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Edition #214  January 15, 2014

An Early Memory

Photographer: Peter Bruce

                                                                      Photo by Peter Bruce

An Early Memory

In February 2014 I will be 70 years old. I may qualify as a baby-boomer.....but more likely as a war baby. That 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 and water. But 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" gauge railway between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook and my mother and I were having a few days holiday there sometime before my dad was demobbed from the Royal Australian Navy and certainly before any of my siblings came along. Say 1946, early-ish, so I was two and a bit.

Anyway I recall being woken by my mum and it was as if she was a little reluctant, a bit like " maybe I should let him sleep....but no, he'd love to see the train", so I was picked up and carried 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..... the scene has been with me since childhood. So maybe it explains something.

The image is as close as I can get to what I think I saw all those years ago.

More pictures and stories at

Peter Bruce

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