Remembering World War I and the service of the NSW Railways
2015 marks 100 years since the first major military action undertaken by the AIF.
The outbreak of war in 1914 had a dramatic impact on Australia with large numbers of men rushing to enlist to serve their country. At the time, the NSW Railways and Tramways Department was the largest enterprise in the state, with 45,000 employees. Over the course of the war, 8,447 men from the department enlisted and 1,210 of these men died as a result of their service.
Some NSW railwaymen were recruited specifically to assist with operating railway lines for the Allied war effort in Europe but most served amongst other soldiers fighting on the frontline. In an era when road transportation and aviation were still in their infancy, the nature and scale of World War I suited the use of railways like no war before or since. Joseph Joffre, Commander-in-Chief of the French Army during the war declared: ‘This is a railway war… if we win this war it will be largely due to the railways.’
This online exhibition tells the important story of the various ways in which the NSW railways contributed to and supported the war at home and abroad.