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From the Archives

During the 1970's a group of Adelaide 'N' Gauge Model Railway Enthusiasts would meet at irregular intervals in different homes to run and discuss 'N' Gauge Trains. In 1981, Trevor Searle organised the 1st of the very successful Adelaide Model Railway Exhibitions at Alden Manor. The success of this Exhibition motivated some of the 'N' Gauge Group into building an 'N' Gauge layout for a future Model Railway Exhibition. When details of the 1983 MRE were made known, a few of the original 'N' Gauge Enthusiasts, together with some other 'N' Gaugers (who visited the Model Trading Post) planned and constructed a sectional 'N' Gauge Layout for the 1983 MRE at Regency Park.

The individual sections of the layout were made by the group members and were clamped together, the track was laid around the complete layout and was cut at the joints between sections. The sections were taken home and individually sceniced by their owners. The layout sections were assembled each month and all except one end and front module two weeks before the MRE and was made to operate without problems and the scenery blended between individual sections.

After two weeks of work every night on the final section, (including hand laying code 40 rail for narrow gauge track and points) the 'N' Gauge Group's Layout was completed on the Thursday night and disassembled and reassembled the following night at Regency Park for the Exhibition on the 8th, 9th & 10th of October, a long weekend.

That 'N' Gauge layout won 1st prize at the 1983 MRE much to the surprise of the group and many others! Members of that winning 'N' Gauge Group were Steve Weedon, Mike Carter, Trevor Powell, David Reece, Murray White, Graham Redman, Keith Thompson, Gavin Hughes and yours truly, Ian Bannon.

SANGS Formation

A family barbecue was held on the 5th of November at my home to celebrate the Group's success. At this celebration, it was decided to form an 'N' Gauge Club after several enquiries at the MRE. Contrary to popular belief, I can't be credited with forming the SANGS club, but I was voted as first President by a group of very active 'N' Gauge enthusiasts together with:

Vice President: Steve Weedon

Secretary: Murray White

Treasurer: Trevor Powell

Committee: David Reece, Michael Carter, Graham Redman, with Keith Thompson organising Publicity and Promotions.

It was unanimously agreed that the Club operate under the name of..."South Australian N Gauge Society" (SANGS). Annual membership was $5.00 to cover postage and administration. Meetings were to be held on the first Friday of each month. The committee would hold office for two years (to maintain direction and continuity between two yearly Model Railway exhibitions).

The aims of SANGS were:

1. To promote 'N' Gauge Model Railroading.

2. To promote friendship, fellowship and a social atmosphere amongst 'N' Gauge railroads.

3. To foster skills in construction, building and operation of 'N' Gauge model railroads.

4. To build an operating club layout for members' use at meetings and other times to be arranged.

The initial two outside members to join the new SANGS club were Graham Cocks and Barrie Mackinnon. Both of these members have contributed much to the club's expansion and direction over the first 10 years. Of the initial 9 foundation members, only 4 still remain financial. However, most ex-members turn up at MR exhibitions to see how the club has progressed.


From the beginning, SANGS was a very active club and much discussion over the next few months was on publicity and module standards for a SANGS layout of the future 1985 MRE. It was in the first half of 1984 that these were finalised with 4 tracks and module construction was started at Murray White's for our first Saturday meeting. A production line operation of cutting, drilling and screwing produced our first group of 1200 x 600 modules which were sold to members for around $10.00 each. September 15th saw our first Running Session at the Richmond Baptist Hall with 1 x 3600 yard and 2 balloon loop modules.

We received our first overseas mail from the British 'N' Gauge Society objecting to our club name using " 'N' Gauge Society" which after much discussion....we decided to ignore! By the end of 1984, we had 23m of modules and had also increased our membership from 9 foundation members in November 1983 to 26 financial members in November 1984. We achieved a great deal in the first year and the contribution to the club by those active meant that most were well attended and with the Mackinnon balloon loops we had something to run on at Saturday meetings at the Church Hall. 1983 Financial Members: 25


The 1985 Model Railway Show at St Clair centre was a great success. The SANGS layout was an L shaped layout of 10.8m x 9.6m with 4 separate pieces of track each with an individual controller and a long 10m lead that could reach all sections of the layout. There were problems with the long leads tangling and every so often they required untangling. It was at this first club involvement in an exhibition, the running of long trains was considered the most liked feature of our layout. The activity on Ern Ames mouse trap module was of great interest to the children at the exhibition. The exhibition was enjoyed by all club members who attended. 1985 Financial Members: 28


In 1986, a smaller rectangle version (12m x 3m) of the SANGS layout was exhibited at the Mount Barker MRE. We agreed to allow the building of NTRAK standard modules and Ern Ames produced two transition modules for the club to enable any new modules to be coupled onto the existing SANGS modules. It was at this time that SANGS became part of the MR Exhibition committee for the 1987 MR exhibition. The club was responsible for catering of exhibitors and arranging for public caterers. The Christmas barbeque was held at Paul Tilden's new house, and proved to be a very exciting time with a violent storm taking the tool shed next door over the back fence and away. Still, we had a good time as usual. 1986 Financial Members: 22


The 1987 MRE was held in the No 1 shed at Port Adelaide with a 14.4m x 4.8m rectangular layout with internal marshalling yards teed off 2 specially constructed end T modules by Frank Giddings (tracks 1 & 2) and Rob Partington (tracks 3 & 4) with balloon loops on the inside end. The 2.4m x 1.2m special track 1 & 2 T-off module frame was built by Barrie Mackinnon with track laid by Frank Giddings in 6 weeks before the MRE. Rob Partington's T module for tracks 3 & 4 was very well planned & constructed & with a removable T section & has since been used as a straight module in later exhibitions.

Frank Giddings completed the scenery on the new T module two weeks before the exhibition and it proved to be one of the highlights of the exhibition. Frank's additional contribution to organising meals for exhibitors & and the Sunday night celebration meal was most appreciated by those attending. We were equal 1st for SA club exhibitors at that exhibition. The public queued in the rain for the first combined club run exhibition. The club received $2000 as their contribution to the organising committee - this money was put into a future clubrooms fund at fixed interest. In February, we held our first SANGS auction conducted by Paul Tilden. 1987 Financial Members: 23


In January, 1988 we attended, with a small layout, the Julia Farr exhibition, which we enjoyed. We also attended our first Mount Gambier MRE in April with a 9.6m x 3m layout, where we found the Mount Gambier club's hospitality excellent. In October 1988, we exhibited a layout at Elizabeth North for the Munno Para Community Board Exhibition where we won the Mayor Choice Plaque & Pen Holder. During 1998 we also had a night at Mike Warburton's house which was almost completely taken over by HO trains and tracks - a very enjoyable night.

Thanks to Graham Cocks' & Paul Tilden's efforts in resolving members' comments, etc. The club was incorporated on the 21st of September. Peter Marshall & Adrian Davis built radio controlled throttles which worked OK when only one was being used. However, when a second one was switched on, some interference was observed between the two throttles. Our Christmas BBQ was held at Frank Gidding's place with plenty of ex SANGS modules to run on together with Frank's own extended shed layouts. 1988 Financial Members: 27


At the AGM on April 7, I reluctantly stepped down from President (due to health reasons) and Vice President Murray White was voted in as the new President. At the AGM I was honoured to be selected as the club's first Life Member. The 1989 MRE was held at Port Adelaide with a pre exhibition setup at Trott Park Neighbourhood Centre. The layout was a rectangle 14.4m x 3.6m with 4 new club constructed marshalling & wiring refinements including cascade switching of points thanks to Paul Tilden & Adrian Davis.

Ern Ames' new butt joiners were also tried & discussed at great length but, although better in terms or erection & assembly time, were not used for this exhibition in the interest of running perfection. The Best Module Competition was won by Adrian & Chris Davis with their Knaresborough module & they were presented with the club's new Best Module Trophy. $3000 was received by the club from the AMRE (Adelaide Model Railway Exhibition) committee. Our Christmas BBQ was held at Paul Tilden's without the Garden Shed. 1989 Financial Members: 24


April 1990 saw the election of Peter Green as the club's 3rd president. A door layout competition was won by David Green - the door layout was to be constructed as part of our 1991 exhibition contribution. The club attended the Mount Gambier MRE with a 7.6m x 3.6m layout and a very enjoyable time was had by those attending. Our Christmas BBQ was initially held at the Wilfred Taylor Reserve at Morphett Vale. We had a good time riding the Morphett Vale Railway Inc trains but retired to Ern Ames' for the BBQ in his garage due to the onset of rain. A video evening at Paul Tilden's was held after the BBQ with Paul showing videos of his recent travels in Europe. 1990 Financial Members: 24


1991 saw the refinement of new black curtains under construction by Chris Davis and Evelyn Davis, with help from Chris's mother, Elizabeth Ames & Elizabeth Tilden, which really improved the look of our layout. The outside of the modules were painted black & the inside painted green. A club uniform was voted on with a shirt or windcheater & cap of dark blue with white lettering agreed upon & purchased by those attending the 1991 MRE at Wayville. The SANGS layout for the exhibition was 10.8m x 7.2m rectangle with a coffee table & door layouts at a lower level for children to see. The Best Module Trophy was won by Barrie Mackinnon with the Mac Fun Park. The annual family Picnic was a BBQ held at the Penfield Model Engineer's grounds & was enjoyed by those attending. The SANGS constitution was modified to enable the club to obtain a Taxation Office ruling as a non-profit organisation. 1991 Financial Members: 31

Physical Address

118 Fletcher Road and Cnr Tim Hunt Way


South Australia 


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