Following on from an early start on Sunday, for the Wanderers Australia Day Birthday Party, there was another very early start on Monday for the Salisbury Australia Day Family Picnic, held at Carisbrooke Reserve. The vehicles needed to be in place by around 07:30, for safety reasons.
Meeting at the museum, Grant’s GMC, Terry’s Saracen, the museum’s C15A “Koop” Blitz, and Ford Gun Tractor departed in convoy and made their way along the short drive to the reserve. While acting as Commander in the Saracen, Mike took some footage of the vehicles, which is unfortunately a little shaky.
When we arrived at the reserve, we realised that we had turned up at the wrong entrance, and had to do a couple of U-turns on Main North Road to make our way around to the side entrance. Who would have guessed that a Saracen has a better turning circle than a GMC CCKW?
At the reserve, we then met up with Russell with his Austin, and Sam with his Jeep and set up our display on a good spot on the hill. John arrived sometime later in his Jeep, and was again wearing his WW1 Light Horse uniform.
We enjoyed the free breakfast while, unfortunately, the Air Cadets set up their display in front of us, partially screening us off from the rest of the already growing crowd.
The Nine Mile Snipers flawlessly performed their first firing of the day, 3 rounds, at 09:25, prior to the raising of the Australian Flag and the National Anthem.
It was a great day, with perfect weather, a good crowd, food and entertainment. The sideshows and displays from other clubs received lots of attention and we were inundated with interested members of the public wanting to inspect our vehicles and talk to us about them. We handed out over 800 flyers during the day.
The Gun Crew’s second firing, at 13:00, 4 rounds, also went flawlessly, although it was a bit hectic in the middle as the MC had the crowd start counting down for the third shot, requiring the team to load in double-time, but they did make it in time.
We made some good contacts on the day, sold some merchandise from our display and raised some donations.
The trip back to the museum was a little problematic, as the Gun Tractor broke down on the rather steep climb out of the reserve (possibly due to fuel starvation), blocking a rather narrow pathway that was backed up with trucks – of course it was the lead vehicle and had the rest of us blocked in with it. After some tricky shuffling, we managed to get some other vehicles around it and tow it back on to the flat, where we were able to get it started again. The gun tractor has been putting in some significant mileage over the last few years and is due for some much needed TLC, including swapping the tired engine over for a freshly rebuilt Ford V8.