Northern Exposures -“The Last Years Of Steam In The North Of NSW”

“I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy last week and in a word it is “Brilliant”. The photos are brought to by the incredible production, and the layout sets it apart from other rail publications. Get your copy before they run out”.

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How It Started

Two years ago, I was reunited with dozens of rail fans I spent time with during the late 1960s and early 1970s. What were a bunch of youthful, enthusiastic steam buffs ready to take on the world in search of steam, had turned into grey haired gentlemen, some of whom I barely recognised. 3642 was the loco hauling the “Newcastle Flyer” and that was as close as it got to the real thing. The two 38s were not working and are still under renovation.

northern exposures railfans newcastle station 3642
These Rail Photographers Have Seen Better Days. I Am The Youthful Fellow With The Yellow Jacket ON In Front Of The Carriage Doorway.

After a few beers at the pub, some of the group started talking about yet another steam book, one that included all new photos, to be a permanent record of those days. Now, after much time and effort, “Northern Exposures” is a reality.


“I just wanted to say that the book looks awesome I can’t believe how many pictures you have put in along with the stories around each location I am really enjoying reading it so much so I was late for work last night because I was engrossed and not watching the time”.

Jonathan Smith

“Thank you for the magnificent publication ‘Northern Exposures’, which arrived yesterday. The image quality of the photos is outstanding. The supporting text is excellent and certainly brings back happy memories, especially my own photo expeditions to the Short North and particularly Hawkmount”.

Rob TurnerBurradoo NSW

“Received the book today. Had a quick peak (fathers day present for my husband). I’m very impressed with the detail and quality of the photos and book in general. Great job”.

Debbie Dawson – Railcraft

Something Special

This truly is an iconic publication, combining the skills of Australia’s leading railway photographers, presenting their art in the one place. It may well be the last time we all collaborate, making it a collector’s piece for generations to come, showing what we all love about steam.

An Eye For Quality

This beautifully presented hard cover book, is full of 299 full colour photos, carefully edited and prepared by Malcolm Holdsworth of Cadeco publishing, publishers of many fine world steam books including “Fading Steam”, the Famous Last Lines trilogy and Heavy Metal, all featuring the best of the last days of steam from around the world. Malcolm and I go back a long way, to a collaboration on his first book, “Focus On Steam”, back in 1973. We spent those last days of NSW steam racing around the Short North and regions further north, desperately recoding what we could before the axe fell for good in February 1973.

northern exposures. double 59 class steam engines north coast nsw gerg triplett
This Is A Photo By Greg Triplett Of Double 59s On The North Coast Line, A Featured Chapter In Northern Exposures


In 1974, I left Australia with Malcolm on what turned out to be a world tour, and joined up with Robert Kingsford-Smith , a major contributor to this masterpiece. One thing for sure, these gentleman have an eye for a good photo and are very picky about what is included in their work. I consider myself privileged to have been selected to contribute as well. Every book I have contributed photos to has been sold out long ago, and I am sure this will join the list in a very short time.

Each section is accompanied by a story from one of the contributors. There is detailed information on steam schedules from the time, stories about what we got up to in those camps at Hawk Mount and Fassifern, crazy trips to Merriwa by steam, the exhilaration of speed on the Newcastle Flyer, and recollections of the North Coast and Northern lines. These make great reading and really add value to the photos.

A Part Of History

The information in this book fills a lot of gaps in the history of the time. It is a great adjunct to modellers as well to help them faithfully recreate the scenes from long ago. I have seen this site promoted by others as containing rare photos from NSW steam days. I can tell you there are many photos in “Northern Exposures” that I only dreamt I might have taken.

werris creek tamworth 3036 30 class 3616 36 class pig steam loco northern exposures graham cotterall
Rare Colour Photo Of 3036 and 3616 Leaving Werris Creek Towards Tamworth. One Of The Superb Images In Northern Exposures. Contributed By Graham Cotterall

There is even an article on the famous Cadet trains which were hauled by 35 class from Gosford to Whittingham near Singleton. Many of my generation had their first taste of steam on these trips, and many more hold fond memories. Heck, I even thought about joining the cadets to get travel on one of these trains!

3813 northern exposures nsw steam train ourimbah short north john allerton
3813 In Early Morning Light On 24 Near Ourimbah. Photo by John Allerton Who I Travelled With To Europe. Another Great Shot From “Northern Exposures”


This is a one off effort, and Malcolm tells me he is over publishing, as it takes so long to produce quality such as this. If you are interested in steam, history, or railways, this book will be a great addition to your collection. Let’s face it, steam has gone for good, so there are no more photos to take!

How To Order Northern Exposures

You can order your copy by clicking on the add to cart button on this page or going to Be sure to select the “flat rate” shipping option to get shipping at less than cost price. We will throw in a 2015 calendar featuring 12 of my best shots from around the world, and a copy of “The Holy Grail Of Steam” which is my story of my journey through Mozambique in 1975. It was quite a time.

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John Gaydon
northern exposures