Western District Historic Vehicle Club
Long Distance Rally 2019

Eight cars gathered at the servo on the Ring Road on the 2nd September for the 2019 nine-day Long Distance Rally   Thanks to Barb and Ray for coming along to send us off.

Of the eight couples that accompanied those vehicles, four new members made the trip their first.  Welcome along to Tony and Miriam (Studebaker) and Fred and Pam (modern.)

The cars with club rego were a Ford Capri, Mercedes, Studebaker and a Ford Transit. Another Merc made a brief appearance for a few days near the end of the Rally.

Our itinerary included the following locations and features:

Riddell’s Creek- Just Mustangs and other American imports, Nagambie and the 310m long and 129 year old timber of Kirwin’s Bridge.  A night at Wangaratta refuelled the crew for the next day and a visit to the magnificent monstrosity of the Eldorado Gold Dredge, at its peak it processed over 12,000 tons of dirt looking for gold.  An insight into a particular pumpkin seed inspired us all to the health benefits of this marvellous tiny product. Check out www.pepofarms.com.au

A few hours in Bright for lunch and sightseeing on a sunny, magnificent day prepared us for the drive through the hills to Mt Beauty, stopping at a couple of scenic lookouts to view the snow- capped mountains of the Australian Alps which was a sight to behold.
Happy hour commenced in a big room at the Manor House in Albury, the banter, stories and good humour preceded a meal at the in-house restaurant. The next day had us circumnavigating the Hume Dam with a visit to Jingellic and Corryong were a few of us had a personal poetry recital from Maurie Foun.  The return trip back to Albury took us past the historic trestle rail bridge over Boggy Creek that we walked to for some great photos.  More good banter during happy hour in the big room preceded a night at the Soldiers, Sailors and Airman (like the RSL.)

The next location proved to be a feature with a stay in Temora, via the Chocolate and Liquorice Factory in Junee.  The Rural Museum was managed by a bloke and a group that had a passion for their work and were dedicated to providing a fantastic facility filled with exhibits that actually will work.  Each March they crank as many as they can up for the public to see.

Happy hour produced our first and only BS Bag recipient for the trip. The explanation for “Dark Matter” did not convince the crew and Fred D received his award unanimously and with good grace. The Temora Aviation Museum has the same philosophy of having working exhibits. All the aircraft there are kept in flying condition and with the information and stories provided by a local volunteer guide, the experience was a truly memorable one.
Until this point in the rally the weather had been spot on, the trip to Mulwala/Yarrawonga via Ariah Park with a stop at the Bowsers Wowsers and Peppercorns for smoko and a wet Narrandera for lunch, proved to be challenging with the strong crosswinds and heavy rain.
Judith and Ray along with the rest of the crew enjoyed the experience of gallivanting across the well paved Back Roads, criss-crossing the rural country side to Mulwala.
Welcome to Ray and Barb for a few days.
Early morning magpie feeding provided some entertainment while the boys prepared an egg, bacon and hash brown breakfast roll that the girls organised the night before. The semi arctic conditions were refreshing to say the least. Never let it be said that Long Distance Rally participants are not a resilient lot!!

A painted silo tour kicked off the morning on the way to Benalla for lunch. Great historic references are portrayed on these silos.  A dry Lake Mokoan provide the opportunity to see a painted water tank on the way back to Yarrawonga. The day’s events concluded with a visit to Bundalong to see over 80 tractors of which 10 or so were restored to their former brilliance.

The highlight of the tour for the motorcyclists in the group I am sure was the visit to see Peter and his shed full of Indian Motorcycles and memorabilia. Scouts, Chiefs etc and his Nordian. This is a combination
Norton/Indian racing bike that he competes at Gairdner Salt Lake in South Australia on, his best is about 150 mph. He started this beast up for few minutes and proceeded to deafen all and sundry. He builds up his own engines and alters frames to suit. He also does up magnetos. The ladies and gents were enthralled by his knowledge and exploits in gathering this remarkable collection.

Judith took the liberty of another photo shoot as she straddled the racing machine and assumed the prone position. The look of sheer joy on her face was priceless.  The Club mug was presented to Peter by Fred for the opportunity to visit the collection.

Back to camp for happy hour and stories albeit that the weather was windy and cold still.
Off to Echuca via The Olive Farm just out of Mulwala. Lunch appointment on the PS Mary Ann where engine troubles prevented the cruise taking place.  Ray and Barb say their farewells and head home, the rest look around the Echuca Wharf area and shops in between showers. The Moama RSL is the venue for the food and drink for the night.

Well if you thought you had seen some great venues etc so far, The Great Aussie Beer Shed was a sight to behold. Neil Thomas has a pre-eminent collection of beer and whiskey related “stuff” including one of six rare beer cans, the CUB horse drawn wagon, other wagons, machinery, Furphy water tanks and other types, household stuff, safes and advertising things. His stories add to the experience of this must see museum.  Look him up if you are in or near Echuca!

Sadly, this whole experience has come to the final night. Fred and Sharon courtesy of their sons’ Murray River frontage home have provided the venue for a roaring fire pit where we sat around, had a few drinks, talked a lot and cooked up a BBQ on a cool but windless night by the river.  Fantastic, relaxing experience listening to all the stories still being produced!

On the way home at 9am before a painted silo visit at Rochester and our final group smoko stop at Elmore.  Here ended the 2019 Mountains to Murray Meander.

From my point of view, as much as enjoy the attractions on the trip, I enjoy the camaraderie, stories, anecdotes and learning about the life experiences of the people on the trip as much. It was another great experience for me.
The Crew wish to extend their appreciation to Sharon and Fred for their tireless effort in presenting an entertaining and interesting array of venues and attractions for the Long Distance Rally participants. Fabulous effort yet again.

Col Jordan. Duly appointed in absentia correspondents for the 2019 LDR