Lenses South Is Here!

In March 1973, the last NSW steam train in regular service travelled from Newcastle to Broadmeadow. From the time the 60 class Garratts were introduced steam had rapidly disappeared from all over the state. Many of us remember double headers climbing over Hawkmount and Fassifern banks, but before that it was the South that held a romantic place in the hearts of true railway fanatics.

Express trains and double headed freight with all sorts of combinations would climb the Southern Highlands to Moss Vale and Goulburn on freezing winters days, emitting vast steam trails in the process. Before that, big steam power operated south of Goulburn including the mighty 3 cylinder 57 class, which disappeared in 1961. All this is now restricted to memory and the photos that were taken back then.

After the success of “Northern Exposures” it was decided that the story of the South had to be told, and “Lenses South” was conceived. In order to provide the wide coverage we desired, the word went out to railway photographers still standing and those who held private collections of the greats of NSW Railway History. The result was contributions from C.A. Cardew, Ron Selems, Jim Powe, John Stormont, Tony Eyre, Brian Coker, Ray Love, and others rail historians will know well, plus those involved in “Northern Exposures”.

The Result

After picking up an advanced copy today, I immediately took it to Ian at Hobbyland Hornsby to get his opinion. As he drooled at a photo of 5132 at Captains Flat, he remarked that this place has largely been demolished following closure of the mine. His comment was that we had outdone our previous effort, so once the shipment arrives towards the end of June you will see “Lenses South” proudly displayed in his shop. As someone who only saw 57s awaiting the torch at Enfield bank, I can only agree that this time we have extended the coverage, and provided far greater variety than in our first book.

You will notice that this not only concerns the superb photos, some of which are incredible reproduced from 1950s slides, but the stories including cab riding the “MelbourneExpress”, no 1 south, details of life working at Enfield, and extensive details on allocation of locos and scheduling. We have managed to provide a variety of photographic compositions too, moving away from the mainly standard three quarter shots of many publications.

3810 approaches the Gib tunnel near Bowral in April 1969. Photo by Greg Triplett

How Malcolm Holdsworth and the production team have managed to bring images 50 years old back to life, I don’t know, but you will find with no expense spared that they look great. Images include many of the branch lines including Canberra, Crookwell, Yass, Boorowa, Young, Temora, and Rankin’s Springs.

Included in the 192 pages is an extensive study of Sydney Suburban workings, including Darling Harbour, now only a memory, and the Richmond and Campbelltown lines before electrification. These were places I used to visit on weekends and school holidays and hold many great memories.

19 Class at Darling Harbour with Sydney skyline in the background. A very different place now!

Truly a remarkable publication. You can still purchase copies until June 14 at the pre-publication price of $85A including delivery to anywhere in Australia. Simply go to http://lensessouth.com where you can download a flyer and order form or purchase online.

PS We have already presold ¼ of the books, so don’t wait too long or you will miss out.


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