We had a fantastic and successful display day on the Sunday for AOA. Being an open day, we had many public visitors who came along to view all the Austins. With clear blue skies, but the need for sunscreen, the day started with the Austins being lined up chronologically in model groups.
There was also some activities for everyone to enjoy, including a a hotly competitive rocket race, with many creative entries who had their own cheer squads. Races consisted of two competitors, with the winners of each race progressing to the next round until their were the final two left. There was the Ken Doll racer (who had a rather nasty end to one race (RIP Ken Doll); Snoopy Racer; a semi trailer rig called "Godfather" that raced in reverse; a replica Austin Ute; an a bat mobile, plus others. Many races were very close and even with two judges, one race had to be re-run twice as it was called a dead heat. The eventual winner being "Turbo Turtle", its secret weapon - CDs for wheels!
There was also the Easter bonnet parade. Unfortunately, I did not get to it. So, if anyone has photos and details of the winner, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The was also the opportunity to ride on the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway, which runs from the Bundamba Racecourse through the former West Moreton coal mining region Swanbank station. From memory, the steam locomotive was early 1900s and one of the carriages (I think is was the prison carriage) was over 130 years old. It is a great testament to those who volunteer to preserve these old treasures and keep them running for many to experience what train travel use to be like (just like us Austin car enthusiasts).
It was about a 20 minute ride to the stop at Swanbank, with the familiar smell of a coal fired steam engine (the smell reminded me of when my wife and I spent Christmas in the north of England in my wife's grandfather's village in a small house - the smell of all those coal fires going for the central heating). Seated in the old carriages, with windows open and the sound of rattling over the line, it provided a snap shot of train travel of days gone by.
For those that had pre-booked their tickets, like my family and I, we had the pleasure of a Devonshire Tea on the platform at Swanbank station. Freshly made scones, jam and cream, along with our choice of tea and coffee. A great way to wait for the locomotive to unhitched, go down the line a way, come back and hitch up to the front for the trip back to Bundamba Racecourse station.
Before we boarded for the return trip, the Station Master, Graeme, asked everyone to check their tickets for a special code, "PB15", that was on only one of the tickets. I checked my family's four tickets and to my surprise found the code on one of them. I showed it to Graeme and asked what it meant. That ticket got me a ride in the locomotive for the return trip, every "young" boys dream come true! The driver, Bruce and fireman Robert, showed where to sit and gave me pointers about operating the locomotive, but really their hand were full with all that had to be done to operate it and keep check on all the dials and gauges. However, I did get to shovel some coal into the furnace, man was that furnace hot! It was a great view from up front and the ride seemed over far too quick, but what an experience!
And here's a short video of part of my ride!
Sunday Night Dinner at Rosewood
Sunday night was out main dinner at Rosewood, held at the main hall at the Showgrounds. Many chose to drive to the venue, whilst a number took the bus option. It was a great evening of food, conversation, catching up with old friends, making new ones and just having a good night out. The theme was 1960s, with many coming in period attire.
The entertainment was provided by Kev Smith who introduced himself as knowing two types of music, "Country and Western"! We initially had a few couples early to the dance floor as Kev sung his country songs. However, once he swapped to Rock 'n' Roll, the dance floor became packed with those showing their dance moves. The highlight of the entertainment was when our own Ken Parker, aka "The Big O", joined Kev on stage to belt out "Pretty Woman". There were a number of awards handed out for the event, including acknowledgment of our Queensland Club members from the UK, Alfred and Josie, who came over for their 3rd AOA (correct me if I'm wrong) - If anyone has the names of the award winners and their award, please send me an email (email@example.com).