The Granville Incident

A poem by Fred Wills©Fred Wills 1983

It shook the Granville Station
The crash echoed through the town
When the 'Mt Victoria' hit the stanchion
And the concrete bridge came down.

It crushed a railway carriage
Like a steamhammer would your hand
And sent a wave of horror
Right throughout the land.

The ambulances came screaming
The fire engines stood by
The air was charged with emotion
You could hear the people cry.

There was a dressing station for injured
And a morgue for the deceased
Tea and coffee was served to the workers
But they had no time to feast. . '

The media was represented
Television radio and the Press
They unfolded the story before you
With scenes of deepest distress.

They reported this great tragedy
Between "Commercials" on the screen
Showing the bridge across the line
And a carriage squashed between.

They took pictures of the wounded
And they photographed the dead
Also shots of bloodstained clothing
Where the travellers had bled.

They weren't all vultures that hovered there
Good men came to the fore
They worked all day and through the night
And they heaved and cursed and swore.

Great mobile cranes assembled there
With hooks and wire slings
The common-worker in dirty overalls
Did a lot of useful things.

They worked non-stop with crowbars
Oxycutters and hydraulic jacks
Slowly the bodies were removed
And laid between the tracks,

They said it was an accident
No motive or intent
"One chance in a million"
Said a well-heeled country gent

But the tracks were in bad condition'
The trains were old and worn,
The steel lines were on rotten sleepers
And the ballast had withdrawn.

The stretch of line had been neglected
Repairs were overdue,
And it had not been inspected
By the maintenance crew.

The "media made a noise about
Quite loudly did they shout
They rushed to shut the stable door
After the horse got out,

If it's our life style that safety and progress
Must be paid for in death and pain
Then the eighty-five killed at Granville,
May never have died in vain.


From Poems of Australia, Auburn Art Society 1983

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