MY WISH CAME TRUE - THE JOURNEY BEGAN, NOW ALL I HAVE TO DO IS REMEMBER IT AS BEST AS I CAN!

Ted (Teditor) Freeman

I left school at the ripe old age of 14 and took on a job as a truckies off-sider with my brother-in-law (Barry) on his Sharp Soft Drink run. I enjoyed this vocation and we changed a couple of times to Mayne Nickless and then TNT, Barry's old F100 Ford flatbed receiving a new paint job each time.

My eventual intention though was to become a train driver.
In those days, education wasn't everything like it is now and all I had to do was wait till just prior to my 16th birthday, apply to the NSWGR's and do the entry exam (which I knew wouldn't be too hard). One obstacle I faced was the medical, I had been involved in a serious car accident at age seven and received a fractured skull (now you all know what's wrong!) that had left me with a few problems health wise.

Eveleigh Large Erecting ShopEventually the big day arrived, I sat for the entry exam and was notified in due course that I had passed. Now onto the medical, this obstacle was also overcome without any major dramas and I was accepted to the position of a shop-boy to commence work at Eveleigh Loco Depot on the 14th January 1963 at the grand sum of 4/- an hour (40 cents in the new language).

This appointment (a six month probation period) was to ready me for the job of a Junior Trainee Engineman once I turned 16.

Large Davey PressThe job of Shop Boy entailed working in the large erecting shop in the Eveleigh Locomotive Depot complex. Like all new employee's, I had to cope with the local jokes, one of which was when I was sent to collect the Davey's Press. Of course. I was a gullible young newcomer and diligently took the trolley suggested to pick up what I believed to be the Employee's Newsletter.

Arriving at the designated place, I innocently asked for the Davey's Press, that I was to pick it up on the trolley and return to my department with it.

Bursts of laughter indicated that I had been well and truly had, and when the foreman pointed towards a huge monster of a machine sitting in the middle of the floor and stated (intermingled with his, and everyone else's laughter) "there's the Davey Press, do you want a hand to put it on the trolley?”.

The Davey Press was of course a bit more robust than several sheets of paper; it was a 1500 ton metal stamping machine!

My time as a shop boy was an interesting one; I got to see the workings of a large erecting shop and was amazed at the self sufficiency of the complex. Major overhauls of steam locomotives were still well and truly being performed and there was even a large foundry where parts were cast. Steam locomotion was here to stay and I was going to fulfil my dream of becoming a steam train driver.

COMING UP IN PART 3

JUST WHAT DOES A JUNIOR TRAINEE ENGINEMAN DO?