In The Beginning

On Wednesday, 10th June 1987, the West Australian Model Railway Club Inc. turned 30 years of age, for on that exact date in 1957 six people met at a premises in Bennett Street, East Perth to discuss the idea of forming a Model Railway Club.

The six people were, Arthur DALBY (who in those days ran a hobby shop in Bennett Street, so the meeting was presumably at his shop or his home and it seems he may have been the one who called the meeting), Max DALBY (his son?), N. PHILLIPS, J. WINZAR, J. BOND and M. G. BEALE.

The meeting opened at 7.30 pm and Mr M. DALBY was elected Chairman pro-term. Mr N. PHILLIPS then moved that a model railway club be formed. This was seconded by Mr A. DALBY and was carried.

Mr M. BEALE then moved that the club be known as “Perth Railway Modelling Club”. This was seconded by Mr A. DALBY but the motion was ‘rejected’ (as the Minutes of the meeting record).

Mr J. WINZAR then moved that the club be named “WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MODEL RAILWAY CLUB”. This was seconded by Mr. BEALE and the motion was carried (present day members will note that somewhere along the years, the club lost the ‘ERN’ part of its name).

Mr N. PHILLIPS moved that the Aim and Object of the Club be:- “The Pooling of Resources and Ideas for the betterment of railway modelling in the state of W.A.” This was seconded by Mr BEALE and the motion was carried.

It was resolved that approaches be made to all members (Note that all present at this meeting saw themselves as ‘members’ from the passing of the relevant motion to form the club. However, at the so-called ‘first’ annual meeting held on the 2nd September 1957 the 17 people present found that no-one was technically a member before that A.G.M.) to interest more knowledgeable people to assist those present. Another meeting was to be held on the 24th June 1957. Mr DALBY (which one?) was requested to write to the “Railway Model News” re the formation of the club. The meeting closed at 9.10 pm.

(A close examination of the 1957 and 1958 issues of the “Model Railway News” failed to show any reference to the new club in the far-flung colony of W.A. — either Mr DALBY forgot to send the information or the MRN did not think it worth printing!)

At the second meeting on 24th June 1957, the original six ‘members’ were joined by another 8 people — these were A.R. MASON, R. MENKENS, X. BALLENGER, R. KEAY, Jack STANBRIDGE, Roy BUNGATE, R. ELLIS and R. LEGGAT.

At this meeting (to quote from the Minutes), ‘Mr BEALE spoke re model layouts, Mr STANBRIDGE spoke re trackage, Mr M. DALBY spoke re ‘O’ gauge and ‘OO’ gauge layouts but all within one club, and Mr STANBRIDGE discussed merits of ‘O’ gauge!’

Mr M. DALBY moved that a committee of three be formed to formulate Rules and Regulations and ways and means to have a layout and decide on fees. The motion was seconded by Mr. WINZAR and was carried. Mr DALBY (which one?), Mr STANBRIDGE and Mr BEALE were appointed.

Mr STANBRIDGE spoke on scale and semi-scale ‘O’ and ‘OO’ gauge. Mr WINZAR requested where layouts could be seen in ‘O’ and ‘OO’ gauge so that a decision could be made on the merits of scale — discussion then lapsed (!)

Mr LEGGAT moved that the club meet every first and third Monday of every month. This was seconded by Mr PHILLIPS and was carried.

Mr WINZAR moved that a letter be sent to the General Secretary of the Railway Institute for their generous offer in making space available in their magazine. Mr DALBY told the meeting present of his discussion with the General Secretary of the Railway Institute.

Mr WINZAR requested that a sub-committee (refer above) approach the Railway Department for conducted tours over a portion of the W.A.G.R. and report back to the meeting.

It was resolved that the next meeting be held on the 15th July 1957.

On the 15th July 1957, some of the ‘originals’ did not come to the meeting and a few new names appeared — these were R. PHILLIPS (Jnr), M. WHELDON (Jnr) and KEAY (Jnr) — the beginnings of a possible juniors section?

After dealing with a motion from Mr LEGGAT that a pamphlet be printed and distributed in various places, advertising the club, the main business was the election of officers. From this, the following were duly nominated, seconded and agreed:-

President Max DALBY
Vice-President Bob LEGGAT
Secretary Jack STANBRIDGE
Treasurer Mike BEALE

Mr STANBRIDGE moved that the First Annual General Meeting be held on Monday 5th August 1957 for the purpose of accepting the constitution of the Club as suggested by the committee. This motion was carried, apparently without a seconder! (The date was later altered to 2nd September 1957)

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