On January 18th, 1977, a crowded commuter train heading for Sydney, came off the track and struck the pillars of an overhead road bridge, crushing part of the train and killing 83 passengers and injuring more than 200 others. This story follows the coronial inquiry into the crash with flash-backs to the main story, and the efforts of the rescuers to free the injured victims. Written by
The inspiration for the last scene, where the actual characters dropped the roses onto the track, came from the last scene of 'Schindlers List' where the stones were placed on Schindlers grave. See more »
Boris Osman's accident site diorama features Matchbox toy cars of post-1977 vehicles, some of which weren't produced by the company until at least 1992. See more »
As evidenced by so many reviews when this was released three years ago, DAY OF THE ROSES is a stunning recreation of the 1977 Granville Train disaster. It is the type of docudrama that Australia absolutely excels in. For me though personally it is more, the reason for which I would like to share with you.
For more than four years my family and I had lived in Katoomba, high in Sydney's Blue Mountains. Katoomba was in fact earlier dedicated the "Sister City" of Flagstaff, Arizona, both townships built on the edge of great natural chasms. Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon and Katoomba, the colossal Jamieson Valley. Working at a daily newspaper office at the time, in all that time I had religiously caught the 6.10 am daily from Mount Victoria, "The Fish" as it was affectionately called ("The Chips" followed 15 minutes later) As regular passengers are wont to do, I always sat in the same seat in carriage three in the majorly empty train still, Katoomba being only the third stop in its descent of the mountains. In four years, I had never once missed that train!
On the night of January 17th, for reasons I have never been able to fathom, I rang my wife that evening from my desk at the Sydney Morning Herald and told her it had been a long day and I would stay overnight with her mom in Sydney. It wasn't until I arrived at work the next morning that I was met with dumbfounded stares and asked "How did you get here?" Upon enquiring why that should be unusual, a friend's reply stunned me, "Why??? he stared at me.."Because your train's on its side at Granville underneath hundreds of tons of railway bridge!"
I remember just being numbed out and travelling in total silence in a Press car as we sped to Granville. Looking down from the roadway and seeing my carriage crushed to less than two foot in height in places, was not something bears speaking about. I knew several who died, perhaps not intimately but as well as you get to know people having five years familiarity I guess!
So yeah, DAY OF THE ROSES is a kick-ass reminder for me of just how fate can work WITH you just as well as AGAINST you when it has a mind to. It is said everyone is master or mistress SOLELY of their own destiny...I wonder!
83 people died that day. DAY OF THE ROSES, as well as being a fitting epitaph to those poor people, is a tribute to the efforts of so many others who risked their lives beneath unstable concrete supports and a collapsed roadway, not to mention the risk of incineration from leaking gas, to rescue other critically injured passengers.
If you have not seen this epic work, and you have the opportunity to do so in the future, I would hope that you take it!
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