Realised Ambitions

A poem by Frank Brown©Frank Brown 1937

The Commissioner combed the Railway,
He sifted the grain and chaff,
And appointed three hundred ‘crack’ men
To go on the salaried staff.

So now I must wear white collars,
Use eau-de-cologne in my bath,
I’ve got away from the ‘Greasies’,
And I’m now on the salaried staff.

My fireman calls me ‘Mister’,
And you should hear me laugh,
As he rides second, and I ride first,
For I’m on the salaried staff.

The seats of my engine are padded,
When I’m driving the ‘red’ or the ‘blue’,
And if I should pass you at Strathfield,
Don’t expect me to recognise you.

The men on electrics and ‘57’s’,
I know how their tongues will wag,
For I’ve thrown away the old tin box,
And I carry a gladstone bag.

I never did like the environment,
Of the common working men,
But know I’m called an officer,
And I carry a fountain pen.

You’ll never see me walking,
I’ll drive to work in my car,
I’ll have my ‘spot’ at the best hotels,
And drink in the private bar.

I’ll take up golf for my sport,
And I’ll visit the bowling green,
As for playing cards in the barracks,
I will never more be seen.

I’ll shop at exclusive houses,
And live in the best of flats;
My wife will attend garden parties,
And wear only expensive hats.

And then-alas! I awakened,
I found it was only a dream,
For I’m still drawing goods trains to Lithgow,
While my fireman battles the steam


The aim to reach the dizzy heights of a senior salaried driver who drove Australia’s special trains put many drivers into a social class of their own. But the dream was often short lived.

Published in Frank Brown's book Engine 1174: And Other Verses, Enfield NSW 1948.

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