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Bush Council Easter Rally (copyright image)

Stanley Steamer owners Basil & Vicki Craske (front seats)
with the Doble owners Barry & Sandra Herbert (rear). (copyright image)

Roy & Barbara Rich from Ballarat with their 1925 Oldsmobile.

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by Chris Goodsell

1st May, 2011

The Autumn weather was NSW mid-north coast perfect over the Easter weekend, mild temperatures and unlimited sunshine as around 200 cars and 1 motorcycle rolled into the Great Lakes and Manning area to participate in the NSW Bush Council's annual Easter Rally. This year the event was hosted by the Great Lakes Historic Automobile Club to celebrate its twentieth anniversary.

Activities started on the Wednesday prior to Easter with a welcome BBQ to the international guests Basil & Vicki Craske and Barry & Sandra Herbert who had travelled from the UK with their wonderful steam cars. Good Friday saw registration of rally participants in Forster. Already spectators were rolling in in their hundreds to view the cars.

On Saturday, the vehicles headed to Wingham where the rally was officially opened by Australian motor racing legend Des West. The people of Wingham descended on the rally cars in their thousands, many fascinated by Des West's original 48/215 Holden. This old car had travelled at over 180 km/h on Bathurst's Conrod straight.

Cars returned to Forster primary school for lunch prior to a free afternoon. The evening saw around 220 entrants enjoy hospitality in Forster.

Sunday was the BIG rally day. After an Easter Day church service hosted by Great Lakes Historic Automobile Club Chaplain Denis Burns it was off down the scenic Lakes Way to the sleepy little village of Coomba Park then back to Elizabeth Park at Forster Keys for the weekend's major display and Concours. Other clubs were invited to attend and some 300 cars showed a broad and complete cross section of motoring over more than a century. Without doubt, the highlights of the show were the 1909 Stanley Steamer and the 1929 Doble (ex-Howard Hughes). Unfortunately, the Doble had suffered an electrical fire and was disabled. An estimated 5,000 spectators viewed the cars during the afternoon.

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Sunday evening saw the presentation dinner hosted in Forster, where more than 50 trophies were awarded. Basil Craske, owner of the Stanley Steamer took home an award for the highest combined age of car and driver. The Stanley at 102 was not a bad start.

Past president of the Bush Council Malcom Roy stated that in all the years he had attended Easter Rallies all over NSW he had never seen so much public interest and support for the event with people on street corners waiting for cars to pass.

Monday morning saw a farewell breakfast at the Great Lakes Campus. To the thrill of children and adults present Basil took people on short rides in the amazing Stanley steamer. I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky ones.

A wonderful and highly successful event that brought hundred of folk into the area. Well done David Kelvin and team.


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