18th January 2021
Another year has passed, and as we move on with our lives in this Covid world, we not only think about those lost on the 18th January 1977, but now those suffering a loss to the Coronavirus Pandemic. As stated on many occasions, those who lose a loved one in any situation is sad, but to lose someone in tragic circumstances, there is no closure.
It was surprising to see the attendance at the 2021 service this year, as we knew many would be absent due to Covid. However, as 10am rolled on, the Granville Town Hall became so crowded more seating had to be added.
Once again, after 44 years, a rescuer and a survivor were unexpectantly reunited due to the research efforts of the Granville Train Disaster Association.
Six months have now passed and the association still keeps working in the background.
So what is news. Well, the funds of the association have slowly been getting lower over the past 4.5 years since we obtained a small grant, so we applied for a little funding but was rejected. The following is our reply, which we feel all would like to peruse as the organisation likes to be open to all involved. The following is a copy in parts requested by a representative of rail.
As pointed out, in 2016/17 following a meeting with Andrew Constance and Howard Collins a pledge was made to support the Granville Train Disaster Association Incorporated, refurbishing of the memorial wall and in association with Cumberland Council, the Annual Service.
A grant was received at that time, which met the out of pocket expenses which included Public Liability required by Cumberland Council due to the amount of persons turning up on the 18th January which we have no control over. This was not in compliance with the agreement struck in 2015/16. We approached some councillors and gained their support, this led to a motion being passed that, the Cumberland Council take full control and responsibility of the annual service every year with no cut off date.
Feed back I received in December 2020 from Sydney Rail stated, 'Now that Cumberland Council is in charge and budgeting for the annual service, the Granville Train Disaster Association Incorportated does not require any funding'. The person who made that statement is no longer in the position of making decisions of our funding and we are now in negotiations with the Western District Customer Service Manager who is doing his best to recover our funding agreement. Funding at present, listed in point 9 below is the association now has all rights to 100% gained by the Book and with Grahan McNiece's DVD he has donated the collectors DVD giving us 100% of the DVD sale.
Yes, the council now has control of the annual service, and we must abide by their protocols during the anniversary service.
What does the Granville Train Disaster Association Incorporated do?
Well, yes, we compere the day, and it is run by those who were directly involved, such as family members who lost a loved one, survivors & rescuers. This is done on a voluntary basis. At this time we have an 11 person committee who are all, in some way, involved with the disaster.
What many don't realise is:
1. Members of the committee meet on a regular basis through-out the year, covid permitting.
2. A Facebook Support Page is run for those wishing to make contact.
3. A private page also runs for those requiring personal messages and counselling.
4. An association Page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2172595049662082
5. We run a Web page & email address as below.
6. Persons are still coming forward with their story of the day.
7. Many still, have not recovered over losing their loved one, and in some cases these people lost
more than one family member. This leading to post trauma support.
8. We are still in contact with many these days due to the way the situation was handled, which led
to us requesting an apology from the Premier of the day for the way things were handled in 1977
by the then Premier Neville Wran..
9. Currently our only income is the Granville book, (Revisiting the Granville Train Disaster of 1977)
which, is supported by the association and sold at a small profit along with 100% of DVD sales.
10. Members of the association pay $10.00 per calendar year.
11. Donations are mainly received from Relatives, Survivors & Rescuers.
Overheads mainly funded by committee members.
The association is a member of the Royal Historical Society.
Mail outs - catering for committee meetings and for post trauma support counselling..
Banking / eftpos account.
Phone rental as we have a silent number.
Visits to those requiring counselling.
Last year we answered a call from a nursing home stating they had a patient in distress with the upcoming anniversary. We visited such person only to find, he was the person who wrote the rail report. We had a good chat but mostly with tears in our eyes.
This year we found and reunited 2 police officers who hadn't seen each other for many years. They were the first two police officers on the scene from Granville Police Station.
We come across persons such as above all through the year who still need someone to talk to.
Post Traumatic Counselling still continues near 45 years on.