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Tour de Southern Swan

Neal Crocker

For the first time, in a very long time, the club had an event in January. Normally at the time the club decides to take a break so people can be with family over the Christmas period but also because at this time of year the temperature can reach some very high temperatures. Not good driving conditions for our Valiants and drivers. With both engines and passengers overheating and this year, I guess it lived up to part of that reputation!

The idea behind this run was to do something a bit different and have a run that took us for a longer cruise and to take us to various stops along the way. We started the day at 10am at the RAAFA Aviation Heritage Museum in Bull Creek. For a number of us it was the first time at this Museum and it was evident that a lot of people really enjoyed seeing the history that was on display. We were lucky that we secured group pricing so it was cheaper for all of us and we spent an hour looking around at the aeroplanes and memorabilia on display under the two larger hangars.


We all did our own thing, some of us just went exploring while others took part in a tour offered to us by one of the volunteers of the museum. It was great to see a number of planes from both WWI and WWII on display, especially the Lancaster Bomber that took up nearly one whole hangar as well as a few modern Australian fighter jets that were also on display. I particularly like the DeHavilland Vampire T.35A and the Spitfire. It was a bitter sweet experience that day as a lot of us knew that Dave Clark, who passed only about three weeks before this run, loved everything about aviation as it was a major part of his life. Our thoughts were with him and his family on this day.

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Unfortunately, we could only spend one hour there looking at what was on display before we had to make our way to our next stop. Given the interest around this museum and number of people indicated that they would need to come back and spend longer looking around (maybe we could re-visit this museum in the cooler months as it is undercover and protected from the rain and elements). As we headed off on our tour, we saw John Huntly just turning up to join us on the run.

Our scenic drive first took us for a quick drive around wireless hill, unfortunately there was not too much to see that day apart from someone trying to break into a car and speed off with a friend in a getaway car! We then continued East towards the river following the “detailed” step by step directions and then proceeded to go around the suburb of Booragoon around the river foreshore. A few of us got lost at this point but I think we managed to find each other around the suburban streets. As we drove along near Canning Bridge we spotted Bev and her daughter Tania taking a video and waving at us as we drove past! That was an unexpected surprise.

We continued along the foreshore until we arrived at our next stop at Tompkins Café for a light cool refreshment. It was lucky in a way, as by that time Paul Spittle’s car was now overheating and coolant was leaking everywhere! The cause of the problem was put down to a fuse that blew which meant that the cooling fans were not working. Luckily Ken was nearby to help identify and fix the problem. Unfortunately for Paul and his son they were a bit busy finding plastic bottles to fill up with water to put back into the car radiator while most of us found our way to the Bar inside for a cool lemonade and quick rest and pitstop.

No too long after, we heading off on the last part of the morning journey to arrive at just past 1pm at the East Fremantle Yacht Club (EFYC) for a fantastic lunch. As we turned up, we were greeted at the entrance by Daryl’s son, Mason and he directed us to a nice patch of lawn where would could all park our cars. This looked great and a number of members of the EFYC really enjoyed admiring them and some were taking photos. At this time, we also wondered where John Huntly disappeared to… unfortunately he was no where to be found. But we later found out that he had some wheel problems and had to head home, and luckily, he just made it back before one of his wheels fell off!

A big thank you to Daryl Cook for assisting in organising this event and also a thank you to Michael Brunswick (General Manager of EFYC) and Peta Brookes Smith (Events Co-ordinator of EFYC) for hosting our club for lunch that day. After lunch there was going to be ‘part two’ of the tour, however after a big lunch and with temperatures a bit high, most of us took the opportunity to head home back to air-conditioned comfort. 


A few of us while in the area, decided to do a quick “bog-lap” (as Ian likes to call it) around the Fremantle café strip. I went with my sons Cameron and Mitchell, followed by Ian Prosser and Daryl and his son Mason. From there we then headed off on our way home. But for one intrepid member, Chris Kiosses, he decided to head down to Kwinana Perth Motorplex but unfortunately his Valiant succumbed to the heat and broke down. As I understand it his car was brough back home on a tow truck.

It was a great day out and we learnt a few things about cruzing at that time of year, luckily after checking back with members at our February meeting it was agreed that we will do an event next year at this time….. in fact, it will be the Valiant’s 60th Anniversary Event!

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