Strathbogie Shire Council

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Big steps for Southern Aurora Commemoration

Friday, 10 August, 2018

The Southern Aurora Memorial Committee has completed initial designs for a commemoration garden to respectfully acknowledge the Southern Aurora tragedy on 7 February 1969 and its aftermath in the lead-up to its 50th anniversary in February 2019.

The Southern Aurora was an overnight express passenger rail service running between Melbourne and Sydney that had a head on collision with a freight train in Violet Town on 7 February 1969, killing 9 people and injuring 120.

Strathbogie Shire Council is supporting the committee and providing initial financial support, along with the Violet Town Action Group.

The design involves an enduring and poignant memorial garden, including permanent interpretation materials.

VLine has generously agreed to donate a Southern Aurora carriage to display in the garden area.

Southern Aurora Memorial Committee Chairperson Gary Abley said the group is still seeking funds and support, and welcomed anyone who is interested to get in contact with the committee.

"Hundreds of people contributed to help the hundreds affected, and it is all of those women and men we want to acknowledge," Mr Abley said.

"Like many people from Violet Town, and all the surrounding towns and districts, my family was involved at the time, and I am gradually learning more about that time."

Strathbogie Shire Mayor Amanda McClaren said Council is proud to support the efforts of the Southern Aurora Memorial Committee and looks forward to working with the committee to see the project advance.

“The Southern Aurora tragedy had such a profound impact on those directly involved in the incident, as well as our local community members who were so courageous in providing support and assistance at the time of the crash,” Cr McClaren said.

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