This year the organisers decided that because of the National Rally to be held in
Canberra in about 7 months time that the 27th tour locale should be within 100km of
Melbourne to minimise costs for the majority of members. The destination chosen was Healesville, about 65km to the north east of the CBD in the foothills of the
Great Dividing Range.
This year there were about 50 cars entered for the tour and over 100 members, families and friends participated, many of whom traveled to Healesville on the Friday prior to the long weekend. However, the distance was no object to regulars like Lex Kirkby and Erin in their '54
Plymouth coupe and Maurice and Alison Wilson who came down from Deniliquin in their '50 DeSoto sedan. Robert Frampton rolled in from Eden in his VH Charger and John Woodhouse and Valma brought their 1929 Plymouth from Bairnsdale together with Glen and Lynette in the 'S' Series Valiant.
Members were accommodated in various motels and caravan parks around Healesville. Joan and I stayed with many others of our group at the
Park which is situated on 20 ha in natural bush beside Badger Creek a couple of miles out of Healesville on
Don Road. A few of our members living in the outer eastern area of
Melbourne travelled to and from home each day. After everyone at Badger Creek had set up their camp we gathered by the creek to swap yarns and have a cool thirst quencher before preparing for a BYO barbeque in pleasant conditions at Queens Park in Healesville to start the weekend off.
Saturday morning was free time and many went into Healesville to check out the shops and stock up the larder. In one second-hand shop there was a cardboard carton containing a complete set of Smiths dashboard instruments that they wanted $35 for. I pointed this out to Ted Jones who recognised the bits as belonging to an Austin Healey and he couldn’t get to the cash register quick enough to take possession of the stuff.
We were then scheduled to meet at the Maroondah Reservoir for a BBQ lunch for the official rally start. As usual Rod Gorman was working on the BBQ with the assistance of a few others including Glenda Frazer. (one of their duties was to protect the cooking sausages from the very cheeky kookaburras). Andrew Frazer gave a welcoming address and we were called up in numerical order to be given our tour pack containing sponsors products and the enamelled tour badge.
The weather was warming up by the time lunch had finished and we assembled in rally order to leave Maroondah Reservoir and travel through town to the visit the Big Bouquet about 10km down the Healesville-Kooweerup Road. Unfortunately, our convoy became divided and about half of the group missed the turn into the Big Bouquet and after travelling some distance had to do a 'U' turn to get back on track. It is general convoy practice to keep the car behind in view and to wait at turn-offs till the next car appears so that everyone is aware of the route to be taken.
The Big Bouquet is a modern cut flower farm specialising in gerberas and includes an alpaca stud. Here we were divided into two groups and had a conducted tour of the establishment. The gerbera glass house occupies about 3 acres and had a variety of colourful flowers about to be picked for market. A pack of alpacas varying in colour between white through brown to black were on display and we were told of their habits and invited to have a look through the gift shop where garments made from alpaca wool were for sale.
After a refreshing afternoon tea we set off back to camp to prepare for a 2 course dinner at the Healesville RSL where we filled the dining room to capacity. Following dinner some of us tried their luck on the pokies before returning to their lodgings around 10pm after a fairly warm day on the road.
Sunday was another fine day but milder with a cool breeze. After an early assembly at the Maroondah Reservoir we set off in rally order up through the magnificent tall timber and ferns on the Black Spur to the Mantirri Blue Berry Farm where we were shown through part of the orchard and sampled the wines and muffins for morning tea. On this leg of the Tour we were joined by friends of Keith and Maria Dodkins.driving a well presented 1934 Nash coupe.
One significant absentee during the morning was Mick Brauman and Agnes in their '56 DeSoto. Apparently he topped up the tank at a servo in town and couldn’t start the car afterwards, no battery power! The servo mechanic checked the battery electrolyte to find the cells all dry.
Despite the water restrictions a gallon or two of water was put into the battery and there were no more problems.
From Mantirri we travelled up to Buxton before turning off the Maroondah Highway onto the Marysville road and arrived at Marysville in time to visit the Marysville Car Museum which houses a magnificent collection of privately owned rare cars, trucks and other paraphernalia including a gypsy caravan and an unusual English steeple clock, the mechanism which is open for close inspection and quietly ticks away in a ground floor corner driving the hands of the clock in the steeple through a long shaft and bevel gear system. The Museum was opened especially for our group and we were told that the building is up for sale but the artifacts within are to be retained by George, the owner.
Marysville street market was operating and most of the ladies strolled through the stalls looking at the arts and craft on display. Those of us who hadn’t brought a lunch with us found the bakery where we were able to buy a wide variety of tucker to satisfy our hunger. Bruno’s Art and
Garden not far out of Marysville on the Steavenson’s Falls road was also worth a visit.
Later in the afternoon we made our own way back to Healesville to clean up for the Club Dinner Dance at the Sanctuary House Resort Motel where we sat down to a very nice three course dinner of a choice of two soups, baked fish or roast for the main, and chocolate mousse or compote of pears as a sweet. Throughout the evening lucky car prizes were drawn as well as the compulsory raffle run by none other but Gladys Brumhead and helpers for an overnight stay at the RACV Club which was won by Bob's mother, Mrs. Simpson. A keyboard player with accompaniment entertained us throughout the evening with popular dance music that got many of the diners up and jiving.
Of course there were the usual fines for the most devious of misdemeanours that were spotted by various 'dobbers' and reported to Don Bailey during the Tour. A grand total of $100 in fines was collected and will be forwarded to the Wood Glen CFA.
Andrew and Kathy presented the trophies for the cars voted best in each category by last year's winners:
2007 Annual Tour Awards
Up to 1939
Bruce and Jenny Barton
1937 7 Passenger Dodge
1940 to 1949
Rod and Kathy Gorman
1950 to 1959
Tony and Theresa Villella
1959 DeSoto 2 Door Hard Top
1960 to 1970
Mike and Janet Butler
1972 Valiant VH Charger
Most Original Car
Mark and Sara Fenton
1947 DeSoto S11C
Longest Distance Travelled by a Vintage Car
John and Valma Woodhouse from Bairnsdale
Phylis Elly Trophy (Ladies Choice)
Bruce and Jenny Barton
1937 7 Passenger Dodge
Keith and Maria Dodkins
1934 DeSoto Airflow
Ron Donnison Memorial Trophy for Best Car on Tour
1939 Chrysler Royal