5 ferries run (actually 10 ferries)


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The Sprite Club of South Australia was looking for a iconic event to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Club. In recent times we had been on the ”2011 Lap of Tassie” and the ”2012 Festival of Sprites”. Now these events were both very well planned and run,so the pressure was on our club to come up something of a high standard.
Chris Brine came up with the idea of the 5 Ferries Run. To explain the idea was to cross the Murray River 5 times by ferry. This would be part of a week long drive. So a route was planned, expressions of interest sought. Interest was very slow at the beginning, then after a visit to the ”2012 Festival of Sprites” in Wangaratta entries from interstate stated to flow in and very soon more came in from our Club.

Soon we passed out target of 18 cars so we had to put a limit of 23 cars. Two couples later cancelled leaving 21 cars. Deposits were paid and accommodation booked, meals arranged and so the planning was up and running.As we had a reasonable amount of peiople in the group we used those numbers to secure discounts at all of the accommodation houses and for our evening meals. The concept of the run was not to be a convoy, each entrant would be free to go wherever they wished and meet up at the accommodation venue at the end of each day
Then a book was put together containing route instructions, great maps with the routes clearly marked. John Whitburn came to rescue here and showed us his map expertise. Also mobile phone numbers of entrants, a complaints number 1300MUMBAI and diversions such as places our interstate visitors could visit, now numbering 11 people from Victoria and 4 from NSW . This proved to again be a bigger job than first envisaged. Sponsorship was sought and Shannons Insurance helped us out.
The night before the start a ‘Meet and Greet’ BBQ was held at Chris and Tina Brine’s home. Here we had Rocker Cover Racing and then handed out the Route Instruction books. It was an early night as the start was at nine next morning.The Interstate visitors received a bag of special South Austrailian goodies. Paul Doube gave us some wine to drink, and was much appreciated.


On the preceding week things begain to hapsent an SMS to Neil and Lorinna Scott from Sydney wishing them a safe journey. Three minutes later the phone rang and they had lost a wheel off their new trailer, just north of Goulburn. After much stress and drama the trailer was repaired in Goulburn and they continued to Melbourne. Here they joined up with 6 other Sprites and came over to Adelaide via the Great Ocean road. Tony Bennetto organized this part of the trip for the Victorians, but were joined by 2 cars from NSW. Also Tony Benntto (Bugeye Barn) and Stan Hudson (now known as Belvidere) brought along a ute filled with spares and towing Neil Scott’s trailer.A great source of comfort!
Another drama also emerged John Fowler rang from Horsham with the problem a broke telescopic shock absorber.He assured me he could get to Adelaide but wanted to pick up a replacement shocker from a Repco shop in Adelaide. I agreed to do this for him a give it to him on arrival. We arranged to meet him at Hahndorf. He arrived about mid-day and Gary Beaton was there and Garry Boyd. It was decided it would be better to weld up the old shocker, as the replacement while having the eyes at the right distance apart, was from a Nissan Pathfinder, so likely to be too big, and it was. I gave them some motor cycle fork oil and off they went to Gary Beaton’s place to weld up the shocker. It took them all afternoon, but the result was all good. Meanwhile we waited and finally the Great Ocean Road group arrived. They went off to their Motel and Neil and Lorinna Scott followed us back to our place where they were staying. Graham and Margaret Hately were also staying with us, and Graham was sent to the Airport to collect Margaret.
The start of the was at the rear of the Burnside Town Hall.

All cars assembed on time and hoping for a nice Spritely drive through the Adelaide Hills to stop at the Birdwood Mill Motor Museum, for a look and morning tea. Some non entrants members came along on this part of the run. However just before we took off Peter Dineen discovered he had a leaking front brake line on his Morris 1100S. Quickly Tony Bennetto and his trusty assistant Stan the Scotsman, now with the nick named ”Belvidere” soon had the car jacked up the line replaced , brakes bleed and Peter was on his way, only to get a flat tyre and few other problems, but after 2 days all was sorted and he continued on

After morning tea the group headed at their own pace and not in convoy to the Barossa Valley where all had lunch. Some went up to Menglers Hill to see the view over the Barossa Valley. Members of the public spotted our cars and took photos, had photos taken and asked a lot of questions. It is amazing how much interest these cars create. A new Nissan 370Z pulled up and nobody took any notice, and even it’s owner took a long look at our cars.
We then went ‘Maggie Beers’ gourmet foods centre. Jim Dewar mentioned he was feeling unwell. We went inside the shop, and when we came he was feeling worse. So after some assesment we dialled 000 and got an ambulance and off he went to the Angaston Hospital. They kept him overnight and released him next morning. His car went on the trailer for that day. The following day he travelled in the ute. That night we stayed in Angaston and all had drinks around our rooms before going to dinner at the 40’s cafe. This was a good night a lot of noise and great food. Next morning we all went into the Blond Cafe for breakfast. Here the manageress wanted some of our cars to line up out front for a photo shute.She wanted to put them on her website.




From Angaston we headed for Clare,again in small groups. We had morning tea at Tarlee others found other spots. Then we went to Mintaro and found a nice pub and had a couple of beers. Some had lunch, but the pub ran out of toasted sandwiches and could not make anymore. Martindale Hall was near by so we went there, a bit like going to a stately home in the UK. Well worth a visit.

Then we had lunch near Seven Hills at the bakery and went to Seven Hill

winery and Saint Alosyious Church. In the winery we saw ageing barrels of port, etc and somebody asked who might have a cordless drill? As we arrived at the Motel most had beaten us there. Here again we had a few pre-dinner drinks, then had dinner in the motel. Again a good meal.
Next morning we ckecked with Jim Dewar as to how he was feeling and he was fine so he drove from that point on. We had made arrangements to go to Clare Model Engineers Railway. This was great riding on model trains through a well made park with bridges, crossings, signals and tunnels. There was a steam engine, plus a couple trains powered by lawn mower engines. After about a hour we set off for Morgan stopping at Burra for morning tea. Some went off to explore diferent parts of the town. Finally we arrived at Morgan at about lunch time. After checking to our various accommodation. Peope were staying in three different venues, as we had virtually booked out the whole town. After checking in we walked down to the centre of town and found the pub and had a couple of drinks, then walked back to the room. We had made arrangements for the Morgan Community Development Tourism Association to put on a BBQ for us down beside the Murray River. Well they did themselves proud, it was a great chicken meal cooked on a charcoal BBQ, served with salads and home made cakes for dessert,they also had games,quizes with prizes. Then next morning they cooked us a BBQ breakfast all for $22.00 per head, that’s the dinner and breakfast. They opened the Museum especially for us, then some of them rushed off to work. Great country community spirit at work.It is a real pity these towns are struggling.
Then we started what was to be 10 Ferry crossings over the Murray plus 2 over a bridge. First was Morgan followed by Cadell,(recently saved from closing by vocal protests from the surronding area), then Morgan again. Then a drive to Blanchetown over the bridge and back again on to Swan Reach. Here we had lunch at the pub and decided to see if we could get 15 Sprites on the Ferry. Chris Brine approached the Ferry Master and he was most helpful. So we put all 15 of our Sprites on the Ferry and took many photos. Take a look at our website to view this on U-tube. Tony Bennetto wanted a photo for his Bug-Eye Barn 2013 Calendar.

Next stop was at the Walker Flat Crossing for half price coffee that we had set up weeks before. I phoned the day before just to remind them , but they forgot to tell the lady filling for the owners. We still got our cheap coffee, but she got a bit stressed with the sudden influx. From there to the Purnong crossing, some missed the turn off, easily done. From there we stopped at a great look-out on a small section of dirt road, then travelled along beside the Murray for a while coming out at the Mannum crossing.

Then we found our Motel and checked in.Graham Hately had a problem with his exhaust breaking, so he needed to find a welder. After asking around the Motel manager took him to his house where Grahan did the welding, brought it back to the Motel fitted it, and joined in the pre-dinner drinks. Here we had a great dinner around a good bar.
We awoke to a sunny day and drove up to the Mannum lookout after walking the town.Some went to the Museum of town.

Stan (Belevedere) was booked for not wearing his seat belt while reversing the ute and trailer. We all thought this was unfair and just revenue raising. That night we sent the hat around and raised about half of his fine. Before we left for Goolwa, Gary Brock was complaining his MGGT was overheating. The top radiator hose was hot, but the bottom was cold, so no circulation, so Gary and Fay went home to Gumeracha.He has since repaired the problem.
The destination that night was Goolwa, so we drove to Murray Bridge, then Jervious and crossed the river again then around to the Wellington crossing and on to Milang. Here we found a good bakery and had lunch. Just a few k’s down the road we stopped at Curt Heinrich’s home to see his model trains and steam engines. Well what a great set up, a huge model train complete with landscape, buildings all with lights and sound effects. Then in another part of his shed is the steam boat, and in the house is more steam engines and trains. All were asking their wives could they extend there collections into the kitchen and loungrooms, all were given filthy looks of rejection. From here in very strong winds we continued to Goowa. At Goolwa we had pre-dinner drinks then went in for our meal at the motel. Some of our Goolwa members joined us for dinner.
On the Friday I took a group on a run to Victor Harbor, Inman Valley and up the Mt Alma Hillclimb. Here we sent only 3 cars up at a time, then waited for their retun. It is great hill, but a bit steep (17 degrees) for a Sprite, but still good fun. We stopped at the Glacier Rock Cafe for Coffee then drove in a loop around Myponga and Hindmarsh Valley back to Victor Harbor for lunch.Some walked over to Granite Island. Then went back to Goolwa to the Motor Museum.Here there was a good display of cars, two idential Mark 5 blackJaguar dropheads, one had been owned by Bob Jane and a melbourne car dealer, the other by a convicted drug dealer. Then back to the Motel Again pre-dinner drinks and Dinner.
Next morning we had BBQ cooked breakfast kindly put on by Helen King’s at her home. Then we headed back to Adelaide stopping at the Scarpantoni Winery at McLaten Flat for supplies of the $50 per dozen clean skin shiraz. John Fowler was complaing of a broken exhaust bracket, so together wth Neil and Lorinna Scott, Margrat and Graham Hately we went back to our place. Very soon we had the pipe off, Grahame made up a bracket and welded on and John was on his way after some lunch.
That night the Club had the Big 40th anniversary Dinner at the Wellington Hotel in North Adelaide. Kerry Bennetto flew in from Melbourne specially. We saw the Crows get beaten on TV, but the night was great. All the Speeches were made, people thanked, Club history re-called. The drink budget of $2000 was soon consumed and the interstate visitors bid farewell. What a week it had all gone very quickly.
Gary Boyd returned the following week to collect the Bugeye he bought from Peter Emes the morning of the start of the 5 Ferries Run. Peter brought it round to the Motel at 7:30am, Gary and Tony Bennetto checked out and a deal was struck.While it is leaving the State it will be in good hands and seen again.
Our guests left on the Sunday morning. Neil And Lorinna Scott headed for Melbourne, but stopped at Ararat as did John Fowler. Then on to Melbourne where they stayed a couple of days with Tony Bennetto before loading the Sprite on to trailer and driving back to Sydney. Graham and Margaret Hately left our place and drove to Swan Hill, planning to take a couple of days to drive back to Sydney. However a friend of theirs phoned and asked if they could stay at their place on the Wednesday, so they drove to Sydney non stop from Swan Hill, over 900k’s in a MG Midget. I hear at times some of our members complaing about driving their Sprite for more than one hour!
Was the whole thing a success? Yes I believe it was as, by the positive comments that flowed .

Should we do it again? Yes we should, as we now have the template, but I would like somebody else to take up the challenge. Perhaps 2015.

David and Dianne Low

Non BMC Content – Motorclassica Melbourne 2012

A diversion from the normal Sprite / Midget activity, but I thought it worth a look at the Concours D’Elegance event held in Melbourne at the Royal Exhibition Hall last weekend, followed by a classic car auction by Manhiem Australia.

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A nunber of the local Car Clubs were invited to display on the grounds in front of the entrance, and as ever, the Italians were as about as understated as a pink mini skirt at a Funeral Directors convention.

Needless to say, The Saint [and several clones] were on hand to represent the more subdued, and joined the rest of the Volvo Club outside.

Obviously, the 912 Porsche on the right demonstrates the correct display technique – the other one should have been at Summernats….Moon discs indeed…

Inside, it was all very twee, with lots to look at, and very little that was even vaguely affordable.  That aside, it was like a surreal treasure trove of over restored cars,rare sights here in Australia, and onlookers that either seemed to know everything, or nothing about what they were looking at.  The common denominator however, was the sense of admiration for some of the cars displayed – see below –

The best way to enjoy these kinds of shows in my opinion is to get in early, and just soak it all up without having to dodge people with their iPhones, or their six foot tripods and $3000 SLR cameras jockeying for position. That way, you can stand back and wonder in peace whether the 250GT or the 166 would be a better entry to have for the Mile Miglia.

This is a 300SL barnfind that will be restored soon – hopefully not too much.  Some of them need to remain patinated and looking ‘real’.  Besides, isn’t that all the rage now?

Patrick Devine once again generously shared his Gullwing with all and sundry, patiently answering lots of questions and openly staing that he was in fact a custodian of the car.  He is an owner that isn’t too precious, proven by the fact that he let my proletariat arse in it…

Star of the Show was definately Sir Jack Brabham, accompanied by Ron Tauranac and Tim Shenken.  Throughout the event, they were repeatedly hassled, stopped for photos, and interviewed, all taken in their stride, and with good humour.  Sir Jack and Ron in my humble opinion should be revered to a much greater extent than they are in this country.

So, amongst all the automotive beauty, the auction began.  Many of the lots passed in, including the Tatra T82 [a Czech built limo with an air cooled rear mounted 2.5L V8], and the ex Twiggy Muira that used to turn heads at the Birdwood Museum.  The owner, [who also has a Pur Sang T35 Bugatti], drove it to Melbourne for the auction, where it passed in at $800K.  I would have made a bid for it, but I can only sell one kidney….

All in all, a very satisfying weekend, packed with sights rarely seen.  What was missing?  Well, apart from the Healey Factory stand…..you know how this ends…







Spanner day wash up

Hi fellow Sprite drivers, We had a great day at the Felix’s garage with many cars getting a carbi tickle. Some were not that bad but it was good to see them performing better. Some needed attention and one even gave me grief with the fast idle screws from the choke causing some issues. Needless to say the audience were merciless. Thanks to the chefs we had a nice lunch and fellowship. I hope all had a good time.

Les and Lorraine Felix

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Lenswood Harvest Festival

Title: Lenswood Harvest Festival
Location: Memorial Park, Swamp Road, Lenswood
Description: A festival with a theme of Classic, old fashioned quality. Classic Car Clubs have been invited. The organisers need to know numbers.
There will be music, wine tasting, and gourmet food.
Start Time: 10:00
Date: 2013/03/23
End Time: 15:30

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High Country & Murray River tour – Anzac Weekend 2013

John Fowler who came over for the 5 Ferries Run has organised a great run through the high country of Victoria/NSW. Those of you that enjoyed the elements of an extended run, or those who now wished they had gone on the 5 Ferries Run, here is an opportunity to participate in another very enjoyable event.

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Give it some thought !  Those concerned about Anzac Day, there will be time to attend the dawn service in Bright.


This 5 day tour would travel from Lilydale (N-E of Melb.) on Wednesday 24th April via Yea, Mansfield, Whitfield, Milawa, to Bright o/n; after optional Dawn Service, travel to Omeo via Mt Hotham, and back via Anglers Rest, Mt Beauty, to Bright o/n again; then via Mt Buffalo, Happy Valley, Gundowring, and Tallangatta to Corryong o/n; then via Cabramurra, the winding Elliot Way, Walwa and along the upper Murray River to Hume Weir o/n; then return home on Sunday 28th via Yackandandah, Beechworth, Stanley, Myrtleford, Euroa, Merton, Yea, Lilydale. Plenty of stops with early finishes, over great scenic driving roads.

Parking for tow cars and trailers is available at either the Turners’ in Bright, or the Harris’s in Stanley (Both AHSDC Members). The total accommodation cost for the 4 nights is $450 double, but to be booked individually. Interstaters could join/leave from any point or time. Expressions of interest would be appreciated. John Fowler 0400 278 375. jfowler@dcsi.net.au  More details later.


Display Day…polished and parked.

Sunday 22nd October – Gumeracha Oval became just a little more colourful [less green], as twenty something Sprites, Midgets, and other members cars lined up for the club’s Annual Display Day.

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Bonnets raised for technical inspections, or just to show off the shiny bits, this simple act guarantees a gathering around to discuss vital issues about the car.  A man is not judged by the size of his Weber carbie, but in how he uses it….

 Innuendo notwithstanding, it was also an opportunity to meet some less frequent members, and catch up with passers by.  Special mention to Peter and Natalie.  Flares are OK.  Not wanting to miss an opportunity to make good use of the fine weather, a quick squirt through Cudlee Creek was organised after a breakfast at Hahndorf before meting up with the rest of the club.  Well worth it.


The Conditional Historic Registration Scheme has been developed to allow vehicles manufactured before 1st January 1979 (of either right or left hand drive) to be registered conditionally so they can be used for a maximum of 90 days per year.

The Federation of Historic Motoring Clubs and Transport SA has granted the Sprite Club of SA the authority to approve Conditional Registration for Austin Healey Sprites and MG Midgets.  Gaining this authority requires the Sprite Club and it’s officers and members to abide by a Code of Practice that outlines the responsibilities for all people using this registration scheme.

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For a detailed description of the NEW’ processes and your responsibilities under the amendments to the scheme please refer to the club letter below and the other documents attached. Or the club Historic Rego Page.

Club Letter to Members on Historic Registration Procedures

Code of Practice DPTI SA Gov

Left Hand Drive Procedures

Statutory Declaration

Who can witness a Statutory Declaration

All British Day 2013

All entries due [or postmarked] by the end of November for the

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2013 All British Day


Echunga Recreational Ground


Click on the link above to access the Entry Form, or go to the ABD website http://www.allbritishday.com/ and go to the Entrants Information Section.

Get involved! There are Morris Dancers, Punch and Judy, a chance to win some prizes, and an animal zoo, [previously known as the Sprite Club of SA display…].




Catering for Austin Healey Sprite and MG Midget Enthusiasts