Early Days At Bedford

At the next recorded meeting on 7th October 1957, the Secretary, Jack STANBRIDGE, was requested to write to Mr STRICKLAND to become Club Patron. Mike BEALE, who was the Treasurer, read out a letter from ‘a Mr W. PIDGEON of Bunbury’ who was inquiring re membership. (This Mr W. PIDGEON is, of course, the present Mr Justice W. PIDGEON, a judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. It is not clear from the subsequent records of the Club whether Bill PIDGEON ever joined the W.A.M.R.C.)

There was some discussion about covering the layout with insurance (to quote the minutes exactly), on track nights (the minutes record that ‘Mr M. DALBY was not to be taken as a general caretaker of the layout nor to be at the beck and call to open the layout at any old time’), on junior members (suggested by Max DALBY that groups be formed of juniors under a senior instructor for such things as scenery, electrical, track-laying, etc.), on forming a ‘track committee’ (it was decided that the existing Club committee form the track committee) and on design of a future club layout (this was raised by Syd HARVEY- it is the first reference to Syd in the Club’s records and is presumably the date on which he joined the Club). Roy BUNGATE reported that he had purchased ‘a quantity of wire’ valued at £1/15/7 but he was prepared to wait for the Club to become more financial before seeking reimbursement. Also Jack STANBRIDGE reported in the cost of the advertisement in the paper (£3/0/0) but he too would wait for the Club to become more financial. (It is only in recent years that the Club seems to have been able to pay its bills ‘up front’, although we did run into a cash shortage this year! [1987])

Jack STANBRIDGE suggested the possibility of running a railway excursion to boost the Club finances. The Committee decided to look into the cost of running such an excursion. Also, Jack STANBRIDGE was requested to make up an official Attendance Book and a Register of members. (Jack does not seem to have moved very fast on this, because it was not until 10th March 1958 that there is any record of members’ attendances at meetings, etc. and there are no formal registers to be found until the early seventies… a pity because it would have filled in a few gaps in the early history of the Club. Almost all of the railway modellers of those times joined the Club — there were no other model railway clubs in Perth then — and it is not certain when they joined (and left) the W.A.M.R.C.)

The next meeting was held at the Railway Institute (as had been the previous one) on 4th November 1957. Max DALBY, who was the President, had attended to the insurance question, apparently ‘off his own bat’ (as the minutes say). The Secretary was asked to write to ‘persons known to be interested in model railways’ and invite their application to join the Club. There was a proposal (which was adopted) for adults to pay 2/- (20¢) and juniors to pay 6d. (5¢) to pay for the rent of the room at the Railway Institute. There was a discussion about hiring a steam train or a diesel train for a rail trip to Chidlow and suggestions that each member be a guarantor for £3/0/0. (Assuming, say 20 members, then it would appear that the hire cost of a train to Chidlow might have been about £60 i.e. $120). It was suggested that all members should find out who would be able to obtain friends to go on a trip and also that the trip should be in the last week of the school holidays — so Mums could get rid of the kids (to quote the minutes exactly!). The Secretary (Jack STANBRIDGE) was asked to write to the South Australian Model Railway Club to obtain information on where they obtain their railway films and costs of same. The next track night was to be on Monday 11th November 1957 at Bedford Park with transport to that place waiting at the Railway Institute until 8.00 pm. (a taxi service, but then public transport to Bedford Park was probably not too frequent at night in those times…and not everyone had a car either!)

There was a Committee Meeting on 18th November, at which the final arrangements were made for a film night (Jack STANBRIDGE to arrange the films, Bob LEGGAT to organise a projector from Kevron (they must have been a fairly new company in those days) and Mr BECKER to fix up hire of the room) on 2nd December.

At the meeting on 2nd December, which started at 8.10 pm, and finished at 10.05 pm, after which Jack STANBRIDGE showed the movie films, they discussed having a rail trip as run by the Melbourne Club, viz. leave City at about 1.30 pm on a tour such as to Kwinana, then back to Fremantle(in those days, there was a line running South past Coogee and Naval Base as far as Kwinana) and then over to Armadale (in those days, the line from Fremantle to Armadale, via Jandakot, was still in existence). However, as the minutes say, ‘discussion lapsed’. An amusing part of these minutes say ‘Mr LEGGAT spoke re track for the Club — Mr HARVEY offered packing cases’.… were they really going to build their tracks with packing case material? No, only the baseboards and framing, thus starting a long tradition, and love affair, of the Club with packing cases!

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