Stepping into the very big shoes of Duncan Cabassi is a little daunting and will be a challenge as Duncan has done an outstanding role as Div 1 Super. I sincerely thank him for all he has done in the last 3-4 years as Div 1 Super, and I am delighted and encouraged about his leadership as NMRA AR President for the next term.
Whilst I am not a talented modeler like most of you, I do try my best and I think the greatest part of our hobby is the camaraderie and the willingness to share skills and information. This is what attracted me to this organisation and the NMRA is the ideal platform for this to happen and I feel NMRA AR Div 1 is a fine example of this and is the flagship for the rest of Australia.
So, who am I and what is my background?
I am married to my talented and beautiful wife and best friend Jody, who is a professional ballroom dancer. I have a son Tim and a daughter Stephanie.
Tim, who many of you know as he is also a keen modeler has just started his electrical apprenticeship
Stephanie, who many of you have met when she attends NMRA AR functions is at school and is also a ballroom dancer.
I am a dentist and own my own practice (Absolute Dental Care) located at Taringa in Brisbane Western suburbs. I guess it is the skills from my profession that help my modelling, but it was my love for working with my hands that strengthens my love for what I do. I wanted to be a dentist from grade 6 and my year 7 teacher told me I would never be good enough. Well, I guess he didn’t really know me and that made me want to prove him wrong. Or did he know me but knew which buttons to push???
I am involved with Scouts and have held many roles including Branch Commissioner – International for 17-years, Assistant Regional Commissioner, a member of the Qld Scouts Health Fellowship and currently I manage a dirt kart team to take Scouts racing.
My passion for trains started when I was 3 years old when my father gave me my first Hornby trainset of which I still have today including the original table my father built for me for my bedroom. Dad helped me build layouts in my early days and the layout he and I built together is currently part of my current layout as I don’t have the heart to pull it apart.
My obsession for all things trains also extends to the real-life stuff. I have a High-Risk License (boiler and reciprocating steam) and I am a section car operator. I am a member of several Tourist and Heritage Rail groups, and I have served on many committees. One of my biggest achievements was to establish and chair the Association of Tourist and Heritage Railways Australia in 2003 when the escalating insurance premiums caused many railways to cease operations. Currently I am the Deputy Chairman of ATHRA and responsible for organising insurance for all our members.
I also own two ex-NSW stainless steel coaches, FAM2386 (twinette sleeper) and PHN2361 (power van), which are located at my home, and I intend to restore them back to working order.
Whilst I don’t get to actually play with the real trains much, I am working on my own layout. I have a German layout based mainly on steam and early diesel (Epoch I-IV) and was predominantly Fleischmann but since its demise Roco has snuck into my collection. I started collecting Fleischmann at the age of 14 when my father bought me a 2-10-0 loco which started the collecting disease for this superior brand. My layout covers 8 garages and is a work in progress albeit very slowly. One thing you will find about me, I don’t do things by halves.
As for NMRA AR Div 1, we will be continuing with the framework Duncan has established and I encourage you all to introduce more people to this awesome organisation to share skills and enjoy other likeminded people.
One person can’t do this on their own and I trust that you will support the NMRA as much as you can. I will be involving others on the NMRA AR Div 1 committee to continue to provide you all with opportunities to grow and enjoy our fine hobby.
Always feel free to reach out and have a yarn or offer your services to make the NMRA better. I want solutions to every problem, not problems for every solution. Remember many hands make light work. What you put in is what you will get out of it.
Happy modelling and keep smiling.