Model Railways

Image Lego railway
Lego Railway

Today we went to the Hobart Model Railway Show. I didn’t get to the 2012 show but normally I go every year.

I have always loved trains, in fact some of my earliest memories involve them. I was lucky too that my parents gave me a train set when I was a child. I loved it. I can still see that big red Triang Hornby box with a picture of a wonderful model railway on the front. It had a locomotive called “Princess Victoria and three maroon and yellow carriages. I loved all the little bits that went with it. The signals, the station with the tiny station staff and passengers, the extra bits of track that came in an X or Y shape fascinated me. For a while we lived in a council house that had a small room with a raised wooden platform, maybe it was meant to put a mattress on, anyway it became our playroom and there we set up the train set, our toy farms, zoo and dollshouses. It wasn’t all to scale but my sister and I would spend hours playing with it all.

One summer when we were in Clacton On Sea for our summer holidays mum took us to a model railway and dollshouse exhibition at the town hall. I don’t remember a  lot about it now but I do remember how much I liked it and I still love visiting model railways and dollshouse exhibitions to this day.

I have a particular affection for British layouts and especially for Hornby trains because of those early experiences but I have seen model layouts based on real and imaginary places in other countries that I’ve been very impressed with.

Image Hornby Layout
Hornby Trains, some of the buildings are tins.

One publicly exhibited model railways that I remember well was at the Royal Adelaide Show every year for many years. It was called “Mini City” and was a European layout. You had to pay to go in but could stay as long as you liked. It was a big layout with a big city station, countryside with farms, a church with a wedding, an airport, a cable car and more. They would dim the lights to simulate night and even after a few years of seeing it I still enjoyed the spectacle.

Image model railway
An American style layout. I liked this signage.

Probably the best model railways I have ever visited was right here in Hobart. It was called Alpenrail and operated in Claremont for many years. It was based on Switzerland and was so accurate that the operator, Rudi,  told us that he had visitors from there who recognised places near their home in the model.  It was a big layout and there was a lot to see in it. In fact it was just now as I was researching links for this post that I discovered that it was now closed. I have included a link to the history site on their webpage although I don’t know how much longer it will be there.

There used to be a DVD available about how the railway was built but I don’t know if you can still buy it except perhaps on the secondhand market.

Model Railways are great fun for young and old. Children enjoy seeing a tiny world and probably just like I did they wish they were tiny themselves and could go there. Adults can enjoy the accuracy of the modelling, reliving their childhoods or just the whimsy of some layouts. There are different types of modellers, for some it is all about the scenery, others like to model a particular place and time and are particular that the trains should run to a “real” timetable. Others have a favourite gauge, Z, N, HO/OO or the large O gauge garden railways. Thomas the Tank Engine is nearly always featured and there is often a Lego Railway which children enjoy.

Image Thomas and wagons
Thomas The Tank Engine Layout 2011

Some of my photos were taken at this year’s Model Railways Show and some from previous years.

Image scenery
An English village with the High Street and passengers waiting for the bus.
Brighton Junction-A Tasrail layout.
Image model trains
Tasrail Locomotives on the “East Tamar” layout.

I have mixed feelings about Australian model layouts. This year’s theme appeared to be modelling Tasmanian railways and I saw some very good ones depicting Tasrail when it was much busier than today. I liked “Brighton Junction” and “East Tamar” especially. Seeing familiar locomotives from the SAR or AN like the ones I grew up amongst is nice but I have to admit that I don’t find the country layouts nearly as interesting to examine as the European and British style ones with their towns crammed with activities and different types of scenery. I guess I am a scenery buff. I do appreciate the modelling skills needed to make Australian scenery and buildings as they often have to be made “from scratch”.

Away from the main exhibits were the larger steam engines built by enthusiasts who proudly fired them up. I was struck by how miniature railways always seem to appeal most to the very young and the not so young.

Image model builders
“Engineers” enjoying a chat while they show off their exhibits.

The Hobart Model Railway Show is on for two days every August. Think about paying a visit next year.

Image-circus wagon
These lions are about to escape!
Image yellow carriage
See you next year!

This is me-Myer Briggs Testing

I first heard of the Myer Briggs personality types years ago when I was doing a work related course. It was one of the few things about the course that I found interesting and enjoyable. I was on the course because my supervisor said I had to be, no other reason.

There we were, an assorted group of people from TransAdelaide where I was working at the time, clerical people, mechanics, management types and a handful of us cleaners feeling rather out of our depth.

I had always considered myself an introvert but it was interesting to learn that there are many different types of introverts and I was quite surprised to discover that several people who I had considered quite outgoing were introverts in some situations. It also helped me to understand why I had trouble getting along with some management types who were always thinking of the “Big Picture”.

Today out of curiousity I took an online test wondering if the results would be the same. They were and I think that the things I’ve done in my life bear out the accuracy of the results.

After I left TransAdelaide (now Adelaide Metro) I decided I’d enjoy working in hospitality. I got a job as a housekeeper in an Adelaide apartment hotel and when we moved to Tasmania in 2002 I found a similar job in Hobart. Later I became a volunteer at a community radio station and now I volunteer as an office assistant and cleaner at a church in my town.

This is me.

ISFJ – “Conservator“. Desires to be of service and to minister to individual needs – very loyal. 13.8% of total population.

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Daily Prompt: There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

I think that I would like to live a semi nomadic life travelling often but always returning to home base. I do often daydream about travelling to places near and far. I love planning trips both real and imaginary and I love the anticpation of setting off on a journey. There are still many places I’d love to see.

Checking the Route
Checking the Route
On The Road
On The Road

I often see “Grey Nomads” camped in a park near where I live and I think that would be a great way to travel spending as much or as little time in a place as you wish and carrying a little bit of home with you wherever you go.

However I could never be a total nomad because I would miss my stuff. I’d miss having enough space to work on scrapbooking projects. I’d miss my doll collection and I’d be bound to suddenly think of some book sitting on the bookshelf at home that I wanted to read again. I’d miss curling up in a familiar armchair in a familiar room and feeling relaxed and contented. Seeing new places and revisiting old ones is wonderful but I think your mind can only take in so many new sights at a time and then you can’t absorb any more till you have digested all you have seen. Going home is a chance to reflect and recharge before setting off again.

Spirit of Tasmania ferry
Spirit of Tasmania ferry

Travel – Riding the Bus

It’s been a while since I wrote anything for this blog. I have been busily blogging away in my head but that is as far as things have got as life, in the form of a broken bed and the need to renovate the bedroom before it is replaced, intervened.

One of the things that I often find myself thinking about when I have time to daydream is travel. Not necessarily travel to faraway places although I do think about that a lot but just about the pleasure I get from journeys no matter how short or mundane they may be. This is particularly true if I travel alone.  I often think that the best part of a journey is the beginning, the sense of anticipation you get from setting out to see something new and the departure from the daily routine.

The Redline Bus Depot in Hobart doesn’t have the atmosphere of an international airport or one of the great railway stations of the world but it is the starting place for one of my most frequent journeys the 80 kilometre trip to Oatlands that I make every month or so.

I usually catch the Launceston bus that goes at 5:30pm. At this time of year by the time I arrive at the Depot it is nearly dark. There is not much to the place, a large room with a row of seats for waiting passengers, a vending machine and a television with the sound turned down. In summer I can watch the cricket while I wait for my bus but in winter it’s generally more interesting to read a copy of “Tasmanian Travelways” from the pile on the table or as most passengers do play with their phones or iPads.

The usual passengers on a Friday evening are a mixed bunch. There are unaccompanied children being sent to spend the weekend with their fathers, teens going to sports events in Launceston, university students going home for the weekend, mothers with small children and older people from the country going home after a day of shopping and doctor’s appointments in Hobart.

Around 5:15pm the driver starts loading luggage onto the bus. It’s usually the same driver and I say hello to him when he picks up my bag. Once most of the luggage is loaded we are allowed to board. I like to sit near the front of the bus as my stop is only a bit over an hour away and I always take a window seat if I can get it. Usually the bus is full and I have a seat mate. Sometimes we’ll chat but more often we don’t.

The bus departs and the driver goes into his usual spiel about the features of the bus. He reminds everyone that they are required by law to wear their seatbelts. Hardly anyone does. As we make our way through the early evening traffic we make a couple of stops to pick up more passengers. It’s too dark to see the view as we go over the Bridgewater Bridge but the successive bumps in the road tell me when we’ve reached it. Once we get on to the new Brighton bypass I tend to lose my sense of direction in the dark. There is not much to see and in the dimmed lighting most passengers doze including me.

I wake up with a start, it’s dark and I have to get my bearings. Usually we are still twenty minutes or more from Oatlands. I can feel that the bus is climbing and decide that we are probably somewhere around Constitution Hill one of the steeper parts of the Midland Highway.

Finally the bus turns off the highway and takes the road into Oatlands. I try to see into the window of the supermarket as we go down the High Street as I know my sister is in there working. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of her. The bus stops outside the pub and I say goodbye to the driver before walking the few metres to her house. On Monday morning I will be heading home on a bus full of sleepy people from Devonport and Launceston and will be able to enjoy the journey in daylight.

Council Offices-snow
A snowy day in Oatlands

It is official.

Having read the offending article I could not agree more.

Queen Victoria

TheAgeIt’s official. The mainstream media has gone stark raving mad.

This article was published in the Age today:

For the sake of the nation, Ms Gillard should stand aside

Let me preface this post by saying that I take great pride in writing a blog using my own name. I am Victoria Rollison and these are my opinions. For some people, writing under a pseudonym is their only option. I understand that. But what I don’t understand is why this piece of junk article has no byline on it. It implies it has been written by a newspaper. But we all know newspapers are just mechanisms for delivering words. They are where news articles are published. Newspapers can’t actually write, because newspapers don’t have a brain. Someone, or some people wrote this article and I don’t understand why they are not proud enough of their words to put their name…

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Daily Prompt: Singing In The Rain

When I think of these words I immediately think of the famous scene in the movie of the same name where Gene Kelly dances in pouring rain. It’s a catchy song but I have to say that on the few occasions I’ve been caught in a rainstorm and soaked to the skin I did not feel in the least like singing and dancing. Squelching along with sodden shoes and wet clothes sticking to you is no fun, especially if you know you have an hour long bus ride home to endure before you can get out of them.I can remember two or three occasions when it has happened to me and most of them seem to involve rained out sporting events.

However, I do enjoy listening to the rain when I’m snug and cosy at home.  It feels good to be in a warm room listening to the rain thundering on the galvanised iron roof . “It’s really coming down out there.” my husband and I say to each other. “I’m glad we’re not out in it.” Of course there is more than just being grateful for our good fortune in having a roof over our heads.  After a hot dry summer it is wonderful to see how everything turns green again after a good rain.

Many people think that it rains all the time in Tasmania and parts of it are quite wet at times, but Hobart itself is the second driest capital city in Australia. Adelaide, where we used to live,  is the driest.

image topiary group by dry lake.
Lakeside Topiary group, July 2008

There were drought conditions here for some years in the mid 2000’s and the midlands and east coast of Tasmania really suffered. Farmers had to put stock down because there was no feed. Lake Dulverton at Oatlands dried up completely. I was told that years ago they used to have sailing and even speed boat racing on Lake Dulverton, I walked around the lake and saw the remains of moorings and there was the sailing club but the lake itself reminded me of the cover of the Midnight Oil album “Red Sails In The Sunset” which showed Sydney Harbour with no water.

It would have made a great dirt bike track at that time.

image dry lake & sign
What Water?

Finally, there came a wet winter, it rained and rained. Gradually the lake filled and finally in spring of 2009 it was full for the first time in many years. I remember visiting the lake around this time and seeing people rowing and fishing on the lake. That did make me feel like singing.

So even though I curse it when I get caught in it or when my husband spatters the washing with mud with his car  I really do love the rain because it brings new life.

image topiary group by lake.
Topiary Group December 2009
image fisherman
Fisherman December 2009

My Main Street-Rural Revival

The other night I watched a movie called Main Street. I picked it at random because the blurb made it sound interesting and it had Colin Firth in it.

The blurb said that it was about a town that had fallen on to hard times and a stranger who had arrived in town with a proposition that could change everything.

Well, the proposition turned out to be the storage of hazardous waste and while the characters in the film all had happy endings it was not certain if the town would take this route to prosperity.

That was the real story for me. Is the risk of bringing hazardous waste into  your town worth the financial gain?

I can see both sides of the arguement. On the one hand nobody wants to see their town die, their shops closed and their young people move away to look for work elsewhere. The people in my area where have lived through this. Apples, farming and timber were the industries that the Huon Valley depended on for many years but gradually they have all declined. Locals tell me that in the early 1990s so many people were leaving that houses were almost being given away. There are towns like ours all over Australia and it’s understandable that when a large company wants to build, say a pulp mill, there are many people who think it’s a good thing for the district even if it’s environmentally questionable.

I know that I would have no problem in saying no to a hazardous waste dump in my town no matter how much money it would bring I just feel that it would not be worth the risk.However, the issues we have here in Tasmania are more difficult.

When I first came here over ten years ago I realised that forestry was something that people were very passionate about. I worked with women whose husbands income depended directly or indirectly on it. I saw cars with stickers that said “Greens Tell Lies” which I found very disturbing. It is very much a personal matter to many people. The very strong dislike that many people here have for green politics has probably pushed me in that direction out of sheer contrariness.

I’m a moderate myself, I hate confrontation and always look for compromise. I wouldn’t want to ban all logging but in my heart of hearts I feel that cutting down old growth forests to make woodchips is just wrong. If we must do this I’d prefer to see the timber used for something that people can appreciate like some of the lovely timber furniture that is made here. I know that forests that are logged are replanted but will they be allowed to live to over a hundred years without being disturbed.? I’m not sure. Once you cut down an old tree it’s gone forever. You can put another tree there but it won’t be the same. I know there are a lot of people like me and others more extreme who will go to any lengths to stop timber processing. I don’t always agree with their methods.It’s not a problem we’re going to solve very easily.

Image big log
Swamp Gum, Geeveston, Tasmania.

So if a town decides to take the moral high ground and say no to industry there has to be something else. I like the idea of making communities more self sufficient with things such as community gardens and co-ops to help people feed themselves and survive the hard times. I like the idea of farmers diversifying to other products and manufactureres finding niche markets, maybe a lot of little things are better for the community than one big one.

I have also read of many rural towns in Australia who have encouraged new residents to move there by offering cheap rents. It seems to work well for some.

Thinking about all this led me to discover the website of Renew Australia, This is an organisation that works with communities and property owners to take otherwise empty shops, offices, commercial and public buildings and make them available to incubate short term use by artists, creative projects and community initiatives.

I think these sorts of ideas can work. Recently I went to a meeting about the demolition of buildings at the local school. It was reassuring to see that the hall was full of a diverse group of people, from elderly residents who had gone to the school themselves, former teachers, young parents and people like myself who have come here in past few years and care about the community as a whole.I do believe that if communities can come together things can change for the better and we won’t need to compromise our ideals.

Links to organisations and businesses in Geeveston.