For many years the Newcastle Branch has hosted the ‘Combined Outing’on the first or second Saturday of January. The idea being to have an event where members from both the Sydney area and Newcastle/Hunter could join together for the first Club Event of the year. Many different locations have been visited from the Mangrove Creek Dam to the north and Dharug National Park to the south (quite a few years ago) and numerous others in between.
Obviously, given the time of year the event has been effected by either very hot weather or on a few occasions bush fires which have been burning. I think that one year the F1 might even have been closed due to the fires. If my memory serves me correctly, I had the bright idea that we could have the run a bit later in the year, perhaps in early Autumn when the weather would no doubt be ideal. The others in the Branch went along with it with Sunday March 13th the chosen date. On a positive note, we had a clear sunny day with no rain. On the down side, the mercury still reached the high 20’s and for those from further up the Hunter I think it might have been in the low 30’s by the time they got home.
We decided this year to return to Alison Homestead which is located just to the west of Wyong not far from the Motorway. We last visited the location in 2007. Unfortunately in December 2011 an arson attack led to much of the original homestead being destroyed. This included a vast collection of local historical records which sadly will never be replaced. The main building has since been rebuilt, with some of the original features such as chimneys being retained, however the collection it now houses is fair less impressive. The hardworking volunteers who run the museum, many of whom are descendants of local ‘pioneer families’ are hopeful the collection will be enhanced over the years by donations from private collections. The site is also the location for the Wyong Men’s Shed. John W gave Neville and I a bit of a tour whilst he was comparing it with the Mannering Park Men’s Shed with which he is quite involved.
We had a good rollup of members in both Veteran’s and moderns with representation from the north and south. Despite it being fairly warm we all settled in the shade under the large trees which proved to be quite a pleasant spot – as long as you ignored the noise from the constant traffic on the motorway. Geoff and Louise Y in the Wolseley were the sole Veteran from the south. They reported having a good trip up despite some conflict between them and the ‘GPS’. Ben R made his first appearance on their 1914 Douglas motorcycle. Ben reckons it performs better when he rides it rather than when his father does!
On a sadder note, it was our first outing since the passing of Peter Adams. It was really nice that Kim still joined us, travelling with Chris, Catherine and Isaac in the F.N. on what I’m sure was a difficult day for her. It’s very sobering to think just how quickly your life can change. Our Combined Outing in 2015 was held just down the road from Alison Homestead in the grounds of the Wyong Christian School. Peter and Kim were there in ’50 Bob’ and in typical fashion Peter was offering others the chance to join him for a bit of a scoot up the road in the car. Chris and I both took the opportunity to take it for a bit of a drive, in my case taking my two girls for a ride so they could experience veteran motoring at a slightly more exhilerating pace than that offered by a 12HP Talbot. I’m sure Peter was there with us in spirit, probably climbing one of the trees we were sitting under whilst having lunch.
After having a leisurly morning tea, lunch and bit of a wander around the group had to disperse as the hard working volunteers were wanting to lock up. A good roll up and good day out.