Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge turns 50
The car club has celebrated its golden anniversary with a re-enactment of its inaugural run to Mannum and a show and shine at Finlayson Reserve.
This post was contributed by Graham Edwards.
Fifty years of motoring history have been celebrated by inaugural, past and present members of the Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge members as they gathered to celebrate the club’s golden anniversary on March 26 and 27.
A committee under the chairmanship of life member and past president John Courtney had worked tirelessly, collating invitation lists and planning the entire weekend’s proceedings.
Celebrations began on the Saturday evening with a display of vehicles adjacent to the 18th green at Murray Bridge Golf Club.
These included Alan and Marlene Hagger’s 1958 Dodge ute, their 1949 BSA bike and side car, Trevor and Christine Wehrman’s 1925 Chevrolet delivery van, Claude and Elizabeth Minge’s Ferrari, Jan Hall’s 1973 Leyland P76, John and Vicki Courtney’s 1929 Dodge Bud DA sedan and Paul and Val Wade’s Ariel Square Four motorcycle.
Following the viewing, 108 members moved into the clubhouse bistro.
Tables were decorated in the traditional club colors of black and gold, with a touch of maroon in the flower arrangements by life member Maureen Edwards, along with a specially produced 50th anniversary placemat featuring the club logo, photos of the late inaugural president Vernon Graetz and associated run photos on the rear, with a remarkable photographic display of club memorabilia photos put together over the past months by life members Elaine and Roy Bretag.
The evening was opened by the MC, past president and life member Graham Edwards.
The current president, Mr Minge, then welcomed all present, read apologies and called for one minute’s silence for all members who had passed on in the past 50 years, accompanied by a photo on a large TV screen of the late Mr Graetz waving farewell and wishing the club all the best in its celebrations.
Dignitaries who attended included Federation of Historic Motoring Clubs SA president Morvan Green and his wife Melva, Deputy Mayor Wayne Thorley and his wife Angela, federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin and state Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick and his partner Susie Boksem.
Following the evening meal a suitably decorated 50th birthday cake, made by Jane Wehrman, was cut by inaugural and life member Cecily Graetz and Mr Minge.
Following this came a photo shoot of all the inaugural members present.
During the evening two raffles were held: one for a wooden 50th anniversary clock made and donated by Jeff Martin, won by Mrs Graetz; and the other for a pack of three bottles of 10th-, 40th- and 50th-year tawny, won by Mary Rowley.
The 70s-era best dressed male and female went to Darren Fountain and Roxanne Rowland, respectively, with a lucky plate prize going to inaugural member Robert Turner.
A brief history of the club’s early days was presented by inaugural and current member Kevin Brincat-Cotton.
During the evening a club TV screen presentation was shown, bringing back many memories of the club’s 50 years.
Mr Edwards then called on the chef and her staff to come forward, thanking them all for a great night and for making sure that no-one left hungry.
Mr Minge closed the evening’s proceedings, reminding participants to rise early to be at the reserve by flag-off time at 9am.
As the sun rose on Sunday morning, the weather looked as if the day had been specially ordered, with the temperature reaching 31 perfect degrees for the re-enactment 50th-year run.
As vehicles and participants gathered in an air of excitement, inaugural and life member Eric Wehrman prepared to flag off the first four inaugural run vehicles and their owners: Mrs Graetz in her 1936 Cadillac LaSalle, Bob Burt’s 1926 Chevrolet Buckboard and Mr Wehrman’s 1926 Chevrolet tourer.
Unfortunately Steve Chambers’ 1939 Buick straight eight sedan had mechanical issues and couldn’t participate.
These were followed to Mannum by 60 other various makes and models from 1926 to 2008.
Following a detour around Mannun’s outskirts, it was up the main street and down into Mary Ann Reserve on the riverfront, which had been prepared for the event by Mid Murray Council staff.
Participants set up on the lawns for a BYO morning tea, while many locals came to view the vehicles on display.
Following morning tea it was back off to Murray Bridge via the Mannum Marina, before returning back to Finlayson Reserve in Murray Bridge for lunch, where the club’s marshalls jumped into action, parking all returning vehicles in three neat rows.
The memorabilia display was also transferred to Finlayson Reserve, mounted on the rear of Trevor and Diedre Kitto’s 1927 Capitol Chevrolet truck for all to view.
As members set up their tables and chairs under shady trees, the Mobilong Rotary Club of Murray Bridge members who had been preparing lunch suddenly found a conga line of hungry participants.
During the afternoon, professional photographer David Leane was sent aloft in a scissor lift for a bird’s-eye view of the magnificent array of vehicles.
With all photos taken it was time to end the weekend’s events, with Mr Minge thanking all who had been involved, including the Murray Bridge council, its events coordinator Matt Miles and its outdoor staff; Mid Murray Council; Mobilong Rotary; BE Hire; Knight’s Party Hire; and all who attended and made the golden anniversary such a memorable occasion.
Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month at the Johnstone Park combined clubrooms.
More information: Visit autocollectorsmurraybridge.com or contact Graham Edwards on 0428 813 070.
Correction: An earlier version of this post had an incorrect credit on one photo.
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