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19.12.2013
You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. SCALE MINIATURES (for Model Railroading, Scale Modeling, Smaller Scale Miniaturists, Set Designers and Scale Diorama Scenes).
These O gauge model trains, collected by Bruce Macdonald, were made by more than 30 different manufacturers from across Australia and New Zealand between the 1930s and the 1960s.
Learn more about some of the model trains and scenery on show at the National Museum, with information on each manufacturer, from Bruce Macdonald’s 2005 book Spring, Spark and Steam: An Illustrated Guide to Australian Toy and Model Trains.
Victorian Railways petrol tanker and open wagon made with tinplate and cast metals, by Kenneth Lowry, Hawthorn East, in the 1940s. Kenneth Lowry established a small business at his home in the suburbs of Melbourne in 1938.
New South Wales Railways four-wheel open wagon made of wood, with turned brass wheels, by William Christie, Sydney, about 1938.
William Christie began constructing and displaying O gauge items at his Rose Bay home from 1936, moving the sale of model railway material to his umbrella shop in Bathurst Street, Sydney, in 1938. Solid metal road bridge with side ramps made by FW Strong and associates of Melbourne, in 1949. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1910, Frederick W Strauss established his business as a toolmaker and die caster manufacturing handbag fittings and toys under the name FW Strong in Melbourne from 1946.


Box cover for solid metal road bridge with side ramps, made by FW Strong and associates of Melbourne, in 1949. Following the Second World War, local manufacturers responded to shortages in imported products by creating quality toy and model trains for a growing market.
Australian manufacturers, including Ferris, O Gauge House, Maurlyn and Robilt, produced trains modelled primarily on New South Wales and Victorian rolling stock.
Bruce Macdonald received his first train set at the age of five, the start of a lifetime love of trains.
A member of the Australian Railway Historical Society since 1943, Macdonald is one of Australia’s foremost authorities on industrial railways and steam power in both full-size and miniature forms.
The general loco with smoke 4-4-0 engine, wood tender and three passenger cars are all in excellent plus condition and may have never been used because they do not show wear from running. The O gauge was a popular choice for hobbyists and a number of manufacturers chose to specialise in that scale.
He began by supplying cast four and six wheel bogie components based on Victorian Railways rolling stock to fellow modellers. Along with his range of New South Wales rolling stock, parts and accessories, Christie also stocked a range of Fleet products and items produced by Frank Fitzgerald.
Working from his home with business partner Rudolph Hersch, Strong produced a range of traffic lights, signs and railway signals for O gauge and HO scale, in die cast metals and plastic.


During the 1950s and 60s, the Australian toy and scale model train industries prospered, creating products for children and serious collectors. While model trains of the 1930s and 40s were often made of wood or simple tin-plate, by the 1950s and 60s complicated and highly detailed pressed sheet metal trains that ran on electric tracks were being mass-produced.
As an adult, he was involved in the restoration and conservation of historic full-sized steam-powered engines, including items in the Museum’s collection.
The gauge of a train model is measured between the inside edges of the load-bearing rails, with O gauge generally measuring 32 millimetres, at a scale of 1:43.
The company produced a range of products for basic tinplate enthusiasts and serious modellers. During the 1970s, Macdonald returned to his interest in O gauge toys and models and spent decades collecting examples of the main Australian and New Zealand manufacturers. During the 1950s, Slovnic began to produce detailed rolling stock kits with increasing diversity, until age and hearing problems forced him to give up his shop in 1965.
About 155 pieces of rolling stock and scenery from the Macdonald collection are on show at the National Museum.



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