STATE RALLY REPORT – YORK 2017 by Rhoda Walker, Caravan Club of WA Inc
Patches of beautiful blue leschenaultia, scattered yellow hibbertia (buttercups) and wattle with other red, pink, cream and white flowers among green bush and lush paddocks decorated the roadside as we drove to York. Following a week or more of preparation – including the WAACCI Delegates Meeting on Monday night – the State Rally Committee arrived early at York in sunny, windy weather, to park at the entrance until some of the preliminary work was done, and the oval pegged out to take the 112 caravans which were booked for the long weekend. But just as we moved our vans on to the lush green sports ground, the heavens opened, and we were all drenched and blown about – umbrellas turned inside-out, and NO awnings could put out.
It was a pleasant site for the Rally with great facilities of a new Sports Centre/bar/dining area with seating on verandahs, provided through the Royalties for Regions Scheme, surrounded by the oval, bowling greens, tennis courts, childcare and the indoor basketball court/hall which we used extensively. Because of the rough weather, the verandahs were not used as much as we hoped, needing to retire inside into the dining area. An added bonus was that it was just a pleasant walk to the town centre.
Arrival time for caravanners was 8.30am on Friday – but the rain beat them, arriving two minutes earlier, so all were bedraggled and wind-blown as they set up camp. Registrations, disc bowls competition nominations and a BYO mug hot cuppa and biscuit in the warm recreation dining/bar thawed us out a bit. Redgum Club ladies, CCWA and others soon had their crochet hooks/knitting needles busy making various crafts as they chatted, while the Busselton Club started selling raffle tickets.
It was good to see the mixing of people from various Clubs. Perhaps the frequent cold, heavy showers – even a bit of hail – which kept us indoors helped? The marshals were drenched.
The caravan raffle prize for the Albany 17th National Caravan Clubs Rally in 2019, donated by Coromal/Windsor (driven up by Derek Atkinson) set up in front of the Rally was later joined by the Albany Caravan Service & Repairs display motorhome from M.A.D Meanderers. On Sunday we also had a Gas & Fittings Repairs display van join them.
Happy Hour was on the basketball court, followed by a tasty dinner for those who previously ordered it (BBQ meats/salads), in the bar/dining area, while locals enjoyed their food/drinks at the other end of the bar. Our Rally Organiser, Bob Moore, who was always busy, missed out on the delicious pavlova – only ice-cream left! First-aid man Arthur Pincham came to the rescue of a lady who was ill – fortunately she was back on deck next day. Karaoke, led by Concord Club, was enjoyed by many, especially the young members of Concord.
Saturday morning all eyes were on very black clouds to the NW, but the rain held off long enough for us to have the brief Opening Ceremony outdoors. MC’d by Don McClements, we were welcomed by Rally Organiser Bob Moore, welcomed to York by Mayor David Wallace (York Farmer who said the rain was a blessing to local farmers) and then came the raising of National, WAACCI and 11 Club flags with singing of the National Anthem.
The winners of the Early-Bird Prize of the $60 cost of the Rally were Keith & Anne Robinson of Westside Caravanners. We then beat a hasty retreat inside for morning tea as the rain fell.
Two tours were organised, the first being a York & Districts Bus Tour to view wildflowers and points of interest in Clackline, Toodyay, York and surrounds (see story on page 25). The other was a York Historic Buildings Walking Tour. Some pulled out because of the doubtful weather, but four brave souls followed Mike Bryant to learn the history of the York Railway Station, Town Hall, Soap Factory, Rabbit Shed, Imperial Hotel/Railway Hotel, Sargent’s Pharmacy, Castle Hotel, Davies Building, Settlers House (including Mrs Inkpen’s ghost), Police Station/Gaol/ Court, IGA Building, Palace Hotel, Westpac Bank, Council Chambers – now Barclay Bookshop, Union/National Bank – now Vet, Botanical, CWA, No. 1 House in York, Monger Stores, and Faversham House (built 1836 – added to 1849 and 1870). Many were beautiful old buildings, some magnificently restored. We finished up in the Motor Museum before walking back to camp – a total of 8,000 steps (5½ kms). Fortunately, the only rain was while we were inside buildings. A very interesting and informative walk with Mike – thank you.
Back at camp, we missed the Craft and Men’s Table Market Stalls, as they were just packing up when I arrived. Disc Bowls was still in full swing, after dodging showers – starting with 56 players, some now eliminated. This was by late afternoon down to finalists – Ben & George Rayner (Rangeview Club) and Liz & Martin Rowles (Westside Caravanners) – a very close finish (nearly a ‘birdie’ on the second last throw when a very low-flying bird joined the game!). On the last throw Liz & Martin Rowles tipped the score in favour of West Siders – once again – even though they ‘had never played before’. Well done to all who put in great effort, including Allan Bassula & Redgum Club for their organising of the event.
All rugged up for Happy Hour in the basketball hall, which included a Presentation by the Committee for the 17th National Caravan Clubs Rally at Amazing Albany in October 2019. This included a video and great, well received music presentation by Mike Holmes and Bert Zuideveld of Redgum Club. The National Rally Committee also includes Derek Nathan (Chairman), Derek Atkinson (Rally Manager) and Helen Thacker – absent (Secretary). Several registrations for Albany were received over the Rally – but many more are welcome!
Dinner tonight for the many who had ordered it was a buffet of lasagne, chicken Thai curry, beef Goulet, vegies/ salad and trifle – delicious! Many of the diners had their eyes glued to the TV screens watching the AFL finals game.
This was followed by the Bush Dance in the basketball hall, led by Southern Cross Bush Dance Band, who had the dancefloor full of people stepping Up-2-3; Back-2-3 and twirling round each other. A delight to watch mother & daughter Helen & Stacey of CCWA.
On Sunday morning at 8am – again cold and overcast – there was one Street Breakfast, which grew and grew to over 50, and I suspect included caravanners from the other streets – happy, chatty groups making new friends.
Then some moved off to join the Church Service in the basketball hall. This was conducted by Bruce Jenner (with Elizabeth playing hymns on keyboard ‘Amazing Grace’ & ‘How Great Thou Art’) and Kevin Berston (with Lyn reading a beautiful poem ‘Grace, Mercy & Peace’ which she had written), all from CCWA. Bruce and Kevin interviewed each other about their lives and their values and beliefs, before Kevin gave an inspiring message to the 40+ people there, summarising that Jesus reduced all the old laws into two ‘Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself’. After a quick coffee, we left camp to drive to Perth for Ted’s cousin’s 80th birthday, returning just in time for Happy Hour – and more heavy rain.
The Disc Bowls trophy was presented to Liz & Martin Rowles as winners at Happy Hour, showing the prowess of West Sider Caravanners. They have won the Disc Bowls Competition four times over the last seven Rallies, having wrestled it back from Maxine & Robin Walker of Western Wanderers, the last Rally winners. There were many happy winners of the generous prizes donated by various
businesses, caravan clubs and individuals for the Giant Raffle, which were now drawn.
Dinner tonight was roast beef/pork with vegies and apple crumble. All the meals have been delicious, with generous serves, a credit to Mike the Chef and Bar Manager. Thank you to Mike and staff. It was now time to head back to the basketball hall for the concert where all packed in, rugged up against the cold.
Don McClements was MC and concert organiser who introduced Mike Holmes & Bert Zuideveld of Redgum – and the Promotions Officers for the 2019 Albany National Rally. Bert & Mike sang/played keyboard & guitar for a bracket of five songs, with a popular encore of ‘Oh Lord It’s Hard to be Humble’, followed by John Moss of CCWA singing ‘If I Ruled the World’; community singing of ‘You are my sunshine’ with Elizabeth Jenner on keyboard (was this to cheer us up because of the continuing wet, rough weather?).
We were then entertained by Busselton Club with a comedy sketch ‘4 Young Ladies Lament – Mrs Rich’n Snobby, Mrs Average, Miss Career Girl and Mrs Ardup’ – well done! MC Don then read a humorous wrangling of caravan brands and club names into a story, compiled by him and Elizabeth, including ‘Stirling territory destiny to billabong golden eagle galaxy kingdom of opal, coromal silver lunar eye. In the outback… regent standing, meander to west coast, nomads are sandgropers, outback sunset coast, concord, sunnywest to caravan club of WA.’ etc. We then again heard from John Moss of CCWA ‘If I Were a Rich Man’ (from Fiddler on the Roof). Maxine Walker of Western Wanderers read a letter from the Army war frontline to home on the farm – from their daughter! Then another letter from an old-fashioned lady caravanner trying to cope with abbreviations, eg ‘BC’ interpreted as Baptist Church instead of ‘bathroom/commode/toilet’.
We next heard from Concord Club with a skit on ‘Cinderella’. After a short break, we were entertained by a local group York Ukele Group of 12 instrumentalists/singers with a bracket of sing-a-long songs – Hey good looking, Things like a walk in the park, Memories are made of these, Midnight special, Bosanova, Boom de la boom, You’re 16 and Aint got nothing but loving. Three men on ukele, guitar and drums performed a bracket, including Moonlight Bay, and we rounded out the evening with Maori Farewell, and a rousing cowboy song with one of their men ‘riding a blowup horse’. A good night of talent and humour – thank you to all who contributed to an enjoyable evening.
On Monday morning, there was a community breakfast on the verandah for those who ordered it, provided as a fundraiser by the York Basketball Club. People were busy packing their vans, others cleaning up tea things after a morning cuppa, checking toilets, until a very brief Closing Ceremony and lowering of the flags, with us all gathering informally on the verandah as it was once again raining. However, the rain cleared as caravanners said their goodbyes and wended their way home, saying it had been an enjoyable Rally. Thanks to the great efforts of John Bradley, WAACCI New Clubs Development Officer, we had 14 caravans for new members, ‘prospective’ in some cases, who joined the Rally as guests of Redgum Caravanners – welcome all! It was good to see you enjoying yourselves and making new friends. They included three new Clubs – Barking Gumnuts, Silver Possums and Coromal/Windsor Caravan Club. Freedom Caravanners WA Inc is another new Club which has recently registered with WAACCI – great to have you aboard and thanks for your time and effort contributing to the York Rally and preliminary work for the Albany National Rally in 2019. Sadly, only 16 of the 30 WAACCI Clubs attended – we missed you, but you missed a really good weekend. Our special thanks to Rally Organiser and WAACCI
Acting President, Bob Moore, who did an excellent job of making this a successful, happy rally – despite opposition from the leaden skies, and the fact that he was extremely busy at home, being in the middle of moving house. Many thanks Bob, and his State Rally Committee of helpers.