Important message to ARHS Members, Subscribers and Supporters
The Directors and Management are very excited to announce that Australian Railway History and Railway Digest will resume from January 2022.
Thank you to all members, subscribers and customers for your support and understanding over the last 24 months and the last three months in particular. It has been a difficult time for the Society, but now that restrictions have eased, we can again see the opportunities ahead.
Over 2020 and 2021, we have had to adapt to the rapidly-changing circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic:
- January 2020 – tours were cancelled due to the bushfire emergency
- 18 March 2020 – the first Covid-19 restrictions were imposed, international borders closed
- Shop activity was down by 80%
- We vacated Bowden Street premises on 30 March 2020 and moved into the Henderson Road building
- Central and Henderson Road bookshops closed, all tours cancelled
- We negotiated bank support to suspend loan repayments and obtain relief to maintain operations.
- Availed ourselves of government JobKeeper support to maintain staff level
- There was some easing of restrictions from 28 April 2020
- Shop and archive reopened in stages from 14 July 2020
- Lockdown in City of Sydney from 16 June 2021 due to Covid Delta strain
- 26 June 2021 – Closure of Central and Henderson Road premises
- Our income was mainly derived from mail order and phone sales
- All other projects put on hold
- Termination of Central Station bookshop lease to reduce ongoing costs
- Staff and contractors stood down for three months to reduce ongoing costs
- Publication of Australian Railway History and Railway Digest magazines suspended for two months (initially) commencing with the September editions
Suspension of publication of Australian Railway History and Railway Digest was not an easy decision for the Board to make, as we are fully aware of the importance of these two magazines and their popularity with members of the Society, subscribers and other supporters. The decision (as well as termination of the Central Station bookshop lease and standing down of key personnel) was made to ensure our financial viability and long-term survival as a result of the debilitating lockdown.
At the same time we suspended publication, we also made an appeal to our supporters for donations and it is through the generous support of many, that we are now able to recommence both Railway Digest and Australian Railway History magazines in January 2022.
Careful management of cash-flow will still be necessary for some time as the Society recovers. We are not out of the woods yet, but we now have the confidence to resume publication and maintain the monthly schedule.
Membership and Subscription Renewals
Renewals of Memberships and Subscriptions will proceed as normal. We understand that you have missed four issues of each magazine and propose the following options:
- When you renew, your subscription will be extended by four months; or
- You may decide to waive the extension as a gesture of support
The Henderson Road headquarters has now reopened and we welcome everyone back to purchase a book or magazine. Please note that Covid regulations apply. The shop at Central Station has been vacated and unfortunately will not be reopening.
The Railway Archives
The Archives will re-open to volunteers from 1 November. Public enquiries are also welcome by e-mail or phone. Public access to the Reading Room with be announced in due course.
A member’s meeting is scheduled for November 10 at the Mechanic’s School of Arts, 280 Pitt St Sydney, from 6:30pm. This meeting will include our Annual General Meeting.
The Society is close to 90 years old. This is an extraordinary achievement, made possible by the passion, hard work and support of members and subscribers. We are looking forward to a long and bright future which welcomes everyone who shares our passion for railways and their history. We encourage you to be a part of that future and thank you again for your support.
By authority of the Board.