Ron Fitch was born in 1910 into a railway family. He began his career as a 16-year-old engineering cadet and completed it, 46 years later, having worked at various times for two state railways and the Commonwealth, as Commissioner of South Australian Railways. In this book Fitch gives a vivid account not only of his career but of the camaraderie of the greater railway community, often experienced in the most trying of conditions. Fitch gives an account of laying track and the remarkable breed of men who do so, of advances in line-building techniques, of derailments and floods and washaways, of wrangles over attempts to implement standard gauge, of the politics of railways. In 2002 when 92 Fitch earned recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records when his thesis on South Australian railways made him the World's oldest recipient of a PhD.
'So poised and beautiful ... She can't write a bad sentence' Guardian 'Melancholic, but in the best possible way' Lady 'Exquisitely written and deeply felt ... a true book of wonders' Geraldine Brooks 'A lovely, absorbing, and uplifting read.' M.L. Stedman 'Overflows with gratitude for the hard, beautiful things of this world' Helen Garner In 1948 in a small town on the land's edge, in the strange space at a war's end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story. Anikka Lachlan has all she ever wanted--until a random act transforms her into another post-war widow, destined to raise her daughter on her own. Awash in grief, she looks for answers in the pages of her favourite books and tries to learn the most difficult lesson of all: how to go on living. A local poet, Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. His childhood friend Dr. Frank Draper also seeks to reclaim his pre-war life but is haunted by his failure to help those who needed him most--the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. Then one day, on the mantle of her sitting room, Ani finds a poem. She knows neither where it came from, nor who its author is. But she has her suspicions. An unexpected and poignant love triangle emerges, between Ani, the poem, and the poet--whoever he may be. Written in clear, shining prose, The Railwayman's Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings - and how difficult it can be to tell them apart. It is an exploration of life, tragedy, and joy, of connection and separation, longing and acceptance, and an unadulterated celebration of love.