NO ORDINARY WAR STORY: THE GREAT SOUTHERN LINE ANZAC STORY
Goulburn Railway Station will be the site for the launch of three Anzac Centenary commemorative sculptures will 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 in December.
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.
“It also provides a way for the descendants of these men to remember and celebrate their family members.”
During the research phase, Southern Tablelands Arts were able to find living descendants who had strong memories of these men and who are now the custodians of precious items of memorabilia and family stories. “War records, railway staff records, citations, medals and photos are just some of the memorabilia that illustrated family stories gathered in the research and consultation stages of this project,” Ms. Conroy said.
Ms. Conroy also noted that “considerable thought has gone into how to share the wealth of stories and memorabilia to help build an appreciation of this little-known aspect of NSW railway history and heritage and use the wealth of material identified and documented.”
A QR code is located with the artwork which enables people who visit any of the commemorative sculptures to learn more by using their smart phone/device. This means that the wealth of material collected offers future opportunities for research and presentation to existing and new audiences.
NSW Trains and Sydney Trains have played a vital role in the development of the project including being on the Working Party and contributing financially to the project. The memorial sculptures will be deeded to them on project completion.
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.
Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk will unveil the commemorative sculpture. Howard Collins OBE, Chief Executive Sydney Trains and A/G Chief Executive NSW TrainLink will deliver a speech about the involvement of NSW Railways in WW1.
The sculpture will be launched at the Goulburn Railway Station gardens at 10.30am on November 22.