The South Western Model Engineers have been a club for over 40 years. John Wiggins, John Riches, Ian McArthur, Greg Tippett, Lindsay Bamford, Kevin Molan, Neil Sanders, Ivan Sanders, and Alan Bates were the original members and they set up a portable track that was built to fit on a trailer and they'd go to markets, school and hospital fetes, footy family days etc. The membership grew to around 10 members who had tracks running around their houses. They then decided it was time to have a more permanent track and to increase their membership numbers.
Cobden Miniature Railway has been operating since 1994 and is a run by the South Western Model Engineers. We are a not for profit organization made up of volunteers. From its early days as a very short ride around a single loop track the park has developed to what it is today. All buildings and grounds work have been completed by voluntary labour from the very generous people of the Cobden District and members of South Western Model Engineers and the Rotary Club of Cobden. The main buildings and the track were funded by loans which were fully repaid from the operation of the railway.
In the early 1990's the original members of the South Western Model Engineers decided that they needed a more permanent track that was set up to be used whenever they wanted. John Wiggins started looking around the Cobden area for a place where the track could go. At that time John was also a member of the Rotary Club of Cobden and he got talking to the local policeman Alan Hart who was also a member of The Rotary Club of Cobden and they discussed setting up a partnership between the Rotary Club of Cobden and the South Western Model Engineers if the right location could be found.
Around this time the Cobden racecourse was closing up and it was handed over to the Heytesbury Shire (now part of the Corangamite Shire) to be used for recreation purposes. The Shire was approached and plans were drawn up and so the Cobden Miniature Railway was born.
South Western Model Engineers Inc, is affiliated with the Australian Association of Live Steam (AALS), which is an organisation of associations involved in the operation of live steam and miniature railways throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Our club is always keen to welcome new members as we are part of a wonderful community resource in Cobden. We all know that it is an exciting thing to see the trains going around our track and seeing the very happy faces of passengers on board. There are many ways members can help our railway, you don't have to be a train driver or own your own train. You can help out on the station, attend our meetings, help at working bees, maintain our gardens, track, trains and buildings. We require canteen helpers, signal operators and people to do odd jobs.