05 February 2019

Lost from the 50s

Just when you think that the family photograph collection has been 100% plundered for near-publishable photos of Eumungerie up pop a few more - this time from another uncle who is pleased to share his bounty.

Last Sunday four more photos arrived in electronic form from said uncle. This first one is a version of one I have already posted, showing a slightly blurred 30T, suspected to be 3004T, taking water at Eumungerie. 

I also suspected that 3004T (tbc) was on No. 5 down pickup, which was supposed to depart Eumungerie around 7:00am every day except Sundays.  My problem with that theory is that the loco should be horribly back-lit. Maybe it was a cloudy day? Maybe.  Anyway, here is the shot.

Now  the exciting stuff.  There is a companion photograph!  And its less blurred!

In this second photo the fireman can be seen more clearly on the back of the tender, as can the decent coal load.  The driver is down at the base of the water column - though it could be one of my bloody relatives making a nuisance of themselves.  Again, the shadows are worrying me.  Also worrying me is the lack of cab numbers - no, I haven't been into Photoshop removing things.  The most excellent fillum used by our family just managed to ignore this detail.  Or less likely, the numbers have been removed by persons unknown (said relative is in the clear).

Now, this third photograph adds to the theory.  It shows a rather new two car diesel working through Eumungerie. Its pretty early on - early 1950s I am guessing - as there is no ETP/EHO on the rear.  And the collection of wagons on the adjacent line are a rich tapestry indeed.  A couple of Ks or like stuffed with hay for hungry beasts, a steel (?) S wagon loaded with fuel drums and a decrepit looking louvre van form part of the load. To this sad case, its gorgeous. And don't get me started on the lamp room, the telegraph pole and point levers.

If No. 45 Diesel Train is running on time, this photograph was taken at 8:48am, and its a Tuesday or a Thursday.  And if these wagons belong to 3004T, it might just explain why the shadows aren't where they should be at 7:00am.  Its because the pick-up is running late. 

And now for the final photograph...

First of all, the shadows are where I expect them to be around 9:00am!

Here we have the station officer (from the waist coat and hat) squeezing between the pick-up and a RU wheat wagon which is lined up for loading.  What's special - the lack of ash as ballast, the wagons forming the Pick-up, or the blob in front of the goods shed just to the right of the RU? You are correct if you answer 'all of the above'.

So, I have still not convinced myself that all four of these photos belong with each other (certainly the first two do), or that it shows a busy Tuesday or Thursday morning in Eumungerie in the 1950s. But it makes a good yarn and a decent modelling proposition.

But the best news is that said uncle thinks he has more!

Until then, cheers!


  1. Don, Its certainly unusual for a steamer to be missing all the cab side numbers, & the photo's give no clue to them being off more recent to the photo's time, if they had been removed at some layover point, then you would see impressions on the cab side of where the numbers had been, likewise it would be normal to have the numbers painted on to replace the brass ones.

    Re the fellow walking with the black vest. Guards also had those vests issued to them, and in steam days it was more common to see them wearing the vest rather than the jackets, especially in warmer weather. The vest were safer with less bulk in them and when shunting, protected the white shirts when going in between the wagons to couple up, with the links/screw couplings and connect air hoses.

    I can remember 3004 at Dubbo and was primarily used as a shunting engine and in its last days always had a 6 wheel tender, and generally only worked out to the Abatoirs and yard work rather than out further on the branches, the 3650gal bogie tenders were preferred for branch working.

    Looking also at the amount of coal in the tender, I would suggest that it may have only gone out as far as Gilgandra rather than to Coonamble.

  2. Col, as usual your comments are most appreciated and make a lot more sense of things - especially the amount of coal in the tender. It adds to that sneaky suspicion that the photos relate to two different trains/days, as the pickup went all the way.

    Also thanks for the comments about the guard's vest. This is makes more sense. The other thing I hadn't realised (even though I have read about it) is just how little space from one track to the next.


  3. Thanks Don, Space between tracks, not sure of the exact measurements but we used to call it "the 6 foot". Recommendations & safety teaching was when walking in the 6 foot as that guard was likely doing, was if train coming lay down on the ground as close to the stationary train as possible. One reason why this was applied was that many crossing loops and some with single siding off the loop, the outside was not often cleared and dangerous for walking. It was possible to also stand between the vehicles for protection, reasoning was that was common for tarp ropes to come loose and if a person was standing, the passing train with hanging rope was a dangerous item.

    Re the vest. In early days, and well before my time drivers commonly wore them, whether issued with them or not is an unknown to me, until King Gee got arrangements with individual agents in the larger depots to sell overalls and boots to enginemen, if not in the depot then a store in the town had the arrangement and we got them at discounts.

    Until that time, the vests were beneficial to drivers owing to the handy side pockets designed for the keeping of pocket watches, the end of which was fastened to the top button/hole on the vest by chain for prevention of lose.

    Early days also had drivers wearing brim hats, very rare though by the sixties as the black peak caps became the most common used.