Maxwell Roy Crago
27 July 1934 —19 August 2021
Back in 1981, after several years of promoting displays and exhibitions of Australian-made toys and his 30-year collection of Meccano at his home museum on Powderworks Rd, Ingleside Max eventually inaugurated the MMAS commencing with an exhibition and dinner at Forestville Baptist Church Hall 14 November that year.
Since 1982 the club has held regular meetings in the homes of members and in more recent years halls, for members to converse and show their models. Public exhibitions attracting hundreds were held annually for thirty-eight years until the Covid 19 Pandemic struck making it impossible for families to crowd around interesting mechanical models.
In recent times we have been able to hold regular club meetings whenever Pandemic restrictions are relaxed. Our membership has hovered around sixty for years.
Max‘s efforts have been pivotal throughout the life of the club. For thirty-four years he maintained the roles of secretary-treasurer and membership officer with the late Malcolm Booker as President. He began a newsletter long before word-processors and digital photography came into vogue. For thirty-five years he informed Meccano enthusiasts around the world of our members’ prowess in Meccano modelling. He only stopped (at the age of 83) as his health weakened.
Later in 2017, Max began a process to liquidate his many models and Meccano collection. The process included disposal of numerous special tools that had accumulated in his days as a compositor. (Apart from an enduring interest in Meccano, Max carried an interest in historic publishing which I shared with him.)
By 2020 he had sold his home at Warriewood and he and Ann moved into separate nursing homes where they could each receive specialised nursing care.
In 2020 he put together a dossier, “Meccano and Max Crago 1973-2018”. It is a 48-page chronical of his hobbies and pastimes set against a background of family events. It has been made available for members to read on the club website.
Eventually Max moved into Plateau View Nursing home at Collaroy where he enjoyed a high degree of autonomy with his own hobby den in a quiet corner and freedom to engage regularly in dance therapy to reduce the effects of Parkinson’s disease. However external activities became impracticable as soon Covid 19 took effect and rigorous quarantine was invoked. Not long after that the owners of Plateau View decided to close it for redevelopment. Max was forced to relocate to the nursing home wing of Minkara at Bayview close to Ann. Within twelve months Max’s condition deteriorated to the point where he became bedridden. At this stage he was still able to enjoy conversations especially about Meccano or club matters. He maintained this ability as long as he could.
A Memorial page is being set up on the MMAS web site http://www.sydneymeccanomodellers.org.au/ accessible to members only.
It will take some time to collect and collate the numerous stories held in the memories of members many of whom have been in the club for decades.
Although the pandemic restrictions currently in force prevent face to face meetings eventually we expect to be able to invite family members to a Memorial Service held at a convenient time in a convenient place.
I speak for myself and on behalf of scores of members of the Meccano Modellers Association of Sydney (MMAS). We have expressed our sincere condolences to Max’s wife Ann, and Max’s extended family members for his passing.