Rest In Peace
02.11.1930 — 08.04.2023
Alan was born in Subiaco, the only child of Alfred and Irene Porter. The family home was at 185 Cambridge St, West Leederville and apart from the “girl next door” there were no other children in the nearby area. Alan and the girl spent much time together in their young days sharing toys and playing together. The next door family moved away while he was still a young child.
Alan went to West Leederville Primary School and then to Perth Modern School, where he was a student at the same time as Rolf Harris and Bob Hawke. At Perth Modern School, he was in the Army Cadets and in retirement became involved with the Alumni in the History Centre at the School. He also attended the University of Western Australia and joined BP in 1954.
In 1955, he worked in the BP Kwinana refinery laboratory as an Industrial Chemist. His work with BP over his career saw him working in the UK, Canada, and Yemen (Aden). He was then appointed Assistant Manager of the BP Western Point refinery in Victoria before his final appointment as the General Manager at BP Kwinana in 1976. He held this position until he retired in 1995.
Back to his younger years (early 20’s) and a visitor to the Porter house to see Alan’s mother was an attractive young lady. It was no other than the “girl from next door” mentioned earlier and there was an immediate attraction between Alan and Margaret. They were married in 1954 and had four children (three daughters and a son). They lived in a Company house in Medina until he was promoted to a position with BP in London. When the family returned to Perth in 1976, Alan purchased their family home in Myaree. The house was ideal for a model railway person with a large area under the house for a garage, plus plenty of room for the model railway and his library of railway books. Alan’s model railway (Wheatstone Bridge) was well travelled having its construction being started at Medina. The layout was built on 4ft x 3ft modules, so they could be easily transported when necessary. The modules were taken to England, Victoria and finally to Myaree. The layout was displayed at one of the AMRA (WA) Perth exhibitions at the Perth Town Hall in the late 1970’s where it was on the stage area.
As well as being a devoted family man, Alan’s interests were sailing, fishing, boating, carpentry, growing veggies, model railways, full size railways and he had a large aviary in the backyard at Myaree that housed some 200 budgies at one time.
He and Margaret did extensive travelling when he retired until Margaret died in 2005. They had been married for 51 years. Alan stayed in the Myaree house and in all he lived there for 47 years. In retirement he kept in contact with the staff at the refinery by visiting just before Christmas each year to personally wish all a Merry Christmas. He was also part of a group of retired refinery people who would meet on a regular basis for lunch and a chat.
On the railway/model railway scene, Alan was one of the Founder members of the West Australian Division of the Australian Railway Historical Society and he attended their first meeting in 1959. He was also Secretary of the Division in the mid 1980’s.
Alan joined our Club on 26th October 1965. He was Club President in the early 1980’s and also served as Secretary.
Being a “scientific numbers/facts and figures man”, when our Club was located at the Showground (1972 — 1998) and we opened to the public during the Perth Royal Show each year, Alan would on each day of the Show get the number of people who attended the Show the previous day and from our numbered ticket sales he would calculate what percentage of the people attending the Show actually came into our exhibit. Show after Show he did the “sums” and had our percentage of the gate numbers for our Club records.
Also on facts and figures with his AMRA cap on, Alan would at the annual Model Railway Exhibition when he was Co-Ordinator of the Exhibition, wear a red coloured tie on the first day of the Exhibition. When the Exhibition had “broken even” and started to make money (usually during the afternoon of the second day), he would change the tie and put a black tie on which he would wear for the rest of the Exhibition.
He was a member of the British Railway Modellers of Australia (BRMA) as well as being in the LMS special interest group at AMRA (WA).
As recognition for his service to the WAMRC, he was made a Life Member of the West Australian Model Railway Club at the general meeting on 19th September 1984.
Alan’s funeral was held at Fremantle Cemetery on 27th April 2023 and the mourners numbered well over 100. For his model railway interest, an 8F model locomotive was part of the decoration on his casket. He had remained in his home until about a month before his death, when mobility issues saw him move into the Peel Health Campus where he died on April 08. In addition to his four children, he had nine grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
On a personal note, I first met Alan in late 1964 and it was through him that I started to write to Hatton’s Model Railways in Liverpool, England to purchase Hornby Dublo models.
This obituary was prepared by Club Life Member, Don Finlayson — May 2023.