Just over 10 years ago, a handful of caravanners had a dream: to create a national club in which all members were equal. And now, with branches in every state of the country and 4000 members and growing, the Australian Caravan Club has celebrated its strength and diversity with its 10th National Muster.
Held at the Shepparton Showgrounds, Vic, and facilitated by the Shepparton Agricultural Society, exactly 200 vans gathered for a week of good company, happy hours, activities (including ukulele lessons!), boules, and arts and crafts. And what would a caravan muster be without a bush poetry session or two?
While the 42 branches around Australia hold individual musters, the national muster coincides with the ACC’s annual general meeting.
This year’s national muster saw a changing of the guard, with long-time chairman Tom Smith stepping down from the role and deputy chairman Craig Humphrey stepping up.
In his remarks at the AGM, Mr Smith noted the objectives of the club. Among them, representing RV owners to government and statutory bodies, providing general advice to members on the construction and maintenance of RVs, encouraging safer driving and road courtesy and, of course, encouraging social activities, exhibitions, competitions and rallies.
“As club chairman for the last five years, I wish to thank everyone who has helped and supported me during that time,” Mr Smith said. “To all those who have assisted me, I say thank you and to all those that I have become very good friends with, I say thank you.”
The muster was opened by Wendy Lovell, Northern Victoria Region MP, who later reported this to the Victorian state parliament: “Last week, I was delighted to officially open the 10th annual Australian Caravan Club muster and welcome 400 members of the club to Shepparton for the muster and the club’s annual general meeting – a social and educational event where members from all over Australia converge in one place for a full week to have fun and tour the district. It is estimated that the muster contributed about $250,000 to our local economy, which is fantastic.
I was delighted to outline Shepparton’s tourism attractions and day trip opportunities to club members and have extended Shepparton’s hospitality to them whenever they would like to return.”
A TIPPLE OF WINE
RVers at the national muster took part in numerous activities, including visits to local wineries and a boutique cider outlet. Did they sample the products? We’re going to say yes.
The Australian Caravan Club has special interest groups. The group for ex-service men and women had about 50 members enjoy dinner at the Shepparton RSL. They were welcomed by the manager who presented them with a selection of wines to add to their enjoyment of the evening.
Another of these special interest groups caters for members travelling on their own and 20 ‘Lone Trekkers’ gathered for a country picnic, although members agreed that it was more feast than picnic.
The highlight of the muster was the Black and White Dinner Dance on the Saturday night, with dancing music supplied by talented ACC member Vince Pagett and his band.
On the final day of the muster, members gathered for the drawing of the major fundraising raffle. Incredibly, two members had their names called three times each. What were the chances?