Well, I couldn't visit all those model shops in Oz without buying a few kits could I?
The range of Australian prototype kits is greater than I had expected. Maybe visiting modellers interested in UK railways influenced me, but I'd expected this to be the realm of scratchbuilders whittling things out of gum trees.
Not so. There is a modest amount of RTR and quite a supply of kits. Not anything like as much as on the UK scene, and diluted because of the countries 3 different track gauges, but still enough to make a reasonable start on a layout.
Limitations on the amount of baggage I could bring back on the 'plane restricted my buying but I have a few bits to dabble with.
Top of the tree is the Steam Era Models kit for a Victorian Railways "M" wagon. Sharply injection moulded, the kit includes wheels and some etched details. Price $16.90Aus, or about 9 quid in her Britannic Majesties coinage. A real bargain in many ways and slightly cheaper than a comparable Parkside kit.
Next is a Strath Hobbies SAR 31-1300 Travelling Water Tank. Injection moulded solebars, metal wheels and a resin body and some plastic strip. Obviously more of a cottage industry kit than the one above but I've seen a finished model and it looks OK. Price $29.95Aus - not dissimilar to a UK kit from the same sort of firm.
Finally, as the holiday drew to a close and I really was worrying about the suitcase, a couple of NSWR lineside water tanks from Ian Lindsay Models for $8.95Aus. Resin corrugated tanks and bits of wood. Nicely moulded and they will look great on a diorama one day. The Aussies collect water obsessively so you can't model the country without these.
In addition, there were some rather nice building kits, Korean brass (lovely Garratt for $1700Aus), brass and whitemetal kit locos and loads of other stuff. While the Aussie modeller might have to build more than his or her UK counterpart (no bad thing some may say), there's certainly a lot on the market.