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Century after attack, victims get memorial

Saturday, 2nd November, 2013

BH National Trust members (from left) Fran McKinnon, Marion Browne, Roger Norton, Fay Norton, Don Mudie and Di Hoffman with MP John Williams.PICTURE: Emily Roberts BH National Trust members (from left) Fran McKinnon, Marion Browne, Roger Norton, Fay Norton, Don Mudie and Di Hoffman with MP John Williams.PICTURE: Emily Roberts

To preserve an historic moment in local and Australian history, a memorial will be erected to the victims of the infamous Silverton Picnic Train attack.

 On January 1, 1915, 1200 men, women and children boarded the Silverton Tramway Company open concentrate trucks for a short rail trip to Penrose Park for the Manchester Unity Lodge annual picnic.

In the only attack on Australia soil in World War I, two local Muslim men, flying the Turkish flag, launched their own guerrilla-style assault.

They opened fire on the train and killed four people. Seven more were injured.

Yesterday the Member for Murray-Darling, John Williams, presented a one-off grant of $5,000 to the Broken Hill and District Branch of the National Trust of Australia (NSW).

“The local Trust will be using the grant to mark the centenary of the event to coincide with the memorial services around Australia,” Mr Williams said.

“White Rocks on the northern outskirts of Broken Hill is the site where the Turkish patriots were hunted down and killed. This site is now historic for Broken Hill.”

Chairwoman of the local branch of the National Trust, Fran McKinnon, said it would be wonderful to start planning the project.

“We want to make a memorial for those who died and were injured on that historic day,” Ms McKinnon said.

“It was the only act of violence in Australia for World War I.”

Ms McKinnon has a significant link with the Picnic Train.

“My father was on that train. He was nine years old,” she said.

“A lot of people would have memories of the incident from their parents.”

The memorial is expected to be placed near the Railway Museum or next to the Council administration office.

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