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Australian Railway Monument-Sign
Australian Railway Monument-Sign

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / Sandra Brown / Erich Nussbaumer

The Australian Railway Monument was built as a tribute to the railway industry and its employees for their contribution to Australia`s development through rail.

It includes six stainless steel figures depicting various aspects of railway work, plus an honour board of over 2,000 names commemorating the workers killed on the railways since the 1850s. Eleven flagpoles were added in 2008. 

For approximately 70 years Werris Creek was the largest railway centre in northern New South Wales, the depot alone employing 800 people.From the 1970s, the railway began to decline, but it still remains an important part of the network, with Pacific National still using the depot. The introduction of diesel locomotives and centralisation of the rail system led to the demise of the complex's importance. The jobs of tradesmen servicing steam trains disappeared. The population halved as rail jobs fell from 800 to 100. Town morale sank as its heart and soul began to disappear. Even though passenger and freight trains still passed through Werris Creek, as they still do, it seemed destined to become yet another country town fading into oblivion.

In 1989 a committee led by Chris Holley - a former porter, shunter, guard and controller, strongly supported by a band of fellow retired railmen such as veteran yard master Les Brown - vowed that Werris Creek would not die. Their determination led to the acceptance of a plan envisaged by Dr Stuart Sharp, of the former NSW State Rail Authority Heritage Unit, involving creation of an Australian Railway Monument. While funding came principally from the NSW Government ($1.3m), some 40 townsfolk - mostly former railway men and women pledged themselves as volunteers to run the complex. It opened on 1 October 2005 as the Australian Railway Monument and the Rail Journeys Museum and since has averaged more than 10,000 visitors per annum. 

Location

Address:Railway Avenue, Railway Station, Werris Creek, 2341
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.348611
Long: 150.646111
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map

Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Government
Sub-Theme:State
Artist:Dominique Sutton (Bangalow, NSW) (sculptures)

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 1st October, 2005
Front Inscription

Plaque :

To commemorate the unveiling of the 
Australian Railway Monument 
           by 
Mr John Watkins MP 
Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport
Saturday 1 October 2005

Inscription in Proximity

The Eleven Flagpoles of the 
Australian Railway Monument 

were erected through the generosity of  

New England / North West Group Training 
(a division of Hunter Valley Training Co. Pty. Ltd)

and were Officially unveiled on 
Wednesday, 23rd January, 2008 
            by 
Hon. Milton Morris AO, 
former Minister for Transport

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