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AMRE CONVENOR’S REPORT 2015

This year we can look back on yet another successful Adelaide Model Railway Show.  Although the number of exhibitors, layouts, demonstrations, traders and kindred organisations was a little lower than last year, the quality was at least as high and the range of exhibits demonstrated to our patrons that the hobby can be enjoyed in a myriad of different ways according to the preferences of individual enthusiasts, whether they be modellers, operators or collectors, to name just a few of the types of enthusiasts to be found in the hobby.

These different emphases in pursuing the hobby have different appeal to different groups of our patrons. We recognise that it is important to provide some real modelling “meat” for the serious modellers and it helped that we had some good demonstrations going again this year. The average patron mainly likes to see lots of trains on the move and again we had some well operated layouts this year.

Families represent a high proportion of visitors to the show and we continue to look at ways of ensuring that we provide an enjoyable day out for all members of the families. The children’s play area and the free face painting are integral parts of the package which we offer and we will continue to investigate ways we can improve that package.
The provision of catering services for patrons and exhibitors is another element in the package. This was the second year in which these services were provided entirely by Greyhound Racing SA in their Chasers’ Restaurant area upstairs. 2015 was only our second year under this new format and, in consultation with GRSA, we are continuing to fine-tune aspects of menu choices, special dietary needs and customer service times.

Attendances were very similar to the previous year’s numbers. This could be seen as a sign that we need to increase our publicity effort or it could indicate that we have reached a saturation point. In planning our publicity we are conscious of the need to understand where we sit amongst events and pastimes competing for the attention of a finite population of potential patrons. A high proportion of our patrons attend annually. They just need a reminder that the show is coming up but we need to ensure that we keep the variety and quality of exhibits up so that they will want to come again next year. The mix of media we use to publicise the show is kept under review and for the next show we are considering substituting radio advertising for some of our TV advertising. I still hear occasionally a wistful voice saying, “Golly, I wish I knew it was on. I would like to have been there!”

This was my first year as Convenor and although my previous role as Secretary stood me in good stead in understanding the task at hand, the main things I would comment on are the stable platform I inherited from our previous Convenor and the ongoing efforts of the member clubs, their representatives and my fellow executive committee members. The success of the 2015 show, like the ones before it comes as a result of the combined efforts of a team of individuals knowing what needs to be done, largely as a result of having done it in the past, and getting on and doing it. Therefore I offer my thanks to all of you who have contributed.

The success of a show is often measured in terms of the financial outcome. Certainly, this year, largely by dint of the good judgement exercised by our Treasurer, we have achieved a good outcome and the Make-A-Wish Foundation will receive a bigger donation than last year.

Perhaps a more important measure of success would be the extent to which we have promoted the hobby. In spite of ever-increasing demands being made on people’s leisure time and the effect of technological developments in the area of entertainment generally, particularly the growing demand for instant gratification and the decline in attention span of a generation of people, we appear to be holding our own. In fact, based on the number of recent requests from business and community organisations wanting model railway displays at various venues and events, the hobby is still valued by other than its own enthusiasts. We should be encouraged by these expressions of interest and perhaps look at ways in which we can better respond to such requests.

On that note, I conclude by repeating my thanks to all who have contributed to the success of the 2015 show and I look forward to being part of future shows.

Roger Wyatt
Convenor, AMRE 2015