The Ghan is one of Australia's most famous trains that runs north and south between Adelaide and Darwin. Booking The Ghan is a hugely popular addition for many of our Kimberley Cruise clients that want to add rail journeys to their trip. It provides the ultimate all-around Australian travel experience when you book one of our train journeys.
Many of our clients rave about these train journeys, because we are able to give them fantastic Ghan deals as part of their overall cruise holiday.
The Ghan is as 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 on a train that was then called the Afghan Express.
Filling the carriages were pioneering cameleers from far-flung countries. These included 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.
Much credit has been granted to Pakistan as the origin of these tough drovers. However, a few were known to have come from Afghanistan. Others from Baluchistan, Kashmir, Sind, Rajastan, Egypt, Persia, Turkey and Punjab. Imagine the scene of Aussie men gazing 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.