly dry and desolate regions until the two halves of the line met at Ooldea on 17 October 1917.

The railway line provided a supply chain to outback areas of Western Australia and South Australia; and was particularly important for developing the land west of Port Augusta.  Most of the construction work occurred during World War One when communications, men, machinery and materials were scarce.  The work was manually intensive using horses and camels, and the line was built across a remote, vast, dry and desolate environment.



Address:Ooldea Road & Teans Access Road, Ooldea, 5710
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.458509
Long: 131.834266
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Government
Actual Event Start Date:17-October-1917
Actual Event End Date:17-October-2017


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 17th October, 2017
Front Inscription

Linking of the rails on the 17th October 1917

East   West

Plaque :

This plaque was unveiled on Tuesday 17th October 2017

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the `joining of the rails` and the completion of the Trans Australian Railway

  • National Railway Museum
  • Australia Rail Track Corporation
  • Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula
  • Dick Smith Foods
  • Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary



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