Saturday, 17 August 2019

Lineside Liaisons #28 Donnybrook

One of the most beautifully restored old railway stations I've come across, Donnybrook, WA.

Every now and then I manage to be surprised by an old railway station that I wasn't expecting to find. Donnybrook Railway Station in Western Australia is one of them. Despite researching the routes of five different abandoned railway lines ahead of my trip west to collate the poems and photos needed for my book Last Train to Bunbury, I'd somehow missed seeing a single photo of Donnybrook's restored 1893 station until seeing it in person during a magical late afternoon highway stop in the summer of 2018. Donnybrook is an apple growing town located an easy half hour drive south of Bunbury along the South Western Highway, and the station still takes pride in a pleasant park-like setting in the heart of town. The town's 1890 English Oak trees inspired my poem Oak Trees and Apples, featured memorably inside my book Last Train to Bunbury.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Lineside Liaisons #27 Busselton

The famous Busselton Jetty Train in south west Western Australia.

What holiday to the Margaret River Region of Western Australia would be complete without a train ride on the famous Busselton Jetty? Mine. Focussing too much on the photo angles I was after for my book Last Train to Bunbury when we arrived in this seaside mecca, I forgot to book tickets for my wife and I to travel along the 1.8 km long timber jetty. After being greeted with a sorry but we're fully booked for the remainder of the day when I finally ambled up to the ticket counter during the peak Christmas Holiday period of 2017, I had to settle for a long lunch in the adjoing restaurant that overlooks the train's departure point. I don't know when I'll next get back to this amazing part of the world, but it did provide me with all the inspiration I needed for my funny take on The Busselton Jetty Train in my book Last Train to Bunbury which you can preview for free here.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Lineside Liaisons #26 Bridgetown

Abandoned Bridgetown Railway Station in Western Australia.

A little under 100 km by car south of Bunbury stands the abandoned railway station and goods yard of Bridgetown. Situated on the South Western Line to Northcliffe, the 1898 station building enjoyed a brief life as the local council Environment and Landcare Centre building until the discovery of asbestos in the walls. As you can see, the station building in the background was fenced off from the public during my visit in 2018. The town got its name from the two bridges that cross the Blackwood River at the southern end of town. One carried the now closed railway line, the other the South Western Highway. The above photo and my visit to this trendy stop on the highway inspired my poem Getting Down in Bridgetown, featured in my book Last Train to Bunbury.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Lineside Liaisons #25 Boyanup

The South West Western Australian town of Boyanup.

Venturing to the other side of the country over the summer of 2017/2018 enabled me to explore the abandoned railway lines of Western Australia's South West Region. The town of Boyanup a short 22 km drive by car south of Bunbury was once the junction point for the railway lines to Northcliffe and Flinders Bay. After the station was closed, a preservation group and museum was formed back in 1985, collecting bits and pieces of former WAGR rollingstock with the aim of seeing these old trains run once more. Today, the museum may be closed to the general public, but the South West Rail and Heritage Centre who now maintain the site schedule several 'open days' throughout the year to view their vintage collection.

Although my visit never coincided with one of these open days, standing on the forlorn platform of Boyanup's now bare station site did inspire the poem Junction of Broken Dreams, featured in my book Last Train to Bunbury, available direct here.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Last Train to Bunbury

It has taken over twelve months for me to finally be able to announce the release of the third book in my latest series, Last Train to Bunbury. Another Aussie bush poetry romp set against the backdrop of some brilliant full colour railway photography, this book takes in the far south west corner of Western Australia and is the result of my spending the summer of 2017/2018 in the Margaret River Region.

Having never been to the other side of the country before, the book took twelve months careful planning to make it coincide with my wife Denise and I celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary early in 2018. Finally, a further twelve months later, those memories of driving through tall Karri forests and bouncing down dusty red dirt tracks in a little rental car to photograph some long forgotten railway stations, can rest safely within the covers and find a place to reside on my bookshelf. Without a doubt, this will go down as the most expensive book project I have produced to date!


Last Train to Bunbury is available now through the following channels, along with the first two installments in this series at the special introductory price of $24.99 AUD (+gst and postage). Unfortunately prices for these books will have to be revised later this year. So by ordering now you'll be sure to get the first three books at a much cheaper price!

   (and look for signed copies available on my eBay store)