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About

The CREATORS

John Smithers

Author

John Smithers is a Geelong based writer and is a member of the Geelong writers group. John has had his work published in books and magazines.

John has written scripts for short films and feature films alike, as well as many short stories such as; the Station, Brighton street, New world Order, a Quiet street a Quiet court. He has also written some poetry.

Growing up in the working-class suburb of Richmond, he was able to spend time with family in Noojee, where he became mesmerised by the stories that were being told of the local identities. Reading stories from Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, reaffirmed his identity as an Australian, and the unique quirkiness of Australian humour. While in primary school, a teacher encouraged John to write his first story that was titled  “Ron the talking goanna”.

John is well known within the model railway community. He has travelled throughout Australia collecting as many stories as possible and is passionate about Australian people, their land, and their stories.

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David Barnes

Illustrator

David Barnes is an Adelaide based illustrator.

He has enjoyed drawing pictures and cartoons from a very early age. Coming from a family of artists, he was encouraged to express himself from a young age.

A rough sketch of “W” class Melbourne trams promptly got him “volunteered” for the role of illustrating “Trevor the Tram” book series.

David is also a passionate model railway enthusiast, yet another form of art. He scratch builds a lot of his own buildings, wagons, and other associated items. Travelling all over Australia with his late wife, they together displayed a variety of model railway layouts.

David is also a winner of multiple awards and trophies for his modelling craftsmanship, from as far afield as Wagga Wagga, Melbourne, Whyalla, and Morwell. He is an avid British sitcom enthusiast, enjoys period drama shows, and studies sociology.  

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Where did the idea for the TREVOR the Tram story come from?

Did you know Melbourne, Australia has the world’s largest tram network?

 

The iconic Melbourne “W” class tram took me to various places around the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Places like Prahran, Collingwood, Camberwell, Saint Kilda, and all throughout Richmond, allowing me to venture into Melbourne's hidden stories. Some came from real life meetings, while others came from the many people I would meet and have a friendly chat with. And it was an iconic “W” class tram that took me there… 

Trams gave me the freedom to travel on small sojourns while going to or from home, be it to Richmond High school, or to meet friends at the Prahran swimming pool. 

It was a tram that whisked me to my first date “under the clocks”. And trams shared my sorrow, slowly taking me home with a broken heart. Meeting my dad at the Maiden Grove tram stop was our daily ritual. Together we would go home riding along the rails to the tune of the singing bell.

On one particular tram journey from Camberwell to Richmond, two guitar players jammed all the way into the city. I wanted to stay onboard to listen to their music. Stepping off the tram I stood listening to their songs fade away, as the tram bell joined in with their music.

Many a night I would lie awake listening to the trams, and the singing of their bells at the end of our street would allow me to drift off to sleep. It was here that I formed the foundations of Trevor the Tram.

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Trevor the Tram 

John was working at Kooyong Signal box on a late Saturday night shift, when an iconic “W” class tram rang its bell at the signal, seeking permission to travel over the railway crossing. He then quipped “shut up Trevor”. Taken back by this audible statement, a theme began to resonate within John, and memories began to flood in for the stories of  “Trevor the tram”

Within minutes a short story was written “Trevor the Tram and the little lost boy”.

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Work proceeded on the project and over the next 4 years John worked on the book series, drawing on his memories as a young boy and teenager, recognizing the amazing stores he had shared while traveling on Melbourne's amazing  trams. And it was Church street Richmond, and Brighton Street Primary school in Richmond, that formed the bases for the book series. And for the children who would set off on wonderful adventures while exploring the big city that is Melbourne.

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