Memorial to Fallen Soldiers
Public Art: Memorial to Fallen Soldiers (also known
as the Peace Memorial)
Sculptor: © Pietro Giacomo Porcelli
Description: The bronze female figure wearing a
laurel crown, stands with her left foot on a sword and holds a palm leaf held in her left hand.
Location: Yelverton Street (formerly Montreal Road
East),in front of the Midland Railway Workshops, Midland, Western Australia.
Commissioned by: Fellow employees of Midland Railway Workshops.
History: The monument outside the Midland Railway
Workshop was erected by fellow employees in honour of the 70 fallen workshop comrades who died during World War I.
The memorial was designed by Italian born sculptor Pietro Porcelli to symbolise peace and is quite
unique. Porcelli chose a female figure as his model for the bronze statue, a rarity
considering women are rarely used or represented in Australian war memorials. Of the 400 employees of the
workshop, stores and offices who enlisted in the war, 70 did not return. In later years the names of more than 25
men who lost their lives in World War II were added to the memorial.
Background: In the late 1890's to early 1900's great
things were happening in Western Australia. Engineer-in-Chief, C.Y. O'Connor had been lured from New Zealand to help the State develop its much needed
infrastructure. In the late 1890's railway workshops were constructed in Fremantle, but it was soon realised they were in the wrong location. C.Y. O'Connor chose a
new location at Midland Junction because it made trains easily assessible to the eastern
Goldfields and this was essential if his next big plan was to be successful. O'Connor was about to achieve
the impossible, build a 530km pipeline from Mundaring to Kalgoorlie which would pump much needed water inland to the goldfields. The railway
workshops therefore had to be accessible to the city and the outback. The Midland Railway Workshops began
operation in 1904 and consisted of three main brick blocks (a power house, pattern shop, Chief Mechanical
Engineer's Office and some small stores buildings). Early each morning a special train called "The Rattler" ran
from Fremantle to Midland to pick up the workers and deliver them to the doors of the workshops. It was one of
the most advanced railway workshops of its time in Australia and the world. Unfortunately in 1914 the world
found itself at war and that included, Australia. Over 400 workshop workers put down their tools and picked
up rifles and headed to the battlefields, to fight for their country. The all too familiar sadness that
comes with war, washed over the workshops as they counted their dead. Seventy workers would never return to
Midland. The War Memorial was built in honour of those men.
LEST WE FORGET
Interesting Points to Note : This was to be sculptor
Pietro Porcelli's final piece of public art produced in Western Australia.
Other Works of Pietro Porcelli :