After Oliver left, the passengers untied Boris and the driver. Andrew’s wheelchair was a bit of an obstacle and they had to move him first. Andrew developed an instant clumsiness.
Quickly the two men ran down the line but could find no evidence of a bomb anywhere.
They came back to the train and some of the more adventurous of the passengers started to ran down the hill but they soon realise that it was far too dangerous and anyway there was no sign of Oliver.
Fiona and Andrew did not hear from him for about six weeks and worried that he had been injured, or worse.
However, on an early January Monday morning train just pulling out of Geelong station he tapped Andrew on the shoulder and said, “Anyone sitting here mate?”
“Nope. It’s all yours,” said a very excited Andrew who put on an Oscar award winning display of great casualness. “Where the Hell have you been?”
“Long service leave, mate. Sorry I didn’t tell you but I didn’t have your number.”
“Where’d you go?”
“I’ll tell you tonight. Yvonne is back and we want you to come for dinner. Italiano!”
So it was dinner at Oliver’s place. Italian style.
“I think the flight down the valley was worth all the stress. It was magic. In my head I had the whole set up and I could see where I was to land right next to the car. What about you two?”
“Well Fiona here was an instant hero. The way she stood up to the villainous Train Robber. No one ever suspected her, or me for that matter.”
“The way you snarled at me was fantastic. You are a great actor.”
“I wasn’t acting you bastard. Why did you pick on that poor little girl. I could have smacked you in the face I was so cross.”
“And that is what made it all so believable.”
“Anyway, what did you do?”
“Well I landed right near the car, but I couldn’t get it to start so I started walking. I dumped the Glider in the back and set off down the road. After a few kms a sweet old Yankee lady picked me up. She was a Bible basher from somewhere down south called Elouise and was a sweet dear thing. She dropped me off in Bendigo after telling me her life’s story. Loved her.
“Then I just hitch hiked all over and went wherever a lift took me. Everywhere I went I dropped a couple of envelopes in a post box. Took about five weeks to unload the lot.
“Rang Yvonne from Yackandanda and told her to come home. Told her I loved her and was never going to be stupid again. She had a great time in Venice and that’s the end of it.
“What about you two?”
“Fiona was the star,” said Andrew. “Everyone thought you were such a bastard and she stood up to you. Local papers had headlines like.
“Anonymous lady stands up to train robber.”
“ I don’t want to give my name. It was just one of those things you do.”
“Here, I cut out a couple of articles from the papers.
“Police looking for US Marine Bandit.”
“Great train robbery. Gang of five suspects.”
“Police arrest suspect in Train Robbery”
“We got the wrong man”
“Police baffled over Ballarat Train Robbery.”
“It looks like we did it.”
“Well I hope you all had a great time and I’m glad all three of you got away but I don’t want to go through the stress, ever again.”
“You going through stress! Prancing around in old Italia, while we were treading a fine line.”
“Well I’m glad we are all back to normal. Who is for another class of wine?”
”Me, thanks Yvonne. And Andy. I have been thinking about a bank. What do you think? Could we do it?”
“Over my dead body.”
The police said that after interviewing most of the passengers on the Ballarat Cup Excursion train that they estimated that the gang acquired about $150,000 for Lyme Disease research. There were 180 passengers on the train. Only seven were children. Most people underestimated how much they had in their wallet but one passenger claimed to have put $2000 in the envelope. Oliver said that there were at least 25 envelopes that were quite thick and Oliver also said that there were only a few that seemed to have only a few notes in them. The average ‘claimed’ by the passengers was $850. So 850 times about 170 comes to $145,000 which was not bad.
I was asked before I wrote this to explain a couple of things. I did include a few intentional errors in my account. Where the train stops on the loop there is no mobile phone black spot. Secondly I purposefully left out the fact that today all Melbourne to Ballarat trains have wi fi capability and any of the passengers with a laptop could have contacted the outside world very easily.
There are other areas of unintentional error but in reality, the way things are set up on the trains the Ballarat Cup Excursion Train Robbery will not be able to be repeated.
I came across the details when I was cleaning out an uncle’s house when he went into a nursing home. He was an ex-detective in the Victorian Police force and he had kept his notes. He never suspected that Andrew or Fiona were involved but as I read his notes it seemed to me, when I went through the names of those on board, that they might be related. I won’t give their surnames but they are similar in commonness to the Smith, Brown, or Jones type of name. So because they both featured I went and spoke with them both and after giving an acceptable assurance that I would not reveal my thoughts to any authorities they agreed to talk with me. That is where I got the couple of personal comments that were included in the story.
There are a couple of my uncle’s cases that I want to investigate a little further and maybe sometime soon I can tell you about them.