Ballarat Radio Model Flying Club Inc.
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Inc. No. A0062781D

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History of BRMFC

By Murri Anstis - 24 September 2013.

The club as we know it today was officially formed in 1962 and was given the current name in 1972 by way of an in-house competition, the then logo (displayed above) was also chosen at the time using the same method.

Prior to 1962 there were several groups of modellers flying in different areas around Ballarat, mainly north and north/west, and as far back as the mid to late 1920's free flight and control line were flown at the north end of Lydiard Street (just where the cemetery gates are now). Flying here carried on until the mid 40's; it was about the mid 30's that flying areas popped up within the airport paddocks and further north in several paddocks along Gillies Street. Victoria Park was also a very busy flying site.

During these years saw the first of very basic R/C controlled models and a huge interest in free flight and a continuing increase in control line along with a fast development in engines from the early diesels to the basic glo and even petrol and electric were around in these days.

After two years of flying control line in Victoria Park I heard of a group flying models out along Gillies Street, so on my bike with model strapped to my back I rode out to find these guys flying models without wires, I was hooked and had to have one. I joined this group in 1962 when the first club formed and bought my first radio, an OS Pixie single channel with a 60 inch floatie powered by an OS 19.

From these early days the interest grew rapidly and in October 1962 about twelve flyers decided to join and form the first club complete with meetings, basic rules and direct contact with other clubs that had formed or were forming in other towns, during these days we saw a rapid development in radios from the very basic ground base sets with a 2-3m antenna through to the 12 channel reeds, the galloping ghost systems, the single channel hand held with escapements (early servos) then into proportional sets which have paved the way to the modern day sets.

Frequencies were scarce in those early days as only two were available to start with, 40 MHz and 27 MHz. Then with these two allocated spectrums which gave us about fifteen spots to fly with, frequency control at the flying field was essential giving rise to the development of the keyboard system. Also during these times a radio user licence was required by the then communications office, (it was required to be renewed each year up to 1982).

With the forming of a club the need for meetings arose. The first meetings were held under the Alexandria in Lydiard Street, then to under the Vegas Cinema (owned by a member) which is where we changed the meeting night from the 4th Friday of the month to the 4th wed (as it is today) owing to the introduction of Friday night shopping. Two years later St Columbus hall became available, it was here in the mid 1970's that we flew indoor models and ran electric cars after the meetings, 3 or 4 years later we moved to the Ed Centre in Hopetoun st. Often we had meetings at members homes, we were at the Brace Centre in Urquart Street for a few more years until the meetings were at the field and at a factory board room in Wendouree and also at Field air rooms at the airport.

Club flying fields have changed many times starting at west side of Gillies Street just north of the airport then off to Mt Pisgah (eastern slope) for about 2 years then to Gillies Street (just north of the sewerage farm) after about 3 years a large paddock at Haddon became available (south of the Kopke homestead), 10 good years at this spot and we saw a need to move on owing to increasing member numbers and the restrictions of the landowner, we found an old recreation reserve at Napoleons which required a lot of work to make flyable. It was then that the split in the club happened owing to the field being too small, about 6 members returned to Haddon to form the beginnings of the club that still flies there today. We went on at Napoleons for about 10 years when housing crept up on us and another move saw us end up at Bowes rd Ross Creek, we had a good 12 years at this field which saw our membership soar to 72 then slowly settle to the 40's, of which it has averaged at until now, after the 12 years once again housing caught up with us. It was 1999 when we moved to the current field at Yendon and now after 13 years here we have a wind farm being built around us.

1975 we received a letter of apology from the VMAA re a $4 increase in our fees October 1978 saw a ban on drinking alcohol and "improper literature" at meetings and at the flying field Membership has varied over the years, from the original 12 in 1962 there was a steady increase to approx 30 in early to mid 1970s up to 72 in the early 1980s then a drop to 10 in the late 1980s saw a strong membership drive to increase it to about 40.

The years gone by have seen us fly at many air shows, public display days, and countless other club days plus many, many more visits to other clubs, we have had years of flying indoor models, we also did many lectures to business groups, air cadets, cubs and scouts and even TV appearances on the Six Tonight show on BTV 6, building demos by members at each meeting proved very popular for about 3 years.

In 1974 the first set of safety rules and our first safety officer was voted in, also in 1974 our wives and girlfriends got together and formed a women’s committee with an aim of raising funds ,they went well in buying our first ride-on mower, supplying material to build a shed and toilet and also funds to help with costs to get Ted Rivett to Mexico for the world acrobatic champs in 1981, the girls also organized club functions and catering at the field and also help in writing and printing of the newsletter which started in 1971.

In 1979 Brian Laging from the Geelong club flew a glider on Mt Hollowback to set a world record duration flight of 28 hours, 28 minutes with the assistance of members of our club who helped with time keeping, holding spotlights on the model ALL night and assisting to keep Brian awake.

Over the years we have had flying instructors, large model inspectors and flight examiners appointed as well as bronze and gold wings introduced Xmas 1998 we with the assistance of the Haddon club we hosted the 49th Nationals. Many flying fields had to be found as well as a main control venue plus catering for all venues, all went well and it is still said today that it was the best Nats. From 1998 the club seems to have averaged around about 35 to 40 members and has become financially sound owing to many fund raising efforts and lots of hard work such as the sausage sizzles which have grown into a good source of income, open days and catering at many on field events and raffles, of which all continue to today.

Since the late 1980's the club has run 2 memorial trophies for past members. Mr Len Bettes and Mr Roy Gladman, these in-house comps have been and still are good for the club. In 2012 there was a member who competed in the world scale champs in Spain (well done Noel Findlay)

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