Opening of Willunga Railway

Event Dates:


Willunga is going to be one of the jewels set in the railway necklet of South Australia… perhaps a turquoise of a curious slate colour proclaimed The Register on 16 January 1915. January 20, 1915 was a time of great excitement for the people of Willunga. Finally, after years of delays, the town of Willunga was to be connected to the city of Adelaide by rail. The railway was declared open by his Excellency the Governor Galway and the inhabitants of Willunga enjoyed a gala day. An ordinary train left Adelaide at 10.00am to transport excited city dwellers and then, at 11.00, a special train steamed out carrying VIPs, including the Governor.

The special train was met by the local railway committee and prominent Willunga residents Mr R.F. Atkinson, who was chair of Willunga District Council, and young Gordon Richards stretched two pieces of ribbon across the track. Gordon Richards was the son of Harry Richards, who is thought to have died from the strain of promoting the railway as First Secretary of the Railway Committee. After the Governor proclaimed his pleasure at being asked to open the railway, the train steamed through the ribbon, and the railway was officially open!


1915 ‘THE WILLUNGA RAILWAY‘, The Advertiser 5 January, p. 12. , viewed 24 Jan 2024,
1915 ‘OPENING OF WILLUNGA RAILWAY‘, The Express and Telegraph 8 January, p. 4. (4 O’CLOCK WAR EDITION.), viewed 24 Jan 2024,
1915 ‘ON THE WAY TO WILLUNGA‘, The Register 16 January, p. 10. , viewed 24 Jan 2024,
1915 ‘OPENING THE WILLUNGA RAILWAY‘, The Advertiser 21 January, p. 9. , viewed 24 Jan 2024,
Sir Henry Lionel Galway (1859-1949) Australian Dictionary of Biography (online)
Willunga National Trust – papers and documents available at the Willunga Courthouse.

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