The Ghan MemorialPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by John Wilson / Graeme Saunders

The sculpture commemorates the Ghan, the railway line that extends from Port Augusta to Alice Springs and derives its name from the hard-working Afghans who ran the old-time camel communications network in the Australian outback.


Address:George Crescent , Alice Springs Railway Station, Alice Springs, 0870
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -23.6975
Long: 133.873056
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Technology
Artist:Gabriel Sterk


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 9th October, 1980
Front Inscription

In commemoration of the arrival of the inaugural passenger train into Alice Springs on the Tarcoola - Alice Springs railway

9th October 1980.

In the presence of H.R.H. Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Mrs. Angus Ogilvy,
The Hon. Ralph Hunt. M.P., Commonwealth Minister for Transport,
The Hon. P. A. E. Everingham, M.L.A. Chief Minister of the Northern Territory,
The Hon. D. O. Tonkin, M.P., Premier of South Australia.

Construction of the 831 km standard gauge railway was carried out by the Australian National Railways Commission,

Mr. K. A. Smith A.M. O.B.E.,   Mr D. P. Smith 
Chairman                                Chief Civil Engineer.

Back Inscription


The Ghan

In 1878, work started in a planned 1800 mile railway between our southern and northern shores.  Slowly the line was pushed up from Port Augusta to Oodnadatta where it stopped for nearly 40 years.  In that time camel trains run by hardy Afghans worked the country to Alice Springs, ferrying passengers and freight up from Oodnadatta.  When the railway reached the Alice in 1929, the train became known affectionately as "The Ghan".

The story of how it received this famous nickname will probably always remain in doubt.  Throughout its long and valuable service, it has been variously known as the Afghan Express, the Afghan Special, the Royal Ghan, the Flash Ghan, however, each of the rival stories has one thing in common - the name derives from those hardy Afghans who ran the old-time camel communications network in the Australian outback.

Sculptor Gabriel Sterk

October 1980


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