Gippsland's Model Railway Specialist since 1988
History of Hobbies Plus
Hobbies Plus was opened in November 1988 at 17a Mackey St in the West Gippsland town of Longwarry.
The small shop stocked model railways, stamps and coins, clocks, bric-a-brac, slot cars and diecast cars, trucks,
modelling tools and general plastic model kits. Open late morning to late afternoon, the shop had an amazing variety
of stock considering the tiny space it occupied. Cheap second hand trains were a speciality at that time.
Hobbies Plus. 40 Tyers Street (Princes Hwy), Stratford, Victoria 3862. Phone (03) 5145 6611 or International 61 3 5145 6611
Email: stationmaster at hobbiesplus dot com dot au
Open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10am - 5pm and Saturday 10am - 3pm. Other times by appointment or chance.
Above: The original Longwarry shop in 1991. From the reflection you can see something common to all but one of our previous locations. We've usually had a good view of the Main Gippsland railway.
In 1989 we moved to Princes Way, Warragul in conjunction with a general second hand business and later back to Longwarry when that business ended. In 1991, the business was relocated to 48a Moore St. Moe, in the same premises as a home and car audio business. In 1992 we again moved, this time into our own premises, but remaining in Moe this time at 25 George St. This was suitably located across the tracks from Moe railway station. This allowed close viewing of the relatively busy line out the back door. Moe was once a busy junction, with the narrow gauge railway to Walhalla starting here (the shop was located almost on the former narrow gauge yard) and also the Thorpdale and Yallourn lines also branching off from Moe. The business remained here until mid 1997, when a decision had to be made to cease trading due to falling sales and increased rent. After a 6 month break, a temporary shop was set up in the upper level of the Sale Cinema building while searching for a new location. This was more temporary than intended when I was unfortunate enough to be in a very bad traffic accident. This delayed reopening for about 18 months.
Above: The George St, Moe shop backed onto the railway opposite Moe railway station. The back door was usually open for train viewing. There was still a mural depicting the inside of the shop on the rear of the building after we moved, although the shop itself was later absorbed into the neighbouring Jolly Real Estate. In 2011, all the shops in this area were demolished.
In October 1998 the former National Bank building in Stratford was auctioned. In true railway enthusiast form, I was in Cootamundra, NSW watching trains when the auction was on. But the building was obtained and Hobbies Plus re-opened in May 1999.
The stamp and coin department ceased trading from the premises in 2001 and with various other local hobby shops catering for other hobbies, the decision was made to no longer stock non-railway plastic kits and slot cars, the business has become almost exclusively model trains. Although the name 'Hobbies Plus' is no longer as descriptive of the business as it was when first registered, it has become too well known to consider changing for the time being.
Since the above was written, most of the other Gippsland hobby shops have closed. For now, there are no plans to return to stocking other hobbies. This may change if demand warrants.
Photos © by Darren Hodges