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11 May 2007

An exhibition tracing the history of the railway industry in Australia and the role of train travel in the nation's cultural life is on show at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

Great Railway Journeys of Australia, developed and presented by The Workshops Rail Museum, a campus of the Queensland Museum, explores the development of Australia's rail network and some of the most famous railway journeys in the country.

Tim Fischer AC, former Deputy Prime Minister, Chair of Tourism Australia and rail book author today reviewed the exhibition at the National Museum.

National Museum Director Craddock Morton welcomed Mr Fischer and said the National Museum was delighted to host this important exhibition from The Workshops Rail Museum, which had a proud history of telling the story of Australian rail.

'Transport is central to the story of Australia and this exhibition captures the nostalgia and joy of train travel, which helped to open up the nation and continues to hold a special place in our psyche,' National Museum Director Craddock Morton said.

Great Railway Journeys looks at the back-breaking work which went into establishing the rail industry in Australia 150 years ago, along with the subsequent rise of the tourism industry.

The exhibition presents the stories of world famous passenger journeys, from the Old and New Ghans to the Indian Pacific.

It also looks at the advent of the Inlander, Midlander and Westlander trains in Queensland which from the 1950s allowed tourists to experience the state as never before.

'The exhibition promotes life-long learning for people of all ages with children's interactive elements that guide visitors through the various aspects of the exhibition,' The Workshops Rail Museum Director Andrew Moritz said.

Great Railway Journeys is supported by Visions of Australia, an Australian Government Program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of cultural material across Australia. The national tour is also made possible by Queensland Rail and Great Southern Railway.

Great Railway Journeys is on show in the Nation Focus Gallery at the National Museum until August 26, 2007. Entry is free.

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant at the National Museum on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; or Glenn Price at The Workshops Rail Museum on 07 3432 5100, 0407 128 995.

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