History of the GPA Swim-In and Military Vehicle Gathering
Annually a group of ex-Military Vehicle Collectors gather at Corowa Airport and Ball Park Caravan Park in Corowa on the beautiful Murray River to display their lovingly restored military vehicles, conduct a parade, swap meet and have a ‘swim-in’ with amphibious vehicles. The event attracts collectors from throughout Australia and the world. There are clubs in each state. March 2011 represents the 32nd year of the gathering at Corowa. The theme will be Year of the British and European Vehicles. We also encourage ex-military vehicle owners with other makes and models of vehicles to attend the event where they can exchange information and parts. In 2012 it will be Year of the 6X6, in 2013 it will be Year of the Towed Equipment and in 2014 it will be Year of the Ford and WW1.
The event was initially organised by Ian Grieve [Qld] and Alan Newton [SA] and was for Amphibious Jeeps [Ford Model G.P.A. ¼ -Ton 4X4 Amphibian] but with so much interest amongst military vehicle enthusiasts it became a large-scale gathering not only with GPA’s but also other historic military vehicles.
People have asked “Why was Corowa chosen as the venue of this event?” Corowa, on the Murray River, just west of Albury is a fairly central location. It has fresh water, with easy river access and is an historic town. The collectors enjoy the wrecking yards and disposal stores in Albury and Wodonga. There are a variety of shops, wineries and antique shops to make this a family orientated event. The townsfolk of Corowa have always welcomed our presence and we look forward to returning each year to enjoy their hospitality and support.
The majority of vehicles attending are of World War 2 vintage. They include many Jeeps, Blitz’s, Dodge Weapon’s Carriers, Studebakers, GMC trucks, White Scout Cars, Chev trucks, Ford trucks, Bren Gun Carriers, Harley Davidson Motorcycles, Amphibious Jeeps, DUKW’s and many more. The event also attracts members with post-WW2 vehicles including Landrovers, Saracen Armoured Cars, Ferret Scout Cars, HUMVEE [Hummer], ACCO Internationals and many others.
In 1999 we achieved recognition by the Guinness Book of World Records for “the largest gathering of Ford GPA amphibious vehicles since the Second World War”. This number being 16 including the famous Amphibious Jeep “Half-Safe” which circumnavigated the world during the 1950’s and has been donated to the Guildford Grammar School in Perth. In March 2002 we achieved recognition by the Guinness Book of World Records for “the greatest gathering of privately owned Ford and Chev Blitz trucks since 1945”. In 2003 the theme was to get as many WW2 Studebaker trucks together. We had 21. In 2004 the Theme was ‘Year of the Dodge’. We had 34 Dodge’s. In 2005 our theme was ‘WW2 Pattern Carriers’. We had 21 Carriers. The theme for 2006 was ‘Armoured Cars’ and we had a variety of rare types of vehicles. In 2007 the themes were ‘Year of the Cycle and Year of the Staff Car’. In 2008 the theme was ‘Year of the Tracked Vehicle’. This was the first time people were able to view tanks driving down the main street of Corowa. 2009 represented the 30th year of this event and the themes were Year of the Amphibian and Year of the Blitz 2. Vehicles in the amphibian section included GPA’s, DUKW, LARC and a Buffalo. There were 43 Blitzs. A total of 194 vehicles participated in this commemorative year. There was a record number of vehicles for Year of the Jeep in 2010. A total of 266 vehicles which included 180 Jeeps. This has now become the largest gathering of ex-military vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere.
The main days of activities are Wednesday 16th, Thursday 17th, Friday 18th and Saturday 19th March 2011. There is a trip planned on Thursday 17th March to Oaklands and Berrigan. We will be visiting the Oaklands Central School and sightseeing at Oaklands before going to Berrigan for lunch and viewing machinery owned by a collector in Berrigan. On Friday 18th March we are going to North Tuppal station which is approx 130kms from Corowa to look at the famous shearing shed and the town of Tocumwal. We will be in the town of Tocumwal for lunch. We will have a guest speaker talking on a trip to Alice Springs involving a number of military vehicles who travelled from Nerang in Qld. On Saturday the day commences at 9.00am sharp with a Procession through Corowa to the airport where there is a vehicle display and Swap Meet. In the evening we have Presentations and an auction.
There is a website where people can obtain information and see pictures of past and future events. www.corowaswim-in.org
For further information or registration phone:
Jan Thompson on 0423 943010 or Email: email@example.com
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The January edition of the KVE News has been released. If you require a copy send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A Swim-In Information Caravan (Site Office) will be set up at Ball Park Caravan Park to assist you with information regarding activities over the week. Due to the large number of participants we are expecting please come to the Site Office as soon as possible after arriving in Corowa. Times will be as follows:
Monday 14th March: 8.30 -11.00am and then 3.00- 6.00pm
Tuesday 15th March: 8.30 -11.00am and then 3.00- 6.00pm
Wednesday 16th March: 8.30-11.00am and then 3.00-6.00
Thursday 17th March: 8.00-1.00pm and 3-6pm
Friday 18th March: 8.00-1.00pm and 3-6pm
Saturday 19th March: There will be a Site Office at Corowa Airport opening at 8.30am. For people arriving on the Saturday morning they must go straight to Bangerang Park where the parade leaves from and sign in their vehicle. You will be met by people in fluorescent jackets and we will try and quickly register people in.
Sunday 20th March: 8.00-10.00am
Please note the following:
(1) Please stop at the Site Office upon arrival to pay your $10 Entry Fee (if you haven’t already paid) and ensure you get a vehicle attendance number. If you have preregistered your pack will contain your vehicle certificate. Check to make sure it is correct. If any mistakes return the certificate to the Site Office and put a note on explaining what information needs correcting. It is your responsibility to come back the following day and collect the new certificate. If you haven’t preregistered a blank certificate will be in your pack and it is up to you to have it written on. You will need to fill out the Participant Register as a record of your attendance.
(2) Place the Participant Number on your windscreen if possible. If you have no windscreen it can be put on your front bumper bar. We have tape or spray adhesive for you to use.
(3) If you are staying Sunday night, place your names on the list for the dinner at the Royal Hotel so we can provide them with approximate numbers.
(4) Come and make yourself a free coffee or tea at the Site Office.
(5) Write up For Sale and Wanted Advertisements and look at the noticeboards to see articles on past events.
(6) If you have any newsletter articles on past Swim-In events please speak to Jan.
(7) Please give any donations for the Auction to someone at the Site Office. Merv and Beth Kennedy will be cataloguing all the items.
(8) Auction & Presentations on Saturday 19th March: We would like to commence the Auction and Presentations at 7.30pm sharp.
(10) Voting Forms: We have a Jerrycan at the Site Office where you can put your voting forms and make any suggestions. As you register your vehicle for the event a form will be given to you to complete to indicate ideas for future activities at Corowa, people who deserve awards or recognition, ideas for a theme in 2015. These must be submitted my 12 Midday on Saturday. KVE will have a stand at the Airport so last minute forms can be submitted.
(11) A whiteboard in front of the Information Caravan will advise of 'Today's and Tomorrow's Activities'. Please check this daily in case of time changes.
(12) We require volunteers to assist with the parade on Saturday. We plan to categorise the vehicles and will require a person to be in charge of each group. Place your name on the list provided at the Site Office. To make this easier please leave your mobile number. The parade will depart from the parking area near Bangerang Park (Near the Bowling Club not near the entrance to Ball Park Caravan Park). Tracked vehicles will line up in Edwards St.
(13) Our Site Office is manned by volunteers. Your cooperation with completing the required forms and information would be greatly appreciated. You don’t have to be a member of KVE to man our site office. Please contact Jan if you are able to help. This is a great way of getting to know lots of people.
(14) Volunteers are required for the following:
Site Office at Ball Park Caravan Park
Marshalls for the parade on Saturday
People to assist with the Auction on Saturday night.
Please advise someone at the Site Office if you can help during the week with any of these tasks or other tasks that may arise.
(15) Entry form for 2012. This form is in your participant pack. You may complete and hand back to the site Office during the week. With the Theme – Year of the 6X6. It is advisable to pre-book your accommodation, including powered tent sites.
(16) Membership to KVE Inc: KVE is the organisation formed to run the Swim-In. Membership is open to participants who would like to be involved.
(17) Corowa Airport: We are using the airport as a second location for this event. Please abide by their rules. The main one is STRICTLY NO DOGS. These rules apply at all airports.
(18) Entry Forms: Please send your entry form in ASAP. Those who have pre-registered by 28th February will receive free mementoes and an official participant pack. Those who have provided us with the details of the vehicle they will be bringing will have a completed certificate in the pack. If you change your mind and decide to bring another vehicle please let us know so we can ensure the right certificate is in the pack. We have received vouchers from local businesses so to make the most of these make sure you collect your pack upon arrival in Corowa at the Site Office in Ball Park Caravan Park.
(19) Memorial Board for enthusiasts who are no longer with us: Each year we loose some well known military vehicle collectors. KVE has a Memorial Board and would appreciate an A4 size article including a photo of any person who has attended Corowa so we can remember these people. This year we lost Peter Toohey and Lynda Toohey from Coffs Harbour, Bob Dimer from WA, Maureen Bell, Geoff Winnington-Ball, Vic Phillips, Reg Grant (relative of Phil Rider) and James Swan. There are probably others who are very sick and KVE would like to pass on best wishes to these people. Bob Dimer, Maureen Bell and Geoff Winnington-Ball had been KVE members.
(20) 2010 Year of the Jeep DVD: This will be available at the 2011 event for $40 each. Keith Webb will be making a 2011 DVD so please be prepared to be filmed to be part of this new DVD. Keith is looking for unusual stories or restorations, as well as filming some good action at the event. Past DVD’s of the event will also be available at the Site Office. Look out for the specials.
(21) Day trips:
Thursday 17th March:
Oaklands Central School
Oaklands and Berrigan. Pentarch Defence management and administration team are based in Melbourne and manufacturing and processing operations are conducted at Oaklands and Wallerawang in NSW.
• Disposing of ammunition by breakdown method, separating components into constituent materials, achieving maximum recycling opportunity and minimal environmental impact
• Recycling and refurbishing of common types of Australian Defence Force ammunition packaging, which has created employment opportunities in Australia and reduced costs to the Commonwealth and the need for imported packaging
• Distributing imported manufactured ammunition into Australia
• 1988 Commenced the introduction of the Steyr AUG rifle into the Australian Defence Force
• 1994 Repackaged, stored and subsequently exported substantial quantities of specialised chemicals
• 2003/04 Processed and repacked 10 million rounds of small arms ammunition for special application
• 2004 Initiated a specialised engineering project to refurbish components of aircraft ammunition for the Royal Australian Air Force
Cottam Engineering at Berrigan. This business is owned by Jo Cottam who has visited our swim-in with the ‘Riverina Screamer’. There is also a few pages of information further in the newsletter associated with the Tractor Pulls.
Cottam Engineering manufacture and repair components for Agricultural, Earth Moving and Mining industries. They specialise in gearcutting – design and manufacture of gearboxes and gearbox overhauls. Gearcutting of spur, helical and internal gears that can be machined up to 1.5m diameter. Modify existing drive gearboxes and drive trains. Most of their work entails gearbox manufacture and one-of products and modifications. They are situated in Corcoran Street, Berrigan NSW. Cottam Engineering was formed in 1978 as a private manufacturing and repair company. The present site was purchased in 1981 and developed into a practical and productive machine shop with separate welding shop - a total factory area of 720 sq met.. Joe has a total hands-on approach to all business activities and training of apprentices. Over the thirty years in business they have trained some exceptional apprentices and can say they have all stayed in the trade managing other enterprises or operating their own business. Most of their staff have stayed with the company for many years providing excellent experienced staff.
Joe Cottam is a qualified Fitter and Machinist / Welder with forty years experience in diesel engineering, earth-moving equipment and general engineering. Joe has earned a high level of respect in his time in the industry. He is the business owner / manager and celebrated 30years in business in 2008. Joe Cottam formed the business on his own in 1978 operating in rented premises. Joe designed, built and operates the Modified Pulling Tractor “Riverina Screamer”. He has been involved with Modified Tractor Pulling for 24 years. Joe is a Life Member of Berrigan Apex, an inaugural member of Berrigan and District Development Association and Chairman of Y.C.S. Cottam Engineering participated in the Bridge to Bridge 2005 Solar Car Project and the 2008 Solar Car project with Finley High School (adopt a school program).
Friday 18th March: Trip to North Tuppal Station, west of Tocumwal
In June 2010 on the ABC’s Landline program there was a story the 145 year old shearing shed which has 72 shearing stands. It clocked up more than 3 million sheep in its first 10 years and is still one of the largest and best designed sheds in Australia.
The famous woolshed, now part of North Tuppal, is an icon of the Riverina not only for its size but because it was the first shearing shed in Australia to move away from blade shearing by installing shearing machines. Original parts of the shed were built around 1864, but the large shearing board and massive yards were added in 1900 and it is still used for an annual shearing by the station owner Bruce Atkinson. The 72 stands were set up with 44 stands on one side, two groups of 14 on the other side and the wool race in between. This meant that no fleece had to be carried more than 25 metres to ensure more careful handling of the wool and enabled the boss to tell at a glance what every one in the shed was doing.
Shearers were also expected to handle the wool carefully, and shearing stands were placed 1.8 metres apart (six feet) instead of the usual 1.5 metres (5 feet). Other unique features include the walls of the shearing board were boarded right up to the shafting, so sheep had no view of the machinery or movements on the board, double catching pen doors which swung both ways, and excellent light and ventilation. With a shoot from each shearing stand, some sheep were forced to jump over the belt of the steam engine to get to holding yards.
(22) Extra events on Saturday 19th March at the Corowa Airport
• Model Show
At the Airport Terminal Building on Saturday 19th March to coincide with the Swap Meet. Organised by Scott Rough.
There will be a model display in the Airport terminal building on Saturday. The Corowa Shire has welcomed this and we hope it will get bigger each year. This will be open all day from 9.45am or as long as the participants want to stay. We would like to involve the town more in this event and they are welcome to participate.
This will be a good way to show of your modelling skills and those vehicles or military equipment we wish to own. So pack up some models and bring them along. For further information contact: Scott Rough on 0419 545801
The Eurokhana will be on Saturday 19th March around 12:30 same as last year behind the RFS shed at the airport.
It will be of similar design as last year maybe a few more gates.
It will be a timed event, but the only competition will be against yourself. It will not be a race against others merely a chance to pit your skills as a driver and the knowledge of your vehicle. For safety reasons every vehicle will need an offsider
All vehicles are encouraged to participate as the more variety we have the more fun it becomes.
Scott will also need volunteers to help run it as it is far to much to ask only a couple of people to suffer the heat all afternoon.
For further information contact: Scott Rough on 0419 545801
(23) Dinner function on Friday 18th March at 6.30pm - Gourmet BBQ: Cost $18 per person. The Corowa Jump Shak will provide a Gourmet BBQ for people who let them know ahead of time. This will include salads. Dessert will be available for a small fee also. To be put on the list contact Tabitha Hughes on 0415 704748. There will be a list at the Site Office at Ball Park and the Corowa Jump Shak. Numbers will be required by 6.00pm Wednesday.
(24) Guest speaker talk and Driver’s Briefing on Friday 18th March at the Corowa Jump Shak from 7.30pm: Driver’s Briefing by John Oldenmenger followed by a talk by Hugh Davis and Alan Carpenter on the trip from Queensland to Alice Springs. TRACKERS 2010 – MILITARY VEHICLE RUN from Nerang to Alice Springs.
(25) Program of Activities:
We have kept the first few days of the event for people to visit places such as The Army Museum at Bandiana, local vineyards, junk yards, antique shops etc.
Thursday 17th March:
Trip to Oaklands and Berrigan. The trip will leave Ball Park Caravan Park at 8.30am sharp. There will be a visit to the Oaklands Central School and a tour of Oaklands Pentarch facility. Participants will then be able to have lunch in Berrigan prior to visiting Cottam Engineering who are manufacturers of gear boxes and large gears.
Friday 18th March:
There will be a trip leaving at 8.30am sharp to the historic woolshed North Tuppal Station, west of Tocumwal during the day. North Tuppal is approx 130kms from Corowa.
6.30pm - Gourmet BBQ: Cost $18 per person. The Corowa Jump Shak will provide a Gourmet BBQ for people who let them know ahead of time. This will include salads. Dessert will be available for a small fee also. To be put on the list contact Tabitha Hughes on 0415 704748. There will be a list at the Site Office at Ball Park and the Corowa Jump Shak. Numbers will be required by 6.00pm Wednesday.
7.30pm: Driver’s Briefing by John Oldenmenger followed by a talk by Hugh Davis and Alan Carpenter on the trip from Queensland to Alice Springs. TRACKERS 2010 – MILITARY VEHICLE RUN from Nerang to Alice Springs.
Saturday 19th March:
9am sharp – Parade to Corowa Airport: Vehicles will line up at Bangerang Park from 7.30am and participate in the parade to the Corowa Airport departing at 9am sharp where there will be a photo shoot and swap meet.
9.45am: Swap Meet at Corowa Airport. The Corowa Rotary Club will be running the Swap Meet again in 2011
Model Show from 9.45am– at The Airport Terminal Building.
12.00MD: ensure your voting forms are submitted at the KVE Site Office at Corowa Airport.
12.30pm – Group photos of people associated with various forums such as the MVCA, MLU and REMLR.
1.00pm - There will be a Eurokhana (similar to a Motorkhana) again organised by Scott Rough.
7.30pm SHARP: Come and support the Auction and presentations on Saturday evening. We will not be organizing a meal on the Saturday evening. There is bound to be a combination of items of interest. We will be giving each person a numbered bidding card and we have a new auctioneer so we hope this will be a more effective way to run our auction. Remember to collect your bidding card. We are after extra lighting which would also make things easier. If anyone can help please let us know.
Sunday 20th March:
10.00am: KVE Inc General Meeting
6.30pm onwards: For people staying on until Monday come along to The Royal Hotel for a final dinner. There will be a specials board. (If you plan to attend please put your name on the list at the Site Office so we can provide the Hotel with numbers of people.)
All the best in safely getting to Corowa. KVE are looking forward to running this event again in 2011.