‘Parliamentarian, soldier, rail enthusiast, family man’: Tim Fischer memorial plaque unveiled at Albury Train Station

Members of the Tim Fischer’s family have attended a memorial plaque unveiling at the Albury Train Station to honour the former deputy prime minister.

The plaque was unveiled on the one-year anniversary of Mr Fischer’s state funeral that was held in Albury on August 29, 2019.

Although Mr Fischer’s wife, Judy Brewer, was unable to attend the event due to the coronavirus pandemic and the NSW-Victoria border closure, Ms Brewer witnessed the event via FaceTime.

The Fischer family was represented by Mr Fischer’s brother, Tony Fischer, and his sister, Vicki Baudry, who unveiled the plaque.

As well as being a parliamentarian, diplomat, author, rail enthusiast, farmer and soldier Tim Fischer was also a broadcaster and chose to host his ABC Great Train Show podcast series out of the Wodonga studios in 2008 and 2009.

The plaque was gifted by the ABC and honoured Mr Fischer’s contribution to the local community and beyond and acknowledged his love of the Albury Train Station.

Tim Fischer with his wife, Judy Brewer stand on a railway platform at the Albury Railway Station, 2019.
Tim Fischer with his wife, Judy Brewer, stand on the railway platform at the Albury Railway Station in 2019.(ABC Australian Story: Ben Cheshire)

A favourite place

Ms Brewer said she was pleased a memorial plaque for her husband was now at the station.

She said the station was one of his favourite places and he often used it for travel, meetings, interviews and book launches.

“It was our ‘meeting place’ in Albury both before we were married and after. He could always entertain himself there if I was running late!,” she said.

Before his state funeral was held at the Albury Entertainment Centre last year, Mr Fischer’s funeral train stopped at the station and a military service was held on the platform to honour the Vietnam veteran.

In the Great Train Show podcast series, Mr Fischer often spoke of his love for the station and its important place in Australian history.

A side on photo of the front of Albury train station on a sunny day.
One of Tim Fischer’s favourite places in Albury was the train station.(ABC Goulburn Murray: Jackson Peck)

The Albury Railway Station is heritage-listed and officially opened in 1882.

It was designed by the engineer-in-charge for the New South Wales Railways, Sir John Whitton, and includes a platform that is 455 metres long — one of the longest in the southern hemisphere.

The station played a significant role in the Second World War, the different gauge system between states on the New South Wales and Victorian border meant hundreds of soldiers swapped trains in Albury during the war.

Mr Fischer often spoke of the individuals who stood on its platform due to the change in rail gauge.

Notable travellers included authors Mark Twain and Agatha Christie, opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, cricketer Don Bradman, and military leaders General Sir John Monash and General Douglas MacArthur.

The Duke of York, who later became King George VI, would have once stood on the platform, as would Saint Mary MacKillop and various politicians including Australia’s first prime minister Sir Edmund Barton and the first woman elected to the Australian House of Representatives, Dame Enid Lyons.

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