Our Railway Men

Poem: Our Railway Men by W. Cornford, Junior, Perway Department, Goulburn.
NSW Railway and Tramway Review.
Recited by John Dengate

Take from our officials, who manage all affairs
Right down to the platelayer, who spikes the iron chairs
As each and every one, are railway servants true
For as the dawn of day breaks forth, they must their duty do
Take first our sub-inspectors, who travel o'er the road
And then the operators, who must thoroughly learn their code
And now the loco pumper, who supplies the engines' water
The one who handles samples, for on his cap see ‘Porter’

Working on the platform are the junior and the Pro.
And the worthy S.M., who them their duties show
They examine carriages, and punch the ticket too
If you ask the reason, ‘It's just to pass you through’
The man who drives the engine, in his hands are lives
The guard, he watches careful over husbands and their wives
With parcels and their luggage his brake it is well stacked
When running cheap excursions his carriages are packed

Now let us think of fettlers out in the rain and snow
They have to watch the road, to let the traffic go
Next we take the shop hands, always on repairs
The booking clerk he issues the tickets for the fares
Temperance should exist in us, great and small
Punctuality is a thing we should not forget at all
Civility, the masterpiece, it makes a railway man
Gives joy to the travelling public - exercise it all you can

Frank Ninnes and Jimmy Dodds Eveleigh Carriage Works

"There was a bloke here, Wally Knighton, and he loved the races and he used to sit in here and when he was doing in the store, he'd have his radio going. And a bloke had one of them illegal jammers here, and they waited until the horses were comin' round the straight and they turned it on and it went ...whoosh whoosh ... and remember, Mick? He was shaking the radio saying, 'This has never happened before'."
Someone else: "Mr Potts brought that in".
"Ay, yeah, Mr Potts brought that in".
Other bloke: "What about the time with the sausage rolls?"
"Oh, yeah."
"Robin Hood."
"Yeah, yeah, Robin Hood. They had another bloke, a hypnotist here. He could, he was an electrician this bloke years ago, and you'd walk past him and you'd say, 'Hello Mr Brown', and he'd turn and look at you and you couldn't move, you were gone ... you know. And he'd put you in a trance (laughs). And then he'd have to snap his fingers to let you get away. You ask the cat, he'll tell you about Brownie. "But ah there's been some ... over the years there's been some fantastic.."
"What about old Shocks?"
"Oh Shocks, he sat on a battery, over here one time and he got electrified, you know and if he touched everybody'd jump. He was well known in the railway. There's been some....."
"There's old Denny ... Lenny. They put him off at 70 and he said, 'I thought this was a permanent job when I took it on'."
"Oh yeah ......he'd been on here for a hundred years, hadn't he or something. Been on all his life, when they put him off at 70, thought it was permanent."
"But there's been, so many blokes in here, like you just can't imagine ... there's old Macca ..."

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