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Day 4 – Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Let there be light!  At about 9.20pm last night we suddenly lost power.  About 40 vans in the Ocean Beach Park were affected.  Within minutes of reporting the outage, maintenance had responded and by 10.00pm we were back on air.   One A’vanner wondered if we might expect a spike in the population but given most of our ages it would be highly unlikely not to say, utterly miraculous.     

We awoke to a morning that was more promising than that of yesterday.   There was a great golden ball in the sky.  Some might call it the sun.  And we weren’t disappointed.  It was a lovely day. 

Many thanks to Robert Britza of WA for agreeing to take the following photographs of the Dragon Boat Paddlers.


Photo 1 – Dragon Boat Paddlers courtesy of Robert Britza


Photo 2 – Dragon Boat Paddlers courtesy of Robert Britza


Photo 3  – Dragon Boat Paddlers courtesy of Robert Britza


Photo 4 – Dragon Boat Paddlers courtesy of Robert Britza

A’vanners: Be aware!   As you exit the Ocean Beach Caravan Park no matter whether turning left or right, the speed limit is 60 kph.  One A’vanner thought that he was in an 80kph zone and his mistake cost him $200 and 2 points.

Happy birthday to Margaret Bowman.  

An A’van was stopped at a roadhouse on the way to Denmark when a Tourist Coach pulled up and all its passengers entered the roadhouse.  One passenger told the A’vanner that when the driver of the Coach passed an A’van, he called them “those Aluminium Road Blocks”. The A’vanner replied:- “Well he didn’t pass us!”  This A’vanner just happens to be married to the Flying Gerroan

Our President, Les Lawrenson was on the local ABC this morning and he is hoping to obtain a transcript of the conversation.  Stay tuned!

In officially declaring our AGM open, the Mayor of Albany told us that Albany is a very windy city with 78% of its power being generated by wind. They have just received state funding to build wave power turbines. (Luckily for us it wasn’t windy today).  He did wonder, however, why so many A’vanners were parked outside the pub rather than in the car park in front of the Entertainment Centre.   I’ll leave you to answer this question.


Unfortunately Ian and Jean Blencowe who have been on the committee for 15 years have been forced to retire due to Ian’s ill health and since they were unable to attend this gathering there is no Bush Dance although there was a sing-a-long around the campfire to the accompaniment of the Ukuleles.  Brendon Smith subsequently moved a special vote of thanks to the Blencowes.  Due to a clash of commitments Bruce Gibbs is also absent from the gathering so there is no Chef’s Challenge.       

The following members have been either re-elected or newly elected to the National body.  Les Lawrenson - President, Vickie Teague - Vice President, Treasurer - John Bromley, Secretary -  Rick Houghton, Martin Hodgson – Records Officer, Dave Wilkinson - Committee, Bruce Gibbs - Committee, Carole Brun - Committee, Roslyn Bolton (new) - Committee and Neil James (new) - Committee.       


Photo 5 – Lucky Membership Prizes – Courtesy of Cliff Hicks

Ten year awards were presented to Glynis Alcantara, Paul and Margaret Boman, David and Ruth Bourne, Ron and Lyn Cook, Ron and Audrey Dean, Roger and Louise Dutton, Les and Lily Lawrenson and Greg and Vickie Teague.  There are now only 11 people (Ray Everingham, David and Valda Graham, Cliff and June Hicks, Bill and Judy McKeogh, Rex and Margaret Penfold and Brendon and Joan Smith) who have attended all gatherings.  

After the treasurer reported that we are now using accumulated funds to meet every day running costs it was resolved to increase the membership fee to $30.  The committee is currently discussing various methods of reducing costs such as the increased use of the electronic media.


Photo 6 – A’vanners at the AGM - Courtesy of Cliff Hicks

Cliff Hicks explained what the A’van Assist project was all about and he suggested that we all check out the A’van site for further details.

Apparently there is a move afoot to form a Sydney Group of the A’van Club and anyone interested should speak with Les Lawrenson.

Dave Michaels from the American A’liner Club briefly addressed the meeting and thanked us for the hospitality shown to him and his wife, Heather.  He said that our gathering has been the highlight of their vacation and the one outstanding factor is the similarity of the two clubs.     


Photo 7 – Listening to Dave Michaels – Courtesy of Cliff Hicks

And now to the news we have all been waiting for!   Next year’s gathering with be at Casino in NSW and the date will be much the same as this year’s.  Since it will be the 20th AGM in 2019, this gathering will be in Victoria and there will be special celebrations. It will probably be somewhere between the middle of March and early April.

Following the meeting Crispin Travers of Albany very kindly offered to take people on a guided tour of Albany.  I believe that about 20 people went on the tour.

As I said before, there was a Campfire Sing-a-long instead of a Bush Dance. Meredith and Don East led the Ukuleles in place of Tom McKendrick who was unable to attend the gathering. Meredith was extremely pleased with the response.  Everybody thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the entertainment was excellent.   Tony Henry took along his guitar and Richard and Helen Chapman performed a couple of duets.  The campfire behaved admirably.


Photo 8 – Around the Campfire – Courtesy of Cliff Hicks


Photo 9 – Ukuleles – Courtesy of Cliff Hicks


Photo 10 – Jean Yates dressed for the occasion - Courtesy of Cliff Hicks 





A Brief History of Denmark continued

However, the cost of setting up each farm was grossly underestimated and the scheme collapsed with many farms never being developed. By the great depression those Group Settlers who had managed to survive simply could not sustain their farms and again the population dwindled.  (10) denmarkwesternaustralia.com/denmark-wa-history.html

Tourism commenced when the American soldiers stationed at Albany during World War II started visiting Denmark.  By the 1960s Denmark had attracted retirees and those seeking an alternative lifestyle.   Wine growers discovered the value of the rich karri loam and 5 decades later, the area is an important subregion of the Great Southern Wine Region.  There are now over 20 vineyards in and around Denmark.  (11) https:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denmark._Western_Australia


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