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Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

The plaque at the Australian Railway Monument is a tribute to Ben Chifley who was was employed as a railway engineman with New South Wales Railways before he became Prime Minister.

Chifley began railway work as a shop boy in Bathurst’s extensive steam shed in September 1903. Six years later he was a fireman, shovelling coal into the engine’s firebox to maintain an even head of steam to drive the train. A keen reader and a regular at evening classes, Chifley’s education continued at his own direction and by his own determination. He was an active member of the Federated Engine-drivers and Firemen’s Association of Australasia, and also of the Labor Party. In July 1913, at the relatively young age of twenty-seven, he became an engine-driver.

He was employed for 25 years on the New South Wales railways, working his way up to become an engine-driver and a leading member of the union.


Address:Railway Avenue, Australian Railway Monument, Werris Creek , 2341
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.348611
Long: 150.646111
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 18th November, 2011
Front Inscription
" I should not be a member of this Parliament today if some tolerance has been extended to the men who took part in the strike of 1917. All that harsh and oppressive treatment did as far as I was concerned was to transform me, with the assistance of my colleagues, from an ordinary engine-driver into the Prime Minister of this country."

The Light on the Hill
" I try to think of the Labor movement not as putting an extra sixpence into somebody's pocket, or making somebody Prime Minister of Premier, but as a movement bringing something better to the people, better standards of living, greater happiness to the mass of the people. We have a great objective - the light on the hill - which we aim to reach by working for the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand. If it were not for that, the Labor movement would not be worth fighting for ..."

Ben Chifley - Engineman
NSW Govt Railways 1902 -1928
Prime Minister of Australia
1945 -1949

This tribute funded by 
Rail Tram and Bus Union

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