Briars Members Picnic – 2019


Cars polished to the nth degree, vacuumed, with the wheels receiving another flick of the duster, and it was time to venture out to The Briars Park. Each year the club displays cars and for the members to get together and enjoy a picnic. In perfect weather nigh on 50 classic and historic vehicles parked under the trees but not in the usual section as in previous years. However we were able to park nearby and out came the tables and chairs, picnic baskets, thermos flasks and food. The setting was complete. A wander from table to table drew many from their repast to chat and admire the cars on display.

The club’s desire to give to the members a day of enjoyment in their classic cars evolved many years ago. The site, historical Briars, is a place of beauty positioned in 230 hectares of land. The homestead stands proud and the test of time with collections from the early days of The Briars, its ability to continue its life today with interesting bric-a-brac including an array of memorabilia about Napoleon Bonaparte. Dame Mabel Brookes, well known in social circles in the 1950s and 1960s had a wish to continue the Napoleonic connection because her grandfather, Alexander Balcombe met Napoleon on St Helena Island where Balcombe was born, during the time of Bonaparte’s exile. This collection is on display at The Briars Homestead.

The club picnic progressed over the years as well as the cars. The day has grown in support and numbers, with many restorations to keep the cars on the road. Many years ago, high specifications and checks about every two years were arranged by club members under the supervision of Lawrie Turner to ensure the safety of the cars, drivers and others on the road. There will always be cars that stand out from others but these in no way obscure the devotion and enjoyment of all classic and historic vehicles. One aspect that is noticeable is the interest of younger people in the restoration and preservation of old cars. This effect will be the only way to ensure the current work on these cars continues and to see them on the roads anywhere in the world in the coming years. An unusual event occurred in that the club picnic, New Year’s Day and the club meeting fell on the same day. This may not happen for years to come so it was up to the president, Geoff Bartlett to preside over the meeting, as such. It consisted of welcoming all to The Briars for our annual picnic, then handing over to Noel Meates who gave a most uplifting talk about Lawrie Turner, who passed recently. It was appreciated by those who knew Lawrie well and those who knew him briefly. A gentle man who had a smile for everyone.

Words Anne Kruger