Re: model building - a comment from Australia

Paul Butler (
Thu, 22 Jun 1995 08:56:54 +1000

I belong to a model aircraft club in Melbourne. I have only been a member for about three years (cannot remember the exact date of joining) and in that time we have only had three female members out of a consistant annual membership of 120 to 140. One joined just last month, one was an associate member (her husband was a fully paid up member) and the third has been present at least as long as I have been a member. This young lady (about 17 years old I think) is an excellent electric powered glider pilot and comes from a family of four siblings. Besides her father, she is the only family member who has stuck at the hobby and she, like Thomasa, is at odds with her friends about her interest in the hobby.

The clubs junior membership stands at about 30 people under 18 years, most of whom are offspring of adult members. There are a couple of boys who have devoted mothers who cart them to meetings and to the flying field. I am only aware of one lad whose father does the same but there may be others. There are a couple of fathers who are not modellers but became (and remain) associate members because of their sons's interest (in some cases now past).

The club actively promotes the hobby in the locality by mounting displays whenever the opportunity arises and the youngsters in the area usually show a steady interest but you can sometimes observe a reluctance in the demeanour (spelling?) of the parent(s) suggesting a lack of interest in allowing their child to get involved in a "messy" activity especially since computer games etc. are so much cleaner.

I don't know what the solution is to getting more young people involved.

The other thing is, the club has a turn over of about 20-30% of the adult membership each year. It would appear that some people are only interested in a new toy and have no staying power. Our hard core of members who have been present for years might only amount to 80-90 people (just a guess since I do not have access to the membership history at the moment), they are certainly those you see at the field most often.

What is it like amongst the plastic modellers. I imagine your clubs would have a higher percentage of dedicated modellers.