Austins Trek across Australia

The following article is contributed from our sister club in Western Australia and is reprinted with the permission of the author, Ken Devine. It is about Ken's experience at AOA 2017. It was originally included in the AMVCWA's July/August 2017 "Austin News". We wish to thank the WA club and Ken for the article - enjoy Ken's story!

On the 5th of April, 3 AMVC members and 2 VCC members left Perth to drive to Ipswich Queensland for the Austins Over Australia bi-annual rally. They were Neil Pitman A40 van; Brian Thompson A40 Somerset Coupe; Joe Cull A40 Ute; Fleur Johnson A30 sedan; Ken Devine modern and caravan and an A40 Devon that was being trailered.

We all met up at Southern Cross and continued to Coolgardie for our 1st night stop. The next morning there were some car issues but these were soon sorted after I left to carry on my journey, I made my next stop Caiguna whereas the others made theirs Balladonia. In the morning Neil had problems with his van which proved difficult to fix so he decided to return home to Gosnells to get his ute and trailer and return to Balladonia and pick up the van and continue to Queensland. His trip home was an adventure in its self with a lift to Norseman the bus to Kalgoorlie, the train to Perth where his wife picked him up. Another problem was that my son Richard was using Neil’s trailer ramps on his trailer carrying my car so arrangements had to be made for them to meet up at Balladonia. This arrangement was made when Neil was able to contact me at the WA/SA border, we had a virtual phone hookup with Neil talking to me on my phone and my wife talking to Richard on her phone they made contact and met up at Balladonia on the Saturday evening where they loaded up and left the next morning to carry on to Queensland. The rest of us carried on for an almost uneventful trip with us all arriving at our Willowbank caravan park on the Wednesday before Easter. Unfortunately Fleur’s little A30 cried enough  with a leaking water pump at Warwick, the car was picked up and bought to the Caravan park where phone calls were made and a replacement pump was found, with all repairs done we got on with the rally. The rally was well organized by the Austin Motor Vehicle Club of Queensland and rally headquarters was the Ipswich Turf Club, there were 150 entries of various Austins from 1910 to 1970s. We had a meet and greet on the Friday and on Saturday the 1st run to the historic towns of Kalbar and Boonah which were very interesting and hilly trips, we passed a very large reservoir which was overflowing from the recent floods. The Sunday was our main display day at the Ipswich Turf club where the cars were all set out by models in line which looked quite spectacular. One of the highlights of the day was the rocker cover racing which seems very popular on the eastern side of the country.

The Sunday night was the official dinner with around 400 people in attendance with many of them in period dress. During the night various awards were given out.

The longest distance travelled was won by visitors from the UK. The longest distance driven is usually won by a West Australian and this time it was Brian Thompson, the popular hard luck award was to Fleur Johnson for her epic drive in the gallant little A30 which broke down  at Warwick and although it did the last days run it was trucked back home to Perth. The people’s choice award for the car of the show was a very nice A90 Atlantic.

The final day's run was to the historic towns of Lowood and Laidley, the run was through some very steep hills which my A40 took in her stride.

On the Monday night there was a farewell dinner at the Rosewood show grounds with a smaller attendance than the previous night.

On the Tuesday everybody was packing up to return to their different destinations.

We look forward to AOA 2019 in South Australia.

Below is what I feel is the car of AOA 2017. It is a very rare model from New Zealand which received a lot of attention. Jeff informed me that it was an Austin 12/6, which has an Austin Automatic Gearbox fitted.

Here are some more photos from Ken's AOA 2017 article: