Who can remember the hobby shop, Mansfield Hobbies? The hobby shop was located at Waitara, an upper north shore suburb of Sydney. The shop was under the proprietorship of David Anderson from 1978 to 1988.
Well I just got my latest issue of the Australian Model Railway Magazine (AMRM) in which an obituary for the former proprietor of Mansfield Hobbies, David Anderson, was included.
I well remember Mansfield Hobbies since I grew up about fifteen minutes from the shop at Waitara. As a late teenager with a burgeoning interest in modelling New South Wales Railway prototype in HO scale, Mansfield Hobbies became a frequent destination for me on Saturday mornings. I used to ride my pushbike to the shop most of the time, before getting a car in the early 1980s. David Anderson was always ready to provide advice and encouragement, and the odd sale of course, whilst chewing merrily on his pipe.
I bought my first serious Australian prototype models from Mansfield Hobbies (my first Australian kits were actually Friedmont and MRC purchased from Casula Hobbies which was a long way from where I lived at the time; so Joe was really my first supplier of Australian HO). However, it was through the local Mansfield Hobbies and David Anderson that I came across and made regular purchases of the high quality HO freight wagon kits from AR Kits that really established and held my interest in the hobby at the time.
I also saved diligently for a couple of the famous Mansfield Hobbies' brass locomotives from Samhongsa in South Korea. I bought a streamlined 38 and a 43 class diesel; the 38 regrettably sold a few years later. I did, however, receive a non-streamlined Mansfield 38 from my parents as a 21st birthday present. Mansfield Hobbies was certainly a leading player in promoting the NSW prototype to the hobby.
Mansfield Hobbies' brass locomotives were considered top of the range at the time and even today maintain their excellent quality. It was a credit to David that his brass locomotives were so well regarded and very popular for many years in the second-hand market.
David was always friendly and supportive, as was his wife who often helped out in the shop. I really appreciated his patience with this relative newcomer to serious railway modelling. David Anderson was certainly one of the major forces who encouraged me in modelling NSWR. He also demonstrated how the hobby is also a wonderful opportunity to meet interesting people and share common interests by virtue of the fact that he had regular "bull sessions" at the shop, particularly on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings.
I was very sad to read that he had died in late May. It just seems like yesterday that I was parking my yellow Oxford outside his shop and being greeted to a welcoming smile and a puff of pipe smoke as I entered the shop. Despite the intervening years, I still have very happy memories of a very fine man.
Thank you, David.