Monday September 23rd was mainly a day in settling into accommodation and greeting old friends who seem to have been coming to AOAs now for nearly 30 years.
Also, in our case, the morning was spent in picking up Ken Parker’s A30 from the trucking depot in Adelaide. As can be seen, Ken was a happy man with the way Tootles coped with Adelaide traffic to the Caravan and Tourist Park where many of our members were staying. The sun-visor seemed to come loose and was in danger of blowing off, so it was taken off for the rest of the week.
Monday afternoon and evening were spent at the Registration and a Welcome Dinner at the AOA Headquarters. This was the Chateau Tanunda Winery and Function Centre, right in Tanunda. It is a large building with all the faciliteis needed and perfect for a gathering of nearly 170 Austins and their keepers.
Queensland was represented by thirteen cars and fourteen members; Alf and Josie Grant unable to bring their Freeway Wagon and Sherbourne saloon all the way from the UK. Attendees and cars from here were the Kev and Paula Airton’s A90 Atlantic, Chris Roberts and daughter Kathryn in the A90 Atlantic, Mike Wade Sprite, Alex and Marlene McCullough 1800, John and Jenny Hinde A40, Doug and Lieka Benckendorff A110 Westminster, Brian and Lorraine Wright A40 Somerset Convertible, Ken and Desley Parker A30, Steve, Jen and Bob Hayes 1934 Six Cabriolet, Bernie and Madonna Bianchi A40, Warwick Rankin Austin Healey 3000, John and Shay Higgins A90 Atlantic and me in my Freeway Sedan.
Perhaps the Hard Luck Prize should have gone to Alex and Marlene McCullough with their 1800. One of the rear displacer units let the side down in Goondiwindi, so they hired a car, went home and brought their ute and trailer and towed the car to the Barossa. It was back on the level by Monday afternoon. Warwick Rankin arrived in his superb 1963 Austin Healey 3000, but had slight fuel or electrical problems when he left the dinner. Adam Francis from Victoria and has some experience with the C-Series engine, helped with getting it back to our motel, but it played up for some of the time it was in SA. Warwick must have got it go properly as he turned up at our Monthly meeting on his way home.
Tuesday dawned bright and sunny (the weather was perfect for the whole week) and for those of us who ordered breakfast, there was a great spread of muesli, eggs, bacon, toast, quality jams and spreads at the Chateau. Just as well, my motel didn’t even boast a toaster….. It was the first round of the Rocker Cover Race and Entrant Number 12 was our esteemed President. Ken won his way into the second heat by doing a Steven Bradbury - his oponent’s machine fell off the side!
From there, we travelled in convoy to the National Motor Museum, Birdwood, an easy 50km drive through what seemed like back roads. We had to park around the buildings as the rain the week before made the display parking area too soggy. As part of our entry fee for AOA we were allowed into the museum. Austins in the museum included an A30, A40, A50, Freeway and Vanden Plas Princess 4-Litre R. South Australia being the home of Holden and Mitsubishi meant that there were plenty of their models including prototypes, but Lightburn also was a local company and there was a display of three or four Zetas from the early 1960s. Birdwood Museum is a must-see when in SA with a great display of vehicles from the early days right up to the present.
Most people spent the day there, before wandering home to a free evening and rest up before another full day’s activities on Wednesday.