Our Branch outing for April was to be a visit to the Newcastle Museum in Workshop Way, Newcastle. The current Museum which opened in 2011 is housed in what were once Railway Workshops when the foreshore area of Newcastle was dominated by heavy industry, with much of the southern (Newcastle) side of the river being dedicated to the railway.
The outlook for the day was not very promising with morning showers and storms being predicted for the Central Coast and Newcastle areas. I spoke to Neville on the Saturday night and he had made the sensible decision that if it looked like rain, he would leave the (sparkling clean) Talbot at home. I was fairly keen to take our car as it was to be the first chance I had to take it on a run after rebuilding the rear universal joint cover (which had failed on the drive home from Mittagong) and the gearbox. I also felt some obligation to take the car as I had been involved in arranging the outing.
On the Sunday morning the weather looked quite dismal. Despite this I finished cleaning the car, much to the amusement of other members of the family who were confident it was going to rain. I did concede that if it was actually raining at the appointed departure time we would leave ‘Annie’ at home. A little while later when were were ready to go it wasn’t actually raining so we set off. By the time we got to Lake Munmorah, about 15km’s up the road it started to rain, with the clouds to the north looking more threatening. Thankfully it wasn’t very windy, so we weren’t getting too wet at that point.
By the time we reached the old ‘Aero Pelican’ site at Pelican, we stopped to put on a few more side curtains. When we reached New Lambton it was raining quite heavily and at Sandgate the car was starting to miss due to the magneto getting a bit wet.
We were a bit late to arrive at the meeting point at Hexham with five other veterans getting there before us. The group were gathered under the shelter of some large fig trees on the northern side of the carpark. By this time the rain, which was becoming very heavy at times was also accompanied by some electrical storm activity. After a quick discussion, the decision was made that we would abandon the outing at that point and head for home as it looked as though the weather could worsen.
Given the weather, the attendance of six Veterans at the start was very pleasing. It would have been seven however Neil and Toni A and family had some problems with the Model T Ford en route and decided (quite wisely) to go home rather than try to fix it in the rain. Stuart and Kelly A probably had the least fun, being in the Renault which doesn’t feature a hood. Thankfully they were able to offload the kids to travel home in the rear of the Studebaker, which whilst becoming a bit crowded by this time was warm and dry.
We got some more rain on the way home, but I was happy to have taken the car for a run. John & Max B and Brum who were in the 1916 Hupp arrived back at Cessnock where it didn’t rain till the early afternoon. Allen D, who was accompanied by a neighbour and his mate, was thankful we didn’t venture into Newcastle as he experienced problems with a leaking manifold gasket on the way home which would have been worse had we gone the extra distance. He was thankful though to have had two ‘pushers’ with him to help out when required. I think Mick, Katrina, Chris and Isaac in the FN may have got a bit wet on the way home, especially Chris and Isaac who were in the back seat which is a fair way from the shelter of the windscreen.