Saturday 15 April 2023

15th Narrow Gauge Convention

 Easter 2023 - 15th Australian Narrow Gauge convention

The 15th Australian Narrow Gauge convention was held over Easter at Noble Park North, a suburb of Melbourne.  The venue was Carwatha College, which has been used in the past for some conventions, most recently in 2013.

This convention was the first since 2019, with Covid getting in the way.

A railway convention is an excellent way to gain new ideas, see some excellent modelling, meet up with friends, exercise the wallet, and discuss products with traders without the distraction of the public at exhibitions

Convention Displays

Layouts, dioramas, and models were on display in the main hall

Richard Grinyer displayed a selection of dioramas in various scales.  Details abounded everywhere

Steve Postma displayed a selection on On30 Puffing Billy models.  Steve also did an excellent clinic on the approach to his modelling the Heyday of the VR narrow gauge
Max Burke displayed a selection of narrow gauge trains, including from the Burrinjuck line, as well as pictures of his large collection of vehicles

Display layouts

Eddington Quay by Ted Allan

Monbulk Creek by Martin Kaselis is in T scale - smaller than Z scale

Max Burke's quarry diorama

Pete Heininger displyed some micro layouts in HOn30


Apple Cove, by Peter Kendall

Port Franklin, by the Grampian Model Railway club.  This layout was for sale.

Kinmont, and Winch No. 3 by Dan Pickard, and David Price.   This layout was also the subject of a clinic.

Kinmont by Dan - recently featured in NGDU

Winch No.3 by David - innovative scenery extending outwards from the shadow boxes

David, with the fiddleyard, that folds up into an easily moved, car friendly size

The points by Rod Hutchinson

Trade stands  

These are companies that support the hobby, and it was good to discuss products, and ideas.

Argyle had a good display of live steam garden railway items, including their latest project, a VR Na live steam in 1:19 scale.  Very impressive

The full list..

Narrow Gauge Downunder, Scalemodel Co, Keiran Ryan, Brunnel Hobbies, Gwyder Valley, Broad Gauge Models, Arglye, and Light Railway research society.   

I probably spent too much on books from Light railway, but did find some detail items, and scratchbuilding supplies to help with my Wagga project.  And I was very impressed with the backscenes from Brunel Hobbies - and discussed the options with Mary for getting my bespoke backscene jpg's printed


Wide and varied - there were occassionly 3 clinics being run simultaneously, leaving difficulty deciding which clinic to attend.  Most of the clinics were documented in the excellent book produced by the convention committee, so I haven't really missed out.

Convention contest.

Just a selection of the contest models.  Each model represents a lot of time, for instance, the fishing boat diorama being a Melbourne covid lockdown project. 

One of the dioramas.  (note My amateur efforts with photoshop to remove most of the background clutter.)

Dan Pickard took out best of show with a log tramway diorama.  Voting in all categories was by public vote, and I understand that the choice of "best of show" had 16 different models, an indication of the quality of all models in the contest

Special category was the 10cm square dioramas

The smaller (blue) Darjeeling loco in the open wagon was built by the late Frank Kelly

Steam loco category. Special note the three Lego models (the Na, SAR 400, and West Coast wilderness loco)

Tassie loco was a 3D print done as a school project. Amazing.  Laurie Green took out the internal combustion category with his yellow critter

Home Layout visit 

Whilst not part of the convention, some modellers had opened up their home layouts for visits.  I was fortunate to attend Bill Blacks Sn3 layout, a layout I had previously seen only in magazines.  Below are just a small selection of pictures I took of this world class layout

Click on any image to enlarge.  Bill had this DCC/Sound loco slowly running unattended whilst he entertained modellers in his equally impressive crew lounge


Modelling NSW in HO is not my only model railway interest.  Attending railway conventions of all scales and prototypes is a great way to broaden one's knowledge.  

This blogpost is also dedicated to Brad Hinton, (Armchair Modeller Downunder), who due to an illness was unable to attend.  Get well soon Brad.

Until next time.