August 18th – Warracknabeal to Keith
This morning we bid farewell to 9G Club members Rob and Sue Tolley who had spent a few days with us but now needed to return home. Finally there was a break from the rain, but extremely cold. While at the Nhill Memorial at around 9.45am, a town thermometer read 8 degrees centigrade with a very lazy wind to go with it! This being Vietnam Vets Day, we were pleased to place a small wreath made by Barbara, and sprigs of wattle gathered by her and Dick, on the very attractive Memorial where a local press representative came and took some photos and we collected copies of the local paper highlighting our arrival. A young father named Ross offered to take photos for us also and his children Eva and Oscar received teddies as has become the custom.
The local Nhill Vintage Machinery Club had organised a luncheon for us which was very well attended and a jolly good feed. The members proudly talked about their club activities and showed off a grain cleaning machine which is in the process of being restored. Many thanks were given for their hospitality.
Next in a very busy day was a visit to Kaniva to Chris and Lisa Hicks’ property to admire his collection of 9Gs and enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea. Chris’s Mum Cynthia took pity on the frozen ladies of the group and allowed us to enjoy their indoor fire – bliss! A quick stop was made at Bordertown to catch up with an enthusiast, John Hunt, then off to Keith where our major sponsor, Elders, had arranged a function at the Keith Hotel. Their staff were very interested in our activities and we enjoyed their Sausage Sizzle while relaxing over a few drinks. Another great effort by our sponsors.
August 19th – Keith to Myponga
Another very busy day with lovely blue skies but still quite chilly. First stop was a photo opportunity at the painted silos at Coonalpyn, then a call was made at Meningie to catch up with the locals and accept their kind donations. This was a fantastic photo opportunity, as locals had not only brought their tractors, but vintage cars and a wonderful old bus named ‘Sir Reg’ which was being used to provide coffee and buns by Andrew and Debbie. Dick and Ron were very excited to find that among the cars on display was a 1951 Ford Custom, the same model as that which accompanied the original Tail End Charlie in the 1957 Mobilgas Rally and also a 1953 Peugeot with a ‘REDX 53’ numberplate, an entrant from the 1953 Redex Trial. Along with our replica Tail End Charlie, these three vehicles made for some very special photos. Then it was on to a ferry to take us across the Murray River to our next stop. We had been alerted about possible flooding on the road through Langhorne Creek so were not surprised to find a detour in place around very wet grape vines and crops. Not to be deterred, we reached Strathalbyn in time for lunch and met a very keen member of the ‘Langhorne Creek Professional Tractor Drivers and Machinery Operators’ who had kindly arranged a raffle sponsored by local businesses and boosted our fund-raising considerably. Many thanks Barry.
Next call was at Goolwa for ‘Charlie the Champion’ to be photographed on the wharf to compliment those photos taken at Echuca Wharf. In sunny conditions, the tractor looked very colourful next to the river.
A long standing invitation had been received from Chamberlain 9G Club members Dennis and Noeline Hill, keen members of their local Southern Fleurieu Historical Museum. As well as great displays, along with Dennis’s 9Gs, there was a very special cake organised by Noeline with the inscription ‘Welcome Charlie 11’ – this tasted as good as it looked so thanks to Noeline for this thoughtful addition to our day. Unfortunately this visit was too short to enjoy all that the museum had to offer, as Dick had a commitment at Myponga with his friends Neville and Josie, who hosted us for the evening and an overnight stopover. A local photographed the tractor from his drone at their property – an unusual addition to our large collection of tractor photos.