The Forgotten Years
A personal account of growing up on the Zig Zag, by former resident Meg Davidson.
Photo: Bottom Points in 1959, showing the three signalmen's cottages and signal box.
It was in 1959 that my parents moved to the Zig Zag. The middle cottage in the above photo is the first of 2 of the cottages that my family lived in. During the early 1960ís the cottage to the left of the photo was sold and moved away by truck to the North Coast.
In January 1966 my family moved briefly from Zig Zag to Belmore in Sydney for 3 months whilst my Dad did some training in the yards at Enfield. Upon our return to Zig Zag in April 1966 we moved into the end cottage (towards the centre of the photo). This cottage had an electricity tower next to it.
When my parents moved back to the Zig Zag they bought the two remaining cottages, the middle one was purchased for $100 and the end one for $300, and because my Dad was a railway employee he was able to lease the land the two cottages were on for $10 per year. The NSW Railways did not ask for payment in full at the time of the purchase, but instead requested that payments be deducted from Dadís salary.
TV reception was poor, and we could only receive ABC (2), so Dad set up a cable at the top of the road and ran it all the way down to the cottages. We could then pick up channels 2, 7, 9, 10 from Sydney, and Channels 3 and 4. The only trouble we ever had with reception was when it snowed and the snow settling on the cable caused interference.
I recall one evening in January 1970, just after dinner, an electrical storm passing over the valley. My mum was washing up the dishes and my Dad was watching TV with the children. Mum had called out to Dad on a number of occasions to turn off the TV because of the storm. Dad was making his way to the TV and was only inches away when lightning struck the aerial on the mountain and travelled down the cable, blowing up the TV.
Another incident that I recall so vividly in the late 1960ís was a goods train bound for Lithgow on a hot summersí day during the school holidays. My Mum was hanging out the washing while the children played in the backyard, which was about where the passenger train is in the photo. A goods train came to a screeching halt and stopped in front of the cottage. The driver jumped out of the engine and yelled to my Mum to take all the children inside the house as he had seen a huge Tiger snake crossing the tracks. The guard went to get my Dad and his gang who were working in a nearby tunnel. They checked the train axles and the train moved on. The work gang then began burning off around the side fence lines and eventually they caught and killed a 6 foot long Tiger snake.
The middle cottage of the 3 signalmanís cottages in the early 1960ís (family photo supplied by Meg Davidson).
This cottage was eventually pulled down by my father around 1967. The timbers were used to add a dinning room and an enclosed rumpus room to the end cottage, along with a chook house and a fully timber lined pool for our ducks to swim in. All the work was done by my father, Michael Hoffman.
With many thanks to Meg Davidson for providing the above.