The Registry Of Ex-Military Land-Rovers Au, NZ, etc REMLR Recreational Run pages The Registry Of Ex-Military Land-Rovers Au, NZ, etc


Our 2001 R & R at Stockton Beach NSW was run on a sunny weekend,
September 1st & 2nd, ...and a good time was had by all.

     Whilst sitting at a red light in my car in the Friday afternoon Newcastle traffic, I spotted a cammed-up Lightweight coming the other way. It was loaded with camping gear and heading north under rainy skies. I could hardly fail to notice it amongst the other vehicles. "Well, there's one for the R & R. Not long now!" I thought.

     For the inaugural R & R weekend the plan was to enjoy the military background and sights of the sand dunes along Stockton Bight NSW and fundraise for Legacy, the charity for widows and children of servicemen. I had carefully picked this weekend because it was Father's Day, it was a full moon, and the tides were right. All week the TV weathermen were telling us the bad news that the weekend was going to be rainy with evening thunderstorms because a big low system was stuck between Australia and New Zealand...

Gone on R & R

     Saturday morning, noticing the thick cloud cover and unchanged forecast, we packed wet weather camping gear and drove 60km north to the starting point of the R & R. We arrived at Anna Bay, parked our family car, and with Kay and kids now squashed in the front of our 1964 SWB GS we drove the last 500m to the R & R Form Up Point. As we crested the headland and looked down at the Pacific and all that sand, there below was the Birubi carpark with it's borders lined by WWII concrete tank traps. But I was disappointed as I could see only three Land-Rovers.

     We pulled up right on time beside the others and the introductions began. I grabbed the camera and looked around. Coming toward me was the Legacy man bearing his tray of fundraising pins. Although pre-occupied with the rain clouds (it hadn't rained yet), I got out the event consent forms and introduced Mr Legacy to the three Landy crews.

     So there I was after waiting months in anticipation of a great weekend and now in the first few minutes of the R & R we were dealing with three let downs. Number one; the lousy looking weather and the even lousier forecast. Number two; the small turn-out of vehicles (due mostly to Number one). Number three; the small fundraising (due to Number two which was due to Number one). A long list of vehicles hadn't arrived: a few WWII Jeeps, a CMP Blitz, a Dodge Weapons Carrier, a SASR Series 2A Landy, some Series 3 ex-military ¾ tonners, etc. I had about six apologies. For example, Wee Wullie, another Series 2A SWB GS, had an ill driver.

     Fortunately the situation improved before the R & R set off. The sun came out and there was a patch of blue sky. Even better, six other vehicles had arrived and let air of their tyres in readiness for the sands. One of the arrivals, Phillip Hartas, showed us how you hand-crank a Lightweight, which he was obliged to do all weekend, because the starter was damaged. Keen or what!

     The R & R got going right on 10am having raised about $300 for Legacy and after saying good-bye to the Legacy man. Nine of Solihull's finest were then 'off on R & R' -

  • three Series 2A ex-Australian ¼ ton GS Land-Rovers (all from the Hunter region of N.S.W.)
    • Graeme Dunlop's Sawmill,
    • Dennis McLaughlin's Chloe, and
    • Ross & Kay Carswell's Castrol,

  • three Series 3 ½ ton Lightweight Land-Rovers
    • Peter & Tracy Lawrence's ex-German ex-Danish cammed diesel LW (from the Southern Highlands N.S.W.),
    • Philip Hartas' ex-MOD ex-UN white petrol LW (from Sydney N.S.W.),
    • Ana Zabaleta's ex-Brunei drab petrol LW (also from the Hunter),

  • an ex-Australian-military diesel 110 Fitted-For-Radio driven by Syd Crawford and accompanied by his old school mate Ralph Hambly (from the A.C.T.),

  • and two Range-Rovers,
    • Robyn Renton & Mark Heath (from Sydney N.S.W.) in the blue one and
    • Thomas Esser and Scott Fayth in the mustard-coloured-monster-tyred one (also from the Hunter).

     The "First Bogged Land-Rover Award" was won after only 500m of sand. Ana's Lightweight hadn't properly engaged the front axle and a Range Rover snatched it out of trouble and down onto the beach. Once on the beach near the surf line we all stopped and I told the story about the Morna Pt aircraft gunnery range. The cameras got busy - on the first morning of the R & R, when the sunshine looked to be in short supply, it was a case of getting out the cameras at any and every opportunity. Then after another false start we began running south at 60kmph; Phillip's Lightweight had not yet engaged the free-wheeling hubs (he had made it onto the beach using only the rear axle).

Hide & Seek in the sands of the bight

     One third of the way down the bight from the northern end are a group of corrugated iron fishing huts referred to as 'Silver City'. Our idea was to use Silver City as a landmark to help us locate an old artillery observation post (OP) a little to the north. Dennis and I had been to Silver City two months previously and hadn't been able to find the OP then. Now on the R & R we didn't recognise any of the dune formations from the reconn at all. Thank you Mr GPS (No.1).

     Thomas's Rangie went ahead and spotted the fishing huts and then returned with the news. The mustard Rangie was promptly checked as it was near boiling. We drove some distance further south beside the surfline and pulled up again. After a short chat we all set off again up onto the middle area sand dunes. Chloe tried the face of the first dune and got stopped half-way up. Dennis reversed out of trouble and tried again. Stopped yet again, Chloe proceeded with the others to backtrack a bit and use a lower dune instead. After cresting a few dunes, there was the metropolis called 'Silver City'. The small R & R convoy pulled up for photos. The cloud was thinner now and the sun was out. The sand dunes filled our horizons, north and south and west, white in the sun. So where were the remains of this old OP?

     To find the OP we allowed ourselves an hour. We crossed the middle dunes to the base of the high dunes and turned north. There were no old tyre tracks to indicate whether the sand was soft or hard. It was hard going for some vehicles especially when we tried to drive up onto the high dunes to get a view. More bogging quickly followed. Some tyres evidently still had more air than required and drivers were learning what gear ratios to use. In my ¼ tonner, I spent the weekend in High 1st, 2nd and even 3rd.

     Having gone about 600m north of Silver City all we could see ahead, besides acres of sand, were very old tree trunks which had been covered for years by the sand and were now -for the time being- uncovered by the wind. Finding the WWII OP 'Ypres' and recording it's position with the GPS was going to mean leg work and we decided to shelve the idea for now. Before turning back, the binoculars came out and we looked for any remains or relics of the OP. Then we went back past Silver City and about 500m further south we saw a group of rusty steel pickets (or what remains of them) and bits of barbed wire. In wartime the wire fences had stretched the length of the whole bight running parallel with the line of tank traps.

     Another 1.5km further south we spotted one of the more visible sights on the bight: the original end of Tank Trap Track which (nowadays) sits up on the high dunes. It is a different colour than the surrounding sands as the sand 'ramp' was topped by a layer of broken grey rock for reinforcement. From our reconn trip two months earlier we knew the spot also has some accompanying tank traps. We wondered how many of the tank traps were still protruding from the sand after the westerly gales of late.

     The Landys then turned west and drove across the middle dunes up into a gully some 200m wide with high dunes on three sides. Sure enough there were some 20 tank traps visible. Each end of the tank trap line emerged from under the dunes forming the south and the north sides of the gully. But there were not as many visible now as there were during the reconn trip. Each Tank Trap is at least as high as a Landy gearknob and now a few each side of the gully were buried again. The original end of the Tank Trap Track, looking like an over-large 'ramp', stood about two stories high on the sands and faced east. The cameras came out and some of the vehicles proceeded to the top of the high dune on the north side of the gully.

     The sand surface on the high dune had pockets of soft-sinky sand hidden underneath, surprising drivers with it's pot-luck distribution. The soft-sinky sand stopped forward progress in quick order. Syd's 110 and trailer got stuck first. Then Castrol got stuck in front of Syd. I was being pulled out by Thomas's mustard Rangie when Dennis declared that it was time to brew-up and have lunch. The convoy returned to the middle dunes just behind the beach and had lunch in the sun. It was nice; there was hardly even a breeze. All the signs of rain, drizzle, showers, storms, etc, etc, had magically gone away and the sky was a perfect pale blue. Yahoo!

     The R & R drivers and passengers were more relaxed and confident now about the capabilities of their Land-Rovers on the dunes. Things were going well. The next stage of the R & R was to find the best way up onto the high dunes and locate the top of Tank Trap Track (the toTTT). So after the lunch stop and some chit-chat the Landys headed south looking for the track across the middle dunes and westward up onto the high dunes. It had to be in the right spot or we could waste a heap of time checking every high dune to our west. Again a snafu despite our reconn notes. There was no track heading west and no telltale 6x6 Tour bus tyre tracks up the dunes. We had to find it as we planned to set up the R & R camp at the toTTT. The bushline somewhere up there at toTTT was harbouring our firewood and other conveniencies organised on our reconn trip.

     We kept going further south we saw another landmark, a crucifix in the middle dunes about 500m ahead; this meant we had gone too far south. We backtracked and looked over the dunes again with the binoculars. There was a stick with a rag in the sand dune next to the beach. It was an indicator for the drivers of the 6x6 Tour buses. But which gully through the high dunes is the right one? There was one barely visible set of tyre tracks going up to a gully and they were certainly not the telltale 6x6 tracks we were looking for. No doubt the recent gales had something to do with this too.

     With the other crews watching from near the beach, Castrol proceeded across the dunes. On the flat middle dunes I got a good run up and started up the long incline of the first high dune for the gully beyond. After about 300m of the incline Castrol slowed up and then stopped short of the crest. About 50m further up was a level area and the gully beyond that. I was stuck in a soft-sinky spot. I got out of the Landy and legged it for a few minutes up to the top of the highest dune. Looking westward through the binoculars I could see that at the end of the gully the set of light tyre tracks disappearing down into the bush. I turned around and looked at the R & R vehicles near the beach. I grabbed Dennis' portable UHF to relay the news. "This has gotta be it. Make sure you get a run up."

Getting up to the campsite

     All told it took an hour for the R & R crews to get up the long face of the first high dune, wind their way west between the even higher dunes, and pull up at the camping spot. It proved to be a bit of a trial for everyone. The climbing techniques varied widely. Unfortunately all the photos I have seen of the first high dune don't do it justice. This was a deceptive and nasty heap of sand.

     The ¼ tonners and Lightweights had all sorts of approaches and many failures. Ana's drab Lightweight (with one dud exhaust valve) and Graeme's Sawmill (with one dud ignition circuit) were both manhandled the last yards up onto the level area. Some tried Low 2nd, some High 2nd, but neither worked if you found a soft-sinky sand area. And most did, time after time. The Series 2A's with bar treads seemed no worse off than the others. Of course all the action prompted the cameras to come out again and the photos taken show a line of short Land-Rovers spread across the top third of the slope all stuck in deep ruts of sand -and the crew members out pushing and shoving. Darrin driving Ana's drab Lightweight resorted to some spade work too.

     The Land-Rover 110 with the winch was still stuck below; Syd Crawford's 110 FFR was pulling a No.5 half-ton Army trailer all weekend and he was quite naturally had no success the first and second times. Syd's winch sure would have been handy at the top to help the others up. A couple of times Syd made it half-way and then retreated to the middle dunes again -like everyone else did. And like everyone else, Syd lowered his tyre pressures and tried again until he made it, trailer and all, without assistance. For the last 10m of the climb we all heard the big Isuzu donk slow down to something like 700rpm and chugg-chugg like a tractor. Just as well -I was beginning to question whether it would be better to winch the trailer up separately. The performance of Syd's loaded 110, making it unassisted with the big trailer, was very classy and it showed off know-how and the great engineering pedigree of these Australian military spec Landys. (I want one -please send money...)

     The Range Rovers had quite a few attempts at the dune as well. Surprise, surprise, they only made it up -in spectacular fashion- by using their wide-open-throttles and finding a hard sand route on the right side. The mustard one seemed to have to put in more effort and it's tyres slipped more I think. It was using LPG fuel and it had an overheating hassle. This vehicle launched itself in a hurry off a 1 metre drop on top of the level area and slightly dented a front guard.

     Castrol was reversed out of it's first ruts back down to the middle dune run up area where Syd and Ralph had adjusted the 110's tyre pressures. I watched the progress of the others on the left and decided to go to the right side. I gunned it to get a run up and stayed in High 2nd. Castrol was carrying a heap of jerry cans and all the -unnecessary- wet weather camping gear etc and started to struggle just like the first attempt. But it kept going up because I hit one less soft-sinky spot than before -blind luck. I parked and became a spectator as Chloe made an attempt with it's slipping clutch. Chloe came up without too much drama at all and made it to the toTTT first using Low 3rd I think. Dennis kept going straight along the gully and reached the toTTT at 1.40pm. That meant that Dennis was on the spot to video the other vehicles as they came along the gully and up to the toTTT. The rest of the vehicles reached the top of the main dune and then went on to the toTTT in dribs and drabs, the last Land-Rover arriving at 2.25pm. Sawmill got stuck again at the toTTT and was manhandled out of trouble by "the spectators".

     After talking it over we decided to look down the track a bit and go into the bush. We crossed the line between the moving sand dunes and the bush and went into what is set down to become a National Park soon. We looked along the endless row of tank traps placed side by side on the northern side of the track. The tank traps are so close that they make an effective wall. At the eastern end of the track you can see the line of tank traps continuing under the base of one of the high dunes and destined to stay out of view for fifty years perhaps.

     At this point I should record our explanation of just what has occurred here. We know that after the war a great deal of effort was put into collecting all the tank traps from the high and low tide lines and removing them to the side of the bush track. All sorts of UXB, scrap vehicles used as targets and other military gear was also removed. This heavy work required vehicle access to the beach. We guessed that a reinforced 'ramp' using broken grey rock was built over the join between the bush track and the (then) lowest part of the dune line for the benefit of the long-wheelbase 6x6 Army trucks. In time the sand had moved westward over the trackhead and the original track was now under five or six stories of sand. At the original trackhead, the dune in front of the 'ramp' had been blown away completely leaving only the very same rock covered sand 'ramp' we had visited earlier in the day, about 1km to our north-east on the other side of the big dune.

Good times at the top of Tank Trap Track

     After fifteen minutes the R & R crews returned from the bush, watched by the video, and walked to the toTTT campsite. We spread out on the flat areas of sand and relaxed. The Lightweight owners began comparisons between the 12v petrol models belonging to Phillip and Ana and the rarer 24v LHD Diesel example called Mr Flat.

     After all the effort getting up the high dune earlier in the day, most people just wanted a drink and some more chit-chat. The tents starting going up about 4pm and the recovered firewood was made ready. The flag was planted on top of one the giant 'ant hills' beside the campfire and the Land-Rovers were unloaded. The two Range Rovers left camp. The mustard one with Thomas Esser and Scott Fayth went home -they had only intended to spend a day with us- and the blue Range Rover with Mark and Robyn journeyed back north to a motel in Nelson Bay, intending to return about 9am Sunday. What happened out of our sight was that the blue one threw a fan and spent the first half of Sunday finding and fitting a replacement part obtained with the help of the mustard one.

     That evening, under an almost cloudless sky at the toTTT, was just "top". The BBQ was nice and the beer was cold (thanks to Tracy's big esky). I was confident that we were all pleased with our day's efforts. The main talking point was that big dune and how wrong the weathermen had been. It had been a perfect day and we had a lot to talk about after our dinner as the fire was beefed up and the full moon came up shone down on the white sands.

     Standing in the firelight at about 7pm with the Southern Cross and other stars overhead we toasted the Aussie Flag, 100 years old come Monday the 3rd of September. Then we toasted the 90th Anniversary of Singleton Army Camp, the 60th Anniversary of nearby Williamtown Air Force Base and the 60th Anniversary of Gan-Gan Army Camp too. And there, on the dunes, illuminated by the moonlight we also toasted the 40th Anniversary of the Series 2A Land-Rover (Solihull September 1961). Some yarns were told and after an hour or so we drifted off to our sleeping bags. Dennis and Graeme slept in the back of their shortwheelbase Landys with the tailgate lowered. One of my teenagers, Scott, slept in the front of Castrol with the seat bases levelled (reversed front-to-back). Syd and Ralph slept in the back of the 110. Everyone else was in a variety of tents on airbeds or on the sand. We all noticed that way out to sea there were flashes in the dark like distant artillery bursts. A big electrical storm had brewed up out there. We didn't know whether we were in for a wet night or dry. Then we noticed that the cloud shadows were sliding over the contours of the moonlit dunes in an easterly direction. Hopefully this meant the storm and thunder would stay out to sea so we could have a good night's sleep; we'll see.

     My last thoughts that evening were of the servicemen who spent their days nights on watch up here on the bight and on the headlands too. The bight was considered a risk, a likely invasion point, hence all the camps, the OP's, the tank traps and the pickets. The servicemen were stationed all around here from 1942 to 1945, not knowing whether the Japanese would send in a night patrol to neutralise the 'Mark X' guns at Fort Wallace ('Mark X' guns had lethal 284lb shells with a 17 mile range). The 13th Heavy Artillery Battery that stood guard at the Fort protected the Port of Newcastle, the coal mines and the BHP steelworks. Some Japanese 'commando' submarines did put a few cannon rounds into Sydney Harbour and into Newcastle during the war, and there is a local story about a Jap sub being beached in Port Stephens and the Americans packing it off stateside for 'hush-hush' inspection.

     The night wasn't especially remarkable, except to say that sand is not comfortable to sleep on. (A sleeping bag on the sand is not recommended). The weather stayed balmy and the sunrise was lovely. You had to look at the western horizon to see any cloud at all -- another beautiful sunny day had arrived as per our wish. Some sleepy heads were stirring and the Kookaburras were going full tilt in the bush. I got up and took the camera for a walk up onto the highest point of the dune to our east looking for a good camp photo. Exactly one (1) photo later I was out of film. Duh. I walked back, loaded more film and warmed up Castrol. This time I drove back down the gully and turned south, driving up on to the top of the same big dune I had climbed up the day before and resumed taking photos. This was the highest dune Castrol climbed during the whole R & R. Up on the flat top of the dune there were a few soft-sinky spots but I didn't get stuck since all the camping gear and spare fuel was back at the campsite. Without any load, Castrol seemed unstoppable. It occurred to me that maybe on the next R & R we should organise it like the Cooma event; the entrants just drive in to the camp site and set up. Then they put their name down to tag along on their choice of scheduled trips, taking only food and drinks for lunch. Hmmm.

     When I returned to camp, breakfast was nearly over and the some tents were coming down.

Concours d'Grot by the surf

     At 9am, after a cuppa and some discussion about the day ahead, we arranged to video the return of the Landys through the gully and down the big dune. Once we reached the beach, noticing how much easier the descent was compared to yesterday's ascent, we waited to see if the blue Rangie would return. Little did we know it had fan blade problems in Nelson Bay. Using the binoculars we checked the beach to the north while the kids played at the edge of the surf and collected some shells.

     It was while we were waiting at the beach that we decided to conduct the Land-Rover Concours d'Grot and award the prizes. Graeme Dunlop had been approached before the event to be The Judge. Graeme put on his best judge's swagger and walked up and down the row of seven Land-Rovers now remaining on R & R. The 2001 R & R prizes consisted of a photo splash on the REMLR website and an IBM compatible CD containing the whole REMLR website as well as extra 'rare edition' pictures not available on the web. The 'secretary' handed out the prizes to:

  • Syd Crawford for "Best ex-mil 110" - completely rebuilt and a labour of love - as well as being thoroughly original,

  • Dennis McLaughlin for "Best Series 2A SWB GS" - completely rebuilt and a labour of love - as well as being thoroughly original, and

  • Phillip Hartas for "Best Series 3 Lightweight" - it's restored(?) condition said "I've Done A Lot Of Work".

     Unfortunately, this little black duck couldn't present prizes and remember to take a photograph at the same time.

Finding a wreck and a grave

     After a few minutes more waiting for the blue Rangie we resumed the R & R and headed south along the middle dunes. After our reconn notes had been discussed with REMLR friends, I had been told "to start looking for the Sabre Jet wreckage south of the stick with a rag" which turned to be the toTTT indicator for the 6x6 Tour bus. We had not known about the Sabre wreckage when we were doing the R & R reconn. Our friend at Horizon Tours, Graham Samsom, had passed on the info. This time we put Mr Flat's GPS to good use and saved some time. Thank you Mr GPS (No.2). Sure enough, there was some of the wreckage sticking above the sand. "THIS WRECKAGE KNOWN TO AIR FORCE" read the stencilled message on the aluminium. We dug around it a bit and took more photos. Why did the Air Force leave it there I wonder? Graham from Horizon says there's a lot of the wreck and sometimes most of it appears above the sand. But not this time.

     Next we drove further south to the crucifix seen the day before when looking for the access to the toTTT. The crucifix stands as tall as a street sign and is made of steel. It marks the burial place of two drug peddlars who were killed by their associate and hidden in the dunes. In the rising stretch of sand approaching the crucifix, some Land-Rovers came to grief. Travelling up the face of a small dune Chloe stalled and stopped. Following too close behind, Castrol had to make a choice fast and chose wrong. I went to the left side to "go around". Uh-oh. I finished up bogged sideways on the dune at an ugly angle and Kay got herself and the boys out pronto. Ana's drab Lightweight driven by Darrin also tried the left side option and also got stuck -but at least he stayed heading in the same direction as Chloe. Graeme Dunlop had also managed to keep going around on the right side of Chloe and then he pulled up Sawmill to offer help to Dennis and also to me. "Careful about the angle of Castrol", he said. He advised that without due care, Castrol could go "greasy side up".

     Dennis got under Chloe's bonnet up and started fixing an ignition problem caused by the coil rotating in it's bracket and stuffing the loom to the dizzy. Darrin was able to reverse straight out of his position and go around to the right of the road block. Graeme and I dug around Castrol's high side tyres. Then I got inside and summoned up The Beast That Lurks Beneath The Red Knob. After slithering sideways and down the slope under power, coating the chassis with sand, Castrol was ready to go again. Dennis also got Chloe going and we all proceeded another 2km before yet another snafu. Dennis had moved onto the hill near the crucifix and stopped, not wanting to continue the 6 or 7km south to the Sygna wreck. Chloe had been nursing a slipping clutch for the whole R & R so far and Dennis had seen the wrecked 50,000 ton bulk carrier many times before. Graeme turned back with Sawmill and stayed back with Dennis, more because of a mix-up on my part than anything else.

Down to the southern end of the bight

     With apologies to Graeme over the UHF, Castrol proceeded down the bight on the beach and on the middle dunes together with Syd and Ralph (110), Phillip (Lightweight), Ana & Darrin (Lightweight), and Peter & Tracy (Lightweight Mr Flat). Peter got bogged on a steep hill because he had to stop: we were in front of him and our tent rolled out the back over the tailgate and just sat there in the middle of the track. The first we knew of it was when Syd approached us and handed it back, explaining why Mr Flat hadn't appeared over the hill yet. Once that was sorted out, we pulled up ten minutes later at the rusty hulk of the Sygna's aft section. The sight of surf sloshing through the rusty superstructure and the rich red colour of the rust meant that the cameras came out again.

     The sand at the this southern end of the bight has been well and truly filtered by the sand mining machinery. The sand is softer and the beach width at high tide is a tad narrow so that unwary drivers can come to grief unless they stick to the middle dunes. The Sygna is directly east of Cox's Lane, a track that afforded access to some sort of pillbox with underground tunnels during WWII. This area is 5km north east of the old Fern Bay artillery range where Australia's WWII armour testing was carried out and the old Artillery Battery at Fort Wallace 1km further south. Plans to tour these sites had to be shelved for lack of time and access on this R & R.

     The Land-Rovers started up and drove twenty minutes back north to Dennis' and Graeme's position and we decided to have lunch and before heading home. It was about 12.30pm. Now although the sun was warm, the water was blue, and the sand was white, a westerly wind had arrived and it was chilly. Lunch was eaten on the inside of the Landys to avoid eating sand. I took some more photos of the Land-Rovers to use on the website and then the time had come for the small R & R convoy to travel northwards up the bight to Birubi and head home. We snaked past the Sabre wreck, the toTTT marker, the 'ramp', Silver City, and the empty stretch of northern dunes, all the while staying off the beach and sticking to the middle dunes.

     In case of problems, Castrol at the rear of the Landy convoy, and Chloe at the front, had the UHF handy to minimise any delays. We had finally got the UHF aspects figured to minimise any convoy problems. There were some steep descents on this stretch and exciting moments when the whole windscreen was momentarily filled with close-up views of the sand at the bottom of the roller-coaster-like track. The fresh-water wet sections of the track were a change and we found ourselves threading through a maze of tracks in the low lying swampy acres looking for the correct track out.

     We were heading northeast to the Form Up Point when Sawmill's ignition died in a big puddle and Graeme had to get the boots wet in order to get under the bonnet with the WD40 toolkit. We went back and watched as he re-started Sawmill in about two minutes flat and we arrived back at the Birubi tank traps where we had started on the first day.

     Once I was out of the Landy I was introduced to "a Silver City resident" who told us of an obscure steel OP tower still on it's WWII site in the bush behind the northern dunes. I noted the story for future use... but all I was really interested in at that stage was a cold drink.

     Everybody shook hands and said their good-byes, disengaged the front axles and slowly drove off for the Anna Bay petrol station and it's extremely popular air hose. When we got there we joined a queue of about six other low pressured vehicles who had also come off the dunes. It was about 3pm and the R & R was successfully finished up for 2001.

     Make that almost finished up; Sawmill, Castrol, Chloe, and Syd in his 110 travelled some of the way down the road home with Dennis in front -until Chloe's dizzy gremlin returned and we all pulled over to see. It was at this time that I realised my mobile phone was lost somewhere -perhaps the Anna Bay petrol station- and Kay went back in the family car to look for it. (Luckily someone found it in the Birubi carpark still in 'unrunover' condition). Chloe fired up and after a few kilometres we went our own ways with our own memories of the 2001 R & R. When we got home we hosed off the chassis and drivetrain, then used compressed air to blow out the sand that had made it's way into the interior. And that was that.

Any ideas for the 2002 R & R???

Some emails:

  • Hi Ross, Thanks for organising a great weekend. Ralph and I both had a good time. Syd

  • Hi Ross, Found this tidbit in the Newcastle Morning Herald (6th Sept 2001):-

    "Tomorrow is Badge Day. The event allows Newcastle Legacy to raise money to help care for more than 3500 Hunter widows of ex-servicemen. The welfare includes support in the home, health, social meeting, legal and pension matters. Legacy is organised by a band of voluntary ex-servicemen from all wars and operations, including Vietnam and East Timor. The members of an online club, have led the charge, already raising $300 for Legacy during celebrations for the centenary of the Australian flag at the weekend. Sellers will be stationed around the Hunter."

    Have the Clipping if you want to see it. Dennis


2001 R & R pre-event info

© 2001