A team of five conservation specialists worked tirelessly for a month to breathe life back into the grand design depicting train travel in NSW.

A finalist for the Sulman Prize in 1951, the artwork was designed by Italian migrant Pietro (Peter) Melocco and executed by Italian artist Guido Zuliani.

The mural once captivated travellers from far and wide, sitting above the Interstate Booking Office, but when the area was transformed into a food court, it became an overlooked shadow from the past.

The section has been closed off since a fire broke out in one of the kitchens in 2015, but will be reopened next year with the newly restored Melocco mural set to stun passersby once again.

What better time than now to delve into the history of the four-walled masterpiece?

In order to do that, we must venture back to the late 1940s, when railway commissioner Reginald Windsor pushed to modernise railways in the face of increasing competition from car and air travel.

Peter Melocco’s creation was seen as a way to do just that.

Peter arrived in Sydney on May 6, 1908, at 26 years old.

Only, he arrived from the US, not Italy: hailing from the village of Toppo, in the northern-Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, he had lived in New York with his uncles since the age of 10.

He trained as a mosaic artist and marble worker under their tutelage and at the Cooper Union technical college in New York. 

When he came to Australia, Peter brought with him exceptional skills and a burning passion for his art form.

Not long after stepping foot on Australian soil, he rented a shop in Redfern, NSW, and began to pave his own path to success in his new home.

Over the years, Peter progressively welcomed family members – including his brothers Antonio (Anthony) and Galliano - and other skilled workers from Italy to take advantage of Australia’s post-war building boom.

One of Peter’s first achievements was convincing Cardinal Moran to consider his design for the altar floor of the Chapel of the Irish Saints in the eastern wing of St Mary’s Cathedral in 1910.

Peter impressed Cardinal Moran with his enthusiasm and designs and while he was initially hesitant because of Peter’s age, the cardinal eventually agreed.

This two-year project led to Peter’s subsequent masterpiece in the crypt of St Mary’s Cathedral, completed from 1945 to 1958.

As the years went by, the company continued to grow and Melocco became a celebrated name.

In the 1920s, Melocco Brothers had more than 200 employees.

It has been estimated that about 90 per cent of the marble, scagliola and terrazzo work in Sydney between 1910 and 1965 was undertaken by the Meloccos and their studio.

Some of brothers’ best-known surviving work includes the Tasman map mosaic floor in the entrance to the State Library, the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park and the State Theatre.

Peter sadly died in 1961, but now, thanks to this new restoration, his name will live on in the heart of Sydney for many more years to come.