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Wombat Creek Tramways

Wombat Creek is a H0 (1:87) scale model of a fictional town situated somewhere in the Victorian Goldfields, Australia.

The time is 1963. Geelong wins the VFL Championship against Hawthorn (109– 60). John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. ValentinaTeresjkova is the first woman in Space. The men behind The Great Train Robbery get £2.6 million from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London.

The town consists of several buildings. The “Wombat Creek Bank and Gold Exchange” is a prominent building in the town centre. You will also find several other commercial buildings; among them the daily newspaper“W.C. Chronicle”(colloquial known as the "Toilet Paper") and “Wombat Creek Brewing Company” (Famous for the “Wombat Bitter”). “The Big Nugget Gold Mine” is situated at the Western outskirts of town near the small Chinatown. The War Memorial is in a small park along East Street.

The town’s mayor Alfred Campbell together with his son David Campbell owns several businesses, including the bank, the pub and the newspaper. AC/DC basically run the town and make most decisions on behalf of the rest of Wombat Creek’s residents, who, on the other hand, are too busy with their own businesses.

The mayor’s latest initiative is Wombat Creek Tramways. Wombat Creek doesn’t really need a tram system, but AC reckons tramways will improve the town’s reputation. Partly because of limited funds the tramways' construction and rolling stock depend heavily on second-hand requirements from other Australian and overseas tramways.

Finally – a busy bar

Text & photos from the layout Posted on Wed, July 21, 2021 15:10:27

Unlike present day Melbourne the bar at Duncan & Fraser is busy as never before. Every table is booked and no room left for the proprietor.

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A busy bar!

I used ‘flash’ for the photo. I will install ceiling lights so future photo should better show the lively atmosphere in the bar.

The bar is open – almost

Text & photos from the layout Posted on Tue, July 20, 2021 15:11:47
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Can’t wait to get into the bar!

Being in lock-down you need to do some therapeutic activities. I have learnt that one such activity is painting figures. The bar of Duncan & Fraser will soon be full of life. The photo shows the line-up ready to be installed inside the building.

Just to make it clear. The study waitress didn’t step into something ‘nasty’. She and the coffee-serving waiter are both temporary standing by the help of a small amount of blue-tack.

Happy proprietor

Text & photos from the layout Posted on Fri, July 16, 2021 15:42:21
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The arrival of 200 people in Wombat Creek yesterday made the proprietor of Duncan and Fraser very happy. He sees great business potential after the arrivals have undergone some dress-up (read painting), and fortunately the year in Wombat Creek is 1963 and not 2021. The real life hotel (Young & Jackson) has had a couple of Covid-19 cases and is – like the rest of Victoria – in lock-down again.

Day and night at Duncan & Fraser

Text & photos from the layout Posted on Fri, July 09, 2021 13:40:22

The proprietor of Duncan & Fraser is a happy man. Finally he has some income from the advertising on the front of the hotel. Hopefully he does not have to pay the electricity bill!

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A birds-eye view of Duncan & Fraser

The first photo shows a birds-eye view of the hotel with all the beams securing the three big billboards along the roof-line.

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Duncan & Fraser at daytime

The second photo is taken in daylight of sorts.

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Duncan & Fraser at nighttime

The third photo is taken at night time. The LEDs came with a battery box for three 1.5 V batteries, which gives a very bright light. To dim the light slightly I have replaced one battery with a metal screw (!).

Additional income for Duncan & Fraser

Text & photos from the layout Posted on Mon, July 05, 2021 11:13:31

As mentioned in an earlier post the proprietor of Duncan & Fraser has looked into an additional in come for the hotel. As a result parts of the facade has been covered in signs advertising diverse items and offers. The additional signs will be installed along the roof.

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Advertising at Duncan & Fraser – daytime
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Advertising at Duncan & Fraser – nighttime

The lights are from a set of 100 micro LEDs brought from the local hardware a while ago. Today the price is $9.99 with includes a battery case and three batteries. The LEDs are in parallel, so it is quite easy to cut and re-solder the ‘chain’. The lights are very bright so I will run from only two batteries.

Video from Wombat Creek

Text & photos from the layout Posted on Wed, June 30, 2021 11:14:09

I have purchased a small video camera. It is attached temporary to one of my trams and I have done a test run around Wombat Creek. The outcome is not stunning. The camera struggles with focus on close-up objects, but how much can you expect with a price tag of $25?

Take a tour of Wombat Creek

The route around Wombat Creek is:
Tram Barn – Main Street / Bank – St. Ursinus’ Church – Golden Mile / Duncan & Fraser – St. Ursinus’ Church – Main Street / Bank – War Memorial – Victoria Street – East Street / War Memorial – Main Street / Mug Punter Hotel – Main Street / Bank – Church Street – Victoria Lane – East Street / War Memorial – Main Street / Mug Punter Hotel – Tram Barn

Alternative income for Duncan & Fraser

Text & photos from the layout Posted on Fri, June 25, 2021 16:54:48

So far visitors from overseas haven’t arrived to Wombat Creek and the hotel is not getting much of an income. The proprietor has to come up with an alternative and has his thoughts set on renting out spaces for advertising. Quite a few companies have responded to this option. It is just a matter of time before the neon lights go up.

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Advertising for Duncan & Fraser

In real life the Young & Jackson was almost covered in advertising. It all started in the 1920’s and continues to present times. Nowadays, though, the advertising is confirmed to the top of the building. I have studied quite a few photos from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Over the years the advertising has changed. Some signs stayed on for quite a while (e.g. the one advertising for Tasmania. Interestingly the word ‘Tasmania’ at some time changed to the informal ‘Tassie’) while others changed over time. My signs may not have been on the building at the same time, but they are a representative selection. A few signs have the wording changed to suit Wombat Creek and surroundings.

Duncan & Fraser Hotel is open for business

Text & photos from the layout Posted on Mon, June 14, 2021 15:30:28

After a few days of frantic work the ground floor of the Duncan & Fraser hotel is open for business. The men from ‘Ray Knott’s Joinery’ have fitted all the doors and a staircase between the ground floor and the first floor.

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Duncan & Fraser Hotel

The sign writer finally got all the signs right. Only two brass signs near a doorway went missing.

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Duncan & Fraser Hotel

Chloé has already got an admirer, but I am not sure his girlfriend shares his excitement.

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Chloé at Duuncan & Fraser

The original hotel

The Princes Bridge Hotel opened on 1 July 1861 by John P. Toohey and his brother who later went on to found the Tooheys Beer brand. The Hotel was renamed to Young and Jackson after the Irish diggers who took it over in 1875, cousins Henry Figsby Young and Thomas Joshua Jackson.

The hotel is an amalgamation of five separate buildings of two and three storeys, with the original 1853 bluestone building designed as a three-storey residence, with a butcher’s shop on the ground floor. It was later extended in both directions, with all buildings rendered and painted to match each other by the 1920s. The red glaze tile dado and ornamental frieze was added to combat the grime at ground level. Since the 1920s the exterior hotel has been dominated by large advertising signs, even to this day.

The hotel is well known for the nude painting Chloé, painted by French artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre in 1875. After being hung in the National Gallery of Victoria for three weeks in 1883, it was withdrawn from exhibition because of the uproar created especially by the Presbyterian Assembly. It was bought for the Young and Jackson Hotel in 1908 for 800 pounds. (Extract from

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Duncan & Fraser Hotel

The ‘Wombat Creek’ version

The hotel has been renamed ‘Duncan and Fraser’ after the well-known coach-builders from Adelaide. Over the years their workshop constructed 120 trams for the Adelaide tramways, 39 tram for provincial Victoria and approx. 120 trams for Melbourne. Instead of ‘Princes Bridge Hotel’ the hotel in Wombat Creek sports the name ‘Golden Mile Hotel’ taken from the nearby street name.

The large advertising signs on the building will be inspired from signs seen on the hotel in the 1960s. They will a selection based on what suits Wombat Creek and me. As a dedicated non-smoker I will leave out the big advertisement for cigarettes!

The interior of the hotel will only be partly modelled and will not reflect the original hotel. One reason for this is the lack of room. One of the facades has been ‘bent’ around the corner facing Victoria Street instead of Main Street. Chloé, however, will appear inside the hotel!

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