History of AALS

At the 1975 Easter Convention at Edgeworth, Sydney Live Steam locomotive Society representative Reg Wood put forward a motion to constitute a national association. The motion was adopted and it was decided to call the new organisation the Australian Association of Live Steamers. Ken Tinkler (Steam Locomotive Society of Victoria) was appointed Secretary to setup and guide the fledgling group. The following year at the convention at Ryde it was resolved that the Australian Miniature Boiler Safety Committee (AMBSC) would continue as a separate organisation. The traditional Sunday morning meeting was to become the AALS meeting with AMBSC matters being conducted on the Friday evening. While AMBSC has stayed on Friday evenings, the Sunday morning AALS meeting has moved to the Saturday night. By 1979 the AALS meetings were getting well into things, with the Saturday evening being insufficient for business and the meeting reconvening on the Sunday morning. The meetings discussed standards for couplings, brakes and so on.

In 1981 the first constitution was published for discussion. The Association subsequently published a Code of Practice for Operations and this was followed up with a Code for Training.

There was also the need to address changing regulatory requirements (particularly in the area of Work, Health & Safety) and major revisions to the constitution and codes were made to gain the benefits a united body of AALS and AMBSC would have in addressing this major issue. This was accomplished in 1996 and in conjunction with the creation of the Australian Live Steamers Safety Committee (ALSSC) to cover the safety aspects involved with the operation of miniature railways as an adjunct to AMBSC, both of which now came under the overall administrative umbrella of AALS. Improved processes which included the introduction of postal voting by the Societies for policy changes and alterations to the codes and AALS operations, have permitted greater time for dialogue before voting and has greatly improved the running of the Annual General Meeting.

In 1997, the Association has organised insurance for those Societies wishing to take it up, and the great majority of Society's now have a common insurance which assists in the interaction between Societies.

In 1999, the first training sessions for boiler inspectors and club executives were held and over a period of 18 months, the training sessions have been presented in each state. These sessions have helped to cement the relationships across Australia and raise the awareness and help create a common understanding of the safety and legislative aspects of the hobby.

The organisation has matured over the years and is now on a sound footing with good relationships with the various regulatory authorities. This is important to let the organisation move forward and address the greater issues revolving around our operations. The Association has brought together the Societys Australia wide, and in doing so has had a success that no other country in the world has been able to achieve.

Click here for a short History of Live Steaming in Australia