FPF 2018 #8 On the Platform

or Two for the Price of One – but which one?

It seemed so long ago that Justine and Emma had ventured to the city together. Back then, in the heady days of late 1862, they had been close, travelling down to Melbourne from Sandhurst* in the same carriage on the newly opened railway, only a month after the line had opened. They had sought and found work as governesses but geography and the strictures of working life had gradually separated the two girls. In the ten years since they had arrived in that teeming city much had changed for the former friends.

Their meeting on the station platform was purely co-incidental and it took a moment for each to recognise the other. In the awkward moments before the shriek of steam whistle and hammer of pistons signalled the arrival of the massive labouring engine they struggled to find something meaningful to say. The clothing they each wore was enough to signal the present variation in their social status, although there were also clear differences now in the manner in which they comported themselves.

Therefore each experienced a surprising rush of individual relief as they realised there were no empty compartments. Flushing and flustered Emma squeezed into the first available seat, next to a well dressed family. Justine smiled brightly and said her own farewells coolly before moving further down the corridor to locate a seat of her own, next to a couple and two gentlemen. As she gazed out the window while the train trundled slowly across the bridge over the Saltwater River** she thought back to that long ago journey and wondered what they had ever had in common…

*Former name of Bendigo. The rail line between Melbourne and Bendigo was officially opened in October 1862.

**Former name of the Maribynong River

These photos were taken at an abandoned country railway station in Central Victoria. My friendly photographer Craig M. and I created quite a bit of curiosity amid the locals as we and one of my mannequins played together. Unfortunately while the colour Indigo is de rigueur in my household, it doesn’t contrast effectively with bluestone. I had hoped to find a wooden and cast iron seat still in situ, but again my luck ran out. At least I didn’t have to take the photos and model – that would have been way to much to cope with!

February Photofest


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