Vettes at Colbinabbin Silos


As we rocked into our favourite City Gate Motel in Mildura, it was hard not to contrast the difference to last year’s MTV event. Last year in Mount Gambier we faced a bleak sky and temperature in the ‘teens, while this year we arrived at Mildura with our air conditioners blazing; it was 30C+ this time.

Several members of our Surfcoast Corvettes Club attended, with Fiona & Jeremy, Peter and Mark at both Mildura and Echuca. Jade and Colin joining for the Echuca leg, and Graeme & Denise attending the events on the last Sunday.

After the Wednesday afternoon arrival, drinks and snacks became the order of the day. Then later, our favourite “moteliers”, Sue, and her father Brian, presented us with a magnificent spread, which just kept coming! What fantastic hosts they are! The night was extended somewhat by a few of the angry “young” lads sitting out in the warm evening air bemoaning the political situation in our country. There were no arguments, thankfully, as everyone was in passionate agreement.

After an afternoon break, it was all aboard the Paddle Steamer Rothbury for a spit roast carvery dinner, all the while enjoying the sights of the floodlit river banks. Very pleasant! Back at the motel, the politics were again discussed, which I must confess, pretty much mirrored the previous evening.

On Friday morning we were presented with a hot smorgasbord breakfast by our hosts, who again totally exceeded all our expectations, just as they had done two years ago. We presented them with a few well-deserved gifts to express our appreciation, then it was into the Vettes, heading towards Echuca.

We booked into our rooms at the Sportslander Motel across the border in Moama, joined by several Corvettes from our Victorian clubs. We fired-up one of the community BBQs at the motel to cook our snags and burgers. The night was warm, and people set up chairs outside their rooms, conversations lingering into the night – as conversations do. The political discussions seemed to have diminished somewhat as there is only so much that can be dragged out of the one topic. As my old boss used to say – “First you saw the wood, after that you start sawing the sawdust” – if you get his meaning.

Dinner on Saturday night was arranged for the Border Inn, Moama, just on the NSW side of the bridge. We travelled to and from the hotel via courtesy bus to allow everyone a few drinks without the worry of being over the limit. There was again a gathering of people outside the rooms back at the motel, just to continue the festivities a little longer.

The last event of the weekend was Sunday night dinner at the Moama RSL. The place was jumping on Sunday night, which we found was Carvery Night. We were picked up and dropped off by the RSL’s courtesy bus and the big Sunday roast dinner at the special RSL price made this a real VALUE occasion. And you guessed it, upon return, the night continued on outside the motel rooms for one more time!

There was also a noticeable difference in the carpark. In Mount Gambier 2022 there were no C8s. This time, on arrival in Mildura there were three C8s in the carpark – representing almost one-third of the cars there! It should also be mentioned there was a very serious Dodge muscle car within the group in the form of a Challenger SRT Hellcat – just to prove we aren’t completely GM prejudiced. Question: What do you do if 717 HP isn’t enough? Why, fit the 100 HP upgrade kit of course! Enough said.

Thursday morning saw us hit the road for Wentworth for coffee and cakes, on the way to the beautiful little Public School of Palinyewah in Ellerslie. The pupils, numbering about 15, had no idea we were coming, but were enthralled when they saw the cars. They were entertained by a “transformer” type demonstration of a C8 convertible top opening and closing and loved the musical airhorns of another Vette. We were told later that a couple of the boys declared it was their best day ever at school. Then, after cruising some excellent Corvette type roads we arrived at the Trentham Winery where we spend an enjoyable couple of hours on the banks of the Murray appreciating some great food and wine (not too much of the latter, of course).

Lunch was at a bakery in Lake Boga, where we visited the Flying Boat Museum, commemorating the RAAF Flying Boat Repair Depot. We had a very interesting guided tour and spent some time viewing the exhibits before continuing our trip to Echuca.

Unfortunately, as we left Lake Boga along the Murray Valley Highway, we were faced with a road closure due to a grass fire. We headed off along the detour, totally at the mercy of our GPS. After driving seemingly forever, we eventually found ourselves, with much relief, back on the Murray Valley Highway in Cohuna. You can never be quite sure where a GPS is taking you! Thanks, GM, for getting us there…….

It was down to the Port of Echuca on Saturday morning, with plenty to see and to explore. Many of us took another Paddle Steamer cruise, being well informed and amused by our entertaining lady Captain. It was then lunch at the Echuca Hotel where we had arranged to park our cars in the morning.

After lunch we drove down to the highly acclaimed “Great Aussie Beer Shed”. The owner, Neil, gave us an opening presentation, complete with jokes, audience participation and amusing stories about some of his collection. Not only a beer display, but this museum also boasts an extensive collection of Aussie icons including household items, farm machinery and horse drawn carriages. This display is considered to be the best attraction in the area and was well worth visiting.

Sunday was “Cruise Day” when we first headed for Rochester (think early Corvette carb) to see the Graincorp Art Silos, painted by the well-known mural artist, Jimmy Dvate. Also in town was the Rochester Sports Museum, which several of us visited and found to be quite a special place. Others settled on a visit to the local bakery for coffee and cakes. I guess a few didn’t get up early enough for breakfast! After a couple of hours at Rochester we ventured on to Colbinabbin to view another set of beautifully adorned silos, painted by artist Tim Bowtell.

From there we cruised to The Shiraz Republic in Cornella. This is a picturesque, multi-award-winning winery and craft brewery in the Heathcote region, with many beers and wines to try and very special pizzas to eat. There was also live music, which a few chose to stay a bit longer to enjoy. Cornella being closer to Melbourne than Echuca, several of the Corvettes took the opportunity to head direct home.

The weekend has provided another great meet-up between the SA and VIC Corvette Clubs. Everyone headed home with a promise from the VIC clubs they would send over a contingent of Corvettes to Glenelg for the “Corvettes Rock the Bay’ event in February, as well as an agreement that “Meet the Vics” would run again in a year’s time.