A permanent reminder of the lives lost at Victorian level crossings has been installed in St Albans.

A memorial plaque and garden honouring the men and women who have died at level crossings across the state was unveiled on June 4, just over a year after the idea was floated in Parliament.

One victim’s mother, Dianne Dejanovic, said while it was an emotional day, it was a dream come true. Ms Dejanovic’s son Christian was killed by a train when he leapt to the rescue of a young girl who was teetering near the tracks in 2012. He was posthumously awarded a bravery award earlier this year.

“It’s taken a long time but it has all fallen into place,” Ms Dejanovic said. “I’ve been very emotional leading up to it, I felt quite fragile the week beforehand because I knew it was coming, but at the same time it was beautiful.”

The memorial plaque has been inscribed with the words: “In memory of all those who have lost their lives at level crossings across Victoria. Forever in our thoughts.”

The plaque and memorial garden in the forecourt of St Albans station will now serve as a permanent place for people to remember loved ones and leave floral tributes.

Ms Dejanovic was part of a 40-year community campaign to have the notorious Main Road level crossing removed. It was the state’s most deadly, claiming the lives of 16 Victorians before it was re-opened for the first time without boom gates in November last year.

Parliamentary secretary for transport Shaun Leane told a public infrastructure inquiry in May last year the community had sought “some sort of marker” to reflect the crossing’s “unfortunate history”.