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$14,000 Grant for Chifley Museum

The life and times of former Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley is set to be documented in a three-part audio tour.

Deputy Premier and Member for Bathurst Paul Toole has presented Mayor Robert Taylor with a cheque for $14,000 to allow Bathurst Regional Council to undertake the project.

“Bathurst Regional Council through Bathurst Rail Museum and Chifley Home and Education Centre will develop, record and present a three-part audio tour exploring the early life, working life on the rail and political career of former Prime Minister Joseph Benedict Chifley and his wife Elizabeth,” Mr Toole said. 

“This tour will work with the existing multi-lingual Bathurst Step Beyond app to weave together the story of rail and Australia’s 16th Prime Minister.”

The project includes: 

Part one centred at Bathurst Rail Museum, exploring Chifley’s 20-year career as a railway man, his career development, role in the early industrial relations and Union movement, including the 1917 Railway Strike, through to his final position as Locomotive Driver.

Part two, at Chifley Home & Education Centre will explore the Chifley’s home life in greater detail, giving visitors insight into life in the early 1900s, 1920s and 1930s, in a simple railway cottage in Milltown, where a local locomotive driver became Prime Minister of Australia.

Part three will be a walking/driving tour tracing key places and stories in Chifley’s life, available for the public 24/7. This section will combine pre-existing heritage signage with a QR code downloadable tour, highlighting Chifley’s birthplace on Havannah St Bathurst, his workplace at Bathurst Station and Yard, his education and teaching career at Bathurst Railway Institute (now home to Bathurst Rail Museum) and his home life in Busby St.

Allan Cattermole from Bathurst Regional Council said that by exploring the built heritage landscape which shaped Chifley’s early life and career as a railway man, and expanding on Elizabeth’s life as a daughter and wife of an engine driver, this accessible and easily available tour will allow the public seamless insights into the social, environmental and industrial forces at work in the early years of Bathurst.

“This audio guide is part of the redevelopment works being carried out at Chifley Home and Education Centre to bring the story of Ben and Elizabeth Chifley and their role in Bathurst and Australia’s history to a new audience,” he said.

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