Picnic Train Attack Historic Site

Broken Hill enjoys an international reputation for inspiring influential mining entrepreneurs and social advocates, but on January 1, 1915 the Silver City grabbed unwanted headlines domestically and overseas as World War I arrived on Australias shores and six people were killed.

The day began with plenty of festive cheer as 1200 men, women and children boarded the Silverton Tramway Company open concentrate trucks for a short rail trip to Penrose Park for the Manchester Unity Lodge annual picnic.

Little did those people know they were about to be dragged into a war taking place half a world away when two Turkish patriots launched their own guerrilla-style military operation believed to be the only enemy attack to take place on Australian soil during World War I.

Mullah Abdullah and Gool Mohammed raised the Turkish flag over their ice-cream cart and commenced their two-man war. The picnickers saw the men as their train pulled slowly up a hill and some even waved, thinking that the two Muslims touting rifles must have been rabbiting on their day off.

Ten passengers were hit; three killed instantly, including 17-year-old Alma Cowie and Alf Millard, a pipeline inspector who was cycling beside the train.

Soon after the attack, the train was shunted to safety back towards Broken Hill. The attackers then retreated to the low hills behind you, as they headed towards the Afghan camel camps on the outskirts of Broken Hill. They eventually took refuge at White Rocks, three kilometres from here, where they were killed in a three-hour gun battle with police and the Volunteer Rifles.

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