A tribute to thousands of New Zealand railway workers has been unveiled in Christchurch to commemorate the 150th anniversary of rail.
The first passenger journey, between central Christchurch and Ferrymead, took place on December 1, 1863.
The 5.5-tonne concrete, 4-metre-high gateway sound sculpture, commissioned by Kiwi Rail, was unveiled at the Ferrymead Heritage Park yesterday afternoon.
It was designed and built by Christchurch artist Chris Reddington who said when visitors walked through the gateway, a sensor would trigger a sound composition featuring voices of railway workers telling their stories.
It is not Reddington's first sound sculpture concept. His piece called Song Song (A Musical Bridge) was chosen as the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology's earthquake commemoration artwork.
To celebrate 150 years of rail, Ferrymead Heritage Park had planned to build a new national railway museum on its site, but the earthquakes have pushed its delivery back by about two years.
National Railway Museum chairman John Peterson hoped the anniversary would prompt memories of workers who spent lives opening and maintaining communication through the country.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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