Our 2007 biennial Muster was held in Cowra, in the central west of NSW. This panorama (click to enlarge) shows most of the vehicles. We were based for the event at the Central Motel which, for an event such as our Musters, had the very real advantage of plenty of space for car trailers, multiple car parking, and even space to assemble for this group photo.
The event organisers had done a sterling job in their preparation, with a full calendar of events for the weekend. It will be possible to give only brief coverage of everthing here. And, apart from the’official’ activities, as usual there was plenty of excited chatter as friends caught up, in many cases for the first time since the previous Muster, or when another vehicle arrived. This first set of photographs shows some of the early arrivals, groups chatting and meeting new arrivals, and (click to expand) a panorama of the evening BBQ.
Our first formal event of the weekend was a drive in convoy through Cowra, then through dessicated counryside to nearby Canowindra. There we saw the ‘Age of Fishes’ Museum, showcasing fossilised fish found nearby (and with interesting steel ‘sculptures’ of them, made from old agricultural equipment), the community’s Historic Museum, and the interesting curved main street of the historic town with its many shopfront verandahs.
Here are a few photos of some of the vehicles at this year’s Muster. The significant change from previous events was that we had rear-engined Renaults beyond the Dauphine and Floride – as late as an Alpine GTA, which Glenn drove down from Cairns. John’s R8 (seen here on the Nullarbor Plain) was the first entrant to drive across Australia from Perth and the first of that model to formally participate in a Muster. An unlikely entrant, significant in its own right, was Frank’s historic 750-engined speedboat, in its time the holder of Australian speed records for boats with engines up to about 2.5 litres, and still the 750cc speed record holder – didn’t the crowd gather round whenever Frank fired up the engine!
That evening we had our biennial General Meeting. There was, as usual, a minimum of business, but some very enjoyable food and good company. Our major decision was to hold the next Muster in 2009 at Young, central NSW.
The following day was for sightseeing and photography. In the morning we all travelled to the Japanese Gardens, a thoroughly delightful area and the largest Japanese gardens in the southern hemisphere. Many photographs later, after finishing our visit, we also had a very enjoyable lunch there. This also was the perfect opportunity and setting for group photos of all the participants in the weekend.
Next was a visit to the Cowra Information Centre, where there is a small theatre in the style of a POW hut, running a free 9 minute show which is truly magical. A ghostly little lady the size of a leprechaun walks the stage and tells the story of her fiance who was a POW of the Japanese and how he was fortunate, unlike many others, to emerge alive at the end of the war despite the terrible conditions. She also tells the story of the Japanese and Italians who were POWs in Cowra and the aftermath, when the Japanese made the infamous “Cowra Breakout”. On the little stage, she is surrounded by actual items from the former POW camp and, in the background, changing photos from the period.
In the afternoon we visited the very scenic River Park Vineyards, where we were made most welcome with afternoon tea and a wine tasting. Never satisfied that we have enough photos of our cars, we gathered them alongside the vineyards and also in the ornamental garden in front of the main residence at the vineyards.
Our organisers for the weekend had worked hard to prepare a full programme of activities for us. No sooner had we returned from the vineyard than we were away again, this time to the “Cowra Fun Museums”. The museums have a very eclectic array of material covering military, rail and rural activities. The Cowra vehicle club also very competently provided an excellent BBQ meal for us. Unfortunately our visit was in the dark, so photography was somewhat limited.
On the Easter Monday, it was, as our programme said, time to “put our feet up and let someone else do the driving”. So, in the morning,we went for a run on a 1927 vintage railmotor, operated by the Lachlan Valley Railway, the local railway enthusiast group. They also have a very comprehensive workshop at the edge of town, where they undertake quite major rebuilds of railway locomotives.
Following our very enjoyable rail trip, we returned to Cowra for lunch at the Cowra ‘Smoke House’, a specialist producer of delicatessen products, mainly smoked. There we were given a tour of the facilities (they even breed their own trout for smoking) followed by a particularly tasty lunch. Naturally, we took the opportunity to get more photos! Finally, we wrapped up another very enjoyable Muster with our usual very specialised ‘Swap Meet’.