50th Anniversary Convention

Friday 8th June

report by Stephen Chapman

Intended Programme.

  • 05:00pm – 10:00pm Check In
  • 06:00pm – 09:00pm Snack Meal
  • 05:30pm – 10:00pm Chat Rooms
  • 08:00pm – 08:45pm Slide Show – NSW Railways

What happened

Convention registrar Stephen Chapman waits to greet people as they arrive. Photo by Jack Parker.

Convention registrar Stephen Chapman waits to greet people as they arrive.
Photo by Jack Parker.


The organizing committee arrived at Bankstown Grammar School in convoy at about 4:30pm. Already a queue was forming with people waiting for the Convention to commence. We unpacked the several car loads of Convention kits, guessing competition/lucky door prizes etc. and I then set to “checking in” the growing crowd of attendees who had already arrived. The next couple of hours, I was relatively busy handing out kits to people as they arrived.

Initially, the arrivees tended to congregate in the hallway near the registration desk where they purchased guessing competition tickets, examined the photo display we had put up on the opposite wall, caught up with old friends who they might not have seen in some time, and made new friends. A couple of the trade stand operators for Saturday arrived and set up their stands ready for Saturday.

By just after 7pm most of the 45 people who attended the evening had arrived, the coffee and tea facilities had been set up, and the food began to arrive. People moved into the double room that we had labelled as Dean Spur/Dunlop Yard where they sat eating and continuing their conversations.

By just after 8pm, all of the food had been prepared and delivered, Robert Hodges (a Bankstown Grammar school teachers who, as a model railway enthusiast himself, had organized the catering as well as volunteering to participate in the clinic programme – and subsequently joined) set up his slide projector and proceeded to show us about an hour’s worth of slides, mostly taken by himself, of New South Railways in the late 60s and early 70s. A wide mixture of locomotive types and locations were included and the group
had great fun trying to identify where the various shots were taken. There was usually someone who could figure it out.

The slide show finished just after 9pm and, after a further period of chatting and purchasing guessing competition tickets, everyone gradually made their way out the door and off on their way home to prepare for the rest
of the weekend.

Ladies Programme

report by Denice Tyson
Denice Tyson was presented with flowers on Saturday evening. Photo by Jack Parker

Denice Tyson was presented with flowers on Saturday evening.
Photo by Jack Parker

Fun and laughter was the order of the day when nineteen ladies attended the ladies activities for the convention.

June Larmour showed us beautiful samples of her card making abilities, paper-tole, cross-stitch and also permegano. Whilst half the group went shopping at a local discount store, the other half discussed the merits
of beading with cross stitch.

The hit of the day would have to be the golliwogs taught by Marj Fainges. These caused great hilarity whilst we decided whether we had made a boy or girl golli. Some ladies were even quick enough to fit in a candlewicking lesson.

All in all we had a very busy day, we even thought about asking to have lunch delivered to us, so we could keep on sewing. The evening session was Tim Dunlop’s address and the presentation of awards and prizes.

Sunday we joined the men on the coach trip to Thirlmere Railway Museum, but after a quick hot drink we continued further on to Berrima for some serious shopping. The coach ride home from Berrima had a few extra teddy bear passengers.

I would like to thank all of the ladies for their willing participation to join in the fun, this made both June’s and my job so much easier, and also for their compliments at the end of the convention.

Saturday 9th June

report by Stephen Chapman

Intended Programme

Robert Merrick gives his clinic on basic electronics. photo by Jack Parker.

Robert Merrick gives his clinic on basic electronics.
photo by Jack Parker.

  • 08:00am – 11:30am Check In
  • 09:00am – 09:20am Welcome by Federal President Graham Larmour
  • 09:30am – 10:15am Clinic session one:
    Photographing Models – Robert Hodges,
    Planning a Layout with Character – Glenn Watson,
    Backyard Detail, the almost forgotten clutter – Jim Fainges
  • 09:30am – 06:00pm Trade Stands
  • 09:30am – 05:00pm Spouse Programme – Craft
  • 09:30am – 11:45am Spouse programme – Trip to Arrowmaster
  • 10:20am – 10:55am Morning Tea
  • 11:00am – 11:45am Clinic session two :
    Moulding and Casting Scenery – Antony Bunyan,
    Basic Model Railway Electronics – Robert Merrick,
    Planning a Layout with Character – Glenn Watson
  • 12:00pm – 01:10pm Lunch
  • 01:15pm – 02:00pm Clinic session three :
    Moulding and Casting Scenery – Antony Bunyan,
    Basic Model Railway Electronics – Robert Merrick,
    Basic Kit Construction – James Percival
  • 02:15pm – 03:00pm Clinic session four :
    Points Construction – Roger Lloyd,
    Bridges – Jack Tresseder,
    Track Planning for Prototype Operation (part one) – Neil Riches
  • 03:05pm – 03:40pm Afternoon tea
  • 03:45pm – 04:30pm Clinic session five :
    Points Construction – Roger Lloyd,
    Loading Wagons – Arthur Hayes,
    Track Planning for Prototype Operation (part two) – Neil Riches
  • 04:45pm – 05:30pm Clinic session six :
    Bridges – Jack Tresseder,
    Loading Wagons – Arthur Hayes,
    Backyard Detail, the almost forgotten clutter – Jim Fainges
  • 06:30pm – 10:00pm BBQ Dinner, 50th Anniversary Award Presentations,
    and Guest Speaker Tim Dunlop

What happened

Jack Treseder gives his clinic on bridges. photo by Jack Parker.

Jack Treseder gives his clinic on bridges.
photo by Jack Parker.

We opened up ready to check in the remaining full registration attendees just after 8am and almost immediately everyone (both those who had attended the Friday evening and those who hadn’t) began arriving. The rest of the trade stands arrived and by 9am almost everyone had arrived.

Graham Larmour, the Convention Convener, welcomed everyone and introduced the rest of the committee. The room was then divided up ready to start the first clinic. A number of people who had been sitting in the room had not got around to deciding which room to move to in order to see their preferred clinic before Robert Hodges had started his clinic on Photographing Models and, by the time that they realized, they were so captivated by that clinic that no one left the room. As a result the attendances at Jim Fainges and
Glenn Watson’s clinics had slightly smaller audiences.

By morning tea time the last of the registrants had arrived bringing the total attendance for the day to 62. Sufficient time was allowed in the programme for everyone to enjoy the delicious Devonshire tea.

The fantastic support of people who had volunteered to present clinics had enabled us to programme six sessions of three clinics each and the second session had Antony and Lyn Bunyan presenting on Moulding and Casting scenery. The scenic effects that they were able to achieve in plaster by creating moulds needs to be seen to be believed. Robert Merrick and James Percival also presented clinics in this session and all three clinics were well attended. A number of long term modellers at James’s clinic commented on how they benefitted from being shown an alternate methods of kit construction.
Lunch was somewhat delayed and everyone found the clinics so interesting that they were extended to fill the gap. A number of people having decided not to attend any of these clinics met in the trade stand room where an impromptu laughter clinic was held.

Arthur Hayes gives his clinic on Loading Wagons. photo by Jack Parker.

Arthur Hayes gives his clinic on Loading Wagons.
photo by Jack Parker.

The afternoon programme was set back half an hour to allow time for people to finish their lunch. During lunch, certificates and gifts were presented to several of the clinic presenters who would not be staying for dinner.

The afternoon session of clinics commenced with Glenn Watson, Robert Merrick, and Antony Bunyan presenting their clinics a second time for those who had missed their first presentation. This was followed by clinics presented by Roger Lloyd, Jack Treseder, and the first part of a clinic by Neil R Riches. I and a number of others attended Jack’s clinic on bridges where he showed us a selection of scale models that he had constructed that helped us to understand the numerous technical drawings in his notes.

Afternoon tea followed with yet another delicious devonshire tea. The interest in the clinics then continued and the second part of Neil’s clinic, a second presentation of Rogers and a clinic by Arthur Hayes was followed by the final clinic session where Jim Fainges, Jack Tresseder, and Arthur Hayes did a second session of their clinics. With the various delays through the day, the clinics finished at 6:15pm instead of the scheduled completion time of 5:30pm.

During the final clinic session, those who had registered for the dinner only began to arrive and following the completion of the clinics those who weren’t staying for the dinner departed.

Saturday Dinner

report by Stephen Chapman
Tim Dunlop with the assistance of Margaret Dunlop and Ernie Dean cuts the cake.  photo by Jack Parker.

Tim Dunlop with the assistance of Margaret Dunlop and Ernie Dean cuts the cake.
photo by Jack Parker.

The main course was served up first and there was much conversation amongst the many long term and newly found friends. I had the opportunity to count the attendees at this point of which there were 58. During the break while dessert
was prepared, the two guessing competitions were drawn. Tickets in the first competition had been sold in advance of the Convention itself as well as at the Convention and was well supported by the ticket sales. The first prize in this
competition (A Berg’s 82 class Diesel and K&M RTR Chassis) was won by Convention attendee Peter Rowan. Second prize (6 AR Kits BBW Ballast wagons) was won by G Mann. Third prize (a $100 gift voucher at Tom’s Discounts) was won by Debbie Macklin, and a fourth prize (an original Jim Fainges framed drawing that was used as a Journal cover about 40 years ago) was added to the competition and won by
Terry Davis.

The second guessing competition was only sold at the Convention itself and had twelve prizes. Again ticket sales were good with many people coming up to me during the day to ask how they could obtain tickets. Jim Hutchinson won a Z13 class (donated by Lloyds Model Railways), Gary Danson won a trip for two on Countrylink (donated by Mercury world travel), Ross Moar won a 5 car RUB coach set (donated by Casula Hobbies), Gus Durham won a $50 gift voucher from Kerroby models, Bruce Norton won ballast and adhesive from Chuck’s Ballast Supplies, Laurie Moses won a $40 gift voucher from Punchbowl Hobby Centre, Brian Tyson won a Great Layouts video (donated by Moving Planet Productions – who had also donated sufficient videos for us to give as gifts to the clinic presenters), Marj Durham won a WAGR wagon plate (donated by WA branch) which she donated back to the convention for us to represent, it was then won by Kevan Morgan, James Mirco won a Mitre Cutter (donated by Linic Proops), Steve Rayner won a Collector Coffee Mug (donated by WA branch), and finally Angus Isley and Bruce Lovett won original Jim Fainges framed drawings.

A ridiculous number of lucky door prizes were then presented by drawing numbers corresponding to tickets hidden under the bread plates. There were seven empty seats at the tables and all of these had won lucky door prizes by the time that the first four seats that were actually occupied were selected. Ian Conway-Powles then drew the winner of his own prize competition and Marie Rayner had the $7 that she had spent on his stand earlier in the day refunded.

Tim Dunlop was then introduced and preceded to read his prepared talk about the early days. There was much laughter from the audience during his presentation and Neil saw him immediately afterwards to get the printed copy so that it could be shared with the rest of the membership. Unfortunately those who weren’t at the Convention miss out on the audience response. One comment I would like to make regarding his speech is that he mentioned that they had estimated that Australia wide membership of AMRA might eventually reach 50 (a long way short of the more than 1000 members we have today). In fact the membership passed the expected 50 before the end of 1951.

Tim Dunlop tells us about "the early days". photo by Jack Parker.

Tim Dunlop tells us about “the early days”.
photo by Jack Parker.

After desert, we moved on to the presentations. Our six Founding members were recognised first with plaques being presented to the four who were present and arrangements made for delivery of the other two. Our Founding members who were present at the Convention were Tim Dunlop (member 0001), Ernie Dean (member 0003), Margaret Dunlop (member 0014), and Norm Read (member 0031). Not present were Rick Richardson (member 0004) and Dick Gutteridge (member 0018). While Tim was out the front collecting his plaque, he was also asked to blow out the candles on our fiftieth birthday cake, a doubly appropriate task for our number one member on the evening before his birthday.

Plaques for the 50th Anniversary Award winners were presented next. No comments were made on what they had done in order to be recognised for these awards was made as their profiles have now been published.

The certificates and gifts for those clinic presenters still present were then handed out.

Further presentations were then made. First a $75 cheque and plaque donated by Victorian branch was presented to Stephen and Marie Rayner from Meekatharra in WA for travelling the furthest to attend the Convention. Judith Butler was then presented with the special prize which we had promised would be won by one of those who placed their names on the mailing list early and helped out the planning of the Convention by returning the first survey. This was followed by presentations to those of our sponsors who were present.

The next award presented was a complete surprise to me and had me stunned and speechless. Graham called me to the front of the room and presented me with a meritorious award. I just didn’t know what to say. I eventually managed to say something (don’t ask me what because I don’t remember).

I was so overcome by this presentation that I was not able to properly follow what happened next and had to confirm with Graham the following morning that the award that he presented to Brian Tyson was also a meritorious award. A presentation of a large basket of flowers was then presented to Denice Tyson.

A number of photos were then taken of the Convention Organizing Committee. The two teachers from Bankstown Grammar School who organized the catering for the weekend were then applauded and we moved out of our dining room to partake of coffee, after dinner mints, and birthday cake before heading home.

Sunday 10th June

report by Stephen Chapman

Intended Programme

'Archie' is one of the locomotives that stands just inside the entrance to Thirlmere. It was Daniel Chapman's favourite. photo by Elaine Bell.

‘Archie’ is one of the locomotives that stands just inside the entrance to Thirlmere. It was Daniel Chapman’s favourite.
photo by Elaine Bell.

  • 08:30am – 06:00pm Thirlmere Rail Transport Museum
    (including admission, train ride, and sausage sizzle)
  • 08:30am – 06:00pm Spouse Programme – Berrima

What happened

We met back at the Grammar school at 8:30am and prepared ourselves for another day of Convention activities. The coach arrived at 9am and we set off down the M5 to Thirlmere. The trip down took about an hour and a quarter and we got off the
bus to be welcomed by Fred Stell and Ross Moar who had travelled down by car earlier in the morning so that they could set up the tea making facilities.

The coach driver seemed to be enjoying himself on the trip as well. As we pulled up at the Rail Museum, he commenced giving instructions to the ladies going on to Berrima on how to drive the coach and told them when they needed to have the coach back to pick him and us up. Of course he was only joking and once the ladies had enjoyed their cup of tea they got back on the coach and proceeded on their way complete with coach driver.

Ross Moar, Daniel Chapman, Philip Larmour, and Christopher Larmour watch 4803 run around its carriages at Picton. photo by Elaine Bell

Ross Moar, Daniel Chapman, Philip Larmour, and Christopher Larmour watch 4803 run around its carriages at Picton.
photo by Elaine Bell

First on the agenda at Thirlmere (due to the available departure times) was the train ride. Unfortunately none of the steam locomotives were operational at the time but diesel locomotive 4803 was an acceptable substitute. Unexpectedly,
the train rides that day were not going to Buxton but instead proceeded in the opposite direction to Picton. We had an enjoyable break on Picton station while we watched the locomotive run around the carriages in the loop beyond
the end of the platform. Once we had got back on the train proceeded with wrong road running back down the mainline to the junction where the single line back to Thirlmere branched off.

Back at the Rail Museum we noticed that the car park was filled with about a dozen vintage (or were they veteran) cars which a number of the Convention attendees stopped to examine prior to going back to the picnic area where Robert Hodges (ably assisted by Brian Tyson and Phillip Larmour) prepared the sausages and onion for lunch.

4803 arrives back at Thirlmere. Can anyone spot Norm Read? photo by Stephen Chapman

4803 arrives back at Thirlmere. Can anyone spot Norm Read?
photo by Stephen Chapman

While everyone was eating, arrangements were made for the Monday layout tour. First we asked those who required transport to identify themselves and then those who had offered transport (more transport had been offered in advance of the Convention than was required so we knew matching people up would not be difficult). We then left it to those concerned to arrange between themselves what they would
do for the following day. I made arrangements to transport Jim Fainges and Neil R Riches.

At 1:45pm Fred gathered all interested parties together and took us around some of the exhibits in the museum. As a member of Thirlmere (as well as AMRA) he had the necessary keys so as to be able to take us inside some of the locked
coaches so that we could examine them more closely. We were then taken into the workshop area (out of bounds to the general public) and shown some of the many locomotives being worked on.

Norm Read discusses model railways with Daniel Chapman during lunch at Thirlmere. photo by Elaine Bell.

Norm Read discusses model railways with Daniel Chapman during lunch at Thirlmere.
photo by Elaine Bell.

One real surprise at this time was that Norm Read BEM who was (unusually for him) wearing his Federal Registrar’s badge, also pinned on his British Empire Medal (which is what the BEM on the end of his name stands for) and posed for
a few photos. Many of us who see Norm all the time had never seen his medal before.

The ladies arrived back from Berrima having apparently had a really enjoyable time there. Once they had finished their afternoon cuppa everyone got back on the coach and we proceeded back toward Sydney. Some rain fell during the trip
back and from the look of the cars that we had left at the school there had obviously been a lot more in Sydney but where we had been had remained dry. We arrived back at the school just before 5pm.

Following lunch at Thirlmere Graham Saint, Neil Riches, Stephen Chapman, and Jim Fainges at left of picture are organizing rides for the Monday layout tours. Others in the picture include Jack Treseder, Robert Hodges, Ian Macleod, Fred Stell, Angus Isley, Ross Moar, Peter Bellanto, Den and Geoff Candlin, Rob Nisbet, and David Bennett. Can you identify the others? photo by Elaine Bell.

Following lunch at Thirlmere Graham Saint, Neil Riches, Stephen Chapman, and Jim Fainges at left of picture are organizing rides for the Monday layout tours. Others in the picture include Jack Treseder, Robert Hodges, Ian Macleod, Fred Stell, Angus Isley, Ross Moar, Peter Bellanto, Den and Geoff Candlin, Rob Nisbet, and David Bennett. Can you identify the others?
photo by Elaine Bell.

Monday 11th June

report by Stephen Chapman

The layout tour was self guided so there was no reason to arrange for everyone to meet at the start of the day. Everyone could set off at their own time to visit the layouts on the tour. The layouts included in the tour were Ron
Cunningham’s “Werris Creek”, Ray Pilgrim’s “Bylong”, James McInerney’s “Rurr Valley Railway”, and Bill Cooper’s “Fern Valley Railway”. Discounted entry to the Epping Model Railway Exhibition was also offered and the NSW branch opened
the clubrooms up so that the branch layouts could also be included in the tour for the interstate visitors. The branch also provided lunch for those who wanted it.

Conclusions

report by Stephen Chapman

Overall, the Convention was a very successful event with 75 people participating in at least part of the Convention (not counting those who only participated on Monday). At various times through the weekend I asked various people how they were finding the Convention hoping to get a few memorable quotes to include in this article. All of the responses that I got were “great”, “terrific”, “couldn’t be better”, “well done”, and other phrases conveying the
same meaning so I am not going to fill several pages with quotes.

Everyone who participated in the Convention had a very enjoyable time and a few even started working out how old they would be when we hold our next Convention in 2051.

steve