What is the Australian Model Railway Association?
The Association was formed in 1951 in order to improve the conditions and facilities available for railway modelling in Australia, to co-operate with manufacturers in producing Australian standards, to unite modellers and to provide data and services to members. Since that time the members of the Association have established branches in four states, our in house magazine “Journal” has grown into a full colour magazine, and our current standards allow scratch builders to built models that are both to scale and compatible with ready to run equipment.
What do I get as a member of the Association?
Over the years the Association has created and occasionally updates a number of publications that provide information to assist members in their pursuit of the hobby. For those just starting out we have our “Guide for Beginners in Model Railways” which contains a series of articles on how to get started with each of the many different aspects of the hobby. For the more advanced modellers we have our “Standards” which provide guidelines for scratchbuilders wanting to build models that will be compatible with existing equipment. Our main publication is the “Journal” which is produced every two months and contains a range of articles written by members, photos of models and prototype railways as well as news on what is happening at each of our branches – effectively keeping the members spread across Australia advised as to what is happening in our hobby. In recent years a Member’s Area has been added to our web site so that members can have online access to our publications as well as to share information with other members who are also on line.
What are the Branches?
These were established by groups of members within the Association to provide additional facilities for those members living close enough together to be able to get together and hold regular meetings. Over the years each branch has acquired clubrooms and produced a number of model railways that have been built by members of the branch. Each branch usually holds an annual exhibition to showcase the hobby to the general public in their area and it is funds raised from these exhibitions and other fund raising activities of the branch members that has allowed the branches to acquire the assets that they now hold. The everyday running costs of each branch is normally covered by charging those who attend the branch a fee for attending that covers their share of the cost of providing the branch facilities that they have used.
What do I get for my joining fee?
All those who join the Association are sent a new members pack that contains their membership badge as well as a copy of our “Guide for Beginners in Model Railways” and “Standards”. A portion of the fee is also passed on to your local branch to help finance the further promotion of the hobby and the Association.
What do I get for my annual membership fee?
The annual membership fee covers the cost of production and distribution of our “Journal” to the members. It also covers the general running costs of the Association including the promotion of the hobby at a national level and the web site.
Can I be a member of a branch without joining the Association?
No. Membership is administered by the Association nationally and there is no separate branch membership. All of the members who reside in a state where the Association has a branch are entitled to attend and participate in branch activities as members of that branch. The branches were established by Association members for the use of Association members and so you cannot become a member of a branch without being a member of the Association.
Do all members participate in their local branch?
No. In fact only about 25% – 30% of Association members attend any branch activities at all in a given year. The vast majority of AMRA members only get the “Journal” and (if on line) have access to the Member’s Area. The committee running the Association therefore concerns itself with trying to improve the facilities that are available to all of the members and has no involvement in the operation of the branches with the exception of passing on a portion of the joining fee in order to assist the branches to promote membership of the Association in their state.
Why is AMRA Membership so cheap compared to other clubs?
Perhaps the main reason for this is the relative membership numbers. All of the fixed costs of the running of the Association and the production of a magazine can be shared between all of those members where with a smaller club the share of those fixed costs that would need to be paid by each member would be much higher. For those involved in branch activities the fees are lower than other clubs because the branches have already acquired significant assets over their many years of existence and so do not need to levy the members in order to be able to finance construction of layouts. So if you were considering joining a different club rather than AMRA because you thought that the AMRA membership fees are too cheap for AMRA to be a quality club then you should reconsider – our membership numbers and longevity allow us to provide a quality membership at a lower price.
What are the roles of the Federal and Branch Committees?
The Federal Committee of Management runs the Association. It looks after all of the material that is made available to all members and also looks after the Association membership. The individual branch Committees of Management run their particular branch including the operation of their clubrooms and layouts and their annual exhibition. The branches do not have to devote time to maintaining their membership records as this is done for them by the Federal CoM. The only area in which the activities of both levels of committee overlap is in the promotion of the Association to which all members belong.