Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ is a saying that certainly applies to me. While some people may look upon a relative’s old cards, receipts or general correspondence as trash; I on the other hand see all these things as treasure. Their contents may not hold ground-breaking clues but I believe each piece is important and helps give a broader perspective into the lives of my ancestors. Through these posts categorised as ‘Trash or Treasure’ I aim to share the bits and pieces that I find which, in some way, formed a part my ancestors’ lives.

For as long as I remember Charles Victor Barratt’s model train had sat proudly in the lounge room of my Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Mounted on a piece of wood and painted to perfection, it certainly inspired awe and was not to be played with by little children such as me.

Train

Vic’s Model Train

Apart from knowing the obvious (that my Great Grandfather built it) I’ve never actually known much about it. It was while looking through an old tin that I came across a treasure in the form of a letter from The Meadmore Model Engineering Co. written to Vic advising that the order he placed was on its way. I can only assume that the order was for the train.

Letter0001

It’s not hard to see why Vic was drawn to the idea of building his own model train. Throughout his whole life he was employed by the Western Australian Government Railways. Initially starting as a loco cleaner, he worked his way up and became an engine driver. It seems he was very fond of his job and the trains he drove. Along with this, he also enjoyed building things (a trait which was passed to his son). These two passions were brought together with the purchase of the model train.

He was 41 years old when he purchased the train in 1936 and four years later, its construction was coming along nicely.

Vic Ron and Train

Vic, his son Ron and the train in the 1940s

The train was eventually completed and remained with Vic until his death in 1973. His lathe and tools were left to his son, Ron.  Ron, his wife Audrey and son Glen all made the trek up to Merredin so that he could take what he wanted from Vic’s shed. Along with Vic’s lathe and tools, Ron took the model train. Safely in his hands, it was placed in a prime location for all to see and admire. For over 30 years it remained a perfect tribute to his father and to the hard work that went into the train’s construction.

The Meadmore Model Engineering Co. produced many different scale models throughout the years. A digital copy of one of their catalogues can be found online via the National Archives of Australia (http://nla.gov.au/nla.aus-vn5213973).

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9 thoughts on “Vic’s Model Train

  1. Wonderful story Jessica. I am sure none of my plastic scale model aeroplanes ever acheived such heritage status!

    1. Jess says:

      Thanks Neville! You never know, perhaps they will one day. 🙂

  2. Fi says:

    Great story, Jessica. I’m amazed the letter was kept and love the wording.

    1. Jess says:

      Thanks Fi! I’m lucky in that respect. It seems my Great Grandfather liked to keep all his receipts! 🙂

  3. edgarrovdyr says:

    Very interesting! Thank you for this story has helped me to think about the ancestors and their heritage.

    1. Jess says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. 🙂

  4. Sue Zammit says:

    Hi Jess, Read your article. My mother worked at Meadmore Model Engineering Company before she was married in 1946. She use to clean all the tracks and trains that people would bring in. I also have a letter from Meadmore’s for a reference for mum. Great memories Sue

    1. Jess says:

      Hi Sue,

      That’s amazing! Apart from the one letter, I’m not sure if there was any more interaction with Meadmore with regards to Vic’s model train. It’s very likely there may have been as I believe it took him some time to complete it. Thank you for sharing your family story and connection to Meadmore Model Engineering Company. 🙂

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