Around-Oz: Living the Dream!


Gippslanders 10th Birthday at Lake Naracan Victoria

Many months ago, Norm Holyoak rang and asked, “Where will you be on March 19?” While I might have been tempted to say “How the hell do I know?” I refrained from doing so, thought about it and said “Probably on the way to the CMCA Rally at Horsham”. “Good”, he replied, “then you can come to our birthday party”. That’s how we came to go to the Gippslanders’ Chapter birthday party and I am glad I engaged brain before opening mouth! We had a fantastic weekend, even allowing for the fact that the driver didn’t listen to the navigator and had to do three U turns the venue! After the U turns, we eventually arrived at TS Latrobe on Lake Narracan, north of Newborough, in the industrial Latrobe Valley. We were greeted by Richard (Dick) Percy who was in charge of parking (or is that siting?) for the weekend. Being early in, we were on the top level near the large shed. Later arrivals were parked lakeside and that was very scenic, especially in the morning when there were beautiful reflections to be seen on the water.


 
 

Friday was a very laid back day, until after happy hour. That night, there were the usual card and games players but simultaneously we had a sort of karaoke singalong. Highway Wanderer John Berkler set up his computer and projector and a cacophony of voices rose to the songs of the 60’s and 70’s. There was a lot of merriment. One wife was hard to ask her husband to only join in the chorus - he got so many words incorrect - but the rest of the table encouraged his participation, as it gave us a lot of laughs. By 10.30 pm, most people had wandered off to bed but we sat talking with Alan and Robyn Tesch, Diana Worner, Peter Gosbell and Norm and Fay Holyoak till nearly midnight.

Our heads hardly touched the pillow and it was daylight – we had to get up, as there was a very unserious disc bowls competition to attend. Hank and Naty organised the courts and one helper was chided for not making a rectangle – his excuse was that he had a headache from laughing too much the night before. The mixed triples teams were each a mix of locals and visitors, and, as always, proved that disc bowls is a great socialiser to meet and make new friends.

Saturday happy hour was a non-alcoholic event and of very short duration as we had to prepare for the big dinner that night. Norm had organised a bus and driver through a friendly local bus operator who owed him a few favours. There were three busloads attending the local RSL Club.


 
 

Guests of honour were past President at the time of the Gippslanders inauguration, Diana Worner (with Peter Gosbell forever in support) and also past CMCA Chairman Alan Tesch (also with wife Robyn forever in support).

The room was decorated in chapter colours of green and gold balloons. Noeleen Britton had made a beautifully iced and decorated birthday cake, complete with Motorhome. Our commemorative placemats were a laminated history of inaugural meeting of the chapter.

Dinner was a huge smorgasbord with a choice of four roasts, baked vegetables, fish, salad, fried rice and more, bread rolls, and a choice of six deserts followed with the ultimate choice tea or coffee.

Unbeknown to most, John had prepared a video of the weekend’s activities and had caught many people unawares. This played throughout the dinner session on a large screen.


 
 

Diana and Alan each gave a short speech, expounding the friendships they had made through the Gippslanders and wishing all members another successful ten years and hoped to be invited to the 20th birthday party.

Norm and Fay had been responsible for the organisation of the weekend over an 14 month period and the chapter members had done a “whip around” and collected enough to enable them to have a trip to Melbourne and a tour on the restaurant tram. For once (believe it or not) Norm was dumbstruck, hardly being able to say a word. Fay was seen wiping away a few tears of joy. The respect and repute shown by their chapter was quite heart warming.

Entertainment for the night was by “Frank Spencer” of Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em (otherwise known as John Jance. After the first half, we had a “Ellacinders” (Cinderella spoonerism) and this was absolutely hilarious. Prince Charming was Julia Ousley and Cinders was Ed Hunter. Possibly the funniest part was when Prince Charming took off his (or should that be her?) crown and found a pair of Prince Charles style ears attached.


 
 

Almost certainly the best compliment paid to the organisers of the night was the fact that by 11.30 pm there had been very few yawns, members and guests gradually dispersed on the coaster bus back to our motorhomes and were on the wonderful natural high that good company and good entertainment gives. Hope someone remembered to record “The Bill” and that everyone remembered to take their pills when they got back home!

The payback for our attendance – Norm and Fay had to volunteer for Horsham Rally. They reckoned this was blackmail but they confessed afterwards being a rally volunteer was great fun. So we look forward to having on our team again at Mt Gambier

A very big congratulations and thank you to all the Gippslanders who contributed to a fun filled gathering.

Chrissy Eustace


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