Saturday, 7 October 2017

Its about time...

Yeah, I know, I just looked at the date on the last update.  What can I say, I've been busy :)

There have certainly been a number of times recently where I've thought to myself, "I should add that to the blog", but then never get around to it.  So, its Sunday morning, I think I'm up to date with other tasks, and might have some time to add something.

One of the prompts to finally pen something here, was that I'm about to head down to Launceston again for the Launceston Model Railway Exhibition (October 13th-14th, at Albert Hall in Launceston).  I looked at the blog and realised its been nearly 12 months since the last update, which covered my first trip to Tassie last year!  So there's the plug for that event next weekend.  A far bigger show than last years effort, with a bunch of mainlanders heading down for a great weekend.  Come along if you're in the area and say hello.  I'm taking a bunch of scenery materials down with me to do some live scenery work, so if your keen to see what actually goes into my forests, stop by for a chat.

I figured I should use this post to run a bit of a back date on what has happened (this year).  The main thing for me was the 13th Australian Narrow Gauge Convention, held back at Easter time (yup, I said back date!).  It was a lot of work in the lead up to that event, but the effort was worth it, with a very successful convention.  The ANGC was well attended, with plenty of interested modellers under the one roof, and a great range of traders present to share their wares.  I saw many happy faces across the weekend, with lots of positive feedback.  I'm not going to run a full written report here, as its already been published on the ANGC website and in Narrow Gauge Downunder Magazine, but will just add a few selected photos as a sample.  The full album can be viewed on my Flickr page, where there is an album of 500 images.  Click here to view that album.

The convention saw over 30 clinics hosted during the weekend, ranging from prototype presentations, to various modelling techniques, plus a number of sessions with the layout builders who described their projects and methods.


The contest room was very well populated, with a great number of works submitted for the competition.  For many, its not really about being competitive, but offering their creative pieces for others to view, discuss and enjoy.


There was a wonderful selection of layouts and displays on site for the weekend, to which we are most grateful to the owners for transporting their efforts to Geelong for the convention, with a number travelling from interstate.





One of the special feature collections we were able to curate for the convention was the "Rick Richardson Vulcan Vale Collection".  A phenomenal collection of models, especially considering the age of some of the pieces.  I had this collection at my home for many months prior to the convention, preparing all the display bases for the models (many of the structures were originally built into hillsides, so needed custom display bases made so they could be presented sitting upright).  I spent countless hours studying the work up close prior to the convention, and was frankly left in awe by some of the structural engineering and quality of the craftsmanship.  I'm very thankful that the Richardson family have been able to preserve this brilliant example of modelling history.

It was great to see healthy numbers of traders supporting the convention, with lots of attendees walking away with heavy shopping bags.  Plenty of browsing and purchasing, and we were thankful for the traders for doing what they do for our hobby (sorry I didn't get a photo of every trader...I was busy doing all sorts of other things).


The convention weekend was concluded on Easter Monday with a special day arranged down at The Bellarine Railway, which included workshop tours, a chartered train for the day, and a bit of gourmet lunch on the platform at Drysdale.  The day was well attended with just under a hundred attendees and partners joining us for a fun day of rail history and preservation.

I must say thank you for all the attendees, layout builders and traders for coming along and making the convention what it is, but also an important thank you to the crew that made up the rest of my organising committee (Rod Hutchinson, Grant McAdam, Laurie Green, Gary Kirby, John Dennis, Bob Prewett, plus Peter MacDonald for his assistance with the contest room), and the long hours that they also committed to putting this event on.  There were also a heap of willing volunteers that chipped in during set up and clean up, which was greatly appreciated as well.

I've since had a heap of people asking "what's happening for 2019?".  Short answer, its still being organised, with a bit of background work to be sorted out in regards to how the event is managed in the future.  A fair start has already been made with sourcing a venue and getting initial ideas and lists happening, with all to be revealed once the background details are finalised.  For the latest updates, I suggest keeping a check on the Australian Narrow Gauge Convention website, 

As for other modelling updates, I'll aim to run a report upon return from Tassie in a few weeks :)


Friday, 4 November 2016 Tasmania (part 2)

As previously mentioned, time for part 2 of this little trip down to Tasmania.  This will mainly be a lot of photos from the couple of preservation railway sites I visited on the Monday while waiting for my evening ferry return trip to the mainland.

I was staying in Sheffield on my last night in Tassie, so it was a good chance to drop in to the Redwater Creek Steam & Heritage Society, home of the Steamfest.  It has been a few years since I visited here, so was interested to see what was new around the sheds.  Volunteers on the day may have been working up the end of the line as the sheds were open, but no obvious sign of members around.  I had a quick wander in the storage shed and a short stroll along some of the line.  They house a good collection of steam traction engines and run a 2' gauge short line.  Just a handful of pics around the site.



Following the wander around Sheffield, it was a short drive up to Devonport, grabbed a quick lunch and then headed to The Don River Railway.  This is a sizeable operation with a great collection and fairly decent work shop facility.  Unfortunately no trains were running on the day of my visit (trains run Wednesday to Sunday for anyone else planning a visit), but the sun was out and it was a good afternoon to walk around the yards while the place was quiet.  It is fairly open access to much of the site, with some good viewing platforms inside the work shop.  Since it was a quiet day (I think I was the only visitor around that afternoon), when I met one of the volunteers in the work shop, he was quite happy to show me around.  Spent a good few hours getting a guided tour around the various projects.  It was only after this couple of hours of chatting about the work being done here at Don Valley did it clue on to me that my guide, Colin Jolley, was actually one of the modellers at the Launceston Model Railway Exhibition with me over the same weekend!  A couple of photos of his layout he displayed (Urmston Road, British OO) are on my previous blog posting.  Despite exhibiting in the same hall together, we didn't cross paths until this day after.  Anyway, time for some photos...







One of the special little items that they hold in their collection at the Don River Railway, is a Riley Railcar.  Being a lover of small and quirky railway equipment, this one caught my eye immediately.  It has some beautiful lines and high degree of character.  It may even find itself as an interesting little project on my modelling bench at some point in the future.


 All up it was a really enjoyable day visiting these two preservation societies.  Plenty of railway history getting some well deserved care and restoration.  It was a tiring day with all that walking and talking, which was good as it helped ensure a better nights sleep on the ferry ride home on the Spirit of Tasmania.

So bye for now Tasmania.  Had a thoroughly enjoyed weekend of big and little railway activities.  Will look forward to possibly doing it again next year.  The organisers for the Launceston Model Railway Show have already announced their dates for next year, October 14th-15th 2017, so mark it in your calendars as a good one to attend.