A SENSATIONAL bid to wreck a troop train between Wodonga and Bonegilla in January 1941 has been all but forgotten.
A saboteur chained and padlocked a crowbar across the rails of the line near the Kiewa River bridge at Killara.
A train with 950 soldiers was due to pass, but luckily a shepherd chasing escaped sheep spotted the obstruction in time.
Many swagmen and odd-job men were in the district at the time - while Australian troops were resisting the Japanese onslaught of Malaya - but the perpetrator was never found.
People can explore local and family history for free, and find newspaper articles about their school, church, street and relationsGreg Ryan
The Killara story has only resurfaced thanks to The Border Morning Mail and other 1941 newspapers being digitised recently for the National Library of Australia's Trove free on-line facility.
Local historians say the digitisation has revolutionised research into finding out what Albury-Wodonga was really like in wartime.
While local men and women enlisted in droves, there were weird incidents such as the Wodonga waterworks trust refusing to release their engineer because they needed him.
The Albury and District Historical Society has launched an urgent appeal to raise $25,000 to help digitise The Border Morning Mail files from 1943 to 1953.
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President Greg Ryan said the society last year received $68,000 for digitisation from the NSW Regional Cultural Fund, topped up by $10,000 from the society, to extend coverage back to 1883.
Since then Wodonga Historical Society has won $14,000 from Victoria to push that coverage back to 1873. Mr Ryan said a society member had kicked off the appeal this week with several thousand dollars and a Wodonga historical society member had done likewise.
Donations to the Trove fund can be made to the secretary at PO Box 822 Albury 2640 or AlburyHistory@bigpond.com
"Some people may feel they can contribute $20, others $100 or more," Mr Ryan said.
"By using word searches on Trove, people can explore local and family history for free, and find newspaper articles about their school, church, street and relations.
"It's amazing what you can find out from obituaries, for instance, and there's also a lot of court cases that some people might find fascinating, though be prepared to rattle a few skeletons in the cupboard."