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50 years of LRRSA


Roderick Smith
 

I have placed four more Cheetham Geelong photos into my album.
Photo 4: Keith Kings.
Photo 5: The teenager in the middle could well be Richard Dempster.
Photo 6: John Withers.
Photo 10: just admire the train.

I had seen Les on many trips (mainly ARHS), but the only time we spoke was when he came up at the end of the agm (egm?) when we set up the constitution committee, and congratulated me for steering through nastiness to come up with an optimistic and practical solution.

Jack McLean had an interesting story about Les, dating from WWII. Because of his leg impairment, Les was working as a lift operator in VR's head office. One day, federal police came in and whisked him off. Les's railway collection included maps which were seen to be of importance for Australia's war effort, and they wanted to get access to the information. I can't recall the country, but it could well have been Ireland.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Frank Stamford <frank.stamford@...> wrote:
...this was to be Les's last rail enthusiast trip before he
died on 21 March...


Frank Stamford
 

Hello Rod,

Yes, it was an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), and happened around
the same time as the trip the photographs you are currently uploading
illustrate. It was the only time in the Society's history that I can
remember when things became sufficiently heated to have an election. And
that was an election for five members to form a Committee to write a new
Constitution. They met weekly until they had done it, presented it to
the AGM in June, and it was accepted!

I know considerably more about the wartime lift incident because I
subsequently benefited from the outcome. Les used to drive a motorbike
until he was involved in an accident at Camberwell Junction around 1930.
As a result of the accident he lost a leg. This seriously limited job
opportunities, so he became a lift driver. I don't know that he ever
drove lifts in VR Head Office, I think it was always in an insurance
office in the city. One day during World War II two military
intelligence people came into the lift and asked him whether there was
somewhere they could speak to him in private. He took the lift down to
the basement and switched it off and they told him they were involved in
developing a strategy to drive the Japanese out of Java and Sumatra, and
they needed to know everything they could find out on the railways
there. They had been advised that he was a probably a good source of
information.

Les's interest in railways was very wide ranging, and had been a long
term subscriber to a number of overseas magazines, and had corresponded
with people overseas. I think he had inherited his interest from his
father, and had also inherited a good railway library. As a result he
was able to give them a lot of information. In return they gave him a
copy of the report they prepared on the railways of Java and Sumatra.

The reason I know all this is because Les told me, and lent me the
report, which I found quite startling. It was very detailed in terms of
routes, and locomotive types, which were interesting beyond belief. The
reason Les had lent me the report was that I had told him that I
intended to visit Indonesia on the way to Europe in June 1968, and that
I could not find much reliable information on the railways there, apart
from a "Railway Wonders of the World" article of 1935, and a few
references to deliveries of steam and diesel locomotives in the 1960s.
So the report was extremely useful in giving me a background of what I
might find there.

It was an admirable characteristic of Les to be very helpful to young
railway enthusiasts if they demonstrated a serious interest.

Regards,

Frank

On 23/12/2010 11:03 PM, rnveditor wrote:

I have placed four more Cheetham Geelong photos into my album.
Photo 4: Keith Kings.
Photo 5: The teenager in the middle could well be Richard Dempster.
Photo 6: John Withers.
Photo 10: just admire the train.

I had seen Les on many trips (mainly ARHS), but the only time we spoke
was when he came up at the end of the agm (egm?) when we set up the
constitution committee, and congratulated me for steering through
nastiness to come up with an optimistic and practical solution.

Jack McLean had an interesting story about Les, dating from WWII.
Because of his leg impairment, Les was working as a lift operator in
VR's head office. One day, federal police came in and whisked him off.
Les's railway collection included maps which were seen to be of
importance for Australia's war effort, and they wanted to get access
to the information. I can't recall the country, but it could well have
been Ireland.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Frank Stamford <frank.stamford@...> wrote:
...this was to be Les's last rail enthusiast trip before he
died on 21 March...



Roderick Smith
 

Frank's proper coverage of the Les incident was appreciated: a half recollection is now converted to true history.
Les was surprisingly agile on that crutch. He hopped out at lineside photostops on mainline tours with the best; now nobody (let alone a movement-impaired person) is allowed to light mid section, even from carriages equipped with ground level stairwells. Only once that I can recall Les was unable to move clear of the main photo line in time.

In photo 17, the man in the hat must have been our Cheetham driver.

Today:
* Photo 11: admire the setting and the train; the people are too remote.
* Photo 14: I am not getting anyone. The man in the hat must be the driver. The closest to the camera may be Steve Martin.
* Photo 18: Lionel Rickard, Phil Rickard, Frank Stamford; I can't get the fourth.
* Photo 19: John Prideaux. IIRC he was the treasurer who preceded me.

Clearly, now that council has decided on the format, I am inclining towards making the selection cover the people who made LRRSA: those who have faded from the scene, and those who are still with us, when they were young adventurers discovering a world of light railways.

Not every member looks at this Yahoo group, but please ask as many as possible to start looking, so that there is some chance of identifying everybody in my photos.

Another Jack McLean navigation story. The people being trained at Williamtown (Newcastle, NSW) always cheated, and navigated via the railway lines. One day an aeroplane became hopelessly lost. The signalman at Maitland had the points set for the other route.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor


Frank Stamford
 

Excellent photograph of John Prideaux. he was the Hon. Treasurer in
1967-68, 1968-69, and 1969-70. He was also on the Constitution
Committee. John was a rock of common sense who played a key role in
navigating the organisation through difficult times leading up to the
election of the Constitution Committee.

To clarify things for readers of this list, Roderick was a member of the
Constitution Committee and its Secretary. He was the President in
1969-70 taking office immediately after the new Constution was adopted,
and the Hon. Treasurer in 1970-71 and 1971-72.

There is not much activity on this list at the moment, but hopefully it
will get a little more lively later. People have other things on their
mind - Father Christmas is making his deliveries tonight. I think I can
hear him on my roof right now - or it/could/ be possums ...

Regards,

Frank

On 24/12/2010 7:36 PM, rnveditor wrote:

Frank's proper coverage of the Les incident was appreciated: a half
recollection is now converted to true history.
Les was surprisingly agile on that crutch. He hopped out at lineside
photostops on mainline tours with the best; now nobody (let alone a
movement-impaired person) is allowed to light mid section, even from
carriages equipped with ground level stairwells. Only once that I can
recall Les was unable to move clear of the main photo line in time.

In photo 17, the man in the hat must have been our Cheetham driver.

Today:
* Photo 11: admire the setting and the train; the people are too remote.
* Photo 14: I am not getting anyone. The man in the hat must be the
driver. The closest to the camera may be Steve Martin.
* Photo 18: Lionel Rickard, Phil Rickard, Frank Stamford; I can't get
the fourth.
* Photo 19: John Prideaux. IIRC he was the treasurer who preceded me.

Clearly, now that council has decided on the format, I am inclining
towards making the selection cover the people who made LRRSA: those
who have faded from the scene, and those who are still with us, when
they were young adventurers discovering a world of light railways.

Not every member looks at this Yahoo group, but please ask as many as
possible to start looking, so that there is some chance of identifying
everybody in my photos.

Another Jack McLean navigation story. The people being trained at
Williamtown (Newcastle, NSW) always cheated, and navigated via the
railway lines. One day an aeroplane became hopelessly lost. The
signalman at Maitland had the points set for the other route.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor


Roderick Smith
 

I have added the last four of the Cheetham Geelong component of the Sat.1.3.69 tour.
* Photo 20: Lionel Rickard, Phil Rickard, ?, Barry Stewart? (the check jacket sleeve will be Frank Stamford)
* 21: The only one whom I can identify is Steve Martin, in the far distance. He became a long-serving sales officer.
* 24:
on the left ?, ?, David Hennell (standing), probably Andrew Hennell (obscured), probably Ralph Cleary (with camera), ?, ?.
on the right: Les Poole, ?, Steve Martin, ?, ?, possibly Phil Rickard, Frank Stamford ?, ?, ?, ?.
* 25: ?, Cheetham driver, ?, ?, ?, ?.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor


Roderick Smith
 

I jumped sequence to put up four photos of the 1975 LRRSA tour which included Lune River & Ida Bay, as this may tempt more to join the coming February tour.
GT13: me
GT16: I can't pick any.
GT18: Arthur Straffen in the grey sports jacket, and probably Graeme Inglis (with beard) beside him.
GT21: I can't pick any.

Fri.13.6.75: We flew into Devonport in the evening, and stayed at Formby Hotel.
Sat.14: Devonport, Don, Burnie, Tullah, Williamsford. I can't recall our accommodation, but it must have been Zeehan.
Sun.15: Zeehan museum and alignments, Queenstown, North Mt Lyell, on to Hobart. We stayed in a nice art-deco hotel, the name of which escapes me.
Mon.16: Lune River, Hobart roundhouse, TTM at Glenorchy. I am not sure if we flew home from Hobart, or if we had to return to Devonport.

This project is now on hold for a week.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor


Roderick Smith
 

I am back from a boating week, so the series resumes at the correct progress date.
On Sat.1.3.69, from Cheetham Geelong the group moved to Belmont Common Railway. This was a preservation group based on the surviving equipment from the Fyansford - Batesford 1067 mm gauge line, built to haul limestone for cement making, but by then superseded by a conveyor belt.
Today BCR survives as Bellarine Peninsula Railway, on the regauged Drysdale - Queenscliff former VR line; the Fyansford cement factory has been closed and demolished.

In today's four photos, I can recognise only Ralph Cleary (busy filming on the wagon). I suspect that all of the younger people were either general public, sharing the operating session with our VRLRRs/LRRSA group, or were associates of BCR.

The driver was John Scott. He was pushing the dead Vulcan, using the Hudswell Clark, past a photoline; he misjudged the braking needed.

On a later occasion he gave me my first lesson in handling steam power. The most important lesson to learn is keeping up the water level in the boiler (ahead of proper lubrication, ahead of maintaining sufficient steam for the train to move). I still recall these lessons when aboard paddlesteamers, although these normally use feedwater pumps rather than injectors.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor


Roderick Smith
 

I have added the last of the Sat.1.3.69 photos taken at Belmont Common. Most of the younger people must have been BCR associates, not our own.
33a: ?, Ralph Cleary, ?, ?, ?
33b: no recognition
35: no recognition
36: Closest is Laurie Savage; distant may be Andrew & David Hennell.
37: driver John Scott
38: left to right from cab: ?, possibly Michael Menzies, Laurie Savage, ?, possibly David & Andrew Hennell.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor


Frank Stamford
 

Hello all,

I think I have a foundation date for the VLRRS, (which became the LRRSA)!

The opening paragraph of the first Secretary's Report says that it is
for the Year Ending 17 February 1962.

Such a precise date tells me that the foundation meeting must have been
held on 18 February 1961, which is very much in line with my estimate.

The report said that membership had increased from 5 to 10, that six
ordinary general meetings were held during the year, and that "the
Society has held expeditions over abandoned tramways near Warburton and
Powelltown".

Frank

On 3/01/2011 9:58 AM, rnveditor wrote:

I have added the last of the Sat.1.3.69 photos taken at Belmont
Common. Most of the younger people must have been BCR associates, not
our own.
33a: ?, Ralph Cleary, ?, ?, ?
33b: no recognition
35: no recognition
36: Closest is Laurie Savage; distant may be Andrew & David Hennell.
37: driver John Scott
38: left to right from cab: ?, possibly Michael Menzies, Laurie
Savage, ?, possibly David & Andrew Hennell.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor


Roderick Smith
 

I have added four photos of the Cheetham Laverton portion of the Sat.1.3.69 tour, to my Roderick Smith album in the group's photos section.
56: John Withers, ?, Geoff Maynard, Lionel Rickard.
57: ?
58: Geoff Maynard, ?, Lionel Rickard, ? (possibly a Cheetham driver)
59:
left trio: Andrew Hennell?, David Hennell?, Geoff Maynard.
rear trio: ?, ?, ?
front trio: Keith Kings, Ken Crave, Jeff Gardner?

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor


Roderick Smith
 

I have added five photos of the inspection of the explosives storage depot and associated tramway at Altona, on Sat.1.3.69. This concludes my coverage of that four-part day.
60: possibly David Hennell, ?, probably Richard Dempster, Ralph Cleary.
63: ?, ?, ?, Steve Martin, prob Andrew Hennell, prob David Hennell, prob Richard Dempster.
64: ?, poss Jeff Gardner, ?, ?.
65: ?, Ken Crave, Frank Stamford, Richard Dempster, ?, Ralph Cleary, Keith Kings.
68: ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, Ken Craven, Keith Kings, Geoff Maynard.

Regards,
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor