After two years of photo collation, text writing and design work, we have recently released the 192 page, full colour railway photographic book ‘Lenses South’. What many people will not realise is what sits behind this classy document’s creation.

The Beginning:

In 1972 Malcolm Holdsworth brought out his first tentative publication, in collaboration with a number of well-known New South Wales railway enthusiasts. Small, soft cover, black and white volume ‘Focus on Steam’ was produced to help raise funds for the Zig Zag Railway and was an instant hit, selling out in very short time.

Steam locomotives disappeared on the NSWGR in early 1973. Many members of the domestic railfan circle then travelled the world in search of that fast-vanishing species. Malcolm and his closer mates again dabbled in the calendar and book production game in the 1990s, resulting in several high quality hard cover publications, including the three part ‘Famous Last Lines‘ series, ‘Heavy Metal‘, and his personal memoire ‘Fading Steam‘. Following his move to South Australia, he also produced successful tomes with steam and diesel subject matter in alliance with the National Railway Museum.

By 2013 rumours were circulating that Newcastle station was destined for closure, so carriages were hired on a ‘Flyer’ tour with 3642. An opportunity to reminisce about the days of smoke and thunder while most of the participants were still hale and hearty, it became a reunion of railway photographers from the 1960s. An idea was born on the trip. What if we pooled our best photos to celebrate the last days of steam in the region? With the willing involvement of a huge group of local and interstate contributors this became reality, and ‘Northern Exposures’ was released in 2014, selling out in just a few months.

… and so …

While the original intention was to publish a single book, taking us back to the roots of our hobby, we were unable to control ourselves. Very soon discussion started on a ‘South’ book. Now we had access to an even wider range of material, partly due to the high quality of ‘Northern Exposures’. We had a sense that a series was starting to emerge, but we felt that ‘Southern Exposures‘ might not be the right title. We wanted to continue the camera theme, and eventually ‘Lenses South’ was settled on. Our latest baby has arrived from the printers to critical acclaim from reviewers and purchasers, including in the UK where no natural market exists. The geographic coverage is wider, the historical timeline is longer, and there is much more content.

Within a week of publication, nearly 2/3 of our sale copies are already accounted for, with unprecedented demand. The book will be available at its recommended retail price until sold out, and zero stock is expected to be left in just a few months. This is because we were conservative with the size of our print run, preferring to sell out and move on than have garages full of idle cartons.

There will be a third book in the series, covering the West, production of which is well under way with the support of the usual suspects. In the meantime, you might consider getting a copy of Lenses South. You can see a few of the pictures and obtain more information at


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