Saturday, 30 October 2021

WWI Railways Workers Memorial

It is my pleasure to be here today for the rededication of the Railways Workers Memorial, honouring those who took part in the First, and Second, World Wars.

A career in diplomacy has shown me, on so many levels, the importance of the role played by our country’s Defence Forces, and of the outstanding capabilities, dedication and sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women.

It is thus my honour, now as Governor, to recognise the great efforts and sacrifice of South Australia’s servicemen and women and to support South Australia’s veterans.

Sadly the pandemic thwarted efforts to conduct this ceremony in 2020, 90 years since the creation of the memorial.

I’m pleased we are finally together here today, to celebrate the memorial’s refurbishment and to honour those it commemorates.

I’m also pleased to follow in the footsteps of Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven, who, while Governor of South Australia, unveiled the memorial in October 1930.

An article in The Chronicle, a leading newspaper of the time, recalls the large crowd gathered for the unveiling.

Ninety-one years later, the Great War is no longer in living memory, but honouring those who served remains vitally important to our community.

It’s great to see senior Defence representatives, past and present members of the Corps of Royal Australian Engineers and the Lord Mayor here today, as well the granddaughters of Lieutenant Colonel Watson, who erected the memorial.

As you would be aware, Lieutenant Colonel Watson served with distinction at Gallipoli, as well as in the Second World War, before becoming Deputy Commissioner of the South Australian Railways.

He raised money through donations by railway staff, and purchased the bronze lettering himself.

Unfortunately, with the passage of time, the presence of the memorial became less known among the general community.

Today we honour the Lieutenant Colonel Watson’s efforts, as well as those of Major Patrick Trainer, who rediscovered the memorial while conducting research and approached the City of Adelaide to refurbish it.

I thank the Council for agreeing to undertake this work, and the Royal Australian Engineers Central Region Corps Committee for organising this rededication.

I am very pleased to see the memorial restored to its former state, ensuring the service and sacrifice of railway workers will be honoured for generations to come.

Lest we forget.

Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC


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