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Aerial photo taken on June 21st 1949 clearly showing the six, black Nissen huts and the roadway beside the railway siding for the transfer of wounded soldiers from the ambulance trains to the waiting ambulances. The British Railways produced a number of Ambulance Trains for use both at home and overseas. The Ambulance Trains were fully equipped with furnished cars for travelling staffs of nurses and doctors, kitchens and wards for stretcher, sitting-up and mental cases and cars were also provided for infectious cases and for travelling pharmacies. The Casualty Evacuation Trains were electrically lit, steam heated, and were fitted with bell communication and numerous other devices adopted by co-operation with medical authorities to ensure the comfort of patients. The movement of these trains was arranged by the railways whenever required in co-operation with the Government Departments concerned.
When these trains were operational the medical teams lived on board.The outside of the carriages were painted khaki with grey roofs. If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.
In 1924, John Gilmore and his young family came to Australia  from Scotland to partake in the flurry of industry surrounding the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. How many ‘Sydney siders’ have seen or even heard of the little town on the far south coast of New South Wales called Moruya? During construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Moruya was a hive of activity as it supplied the granite to face the piers and pylons.
For some time Sydney had needed a bridge. Ferries crowded the harbour and residents called for a bridge to link rail and tram lines on the North Shore with those on the south. Dr John Bradfield was an outstanding civil engineer who had studied the designs for the proposed bridge.  He wanted a bridge that not only looked sturdy but was sturdy.
John, Mary and their nine children had six weeks to dispose of goods, pack a few of their belongings and say goodbye to family and friends before setting off on a six week voyage on the SS Ascanius to Australia.  They left London on the 13 September 1924. A small village, that became known as was constructed just to the west of the quarry to accommodate the workers and their families.  It consisted of Bachelor’s quarters, a post office, a co-operative store, 72 cottages, a school and a hall. By 1927 the work was in full swing.  Mary Gilmore recalled, “where a few years before the only sound heard there was the call of the wild birds flying overhead to their feeding grounds in the swamp, the laughter of the kookaburra and the music of the magpies in the bush, there was now the roar of machinery and the sharp sound of automatic drills in the hard rock, cranes lifting boulders and the occasional blasting of the huge rock.
Inside History is a bi-monthly magazine for people passionate about Australian and New Zealand genealogy, history and heritage.
Nov-Dec 2015 (Issue 31) is out now and can be purchased through our online shop or from our stockists. Digital issuesInside History is also available in digital versions on the iPad app store and on the Zinio store for Android and Windows devices like your personal computer or laptop.
Try before you buy and download a complete and FREE copy of our Issue 8: Jan-Feb 2012 edition.


Subscribe to our newsletterSubscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest news! During the 1850s, Congress sponsored numerous survey parties to investigate possible routes for a transcontinental railroad. In 1859, Judah received a letter from Daniel Strong, a storekeeper in Dutch Flat, California, offering to show Judah the best route along the old emigrant road through the mountains near Donner Pass.
Almost immediately, conflicts arose between Judah and his business partners over the construction of the Central Pacific line. At the eastern end of the project, Grenville Dodge and his assistant, Peter Dey, surveyed the potential route the Union Pacific would follow. The race between the two companies commenced when the Union Pacific finally began to lay tracks at Omaha, Nebraska, in July 1865. Within three years, 80 percent of the Central Pacific workforce was made up of Chinese workers, and they proved to be essential to the task of laying the line through the Sierra Nevadas.
Both railroad companies battled against their respective obstacles to lay the most miles of track, therefore gaining the most land and money. No end point had been set for the two rail lines when President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act in 1862, but a decision had to be made soon. Each roof had a large white square with a red cross painted on it with a smaller version adorning each side. He became quarry manager in the small south coast town of Moruya, from whose quarries came the granite that built the famous bridge. No particular route became a clear favorite as political groups were split over whether the route should be a northern or southern one. The route had a gradual rise and required the line to cross the summit of only one mountain rather than two.
On July 1, 1862, Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act, authorizing land grants and government bonds, which amounted to $32,000 per mile of track laid, to two companies, the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad.
In October 1863, Judah sailed for New York to attempt to find investors who would buy out his Sacramento partners. They recommended a line that would follow Platt River, along the North Fork, that would cross the Continental Divide at South Pass in Wyoming and continue along to Green River.
Durant, a medical doctor turned businessman, gained control of the Union Pacific Railroad Company by buying over $2 million in shares and installing his own man as president.
Once believed to be too frail to perform arduous manual labor, the Chinese workers accomplished amazing and dangerous feats no other workers would or could do.


Calvary and friendly Pawnee Indians, but the workforce routinely faced Native American raiding parties that attacked surveyors and workers, stole livestock and equipment, and pulled up track and derailed locomotives.
Although the Central Pacific had a two-year head start over the Union Pacific, the rough terrain of the Sierra Nevadas limited their construction to only 100 miles by the end of 1867.
By early 1869, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific were closing in on each other across northern Utah, aided by a Mormon workforce under contract to both companies.
Gilmore’s great grand-daughter, Christine Adams tells the story of how the Harbour Bridge changed the face of Moruya. She wrote out the application, John went for the interview in London and he was offered the position. But once through the Sierras, the Central Pacific rail lines moved at tremendous speed, crossing Nevada and reaching the Utah border in 1868. But neither side was interested in halting construction, as each company wanted to claim the $32,000 per mile subsidy from the government. A rail line built along this route would require tunneling through granite mountains and crossing deep ravines, an engineering feat yet to be attempted in the U.S. Soon after the completion of the railroad, Durant's corrupt business schemes became a public scandal with Congress investigating not only Durant, but also fellow Senators and Representatives who had benefited from his shady dealings. Although Strobridge was initially against the idea, feeling that the Chinese were too slight in stature for the demanding job, he agreed to hire 50 men on a trial basis.
They often lived in the tunnels as they worked their way through the solid granite, saving precious time and energy from entering and exiting the worksite each day.
From the east, the Union Pacific completed its line through Wyoming and was moving at an equal tempo from the east. Indeed, at one point the graders from both companies, working ahead of track layers, actually passed one another as they were unwilling to concede territory to their competitors.
After only one month, Strobridge grudgingly admitted that the Chinese were conscientious, sober, and hard workers. They were routinely lowered down sheer cliff faces in makeshift baskets on ropes where they drilled holes, filled them with explosives, lit the fuse and then were yanked up as fast as possible to avoid the blast.
And within only a few years, the transcontinental railroad turned the frontier wilderness of the western territories into regions populated by European-Americans, enabling business and commerce to proliferate and effectively ending the traditional Native American way of life.



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