Karoonda's silo art and Pioneer Park entertain car collectors

The Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge has taken an outing to the Mallee town.

This post was contributed by Graham Edwards of the Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge.

Karoonda has become the latest destination for members of a Murray Bridge car collectors’ club.

On May 16, in fair weather conditions, 34 Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge members and seven guests met at the Johnstone Park clubrooms to receive the day’s run details from coordinators John and Vicki Courtney and Graham and Maureen Edwards.

Members then started their engines before making their way down Adelaide Road in their 13 classic and six modern vehicles.

The route went through Bridge Street, onto Karoonda Road, along Bowhill Road, before arriving at Bowhill Reserve with two to three more groups meeting the convoy along the way.

The new Bowhill store did good business with some of the group, who were suitably impressed with the new building near the banks of the mighty Murray.

With appetites satisfied, it was time for the group to make their way through the little township of Perponda to Karoonda’s Pioneer Park museum.

After a COVID-19 check-in by all present, with a gold coin admission donation taken care of, members Dick and Judith Cheriton welcomed all present, outlining the attractions to see.

For many it was their first visit.

Of particular interest to the author was the restored Wynarka Methodist Church, built in 1913 and dedicated by the Reverend John Blackett.

This was the first church in the district.

My parents were married in the church in 1939, while I was christened in 1943 and proceeded to attend Sunday school for some years later.

John and Vicki Courtney spent much time reminiscing about the quaint telephone exchange.

John – in his former working life with the Postmaster-General – kept this telephone exchange at Karoonda in service and around Australia on line; and Vicki was a telephonist in many country South Australian towns and Seymour in Victoria.

It was a far cry from today’s modern telephone network.

Other members and guests walked around the complex, chewing the fat of yesteryears gone by while looking at the variety of exhibits on show.

Many of the buildings had been brought in from outlying towns, now only names on the map, and reconstructed by a great band of volunteers.

After members completed their tour, it was up to the main street to view the town’s much-acclaimed silos in daylight.

With the cool evening beginning to come in, many members and guests returned to the museum shed to enjoy their evening meal in warmer conditions, discussing the events of the day.

As evening darkness fell, it was back to the main street of Karoonda to view the evening’s light show on the silos by artist Stephen Trebilcock, depicting native flora and fauna.

On completion of the impressive silo art show, it was back home to Murray Bridge and surrounding districts, hoping not to encounter any stray kangaroos who might have been out and about for a hopping mad evening.

Many thanks from the members and guests went to museum volunteers Dick and Judith Cheriton and former Karoonda East Murray Mayor Kevin Burdett for their help and hospitality during the day’s visit, not forgetting the Courtneys’ and Edwardses’ organising of another outing with a difference.

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