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15th Australian Narrow Gauge Convention - EVENT REPORT

4th May, 2023

The 15th Australian Narrow Gauge convention was held across the Easter long weekend of 2023.  After several years of delays due to COVID restrictions, it was fantastic to finally host this gathering of like-minded modellers once again. 

Some heavy rain forecast had threatened to make loading in and setting up on Good Friday a challenge, however, the rain held off for a few hours and thanks to the great teamwork of the volunteer crew setting everything up for the event went extremely smoothly.  Our venue for this convention, Carwatha College in Noble Park, offered plenty of space under one roof.  This year saw one of our biggest collections thus far, with 18 layouts and displays assembled for the weekend.  The clinic schedule also saw 22 different presentations hosted across the two days, covering modelling techniques and prototype discussions, with all sessions well attended by the interested participants.  Another great edition of the convention handbook saw a compilation of 160 pages of information to take home from the event.  We also had 8 traders in attendance who all reported excellent weekends with plenty of hobby dollars being invested.

This year's convention made an association with the Walhalla Goldfields Railway.  While it wasn’t quite feasible to arrange a chartered tour to visit Walhalla as part of the convention (although numerous attendees made time to visit as part of some holiday time), we were happy to welcome Rob Ashworth and Andrew Stephens as keynote speakers and representatives of the railway.  Both played valuable parts as founding members of the WGR in getting this piece of railway history restored and running again.  They delivered a great presentation on how the railway was returned to current preservation activities, and thanks to the convention patronage and event success, a donation of $2000 was presented to the Walhalla Goldfields Railway on behalf of the Australian Narrow Gauge Convention.

The modelling and photography contest always provides plenty of incredible work being shared by our community, and this year was no exception.  The special category, the 4X4 Challenge, was popular once again with some very creative directions taken by modellers.  After a long hiatus between conventions, it was great to see such a room full of creative modelling pieces.  The results of the contest are published further below.

On Saturday evening, we hosted the awards dinner at the nearby Mulgrave Country Club.  Attendees enjoyed a hearty carvery buffet and shared a few drinks together to celebrate.  Our guest speaker for the evening was Paul Mahoney from New Zealand.  An excellent historian and a very entertaining speaker who provided a clever and engaging show.  Paul’s presentation, “Romance and Daring on the Narrow Gauge” ticked all the boxes with some wonderful anecdotes and stunning images of life on the bush tramways of New Zealand, and was the perfect end to the evening.

Sunday at the convention saw the clinic program continue, plenty more spending with the traders offerings and lots of discussion in the contest room.  After an exhausting weekend, it was again greatly appreciated to have so many volunteers stay back to help with the task of packing everything away, and thanks to that assistance I think we were cleaned up in record time…just before the rain struck again.

15th Australian Narrow Gauge Convention - CONTEST RESULTS

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Locomotive – Steam
1st  Peter MacDonald – A Class Climax
2nd  Adrian Gunzburg – WAGR V Class 2-8-0 No.1207
3rd  David Price – Preston 0-6-0

Locomotives – Diesel & Other
1st  Laurie Green – Gn15 Industrial Diesel
2nd  Lucas Woodward – Tasrail DQ Class 2003
3rd  Steve Hughes – Diesel Critter

Rolling Stock – Freight & M.O.W.
1st   David Whibley – MOW Crane
2nd  David Price – Durango & Silverton RR “Fishbelly” Works Flat 6531
3rd  Laurie Green – D&RGW Rotary Snow Plough
3rd  Michael Milway – Army Flat Wagon

Rolling Stock – Passenger & Caboose
1st  Steve Postma – VR NQR Excursion Arrangement
2nd  Laurie Green – RGS Business Car “Edna”
3rd  David Whibley – Rundown Old Caboose

Whole Train
1st  David Price – The End of Steam is Near
2nd  Roger Hill – Darjeeling Himalaya Railway Goods Train
3rd  Ian Fainges – Military Train

Structure & Man-made Objects
1st  Dan Templeton – Beech Forest station, 1960
2nd  Grant McAdam – Blackwater Pier
3rd  Ian Fainges – Mining Drill Platform
3rd  Tony Harris – Bush Hut

1st  Dan Pickard – Four Mile Creek Tramway
2nd  Richard Grinyer – Wombat Gully
3rd  Gavin Hince – Otways Sawmill

Photograph – Model
1st  Roger Hill – 1:48 Engine Shed Interior
2nd  Dan Pickard – Preston passing Kinmont
3rd  Richard Grinyer – End of the Line

Photograph – Prototype
1st  Tony Harris – Early Morning Sun
2nd  David Price - Approaching Woolshed Flat
3rd  David Price - Durango

Special Category – 4X4 Challenge
1st  Rowan Cole – Pier 4, Bridge on Stringers Creek
2nd  David Whibley – Paddy Hannan
3rd  Richard Grinyer – Wallace & Co Freight Depot

Best Of Show
Dan Pickard - Four Mile Creek Tramway


Narrow Gauge Downunder Award
Dan Templeton - Gould


Rick Richardson Award
Gavin Hince


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