Our April meeting was held at the Bri-Phil Hall in Elsternwick on
Sunday, April 18, (delayed from the usual second Sunday to
avoid a clash with Easter).  Thank you to Russell Hiscock
for the photos he has provided.

There was a
good turnout with thirty members, one family member, and two visitors attending the meeting. Members present were:  John Brand, Malcolm Brodie, Lindsay Carroll, Chris Comer, Peter Dalliston, Bill Davis,
Dave Doddrell, Peter During, John Edgar, Roger Hall, Steve Hatton, Peter Holles, John Hutchinson, Arthur
Kirkbright, Mike Maloney, Rod Marrow, John Martin, Wal Maynard, Barry McDonald, Kimball Monger,
Jim Osborne, Carol Parsisson, Jack Parsisson, Tony Press, John Riley, Graham Russell, Graeme Thomson, Catherine and (son) Alexander Tritt, Jeff van Hees and Doug Ward. Visitors were Russell and (son) Callum Hiscock. 

Apologies were received from Angus Cummings, Dave Denner,  Bill Fitzgerald,  Sandra Hall, 
Bill and Margaret Inglis, Paul Johnstone, Nigel Jolley, Graham Jost, Ken Guilliard, Willem Secker, D. E. Thompson,
and Mike Wright.

As usual, trading and chit-chat occupied the time from 1 pm until 2 pm when Mike called us to order to commence a Special General Meeting

Special General Meeting
The purpose of this meeting was to vote on a proposed new By-Law dealing
with the
safety of electrical equipment at Club activities, the formal wording of
which had been circulated to members as an insert with the February

Prior to the meeting, the Committee had received feedback from a number of
members about concerns they had with the wording of three subclauses in the
proposed By-Law, even though they generally supported the thrust of the By-
Law to introduce a system of testing and tagging of electrical equipment. As a
result, the committee through the Secretary moved a motion to improve the
wording of the subclauses causing concern. With these amendments
approved and incorporated in the proposed By-Law, Jim Osborne spoke in
support of the motion, and there were no dissenting views. It was very
pleasing that the meeting then voted unanimously to adopt the By-Law, and
Mike Maloney thanked all Club members who had been involved in its
development, in particular Lindsay Carroll and Graeme Thomson who had
expended much effort in producing the draft. Nine proxy votes were received
from members (two of which became redundant when members were able to
attend the meeting in person).

The full text of the approved By-Law is included as an insert with the printed version of this newsletter.

Normal Meeting
This followed on the heels of the Special General Meeting.  Mike started
proceedings by informing the meeting about several issues discussed at a
Committee meeting earlier in the day.

- Testing of electrical equipment.   One of our members, Rod Marrow, as an
electrical contractor qualified to perform testing and tagging of equipment, has
generously offered his services free of charge to test equipment brought along
by members to forthcoming club meetings. Mike thanked him very much for
his offer, and Rod later gave a presentation of what is involved in the tests,
and provided some useful information about preparing items for test. (Refer
separate item on page  )

- Sales of Exhibition Magazine in New Zealand.  
The Club has accepted an offer by the New Zealand Federation of Meccano Modellers (through whom we arrange printing of our magazine) to promote and sell copies of our 2003 Exhibition Magazine to their members. We are very pleased to have this extra promotion of our Magazine, which has attracted additional subscribers, one as far away as the United States.

- Club Newsletter.   Bill Fitzgerald wishes to take a break from Club
activities for a time and this leaves us without an editor for the Newsletter (and
possibly the Exhibition magazine).  Mike expressed praise and appreciation
for the wonderful job Bill has done, and the high standard of production he
has achieved,  and we all hope he will return to the role in the not-too-distant
future.  However, until this is decided, Mike asked that anyone willing and
prepared to take on the task to please contact a member of the Committee. It
may be that we will have to resort to the old style newsletter.

Although not present at the meeting, Bill had kindly offered to assist with the
publication of this current newsletter. Thank you Bill!  Mike indicated it would
be appreciated if any photographers at the meeting could provide photos of
the model displays (thanks again to Tony Press and Russell Hiscock for their

- Membership application Form.   The Committee is proposing to change the
Membership Application Form to eliminate the requirement for applicants to
be personally known by the proposer and seconder. This often proves
impractical, particularly for potential new members from interstate and
overseas. The change will be considered as an agenda item at the August

- Date of AGM.    For some years there has been a clash between the Club’s
AGM in August, and the annual auction of the Victorian Branch of the Hornby
Railway Collectors Association of Australia. One of our members asked
whether our AGM could be moved to another date. Since the date of our AGM
this year (August 8)  has already been well publicised, and the hall hired, the
Committee decided to make no change. However, for next year, the Secretary
will liaise with the Hornby Association, and try to avoid a clash.

- Advertising of sales by non-members.   Until this time, the Club has had no
formal policy on allowing non-members to advertise Meccano for sale in our
newsletters. In the interest of alerting our members to opportunities to
purchase Meccano, the Committee has decided to accept advertisements
from non-members for a flat fee of $10 per advertisement in a particular
newsletter (a repeat advertisement in a later newsletter will require a further
$10). The advertisement may include a description of the item(s) for sale, the
asking price, and the contact details of the seller. The Club takes no
responsibility for the accuracy of the advertisement, or the reasonableness of
the asking price.

- Treasurer’s Report.    Bill Davis advised that our current balance was about
$4070, and our current membership was 73.

Presentation on Testing of Electrical Equipment

Rod Marrow provided some details of what is covered in the required
electrical tests, and demonstrated with some of the equipment he had brought
with him.
The testing  commences with a visual and physical inspection for undamaged
cords, fittings and well-anchored terminations.  If the cord or plug is a 3x core
type, or the casing is substantially of metal, then Rod would expect that the
equipment was meant to be earthed, and look for evidence of an earthed
attachment.  Likewise, a 2x core cord or plug would indicate an unearthed
power unit, motor, etc., and he would expect to see evidence of an acceptable
double insulated unit.

Rod recommended that if plugs (and/or sockets of an extension cord set)
need to be replaced, that they be replaced with a clear plastic type, so that the
connections could readily be seen to be sound and correctly terminated.  
There are now available plugs and sockets with a ‘shroud’, which help to
prevent exposure of the pins.  He pointed out that whilst older Bakelite or
rubber fittings were not prohibited by the test, the possibility of deterioration
was higher and it was good practice to use more modern fittings.
For 240V motors, the most satisfactory arrangement was for a unit with
permanently connected cord, which could be checked in the same way as a
power unit.  Other 240V motors incorporated into a model would require
specific inspection and test and may need to comply with other electrical
regulations beyond the scope of  AS/NZS 3760:2001.

If the equipment is acceptable from the physical inspection, Rod then carries
out an electrical test of insulation between live and earthed terminals and
casing/s, a test to prove the electrical connection of the earth conductor to
what should be earthed apparatus, and an electrical test to prove correct
polarity (correct connection of active, neutral and earth conductors).  If all
tests are passed, then the item is deemed acceptable and can be labelled as
passing the Standard.  The labelling is valid for 12 months for Club purposes.

Rod has generously offered to carry out inspection and testing of members’
equipment free of charge, at our next meeting on Saturday, June 12th – in
particular for those items likely to be used at our exhibition or a Club meeting. 
The Club will cover the costs of the appropriate labels, log book, etc., and is
required to have registered in its Log Book those items that are used at Club
activities. Please bring along for testing any mains power electrical
equipment you intend using at club activities.

Model Presentations / Items of interest

Lindsay Carroll displayed two small ‘Space’ models from the late nineties’
period, not generally available in Australia, but brought to mind from a recent
discussion item on ‘Spanner’.  He also displayed a very neat miniature silver
Rolls Royce model from plans in a recent CQ, complete with wire wheels
(from the ‘Crazy Inventors’ series).

Roger Hall displayed an original fairground model Flying Boat, driven by a
standard 3V motor and using multi-stage pulley/driving band speed reduction
within the tower (grunt of satisfaction from Kimball!).  Roger had a brochure
showing proposed new items from Meccano for the coming year, including
some with radio control.

Peter During brought along a simple Ezybilt model windmill from the 1940’s,
and a partly-built racing car chassis from the “Master Connections” series,
and explained he was having a problem in following the instructions for the
model.  Certainly the diagrams in the Instruction Manual are not very clear
with regard to the steering mechanism and springing!   Peter also mentioned
that he had some copies of a Club photograph taken at Jack Parsisson’s
meeting last February.  Members wanting a copy should contact Peter.

Jeff  van Hees had a number of mini models he had constructed from small
sets available over the last few years.

John Riley again displayed his Outfit 9 locomotive (seen at the August 2003
meeting, and a photograph in that month’s Newsletter), but since dismantled,
parts re-painted in black, and rebuilt.  It now looks much more realistic and
runs well, if somewhat noisily, from the Powerdrive unit in the firebox.

Our youngest, keen modelbuilder member,
Alexander Tritt , again brought
along three original models.  There was a fine and realistic Plastic Meccano
racing car inspired by the recent Grand Prix, a simple but recognisable
traction engine in metal Meccano - limited somewhat by the parts available to
a young builder (we all went through that stage), and an intriguing catapult-
like device he had entitled an ‘Easter Egg Flicker’.  The mind boggles!! 
Alexander had brought along a small Easter egg to demonstrate, but it was 
quickly reclaimed after the first flick, before eager members could take 

Tony Press brought us back to more traditional items of Meccano – in fact,
pre-war traditions!  He showed a ‘00’ Aeroplane Construction outfit, a Motor
Car Construction outfit and a Kemex Chemical outfit – (remarking on the
difficulties the Club would have if we had to comply with relevant regulations
to use that!!).  Also a Hornby Speedboat, with leaflet advising the availability
of replacement clockwork motor, and the existence of a Hornby Speedboat

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Meeting April 18 2004