Photographing the final days of steam railways: a tale of two teenage brothers

Black-and-white images from the days of steam locomotives
(Image credit: Robert and Bruce Wheatley)

A trusting mother who allowed her two teenage sons to roam the New South Wales railway system in Australia unaccompanied during the 1960s unwittingly enabled the compilation of a unique historic photographic record of the last days of steam. Five books down – and with a sixth in production – the Wheatley brothers are still mining their remarkable archive of railway portraits.

Australian Camera feature

(Image credit: Future)

This article originally appeared in Australian Camera magazine, one of Digital Camera World's sister titles Down Under. Click here to find out more about Australian Camera magazine, including how you can subscribe to the print issues or buy digital editions.

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Paul Burrows

Paul has been writing about cameras, photography and photographers for 40 years. He joined Australian Camera as an editorial assistant in 1982, subsequently becoming the magazine’s technical editor, and has been editor since 1998. He is also the editor of sister publication ProPhoto, a position he has held since 1989. In 2011, Paul was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institute Of Australian Photography (AIPP) in recognition of his long-term contribution to the Australian photo industry. Outside of his magazine work, he is the editor of the Contemporary Photographers: Australia series of monographs which document the lives of Australia’s most important photographers.