Goulburn Launch of the Great Southern Line Anzac Story

Local Family connected to WW1 Soldier Graffiti inscription in The Caves of Naour near the Somme. 

WW1 Soldier Robert Muir worked on the railways in Goulburn before and after the great war.  He was a 22 year old bachelor when he enlisted to serve. He was a driver in the Field Ambulance Service and though not hospitalised, was at some point exposed to mustard gas. He met his future wife in Pozieres. At some time during his service on the Somme, Robert visited the Caves of Naours a popular spot for soldiers on leave. The graffiti written by Robert Muir was uncovered by French Archaeologist and author of “Silent Soldiers of Naours” Gilles Prilaux.  The graffiti was traced through the Great Southern Line Anzac Story Project website www.greatsouthernline.com.au We are now in the process of connecting M. Prilaux to his daughter Dorothy Edgar and granddaughter Robin Cummins.

Launch of the Great Southern Line Anzac Project

Goulburn Railway Station was site for the launch of three Anzac Centenary commemorative sculptures on Thursday, November 22. The sculptures at the Goulburn Railway Station are part of the Great Southern Line Anzac Story, which has been three years in the making. One commemorative sculpture is already in place at Moss Vale Railway Station with the final commemorative work to be unveiled later this year on the 11th of December. Over 70 people filled the small training room yesterday as Southern Tablelands Arts Executive Director, Artist Tracy Luff,  Warren Brown and Mayor Bob Kirk delivers a moving ceremony about the project.

Southern Tablelands Arts Executive Director Susan Conroy said that “the commemorative sculptures provide the chance to learn some of the previously untold stories about railway men who enlisted and fought during WWI”.

“It is also an opportunity to reveal and to honour the experiences of WWI veterans returning from the war and to recognise the powerful link for many in returning to jobs in the NSW railway network in this region.   “The commemorative sculpture also shines a light on the socio-economic role of the NSW railways in providing employment to WWI veterans, as well as the impact on their families and communities”  Ms. Conroy said.

A key source of funding for the project is the Anzac Centenary Cultural Fund. For the Goulburn Commemorative artworks, funds were also provided by Goulburn Mulwaree Council and the Goulburn Soldiers Club. “The project could not have proceeded without these funds,” Ms. Conroy said.

Acclaimed visual artist Tracy Luff has developed designs for each of the commemorative sculpture sites at Goulburn, Moss Vale and Picton. Ms. Luff was drawn the stories of struggle in the aftermath of WWI for the railway workers and their families.  She chose symbols to represent various aspects that were common experiences for the veterans.

The Sculptures were unveiled by Mayor Bob Kirk of Goulburn Mulwaree Council.  The sculptures will be deeded to the railways on the completion of the project.

The final installation for the project will be unveiled in Picton on the 11 December at Picton railways Station by Mayor Judith Hannam at 11am, RSVP to Caitlan on 4823 4407 or [email protected]

Top: Detail of artwork. Middle rows:The Curtis and Guthrie Family. The Muir Family,  Artwork created by Tracy Luff in consultation with descendants of Railway Servicemen. Bottom from left: Mayor of Goulburn Mulwaree Bob Kirk, Executive Director of Southern Tablelands Arts Susan Conroy, Warren Brown and artist Tracy Luff.

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