Sunday 25 January 2009

Fw: Monday Morning Photo. 26/01/09.

Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2009 9:48 PM
Subject: Monday Morning Photo. 26/01/09.

 I've had the attached photo of Ballarat C Box for ages and I've no recollection of how I came by it except that it was in the family.

I didn't attach any particular importance to it other than as a record of the early 20th century on the Victorian Railways.

But.....not so long ago I found out that my paternal Grandma's younger brother, Bill Howard, met eternity right here, at Ballarat C Box on or about May 9th, 1915.

He was hit and run down by a locomotive and died shortly afterward in hospital. His brother-in-law quoted him as saying,
" I was a fool to go for the staff, I completely forgot about the other train".

Presumably he was the signalman on duty.

So maybe he is the sportin' looking chap posing on the steps of C Box.


It is obviously a professional photo, it is mounted on card and is quite badly damaged. I've had a bit of a go at tidying it up but my skills are very limited.

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 12/1/09.

G'day all, after I posted the Belgrave etc. photos recently Ted Godwin reminded me that the re- opening of the line to Menzies Creek just preceded the closure of the other surviving narrow gauge line from Colac to Weeaproinah.
So here a some pictures taken during the last days of the latter.
The passenger train wasn't the last, I missed that, probably through lack of funds. I recall that there was a trip with 14A.... after this one I think. Maybe someone can confirm that and maybe even post a photo or two!
I rode the weekly goods only once and the photo was taken at Gellibrand on the return. This train left Colac very early on the trip out to Beech Forest so one needed to catch the previous evening's Port Fairy train from Melbourne. Naturally I missed it.
Fortunately I was able to board a later Geelong train and take a chance on a goods train to get me to Colac.
Being 18 by this time I could personally indemnify the Victorian Railways Commissioners against any injury I might sustain while being bounced around the old Z van as the coupler slack ran in and out of a long string of four wheel wagons.
I got to Colac in plenty of time to have a bit of a snooze and a shunter woke me up for an in the dark departure to Beech Forest. Melway 627 A8&9.
The guard wasn't the friendliest but I had the company of Peter Barry..... though he spent most of the time communing with the Grades Book. See Mark Bau's invaluable Victorian Railways site.
It was one of those days I wouldn't have missed for quids.**
Best regards,
Peter Bruce.
** Australian idiom...quids, large amounts of money. A quid was a pound in pre decimal currency
Back numbers of Monday Morning Photo at

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 6/1/09.

G'day all, no real excuse for this late posting unless utter indolence can be considered an excuse.
I met very many of my contemporaries working as volunteers on this little railway. It may have been a little railway but it was an enormous task for volunteers to take on.
The details are a little dim at this distance but I know I was working there for some time before the line opened to the public in 1962 and I was a relative latecomer.
The two panoramic shots are taken from up above the landslide which caused the closure of the line in the first place and I think the other may have been taken before the public opening. It is at Menzies Creek which was the original railhead of the re-opened line. These days it goes well beyond there to the original terminus at Gembrook.
Up until this time I hadn't been out of Victoria but the tales of fellow workers here of what lay beyond our borders whetted my appetite and during 1962 I made my first interstate trips.
For this encouragement I owe thanks to many of the members of this group and others too, Chris Rodakis, Westy and T.A.Murray to name just a few.
Best regards,
Peter Bruce.
P.S. Back numbers of the Monday Morning Photo can be found at

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Monday Morning Photo. 30/12/08.

Yeah I know it's Tuesday but I've been out of action on account of I
got a new computer and I forgot to import my mailing lists and I was
very busy with work etc.etc.....

So the last posting was early December and I speculated about my
memory and it's reliability and what might have drawn me to trains and
railways at such an early age.

Seeing as I think my first recollection is of the narrow gauge line in
the Dandenongs which has always been known as the Puffing Billy line I
thought a few photos taken around the time of re-opening in 1962 might
be apt.

I may have posted the early morning shot before, I think that it was
the first time that an engine was steamed at Belgrave, maybe the
night/day that 6A was delivered but perhaps one of you out there with
a more reliable brain can confirm or correct. I know I met a lot of
our present list members up on the "Narra" in those days 40+ years ago
so some of you would have been right on the spot.

The other shot is obviously in the very early days of regular service,
I particularly like the detail, it does show why the railway was
revived and why it has been such a success story, big kids playing
trains and little'uns and their mums and dads loving the ride through
the hills.

These days it is a very professional undertaking and still a labour of
love for many people. For those of you unfamiliar with it Google and
Google Earth are your friends.

In the next few days I'll post some more photos as I attempt to
restore my ragged credibility.

Best wishes to all for the coming year,

Peter Bruce.