Forever one: golden anniversary of the Indian Pacific
January - March 2020
This exhibition celebrates the golden anniversary of Australia’s Indian Pacific rail service, one of the finest transcontinental train journeys in the world. It is an exhibition in two parts. Through a selection of historical photographs, key artefacts and news headlines, the first instalment tracks the events and excitement building up to the train’s inaugural passenger run. Part two indulges the visitor in a visual reminiscence of the 1970s Indian Pacific experience, when the train service was promoted as a ‘luxury hotel on wheels’. It captures the train in motion, adventuring across the continent through classic Australian landscapes.
The standardisation projects that enabled the Indian Pacific to embark on its first journey, 50 years ago, forever changed the course of rail travel across this land. In linking the continent from east to west via one continuous length of uniform gauge, they unified the nation. The transcontinental break-of-gauge was gone forever. Through 4352 kilometres of perfectly spaced twin ribbons of steel, Australia came together, forever, as one.
This photo exhibition remembers stations scattered along the once-great railway networks of South Australia. Crawling with passengers in their heyday, scores were abandoned and left as prey to weeds invading like triffids. With their rail veins detached, many stations succumbed to the elements and were reduced to ghosts. Set to a haunting, industrial soundtrack by Australian composer Haddocks’ Eyes, the exhibition provides pictorial proof of the historical decline of rail services and serial waste of transport infrastructure in this state. From Pooraka to Oodnadatta: what have we lost?
Exhibition is included with general admission fee for the National Railway Museum. Open 10am-4:30pm.
Would you like to contribute photos of South Australian railway stations to The People’s Archive for The Ghosts of Stations Past exhibition?
A PDF of the flyer is available here.
This exhibition was a featured event in South Australia’s History Festival 2019.