Broken Hill Picnic Train Attack

The day the First World War was fought on Australian soil.


Two Muslim men (thought to be Turks) wounded six people and shot dead four before being killed.

Overcrowded picnic train!
B.H. Riflemen returning to town.
The once Cable Hill Hotel!
Gool Mahomed Icecream cart.
Gool and Abdullah outfits.
German club
Replica icecream cart > White Rocks reserve
White Rocks reserve where the battle ended!
Ore cart on the site where the picnic train was attacked!
ottoman flag made by Gool and Abdullah
courtesy of justice and Police museum!

Motive Behind the Attack

A miner found three statements beneath a rock at the "Turks" last stand written in Urdu (a language used by Afghan tribesman of the North-West Frontier Provinces around 1915). Two of the documents revealed the motives for attacking the picnic train; the third proved to be an application by Gool Mohammed to join the Turkish Army.

In neatly formed characters, Gool Mohammed wrote, "I kill your people because your people are fighting my country". Mullah Abdulla had been worried because of a recent court conviction for killing a sheep on private property, in his capacity as a Moslem official. On one hand there was a fiery young Afrida itching to strike a blow for Turkey; on the other a simple friendless old man ready to join forces against authority.

City Incensed at the Needless Slaughter

The whole city was incensed at the needless slaughter and looked for some means of reprisal. The Germans and the Turks were at war with the Allies: The German Club building stood empty in Delamore Street and by nightfall was in flames. Because the "Turks" were Moslems a crowd rushed to the camel camp, ready to vent its anger on the Islamic community, but the road was blocked by police and militia and the crowd dispersed.

Local Muslims were horrified at the tragedy and refused to be responsible for the burial of the murderous pair.

The bodies were later interred in an unhallowed secret location in Broken Hill.

Source: Barrier Miner Friday 1 January 1915, page 2