Finally getting a bit of time to sit down and throw together a report on our recent trip down to Tassie for the 2017 Launceston Model Railway Exhibition. I attended this show last year (see previous blog entries), and was more than happy to be returning again this year to support what I think is a great show with pretty good principles.
For this year, I was able to attend with a handful of travelling companions, with the organisers generously inviting a small group of Victorian and South Australian modellers down to add some new sights for the local attendees. Cars were loaded up to the brim with layouts and models, and we ventured off across the high seas. They warned us it may be rough as we hit the heads leaving Port Melbourne...they were right. Wasted a really nice burger and three beers on that trip over!
Arriving in Devonport on the Friday morning, first stop was a big breakfast to fill the stomach I emptied on the trip over. Now feeling refreshed, a short trip down the highway saw us in Launceston early, so the task of loading everything in and setting up was stress free. No great rush to get set up in time, which allowed for a good day to potter around with our displays, enjoy a bit of lunch at the cafe next door, and meet a handful of the local modellers. Checking into the hotel was good to get the head onto a bed that wasn't moving so far up, down and all over the place.
Exhibition day arrived and the doors to Albert Hall opened to the public. The venue is perfect for a very comfortable weekend of exhibiting. Great facilities, nicely carpeted, beautiful architecture, a decent feed at lunch, and the crowd coming through were genuinely engaging. Got to have plenty of curious conversations with the visitors. Often at exhibitions you get asked the same repetitive questions, so it was really nice to be speaking with people that seemed to have more thorough discussions because they were interested, rather than asking the standard "how do you do that" because they feel obligated to ask something. Anyway, here's a bunch of photos...
The Victoria contingent comprised of myself, with a collection of 90mm Challenge Diorama’s (kindly lent by a group of modellers from the Australian Narrow Gauge Convention), and a continuous scenery demonstration. I had a section of my home layout there, with a heap of trees and scenery material to add to it across the weekend (will get around to a separate blog post on that one). Mario Rapinett travelled light with a couple of very full suitcases, and displayed an interesting selection of mini dioramas and detail pieces. Allan Ogden was there with his Glyn Halt 7mm layout, which is a simple layout that speaks with its lush scenery. Laurie Green displayed a new mini layout, depicting some Aussie bush loggers accommodation on the passing railway, as well as a couple of his highly detailed diorama’s. Grant McAdam brought along a selection of his beautifully crafted structures for show, and Richard Grinyer ventured out with a great collection of his detail rich dioramas. It all came together as a comprehensive collection of what some of the Victorian crew have to offer. In amongst us was Mark Fry to demonstrate some of his own scenery techniques and various materials he uses, but perhaps more importantly, there to promote the imminent launch of his new book, “On Splintered Rails”, which is nothing short of an amazingly thorough collection of some incredible Tasmania logging history. Apart from being a very impressive collection of photos and information, the entire proceeds of this book are being donated to the Kids Cancer Project, which is a tremendous gesture from a very passionate author…and I’m really happy to hear the print run of this book is pretty much fully reserved, so the donation will reach its full potential.
Aside from us lot (and Mark), a handful of Tassie modellers put on some great displays themselves. Simon Handby’s “Fingal” OO14 Tasmanian layout, was a stand out for me, as a clever and beautifully modelled effort (hoping to see it shared with the mainlanders in the near future). The exhibition ran well across the course of the weekend, with another thoroughly good exhibition enjoyed by all, so here's hoping the show continues on as the principles behind what the organisers are trying to achieve and bring to the Tasmanian viewers is top notch.
Packing up at the end of the exhibition was another casual affair as we weren't due back on the boat until the following evening, but the hearty pub feed and a pint went down well on the Sunday night. The couple of us that were taking our time heading back to Devonport on the Monday took in a few stops on the way back to the evening departure. First stop for the morning drive was at Pearns Steam World in Westbury. This place houses a substantial collection of steam traction engines, tractors and other historic machinery. Plenty of rust, but also plenty of great relics.
After browsing the yards at Pearns, we headed to Latrobe for an early lunch at House of Anvers (was worth a second visit after stopping there for breakfast on the way through a few days earlier), before continuing the journey up to Devonport for a stop at The Don River Railway. A wander around the yards and workshops to capture a few more photos of some Tassie railway history helped fill out the afternoon before preparing to board the Spirit of Tasmania for to return trip to the mainland.
The weather for the trip home was far smoother than the trip down, apart from the fog which saw horns sounding out regularly for the start of the journey (thankfully the fog cleared before it was time to catch some sleep for the night). Finally back on Victorian soil, all that was left was a quick unpacking of the car before having to head to work on the Tuesday afternoon. Another Launceston exhibition weekend done and dusted, and another weekend I was proud to be a part of.