AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY STORY

TRAINS OF TREASURE: About the exhibition

Much of Australia's general social history and industrial development has been closely related to its railways. From convict days when human power was used to propel railway carriages at Port Arthur, to early steam rail openings, through two depressions, a general strike, two world wars and changing technologies, railway workers and those who used Australian railways have endured the good and the bad.

The exhibition concentrates on the social aspect of the lives of railway workers and the history of the railways. Each panel is based around a poem, song or subject significant in the history of Australian Rail from Frank the Poet, Henry Lawson to Denis Kevans, covering diverse topics and the role of migrants, Aborigines, women and children in the development of railway workers' cultural life.

The initial exhibition was developed during 1985 and grew out of a special viewing, in Sydney, of Australian railway songs and poems based on research by Brain Dunnett and Denis Kevans. From this gathering the Combined Railway Unions Cultural Committee was formed. This committee immediately gained the support of the Labour Council of NSW and major State and National trade unions and the Australia Council for the Arts. It has toured with wide community support since that time with the assistance of the Rail Tram and Bus Union. Interest in the Exhibition over these years have inspired a range of cultural project including the Australian Railway Story.

The exhibition concentrates on the social aspect of the lives of railway workers and the history of the railways. Each exhibit is based around a poem, song or subject significant in the history of Australian Rail from Frank the Poet, Henry Lawson to Denis Kevans, covering diverse topics and the role of migrants, Aborigines, women and children in the development of railway workers' cultural life.