The Ghan is as ever captivating today, as it was back on a hot Sunday 04 August, 1929 when it first rolled out of Adelaide Railway Station to the huge excitement of waiting faces and bustling folk.
On that balmy day, 100 passengers were set to embark on a journey into the Red Centre of Australia. They were heading northbound, one way, for a town called Stuart, later to be called Alice Springs. They were laden down with ample supplies. The train was called the ‘Afghan Express’.
Filling the carriages were the pioneering cameleers from the far-flung regions of Pakistan who would spearhead the exploration of the inner Australia. These were the young men of British Imperial extraction, the “native drivers” tasked to lead their camels across inhospitable terrain, where horses and donkeys had failed. The army had learnt a lot from its failed expeditions in the pursuit of resources and conquest.
The camel, “the ship of the dessert” would lead the way through this forbidding land of heat, sand and rock and was thus imported in large numbers. Together with their cameleers, they were set to open the heart of the country. Yet as much credit has been granted to Pakistan as the origin of these tough drovers, a few were known to have come from Afghanistan. Others from Baluchistan, Kashmir, Sind, Rajastan, Egypt, Persia, Turkey and Punjab. You could almost imagine the scene of Aussie men gazing on at these foreign folk who were completely alien to them. It would not have taken long someone to shorten the “Afghan Express” to one simple expression: “the Ghan”.
Whether fashioned out of convenience or ignorance, the name stuck. And what we experience today is the Ghan. A train journey of incredible expedition that is seemingly timeless and just as amazing as it was back then in 1929.
Booking the Ghan has very much become a part of Kimberley Boat Cruises because it provides the ultimate all-around Australian travel experience. Many clients rave about their train journeys between Adelaide and Darwin.
If you want to book your cabin on the amazing Ghan or learn more, please call our friendly reservation team on 1300 799 758 or click here to email us your questions.