G'day all, in February 2009 I will be 65 years old, I may qualify as a baby-boomer.....but more likely a war baby.
Doesn't matter, what I am is a child of the Steam Age.
When I came into the world in 1944 Mr.and Mrs Australia and nearly all their worldly needs, on land and sea, depended on the power of steam....fire and water.
Still, that's not enough to explain my fascination with the steam locomotive and the steel rail, most people my age have not the slightest interest.......ah well, their loss I suppose.
My earliest memory points to my lifelong interest.
Upwey, Victoria, was on the 2' 6" railway between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook and my mother and I were staying in a guesthouse there probably sometime before my dad was demobbed from the R.A.N, certainly before any of my siblings came along. Say 1946, early-ish, so I'm two and a bit.
Anyway I recall being woken by my mum, a bit like " maybe I should let him sleep....but no, he'd love to see the train", so I was picked up and taken to the window in time to see the little train pass and I heard that banshee shriek of the whistle for the first time.
Maybe my memory is not to be relied upon, maybe I've got the details wrong, I don't know and I don't really care.....this scene has been with me since childhood.
So maybe it explains something.
The attached photo is as close as I can get to what I think I saw all those years ago.
P.S. I'd be very interested in any contributions or any speculation on this subject. Any personal experiences too, I'm certainly going to give it more thought.