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A ute waiting at train tracks while steam train goes past Warburton Line 1963
  • Steam Trains and Holidays: The Home Movies of Fred Daley

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    Posted on: 27/02/2015

    This program is sourced from a collection of silent, 8mm home movies by steam train enthusiast Fred Daley. They capture scenes of steam trains, the Daley family, vintage cars, railway stations and snapshots of rural and city life.

    The set of films are mainly shot on family holidays in various locations across Victoria from the City of Melbourne to Warburton, Apollo Bay and Mornington Peninsula, to a long road trip to Cooma, New South Wales. There is also a work specially dedicated to Victoria’s most famous steam train, Puffing Billy.

    Fred was a skilled filmmaker - there are no wobbly shots of the ground in his work! We are presented with very polished films, mainly shot using a tripod, nifty title sequences and astute editing. Whilst filming steam trains was his passion, made evident by the many hours of footage dedicated to them,  this selected program also shows the family’s love of the outdoors on summer holidays, road trips, gardens, Luna Park, a game of football at the MCG, picnics and relaxing on the beach.

    These titles were made from the mid-to-late 1960s but Fred’s collection spans some fifty years. Kindly donated to the ACMI Collection by Fred's son Neville, Fred’s Films provide memories not only for his family but also for the collective memory of Victorians, steam train buffs, filmmakers, historians, or anyone who has the pleasure of watching them.

    Watch the films in our Australian Mediatheque.duration 71 mins

    Fred's Films

    'Tis Christmas
    Fred Daley, 13:47 mins, (circa) 1965

    Captured here by Fred Daley, steam train enthusiast and 8mm home movie maker are highlights of a Melbourne family during the mid 1960s. Christmas for Fred included showing the trains of Flinders St and a W-Class Tram in the City of Melbourne, along with the famous 'Foy's Corner', corner of Bourke and Swanston St.  There are some amusements in the gardens and some 'Viking' boats rowing on the Yarra. A Santa in the back of a truck can only mean the office Christmas party. The family relax at a swimming pool and have a picnic in a bush setting. Back to a brief sequence of a helicopter landing on the helipad on the Yarra River, then there is a road trip. This features some impressive footage from the camera mounted on the car, to the Mornington Peninsula and Rosebud. Fred and the family relax staying at a caravan park at the beach, go water skiing, spend time in paddle boats and sand dune frolicking. A highlight is the joy flight taken over the area. Returning to the city, the family enjoy a sunny day at 'Luna Park' with the wonderful rides and amusements on offer. Fred's camera work on the 'Scenic Railway' in particular, shows his steady hand.

    ARC Cement Works Geelong [excerpt]
    Fred Daley, 5:34 mins, (circa) 1963

    The A.R.C Cement Works, Geelong, in the early 1960s is faithfully captured here by Fred Daley, steam train enthusiast and 8mm home movie maker. Fred has recorded a moment in industry that - post 2000 - no longer exists, that of the use of powerful steam locomotives. With the 'loco' pulling people on this occasion and not cement, this is most likely a farewell celebration to the use of the engines at the Plant. Fred's titles tell us it is "3ft 6 Gauge" and there is a close up on an engine name-plate indicating this engine had come all the way from Manchester and  another "1903 Leeds, Hudswell Clarke & Co Ltd No. 646", a smaller black engine that had obviously been a working machine at the Cement Works for many a year. There is a sense of this being quite an occasion with many people visiting to take pictures and enjoy the plumes of steam from these majestic work horses.

    Away to Cooma 1965
    Fred Daley, 13:25 mins, 1965 

    Faithfully captured here by Fred Daley, steam train enthusiast and 8mm home movie maker, is a family road trip from Melbourne to the New South Wales town of Cooma.  Winding dirt roads, sign posts, look-outs and country museums are enjoyed by the family on their journey. It appears to be summertime as there are roadside stops near cooling lakes and weirs. The refreshing river at Bright is enjoyed by many people with kids jumping off a bridge (right next to the "Do Not Dive From Bridge" sign!) and enjoying a long metal slide into the water. Places featured are: Eildon, Whitefield, Bright, Mt Buffalo, Tatra, Tallangatta, Merimbula, Buchan Caves and of course, Cooma. An inter-title at the end shows there must have been a drought that year "Cooma - Very dry in '65".

    Models for Kids [excerpt]
    Fred Daley, 3:28 mins, (circa) 1965

    Model railways and miniature steam locomotives have been a great hobby for people passionate about engines and also about 'quality' family time. Fred Daley, steam train enthusiast and 8mm movie maker, has captured a meeting of these enthusiasts running their miniature steam engines and pulling the kids along behind them in purpose built 'carriages'. There is a sense of camaraderie and enthusiasm from the people tending to their fully functioning but small steam locomotives. Both the little kids and the grown up kids seem to be having a lovely day out. [This film is the final segment from the original film 'ARC Cement Works, Geelong'.]

    Our Family [excerpt]
    Fred Daley, 6:53 mins, (circa) 1965 

    Fred Daley, steam train enthusiast and 8mm home movie maker, follows his family's trip into the City of Melbourne. Starting out at St. Kilda Road, they go on into town to sample coffee and sandwiches al fresco-style before journeying on to an exciting game of Australian Rules football at the MCG (Geelong vs. Hawthorn). The family meanders around the fountain at the Southern Cross hotel and ventures to Cook's Cottage in the picturesque Fitzroy Gardens. They finish up the relaxing day with a cold beverage in the beer garden of the Chevron Hotel.

    Stepping South: Apollo Bay Jan 1963
    Fred Daley, 5:39 mins, 1963

    It's summer 1963, time to pack up the car and head to the beach. Fred Daley, steam train enthusiast and 8mm home movie maker, follows his family's trip to the beaches of Apollo Bay, the lush rain forest of Paradise and the powerful beauty of the Twelve Apostles. Along the way we also see Lorne, Port Campbell and Cinema Point in the Otway Ranges.

    The Train that Refused to Die: Puffing Billy
    Fred Daley, 8:38 mins, Circa 1965

    This film, shot by steam train enthusiast and 8mm home movie maker Fred Daley, records a special day in the life of the train and line known as 'Puffing Billy' in Belgrave, Victoria. It would appear this is not just a regular day for the engine and visitors as people are dressed in their 'good clothes', there is a visit from a dignitary, possibly the Governor of Victoria at the time, speeches and some lovely vintage cars join the celebration. The line was extended to Emerald in 1965 so this is most likely the official opening of the extended line. It is the children who enjoy the day and the ride the most, as is traditional, hanging their legs out of the side of the open carriages, putting a coin on the track for the engine to flatten and waiving enthusiastically at cars through every crossing.

    Warburton Line 1963
    Fred Daley, 12:46 mins, 1963

    The 'Warburton Line' steam locomotive railway filmed originally in 1963, shows the clean and flowing Yarra River and the lush surrounds of the Yarra Valley as it meanders on its journey. Shot by Fred Daley, steam train enthusiast and 8mm home movie maker, this is a tribute to the Line as two years later "despite opposition, 1965 line closed". "But the rails are not silent in April 1968" when Fred and friends use a hand-pump rail car to run along the overgrown and forgotten tracks. His inter-title stating: "Now it's goodbye Warburton June 1968 - perhaps the prettiest broad gauge line of all." The line found new use years later having been converted to a walking and cycle track but one gets the feeling Fred was right about the use of it as a railway line as this film stands testament to the grandeur and beauty of the original steam adventure.

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