Autumn Run to Cevanties May 2019
Friday 24th May saw a bevy of Buicks gather at Ginger’s Roadhouse on the Gt Northern Highway. The cars ranged from 1938 to 1976 and all looked pretty dam good in the morning light. A mandatory stop was at Bindoon, about 100 km from Perth. The bakery there makes a great range of pies and pasties, cakes etc. The adjoining park is the perfect place for the Buicks to park. From Bindoon the cars swung left off the highway and proceeded across pastoral land to Moora. There was evidence of some farmers having already seeded although the ground looked pretty dry and the dams were well down for water levels. The lunch stop at Moora was in the park alongside the railway line. Local townspeople drifted across for photo opportunities and chat. We hit the road again, heading west to the coast to Cervantes. The town took its name from an American whaler named after Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes, which was grounded on the coast there. On 29th June 1844 the crew were apparently fishing near Jurien when the weather blew up and the ship was grounded rather than wrecked. It was subsequently auctioned off for salvage. The town has traded on the Spanish name with Madrid Street etc and sculptures featuring Don Quixote tilting at windmills. It is also a stopping off place for the nearby Pinnacles rock formations. Late afternoon saw all the Buicks swing into the motel apart from Steve McLennan’s ‘38 which was having some axle / diff problems and was pushed into place. The management at the motel made us particularly welcome and assured us of new gas bottles in the BBQs. The large pergola held everybody and we all watched as Steve’s Buick was transported back to Perth on a flat bed truck. Although a fairly cool night, most braved the lower temperatures and a fun filled night ensued. Saturday morning and someone had told Events Supremo, Harold Hitchcock about a good coffee van just on the outskirts of town. After driving in two different directions for about 10 km, half of the group headed back to town and the others continued onto Jurien. It turned out that the ghostly van was not on the street that day due to illness. Lunch was at the very popular Lobster Shack. In Western Australia they are called crayfish and I think lobster is just for the tourists. It was certainly a sumptuous lunch indeed. There was a tourist bus there with loads of Japanese, taking pictures of the Buicks. I have often thought it would be a good idea of charge $5 per photo to cover fuel costs. I nearly reversed over one Japanese photographer who stood behind the car taking photos. This could have been awkward. Saturday evening we were booked into the bowling club across the road from the motel. They do a great meal there and a very convivial atmosphere. This evening there was a hypnotist as the evening’s entertainment. This can be hilarious but it needs to be visual to watch people make gooses of themselves. Most of the patrons had to stand along the walls to see what was happening. It was a bit tiresome just listening to the bloke and it seemed interminable. The locals seemed to thoroughly enjoy him though as did most of the Buick people. Sunday breakfast was had, cars were fuelled up. Cars drove down different roads, depending on where you lived. I had a last minute visit to Lake Thetis (a very bumpy gravel road) where there are a collection of stromatolites. These are the oldest living fossils on earth and are World Heritage listed at Cervantes. The name comes from the Greek, meaning layer. They are a one cell organism and are extremely rare. They are close into the shoreline and look like dried out brains in the water. Uneventful drive back home but I pulled into the garage only for my son to advise me that my coolant had all disappeared. Oops! However no damage on inspection. All in all, a thoroughly great long weekend with good food, fun and nice long drives. Article by L M Haime (WA Buicks)
Articles from our trip to the 2018 Buick National Oueensland
The Oueensland Nationals 2018 – by The Wife. As you girls know, the Nationals don’t start the morning you leave, they start one or two weeks prior. First uncovering the Buick, then wash, polish and vacuum before it leaves the shed. Then it’s time to visit Repco. Oils, filters, grease and spare parts. Don’t even think about the budget, then it’s back home to the shed to service the car, only then can we think about packing the car for the trip and that only comes after himself does a final inspection to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything. Well, its time to leave, bright and early, whilst I am getting the house locked up, I ask His Lordship to pack the car. Next thing I hear is the horn (come on). As I get to the car, there he is, sitting behind the wheel, motor running, and ready to go, Esky on the back seat of course, but the luggage is still on the ground. “What about the luggage” I said? His response was, “We don’t need all that stuff do we? I’ve packed the Esky.” So after a robust chat with His Lordship, I packed the luggage in only to be told everything I did was wrong. A good stare did the trick. We depart home and travel about 100kms when smoke appears at the rear of the car. As His Lordship investigates the cause, I sit there dreaming of Qantas and sipping a glass of Champers. Suddenly he puts his head through the window and informs me the mechanic has left an oil line loose. After he fixes it, he hops in and says, “Don’ worry pet, we’re alright now.” It was a short lived dream. The next morning, I awaken with a fright. His Lordship pats me on the bottom and as you girls would realise, I fly straight out of bed only to be met with, “Any chance of a cuppa and a piece of toast?” Another god almighty stare does the trick. Silence, then a very nervous husband packs the car for the day. As we travel along this route quite often, we stay in the same motels and have never had to book accommodation, but for some reason, every motel is completely booked out. As we could not get a room at Pt. Augusta, His Lordship decides we have to drive to Broken Hill. Upon arriving in Broken Hill, our usual motel is fully booked. We checked out all motels only to find there are no rooms available. A smile comes to His Lordships face and says, “We will have to stay in the pub.” Eventually we find a pub that has one room left with two single beds. “Beauty”, His Lordship says quickly, “book us in” which creates my most memorable moment. After paying for the room, I go out to inform himself we are booked in. Now girls, this is one of those moments that you need your camera at hand. As I hop in the car, he says, “Where do we park the Buick?” This is when I inform him the Buick must sleep out on the street. Well, the look on His Lordships face was priceless, it will live with me a lifetime. “We can’t leave her on the street” he states. “Well what do you expect me to do”, I say, “sleep in the car?” With that he says, “Would you really?” Another hard stare mixed with quite a nasty snarl put a stop to that idea. Well, if you’ve ever slept in a pub, you’ll probably realise it would have been more comfy in the car, lots of noise as it usually happens, every hour or so there is a loud noise or a mallee between god knows who, but it is enough for His Lordship to get up and check the car every time this happens. So at 4.15 in the morning, I was quite relieved to be on our way, only to be informed, “Gee that was a good pub.” Finding the service station, at 4.30 am, it didn’t open till 5am, we had forgotten to change our watches. Upon reaching our destination, we stop to fuel up, check oil etc., up goes the bonnet and opposite us another car enthusiast, which quite often happens on the runs, he asks, “How was the trip?” “Fabulous” says His Lordship. “How was your’s” he asks the other chap? “Tops”, he says. “How was the food”, he asks His Lordship? “Well except for the cold shoulder and tongue pie, it was pretty good.” “I know what you mean”, says his new best friend. With that his wife looks across to me and gives me a wink and a lovely smile. Down with the bonnet but not before he gives a pat on the air filter and the radiator which is done everyday. We had an absolutely wonderful time on the Nationals and Post Tour. Presentation Dinner was a fun night for all, trophy presentations, games and lots of catching up with old and new acquaintances. We accepted with please, the Davidson Driving Encouragement Award for the Oldest Car Driven the Longest Distance.
The ole girl did herself proud and never missed a beat. On our last day, my daughter rings me and I ask straight away, “Is everything alright, kids, animals etc?” Hoping for the best and dreaming of Qantas again. “Yes Mum”, she says, “I’m just ringing to wish you a lovely trip back home with Dad.” Was this all a nightmare, or is this all a dream? I will let you decide.
Jenny McLennan, W.A.
Articles from our trip to the Buick National NSW
Our trip from Adelaide to Wollongong
Ferries and punts on the River Murray
Ferries or punts provided the first crossings on the River Murray for many years, and still operate in many places today.
In 1839 Charles Bonney overlanding cattle to Adelaide from Port Phillip, pioneered a river crossing near what would become Wellington. More herds followed and crossing places were established at Woods Point, Wellington and Thompson’s. George Morphett established a small ferry at Wellington, and later another further upstream at Woods Point. Charles Bonney also discovered another suitable place named Thompson’s crossing (later called Swanport). William Carter was the first to take up the lease and was appointed in May 1849. These early ferries were hand operated and passengers were frequently asked to assist in winding the cable. Traffic on the ferry increased – in February 1852, 1234 people, 1266 horses and bullocks pulling 164 carriages crossed the river; fees collected were over 64 pounds. In 1857 there was a successful petition against the level of the fees.
A hand operated punt was opened at Mannum sometime before 1877, then another was constructed by the Crown Lands Department. From 1888 this was operated by the Mannum Council, and eventually fees were abolished
Swan Reach had a ferry by 1898. It was small and hand operated, like most of the others were at first, until a motor was installed in 1911. A bell was available either side of the river to call the ferry when a crossing was required. There had been some opposition to the ferry, with many believing it would be better installed further up the river. However, the ferry contributed significantly to the development of the land east of the river.
Nowadays the ferries on the river are operated by the Department of Road Transport and strict traffic regulations are applied. These ferries are designed to carry large vehicles and are very unlike their early predecessors.
Photos of the crossing on our way to the N.S.W National.
Articles from our trip to the Buick National NSW
What an interesting Town Gundagai N.S.W.
On our trip from Adelaide to Wollongong for the N.S.W. Buick National
Peter & Bev, Stuart & Delys, John & Sue, Harold & Gail, Jim & Beryl.
Stopping in Gundagai to take a look at The Prince Alfred Bridge
It is a wrought iron truss and timber beam road bridge over the Murrumbidgee River and its floodplain at Gundagai, New South Wales.
The bridge was named for the then reigning Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred, and was built to carry the Great Southern Road (now the Hume Highway) across the Murrumbidgee. It opened in 1865 the bridge has a total length of 314m.
Heading from there into town to take a look at Rusconi’s Marble Masterpiece
Rusconi’s Marble Masterpiece was constructed in Gundagai, N.S.W
Frank Rusconi settled in Gundagai in 1905 where he became the local monument maker until his death on 21st May 1964.
In 1910 this work of meticulous accuracy was commenced and was completed in 1938.
Not surprisingly the statistics associated with the ‘masterpiece’ are astounding.
Aided by a lathe constructed form an old sewing machine, the tools used were ordinary mason’s tools. No plans or drawings of any kind were used throughout the whole period of construction, which took 28years.
Built from 20,948 N.S.W marble, the smallest of which was only 3 mm square and the largest (one of the columns) was 125 mm high. It has been estimated that during the work he wore out 4,368 fretsaw blades and 180 files. He was so much of a perfectionist that he discarded 9,011 pieces of marble either because they were not the exact shape or they were not the correct colour, each piece hand cut, turned and polished, there are 20 varieties of marble, each a different colour. The total hight of this masterpiece is 11 metres.
It has left an impressive legacy to Gundagai in the form of a miniature cathedral.
This amazing masterpiece is displayed proudly at the Visitor Informational Centre Gundagai.
Leaving the Visitors Center in the park outside was Dad, Dave, Mum & Mabel
On Our Selection is a series written by an Australian author Steel Rudd,
“Dad & Dave from Snake Gully” is a 1937 Australian 11 Minute daily Radio Soap Opera. It is the story of a country family in the fictional town of Snake Gulley, Australia. You may remember it as Dad, Dave, Mum & Mabel as the Statue depicts them. The Gundagai connection is from the theme song for the long running radio drama series, which was “The road to Gundagai”
Before leaving Gundagai there was one more icon we all wanted to see, so we made it our morning tea stop, 5 miles from Gundagai
An internationally recognised Australian icon he Dog on the Tuckerbox
This monument was created in 1932 by Frank Rusconi as a tribute to our early settlers.
Articles from our trip to the Buick National NSW
The Great Vanilla Slice
Began in Ouyen in 1998. Ouyen is located south of Mildura on the Calder Highway. After fourteen years of a successful event for the town, Ouyen committee decided in 2011 to hand the event over to another local community. Merbein had been searching for an event for some time, so the Merbein Development Association applied to hold the event, a community committee was formed, in 2011
The Great Vanilla Slice triumphed at Merbein. Of course we had to stop on our way to N.S.W. to try out these vanilla slices. From then on, the bakeries we stopped at for morning tea supplies a vanilla slice was often on the cards.
Click on the images below to see details about the event.