Golden Anniversary Celebrations
Pretty well all of you should be aware that our club was formed at the instigation of Vernon Graetz in 1972. You would also be aware of the celebrations that we had planned for the anniversary of that event, with a lot of the details and information on the club in the excellent special edition of Auto Torque that Yvonne has published. So, now that it has all been and gone, how did it go and what happened?
Saturday night started with dinner at the Murray Bridge Golf Club. Attendees entered the building past a small but varied display including Paul & Val Wade’s Square 4 Ariel motor bike, Alan & Marlene Hagger’s BSA motor bike outfit and Dodge ute, John & Vicki Courtney’s Dodge DA Sedan, Trevor & Christine Wehrman’s Chev van, Jan Hall’s Leyland P76 and Claude & Liz Minge’s Ferrari Dino.
On entry, bags containing goodies, Sunday’s run information, magazine etc. were handed out and most took the opportunity to purchase some raffle tickets. It was then time to have a look at the fantastic memorabilia display, compiled by Roy and Elaine Bretag, find a seat, and get a drink, not necessarily in that order.
Graham Edwards assumed the role of MC for the evening and explained the usual housekeeping instructions. President Claude Minge then welcomed all present and announced the apologies, before introducing our guests for the evening, Tony Pasin, our federal member for Barker, Adrian Pederick, state member for Hammond and his partner Susie Boksem, Wayne Thorley, Deputy Mayor and his wife Angela and Morven Green, President of the Federation of Historic Motoring Clubs, and his wife Melva. Then followed a minutes silence, with a very fitting photo of Vernon Graetz on the TV screen, to give us all the opportunity to remember all those that are no longer with us and “the way things were”. Then to further remind us of some of these events and people, “the first 40 years” compilation by Graham for the 40th Anniversary was played on the TV, followed by “the last 10 years”, again compiled by Graham, to bring us up to date.
Tony Pasin, Adrian Pederick, Wayne Thorley and Morven Green took the opportunity at various times during the evening to address the group, followed by 50th Anniversary Chairman John Courtney leading a vote of thanks to the Committee and helpers. Time then to finally tuck in to what was general accepted as a great feed.
An early brief history of the club was then presented by Kevin Brincat-Cotton, inaugural member and 1978/9 President.
The club birthday cake, once again provided and beautifully decorated by Jane Burbidge, was cut by Claude and Cecily. They were then joined by all the inaugural members present for a photo shoot. Both the cake and desert provided suitably topped off the meal.
Along the way there were for various prises and raffles. A “mystery plate prize” was won by inaugural member Robert Turner. A wooden 50th Anniversary clock, beautifully made and donated by Jeff Martin was won by Cecily Graetz, a most fitting winner. A three bottle pack of Tawny Port, including a 10th Anniversary bottle (donated by Graham and Marg Klingberg), a 40th Anniversary bottle and a 50th Anniversary bottle was won by Mary Rowley. As the dress theme for the night was “70’s style”, the Golf Club staff cast an eye over some rather dodgey looking hippies and other trendily dressed participants and agreed that both Darren Fountain and Roxanne Rowland “had the look” and were each presented with a prize.
Finally a very satisfied mob retired in readiness for the following day.
Sunday showed promise of a warm day as everyone gathered in the car park adjacent to Finlaysons Reserve. At 9,00, three cars that were actually on the club’s inaugural run to Mannum in 1972 were waved away by inaugural member Eric Wehrman. These cars were the Graetz’s 1936 La Salle, the Burt’s 1926 Chev Buckboard and the Wehrman’s 1926 Chev Tourer. Another inaugural car, the Chamber’s 1939 Buick, was there at the start, but Steve deemed it too unwell on the day to go to Mannum. The remaining 60 odd cars soon followed on, arriving at the Mary Ann Reserve at Mannum at about 10.00am. A BYO morning tea was consumed amid much reminiscing on the very pleasant lawns of the reserve, prior to returning to Murray Bridge past the picturesque Mannum Waters in absolutely perfect weather.
Back at Finlaysons Reserve in Murray Bridge, the cars were parked for display on the lawn. In all there were about 75 cars on display, as some belonged to members with multiple cars or members who were officiating on the day. And what an impressive display it was, everything from 1926 to 2008. We are very fortunate that professional photographer David Leane was happy to once again, as he did for the 40th Anniversary, take a series of photos that we should be able to get framed for our clubrooms, as well as for anyone else that would like them. To allow him to get a better view, Darren Fountain provided a scissor lift. Lots of others took photos as well, it did make a pretty spectacular sight.
A delicious BBQ lunch was provided by the Mobilong Rotary Club, for about 130 participants, which only served as a break between looking at cars, talking about them and reminiscing over past events. The memorabilia display was again on hand to prompt a few more memories. A very pleasant time was had. However all good things must come to an end, so eventually President Claude thanked all present and closed the event, to the cheers of all present.
John Courtney, Chairman, 50th Anniversary Organising Committee.