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“Great Place”
Review of Old Ghan Museum

Old Ghan Museum
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Attraction details
Owner description: This museum describes the history of the legendary Ghan Railroad of Australia.
Reviewed 24 May 2014

Lots of information to read and look at about the history of the Ghan train. Pitty there were not more different types of train carriages to look through. I travelled on the old Ghan in 1974 and wanted to look at the carriages we travelled in.

Thank Phil N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 April 2014

In the history of the Northern Territory the development of the Adelaide-Darwin railway played a critical role. Prior to the rail reaching Alice Springs, materials and supplies came on the backs of camels and later by early road transport. With the linking of Adelaide and Alice Springs by rail camel power declined, while road and rail played tandem in terms of how much tonnage they carried. Rail did win out in one important aspect – the carrying of passengers between what was fast becoming two important centres. Out of this development came one of the first luxury long-distance rail services in Australia – The Ghan [so-named as a tribute to the early Afghan cameleers].
The Old Ghan Museum, a few kilometres south of Alice Springs, reflects the history and ambience of that first rail service. Staffed and developed by volunteers [and apparently in need of more], the museum is alive with memorabilia from that early period, including the opportunity to walk through some of the Old Ghan carriages – luxurious in their day, but now a little jaded. An audio loop in one of the small rooms featuring scenes of the Old Ghan and former passengers telling of their experiences as they rode the line gave an excellent insight into luxury rail travel in those times. Those behind this project are to be commended – obviously a work still in progress, with the potential to become a prime Alice Springs tourist attraction.
There were a few eccentricities. The advertised train rides [Sundays at 10.30 am on one board: Sundays at 11.00 am on another board 2 metres away] no longer operate on Sundays [or any other day of the week]; the loco, apparently lacking regular maintenance and/or personnel to operate it, has temporarily given up the ghost. The café wasn’t operating when we were there [lacking a few essential volunteers] and there wasn’t a soul in sight to provide any explanations, answer any questions or direct us to some of the outside exhibits. Some displays were short on detail, while other artefacts, carefully collected and stored, gave nothing away in terms of their history, significance or relevance, leaving the visitor to presume they were linked to the Old Ghan in some way e.g. the cases on the platform or the distended gramophone record.
Train and history buffs will love the wealth of paraphernalia that can be found throughout this venue – even those less enthusiastic will find plenty to interest them. But let’s face it - museums are not everyone’s cup of tea – particularly when they are devoted to a single focus subject like one particular rail service. To fully appreciate this attraction, and to come away better informed, you have to be prepared to move slowly from one display to another, to read the information supplied, and to study each exhibit in turn. To do it justice, this is a venue you can’t rush.
The volunteers who have put the hard yards in to develop this attraction deserve our praise [and no doubt our financial assistance]. Some might think having seen it once there’s no need to go back again; we will however because we are confident we still have more to learn about the Old Ghan and the Northern Territory. We are certain, amongst all the displays, there was more than one we didn’t get to see.
An attraction not to be missed. He gives it 4 stars, so does she.

1  Thank Ron W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2014

Just an amazing trip into the past, with footage of the last trip on the old line, pictures of the pioneers who made it all possible, Well worth the visit !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank criticalmick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 December 2013

The "gaol" (or jail) housed both male and female prisoners until the 1970's. Most of the focus is on the female population. You can walk through this museum and get a feel of what it was like to be imprisoned here. It appears that prisoners were treated (mostly) well. A nice half day not far from the town center that will appeal to most every age.

Thank lovetotravel1018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 August 2013

Brilliant museum, both the Old Ghan museum and the National road transport museum are a must see if you travel to Alice Springs. Extremly educational and thought provoking of how hard our forebearers had to work to open up this great counrty for future generations.

Thank Malcolm T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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