Thursday, June 20, 2024

Wheels turn for Charlton Motor Club

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Jenny Pollard, The Buloke Times

Like-minded motoring enthusiasts showed their support as the Charlton “Wheels on A79 Car, Truck and Tractor Club” was launched at the Traveller’s Rest last Sunday morning.

The multi-vehicle and highway-defined title has been a deliberate attempt to embrace as wide a range of participants as possible – not just from the local areas, but also to include locations from along the Calder Highway route, with Charlton providing the nucleus of the operation.

The expansive title also reaches out to the passionate owners of both commercial and agricultural vehicles, encouraging them to bring their machines into the mix and share the rich tapestry of detail so beloved by enthusiasts of the motoring world.

Sleek car bodies, an agricultural gem and an authentic Charlton icon were amongst the collection of cars, trucks and tractors set up to provide a backdrop for the club launch.

From Yeungroon farmer, Andrew Wright’s Allis Chalmers 1938 WF tractor, to doyen of the trucking trade, Bill Fitzpatrick, with his 1952 Chevrolet truck, there was a vehicle to whet the appetite of any dedicated motor-lover with an appreciation for the chrome, the styling and the under-the-bonnet power.


Factor in the eye-popping appeal of Wedderburn visitor, Jamie Martin’s stunning Corvettes – a yellow 1976 Stingray (left-hand drive) and an equally impressive red number – along with locals, Mark Windsor’s Roadrunner and John “Nipper” Sweatman’s 1976 Torana XL SL/R 5000 – and there was plenty to capture the attention of a would-be member to get the club off to a roaring start.

A welcome by president, Dick Lee set out the origins of the Club’s formation, along with outlining the mode of operation for the here and now. Future aspirations were also touched on – along with more distant visions of growth.

Idea in Motion

A meeting of a group of passionate people in Charlton was enough to set the idea in motion with a gathering called for February 28, at the East Charlton Hotel.

And “Wow, what a turn-out it was!” said Dick. “Twenty-two people turned up, and this gave us an indication that the club would be a ‘goer’.”

A committee was voted in – president, Dick Lee, vice-president, Daniel Mulquiny, secretary, Andrew Wright and treasurer, Ian Walsh – and the idea “became a reality”.


Establishing a constitution, the ethos is “to form a club that can provide members with an opportunity to share information about all things mechanical including tradespeople, parts, internet sites and also to meet up and engage socially with trips, shows, signs, member displays at the Charlton Show and the like,” said Dick.

Embracing all types of vehicles is a “must” for the club – the only exclusion being motorcycles, so as not to encroach on realm of the Skeeter Grimshaw Club.

The Aim

In continuing, Dick said the aim of the club was to welcome all like-minded people to join and share their knowledge and interests. With activities ranging from a “Show & Shine”, day trips, visiting places of interest, and member displays, etc. the club has set up an Event Committee which will be working to plan a calendar for the first year. All members are being encouraged to contribute ideas, while activities such as a 4WD and a car trial are currently being considered.


With a $50 annual membership fee (per person, unless a family), Dick then invited attendees to sign up. Club registrations may be considered down the track, but for the time being growing the club is the main focus.

A digital profile has also been established with a Facebook Page, “Wheels on A79”, which members were encouraged to “like” and “share”.

Acknowledging the supporters who have enabled the club to become a reality, Dick ran through a list of thanks which included; the East Charlton Hotel (first meeting) the Charlton Lawn Tennis Club facility (for subsequent meetings), Charlton Neighbourhood House (assisting with the Club incorporation, setting up the website, email address and providing auspice for insurance), Billy and Kylie Fitzpatrick (loan of the marquee for the launch), Sally Glover (graphic design for club logo, for online and merchandise use), Traveller’s Rest (barbecue and use of facilities for the launch, Buloke Shire Council and Fine Farm Organics (barbecue and refreshments for launch).

With a sign up of twenty members on Sunday – from Charlton, Donald, Boort, Wedderburn and St. Arnaud –plenty of interest is being generated in the Club’s first outing which is scheduled for Saturday, June 22.

A 9:30 a.m. start from the Traveller’s Rest will incorporate for a drive to Wedderburn, Bridgewater, Melville Caves, Kingower, and Inglewood, before making the return trip home.

Further information, or membership for “Wheels on A79”, can be found at the Facebook page of the same name or by contacting 0467 916 229 | email:

The next club meeting will be held on June 18 at the Charlton Lawn Tennis Club at 8 p.m..

The Buloke Times 31 May 2024

This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 31 May 2024.


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