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Day 4 - Tuesday 26 March 2019

Well it was certainly much better sleeping weather last night.  At 7.00 am it was only 9 degrees but as the day progressed the weather improved and was very pleasant.    

One of our members suggested that I have a chat to Clive Harman from Bendigo.  Clive has only had his A’van for about two years and is a First Timer.  He once flew the DC3 (A65-64) which is on display at Club Mulwala.  The person who mentioned him to me was unaware that Ian and I had spent over 9 years in Port Moresby PNG and that we had also had several trips in DC3s.  Clive not only had spent many years flying in and out of the various towns in Papua New Guinea but had absolutely loved the time he spent there.  Two hours after we met up with Clive we were still reminiscing.    

Clive first joined the RAAF as a trainee pilot, graduating as a Sergeant Pilot in 1956.  Initially he was attached to 34 Squadron.  Clive was about 22 when he flew A65-64 out of Richmond NSW and furthermore it was his first solo flight.  After he left the RAAF in 1963 he joined TAA where he spent about 3 years on commercial flights up and down the east coast of Australia.   Finding commercial flying rather boring he then joined DCA in 1966-7. The rest of his career was spent transporting VIPs around the country as well as flight testing navigational aids all over Australia, Papua New Guinea and Asia. 

At one stage he was transferred to the Royal Air Force for a short period and on one of his missions he landed his plane in the middle of a war zone. The tarmac was covered with empty cartridge shells and surrounded by military personnel.  As you can imagine it was a very quick unload and turnaround.

You would be surprised to hear the names of the people who Clive has flown in and out of Canberra when he was with DCA.   These include former Prime Ministers of Australia.  Anyone interested in chatting about planes or Papua New Guinea should visit Clive on Site A61.       


Photo 1 - DC3 A65-64 at Club Mulwala


Photo 2 – Clive Harman of Bendigo

How about this for a Tap Root? Or is it a Tree of Knowledge with water on the brain?


Photo 3 – Tap embedded in a tree

A’van Campers Australia of Packenham Victoria very kindly donated 20th Anniversary Hats, Badges and a Small Fork and Spoon Set to all members.


Photo 4 – Hat, badge and Fork & Spoon

While we can thank Joan and Brendon Smith for the existence of the A’van Club we are indebted to Jeff and Marion Van Baardwyck for the existence of our A’vans.  Many of us may never have been travellers if it hadn’t been for the A’van.  And we certainly wouldn’t have made so many wonderful friends.  We were delighted that Jeff and Marion were able to join us for our AGM.


Photo 5 – Jeff and Marion Van Baardwyk

The youthful voices of P12 students from Yarrawonga College were a welcome addition to the National Anthem.  I suspect that the children were a little overwhelmed as they stood in front the audience.  


Photo 6 – Yarrawonga College P12 Choir

The AGM was officially opened by the Hon. Damien Drummond, Federal Member for Murray.  The thrust of his address was primarily about the lack of water and the resultant damage to the dairy, agricultural and horticultural industries.  He stressed the plight of the farmers.


Photo 7 – General Meeting

It was announced that the Northern Territory Government had granted the club $5000 towards the cost of the 2020 gathering in Alice Springs. 

In his report, President Les Lawrenson emphasised that the committee were working towards being a paperless organisation, that all administrative operations would ultimately be conducted electronically.  A 1300 telephone number is also being introduced so that when one committee member is away another member can automatically respond to telephone enquiries.


Photo 8 – General Meeting

The Anniversary T shirts proved to be so popular that more may be ordered. 

There has been a change to the printing process of the A’vanner.  The Victorian volunteers who used to put the newsletter into envelopes have indicated that they are very happy with the new process although they will have to make alternative arrangements for their social interaction. Les thanked Mike Trinick for his past work as Editor.  The new Editor is Jan Loveday and she will be assisted by Kath Bowman. It should be noted that the new plastic envelopes are recyclable. Ultimately it is hoped that the newsletter will be electronically transmitted rather than by “snail mail”.

There were 8 motions put to the meeting and basically they were technical alterations.  These were all passed unanimously.

The new committee is Dave Wilkinson – President, Rick Houghton – Vice President, Martin Hodgson – Secretary, Ros Bolton - Treasurer, John Bromley - Membership Records, Ruth Bourne, Bruce Gibbs, Neil James and Jan Loveday – Committee.  

The Treasurer’s Report was presented, State plus Group Co-ordinators were introduced and awards were presented to those who had attended 10 AGMS.


Photo 9 – Queensland Co-ordinators


Photo 10 - David and Cassandra Miller receiving their 10 year Award from our ner President Dave Wilkinson


Photo 11 – Ten Year Award Recipients.

After the introduction of inaugural members Cliff & June Hicks and Joan & Brendon Smith were presented with “Appreciation Awards”.


Photo 12 – Cliff and June Hicks


Photo 13 – Joan and Brendon Smith

Those who had attended all 20 gatherings received a specially engraved glass. 


Photo 14 – Twenty Year Awards


Photo 15 – Rex Penfold (20yr), new First Lady Jan Wilkinson, and Margaret Penfold (20yr)

A chef from Club Mulwala had made a special 20th Anniversary Cake which was cut by Brendon & Joan Smith and Jeff & Marion Van Baardwyk.           


Photo 16 – Joan & Brendon Smith and Jeff and Marion Van Baardwyk cutting the 20th Anniversary Cake


Photo 17 – Jane Winkler and the Chef who made and iced the Anniversary Cake


Photo 18 – Joan & Brendon Smith, Jan & Dave Wilkinson, and marion & Jeff Van Baardwyk

As you know the 2020 gathering will be in Alice Springs and the 2021 gathering will be at Coolum on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. 

In the afternoon five Canoes took to the river and there were five A’vanners went Fishing.  I believe that all the fish that were caught were undersized. I guess that is the plight of the fisherperson.


Photo 19 - Canoeing


Photo 20 - Fishing

The evening entertainment of “Me and the Girl” proved to be extremely popular and the duo were certainly deserving of the large audience they had.  A number of A’vanners exercised their vocal chords and legs at the back of the marquee as they danced and sang along with the music.


Photo 21 – Me and The Girl.


Photo 22 - Enjoying the Entertainment


Photo 23 – Dancing


Photo 24 – Audience at the entertainment  

During the course of the evening a group of us spoke with Jeff and Marion Van Baardwyk who were sitting at our table.  From a dream that started in 1994 with just Jeff, Marion and their sons, the company now employs 368 people.  After coming home from their day jobs, Marion would take out her sewing machine and make curtains while the boys would help Jeff.   What a business success! 


A Brief History of Yarrawonga continued.

1891    A wooden road bridge was built over the Murray. Second newspaper published.

            Some of the wooden pylons of this bridge are still visible when the level of Lake Mulwala is low. The wooden bridge was deemed unsafe from about 1915 and work to replace it with a concrete and steel structure began in 1917 but was not completed until 1924.

            However, construction commenced at each end as independent projects.  Poor communication between the NSW and Victorian state governments is blamed for the unusual bend and dip in the middle of the bridge. (3)    

1920    Union Flour Mill started processing local wheat. (1)

(1)        https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/yarrawonga-vic

(3)        https://www.seaaustraliamemories1943-51.weebly.com/unusual-bridge- explained.html


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