ALVIS CAR CLUB of VICTORIA
RALLY 1972 (printed in Alvic Jun 06)
an Interstate or National Rally is no easy task but one of the
very best and the easiest that I was asked to organise, was the
Holbrook Rally (NSW) in 1972. Our Club Committee at the time chose
Holbrook over the border as it would be shorter for Sydney members
to attend, well by some miles anyway. The idea of Holbrook did
not appeal to me, as all I knew, and wanted to know about the
town was a blur on the way north up the Hume, but I got one hell
of a shock.
knowing a living soul there I contacted the Holbrook Shire Clerk
by phone who asked if I could attend a council meeting in two
days time, as they were very enthusiastic for us to come and assist
their tourism promotion. I did attend and met a group of down-to-earth
people whose one aim was to put their town on the map. Two motel
owners attended and accommodation was arranged as well as meals.
They suggested a visit to a local Hereford Stud Farm with an invitation
to view a private art collection and would we like them to organise
a barbeque, etc. etc.
enthusiasm was overwhelming when we rolled into Holbrook to start
the rally. I was a mite awestruck to find banners reading "Holbrook
Welcomes Alvis Drivers" across the highway in the town and
each of the ladies attending were given a small posy of local
flowers on arrival. That was the Friday night and the next day
we drove the short distance to the Stud Farm and the art collection
in the adjoining home. The quantity and nature of the art was
quite incredible and its value both fiscally and aesthetically,
breathtaking. The large air-conditioned barn of the stud farm
housed many contented, prize winning and obviously expensive Hereford
bulls in separate enclosures with softly playing classical music.
All the men viewing were naturally thinking of reincarnation!
day we formed a convoy and followed one of the locals a few miles
out to a large holding where, after topping a small ridge, there
was the barbeque. An astonishing site - a pretty creek fringed
by red gums with trestle tables laid out. The barbeque was going
and attended to by locals in striped aprons and straw decker hats.
The gloss on the whole arrangement came from a refrigerated semi-trailer
parked close by to keep the drinks cool! By this time I was getting
sore from pats on the back from members and I lapped it up.
last day was spent on a sheep station with - refreshments taken
in a shearing shed. So ended a short but one of the best Interstate
or National rallies. Arranged by a small town that showed its
pride by being over-generous with their friendship and hospitality.
I had very little to do with the organisation of the rally, the
town of Holbrook did it for us and became the forerunner of many
is a little bit of Holbrook history that shows what can be accomplished
by a proud and united community. Originally the town was named
Germantown but in 1918 the Shire Council renamed it Holbrook after
an English Naval Officer who commanded the British submarine HMS
B 11 during World War One. The Officer Captain Norman Holbrook
was awarded the French Legion of Honour and the Victoria Cross.
The Captain visited the town in 1956, 1969 and 1975 and was honoured
by a model of his submarine being placed in a park named after
him. Just before he died in 1976 he set about trying to obtain
a decommissioned Oberon class submarine to replace the model.
An amount of $30,000 was raised but this was not enough with the
Government selling it to a scrap metal merchant. Norman Holbrook's
widow in England then donated $100,000 and a neighbour a further
$ 10,000 and finally the submarine was purchased. It was brought
to the town in pieces, assembled and set up in Holbrook Park where
it now rests. The ninety metre vessel attracts at least 150 visitors
a day with up to 500 during holidays and has done much to keep
Holbrook a vibrant town. The town and its park are certainly worth
a visit when travelling the Hume Highway and could be considered
for a future rally location or stopover.
will always be a top town for me and for all who were lucky enough
to be there way back in 1972.
(printed Alvic July 06)
I learn something new every day. From Ron Wilson's article last
month I now know that Holbrook was a Naval gentleman. Perhaps
what Ron doesn't know is the importance of that particular Oberon
class submarine to the defence of the nation. I used to have Dad
& Dave (Dept of Defence to youngsters) as a customer. You
will no doubt recall all the froth and bubble in the national
press about the troubles which beset the building and commissioning
of the Collins class submarines which were selected as the replacements
for the Oberons?
recall smart remarks about the need for sump guards on the periscopes?
(Think about it!). Well all the delays meant that the Oberons
were required to be held in service far longer than planned, and
they were truly well past their "use-by" date. So much
so that at one point I am told a Naval engineering crew was sent
to Holbrook to negotiate with the shire council to "borrow"
some components (ballast pumps if I recall correctly) from the
Holbrook one! Incidentally, the media never reported what a success
the Collins turned out to be in the end.
DSTO (Defence Science and Technology Organisation) did a lot of
splendid work at Maribyrnong, including finite element analysis
on the crankshaft vibration in the Swedish Hedemorra deisel engines,
which was addressed with some sophisticated balancing technology.
The result of this and a lot of other work culminated in a successful
"attack" on a US carrier, while fully protected by its
escort fleet, during joint exercises in the Pacific. The Americans
were decidedly un-amused! Needless to say a lot of this technology
has now been heading to the US which makes a nice change. (I know
none of this has nothing to do with Alvises, but I don't care!)