Southern Aurora Memorial
2022 Winner: Best Monument or Memorial
Violet Town shows respect and pride with its well-regarded Southern Aurora Memorial Gardens. Using art and design to tell stories and to deal with tragedy and positive human attributes, the garden attracts people from all over Australia to commemorate, remember, learn and reflect. And to heal.
In February 1969 the Southern Aurora passenger train crashed just outside Violet Town, 180 kilometres north of Melbourne, resulting in nine deaths and 117 injuries. Violet Town shows respect and pride through this memorial.
Using art and design to share stories associated with one of Australia’s worst rail disasters, the memorial showcases positive human traits. That includes the bravery, respect, kindness and humanity demonstrated by residents that fateful morning more than half a century ago. It’s no wonder the memorial attracts people from all over Australia to commemorate, remember, learn, reflect and heal.
In 2022 a mural by Tim Bowtell was added, reinforcing that this is as much a tribute to the people of Violet Town as to the tragedy that brought them together. Other creative contributions have been by Lach Cummings and Chris Mann.
Its trackside position and the murals painted from photographs that recreate the scene brings the incident to life in a poignant way while giving visitors an accurate insight into the tragedy plus the courage that ensued.
Violet Town, on the foothills of the Strathbogie Ranges, is the perfect hub from which to explore north east Victoria and its vast array of street, silo and public art.
Where? Adjacent to the railroad in Violet Town, 180 kilometres north of Melbourne just off the Hume Highway.
Best viewing times: Any daylight hours.