With about 600 motorhomes and their 1100 or so owners in attendance, numbers were down on previous rallies. However, that had nothing to do with the abilities of rally manager Vince Calleja and his very hard working team of volunteers but, rather, the geographical distance from eastern Australia, where a large number of CMCA members live.
Judging by the unusually high number of rental motorhomes on site, it was clear that a number of rally attendees, including this writer in his KEA motorhome, decided that the fly/drive option from the east coast was the most time-efficient way of getting there.
The rally was as well organised as ever, but a few too many grey and drizzly days put a dampener on the outside activities, which made the indoor events such as seminars, Men’s Shed, Craft Barn and evening entertainment very popular. But there was still plenty of enthusiasm from attendees and volunteers.
An attractive feature of this particular rally was that just about all the sites were green grass. Regular rally-goers will know that wind and dust are often a hazard, so this was a pleasant change.
Another unique event at this rally was the Australian flag lowering ceremony, accompanied by the Last Post, each evening at 6pm.
Albany played a major part early in WWI, in late 1914. It was from here that the first two Australian and New Zealand convoys departed for the war in Europe and, more specifically, Gallipoli.
Late last year, the National Anzac Centre was established within the Albany Heritage Park. It’s been designed with a panoramic window that overlooks the King George Sound and uses interactive multimedia, WWI artefacts, film and audio commentary to tell not only the events of WWI and the convoys, but the stories of 32 soldiers who left on those ships. In this 100th year after the tragedy that was Gallipoli, Albany was a fitting place for the CMCA’s National Rally.
Next year, the anniversary rally held in late April will be at Bathurst, NSW. Motorsport fans should note that it’s being held right at Mount Panorama in the Pit Complex. So you can live your dream of driving your motorhome down the Main Straight – all at legal road speeds, of course!