Fly The Flag Rally – 2018

A stuck accelerator, a lost tooth, a broken windscreen, flooded car, reading glasses driven over by the same said car were the dramas that beset one driver and his non-smiling (for the following six days) partner. Added to these disasters was going to gaol – of sorts! On Alexandra Parade the accelerator stuck so that with the assistance of a young man cleaning car windscreens, he helped push the Mini over two (clear) lanes of traffic to the footpath. Problem fixed quickly, and we continued to our overnight stay in Essendon. Meeting others on tour is always entertaining as was this one sharing Pizzas in one of the motel rooms, lots of long stories but with fun and laughter thrown in for good measure. Suddenly a tooth veneer disappeared. There was a gap, right in the front. That was the final time a full smile emerged! The Fly the Flag Tour comprised about 200 cars and after breakfast the next day at the Ultima Function Centre in Keilor, the journey began. The drive to Horsham was long, and with the stark land around us, it was apparent that no rain had occurred for some time. We stopped at The South Muckleford Cricket Club for a BBQ lunch. Glorious weather and the show of cars on the oval had to be seen to appreciate the many and varied makes and models. An excellent time for many catching up with friends of long standing. The journey continued through Maldon, Dunolly, St Arnaud and to Rupanyup for exciting viewing of silo art. Dinner that night was a Noggin and Natter enabling many to catch up with old friends and to forge new friendships. The following day we departed Horsham driving through Balmoral, Coleraine, bypassing the chocolate shop (of course), with lunch at Merino then to South Australia with our two-night stay at Mt Gambier. Various roadworks had one car throw up a stone which ruined the Mini windscreen but still able to continue. Mt Gambier is a beautiful tourist spot. The sunken gardens at the Umpherston Sink Hole were outstanding and a walk to the base of it was fantastic. A small waterfall added to the charm of the area. The well-known Blue Lake did not give its actual colour as it was a dull day. It was here that we stayed in a cell, aka the Mt Gambier Old Goal. It was fantastic and quite an experience. Talk about ‘thinking outside the box’ when booking this place! The next day was a free day to explore as we wished. The lovely weather continued as we travelled to Penola. A most informative explanation about the history in the life of Mary MacKillop, where she taught, with many exhibits. Lunch was at Yallum Park where we wandered through the Homestead, a large Victorian Mansion built in the 19 Century and well preserved. The owners remain on the property and with the assistance of the National Trust, continue to bring to life the very essence of the Yallum Park Homestead. We travelled from Mt Gambier to Portland where we enjoyed the impressive Portland Botanic Gardens, the Power House Car Museum and a fantastic display in the Maritime Discovery Centre where it was much warmer inside. A steep climb in the World War 2 Memorial Lookout Tower had the best view of the Cable Trams, still working and a fabulous view of the ocean. After a daybreak bbq breakfast in Portland sightseeing continued before a long line waiting in the local park for the bbq lunch arranged again by the Lions Club. Near Portland is Cape Bridgewater where a blowhole throws the sea high above the surface with a petrified forest of great interest nearby. In the area are about 20 wind farms which power 35,000 Victorian homes each year. We left Portland via Hamilton, Ararat and Maryborough to Bendigo where the reading glasses ended up under the Mini which then blithely drove over them – destroyed! However, staying at the Quest Schaller Studio Arts residence more than made up for the disaster! The evening at the All Seasons Hotel culminated in the fancy dress dinner. There were many interesting and funny costumes with the central theme being to enjoy the feast on offer and entertainment. On the final day and after breakfast, we headed off towards Yarra Glen. Ferocious winds and torrential rains as we travelled towards Melbourne had us showered with water from other drivers going too fast in such lousy weather. We didn’t drive through Heathcote, Seymour and Yea to the lunch and awards at the Yarra Valley Racing Club, preferring to return home for various repairs of the human and car kind! The carpets were somewhat wet and they ‘hung about’ in the garage until they dried.

Words and photos Anne Kruger

Footnote:

The Fly the Flag Tour has been going for something like 15 years. Many have enjoyed every journey but whether the tour extends further than this one remains unknown. It’s a massive responsibility for Tony Pettigrew and his team and as he wishes to retire puts into play that if someone else doesn’t come to take over, then the FTF will cease.

Unfortunately, and because of the rain, we missed the luncheon and enclosed is the list of Award Winners as produced by the All British Car Club.