Personal Precis

Glenferrie Embankment 1984/5

Maybe because it was a kind of mid-way point, but I don’t think so as I had picked out a fairly level riding path through adjacent areas, maybe because it was a quiet area (Swinburne being empty on weekends), I would sometimes, on the path from suburban Balwyn to Spencer St, having traversed the green park which in the mists of memory and time seems to have had a few people here and there, rugged against the Melbourne chill, and the haze of backyard leaves being burnt through it, put the bike aside, clamber up what I now know to have been an approx. 45 degree embankment slope, and sit I think next to one of the signalling electrical boxes, just short of Glenferrie Station, and watch the procession of trains.

Not so many trains on those Saturday or Sunday afternoons, though ever the hope in those less-knowledgeable days of something different than the parade of Comeng and Silver trains, perhaps a short goods heading out toward Lilydale – surely there was still some traffic from somewhere out there? I know now there would have been the last embers of suburban freight on the line, but not at these times. In the near distance the low lying Glenferrie station belied the large supporting structure beneath. Across and down the tracks the variegated roofs of light industry, Swinburne college, and Melbourne's inner east suburbs stretched away.

Other parts of the bike path on the route had unknowingly wound through this interest; a dog-leg below Camberwell Grammar School across the trackbed of the Outer Circle Line, winding around behind Glenferrie Oval across and around the edge of the Kew branchline as it arched in toward Hawthorn. These two interactions had been merely a quiet way to work towards the city where I would watch the action at Spencer St station.

While my first layout "Cudgewa - The Shelley Railway Company" drew on youthful experience, this layout draws on the mid-teens when I had lived in Balwyn, schooled in Mont Albert, caught the tram (often a W2 then) home from Deepdene and frequented the inner east Melbourne suburbs between Balwyn and Melbourne. The remains of the Outer Circle line were all around - I schooled next to the Roystead cutting at Mont Albert Rd, practiced hockey in Shenley cutting, caught up with friends in the streets and parks between Mont Albert and East Camberwell, for a short while commuted from East Camberwell, and often on the way to town saw the single red Tait motor across the platform at Camberwell, and thought I must ride it one day, aware even then it was old and would pass. Of course I never did.

Like most teenagers, this was a time of growth - standing next to the cutting on the Up side of Hawthorn station I would gaze at ornate "Tay Creggan" and start to develop a concept of wanting to achieve something. Like North East Victoria, it is an area with happy memories and which I hold with affection. Not for me then modelling railways in far corners of the world, in my modelling I have only been able to commit to layouts that have some such connection.