MID-WEEK LUNCH RUN TO COWWAAR, Thursday 27th March

On Thursday 27th March 14 members in 8 Classic & Sports cars (2 with their roof off) met at the Darnum Store for Coffee before the start of the run to the Cowwarr Cricket Club Hotel as organised by Jan. This Hotel is owned and run by Helena and Val who previously ran the famed Parnassus Restaurant at Camp Hill (Drouin East). Helena had agreed to provide a set menu of 3 choices of mains and 3 of desserts for 20 of us.

The roads were wet, so a revised slightly shorter route was selected, but luckily the rain had stopped, and the day actually got warmer as the day progressed. We had a Sprite, Alpine, MGA, MGB, Porsche, Mustang, Corvette, and a Brock Commodore (all the way from Phillip Island).

Our convoy travelled north of the highway from Darnum, and then wound back down to Waterloo rd to Trafalgar, then north towards Willow Grove with a turn right into Old Sale rd, and then left into the Moe-Walhalla rd, to the Yallourn North Rd (Purvis rd) on the right, and on through Tyers, Glengarry, Toongabbie to Cowwarr. The roads were good and basically dry, and the scenery was wonderful, so it was a great drivers experience with a mix of hills and curves, with flats and straights from Glengarry onwards. A mix of roads suitable for all cars to enjoy.

When our convoy arrived after an hour and a quarter of enjoyable touring, we parked out the front of the Hotel and all had some time to stand in the sun, chat and examine the cars, before going inside. 3 cars with another 6 members met us there. We had a lovely Mercedes 380SL from Sale, the big Chrysler Saratoga from Traralgon and a modern classic Cooper S from just down the road at Tyers. It was great to see a number of our newer members participating as well.  We had the Weymouths, Murphys, Swinglers, Brooks, Wilsons, Luke, Darby, Fowlers, joined by the Williams, Rowleys, and Longmore in our group. Our mixed line-up of Sports and Classic cars looked fantastic, and certainly attracted the interest of the locals and other travellers.

The Cowwarr Cricket Club Hotel (originally est. 1880 with the present concrete building built in the art deco style in the 1930’s) has had the main rooms refurbished whilst retaining the original fittings, and has a very pleasant atmosphere. (Interestingly, the same 1930’s architect designed the concrete Cowwarr Community Hall opposite as well.) 

We had 2 long tables set up for us in the dining room, and Helena did an amazing job with the catering, where everyone was free to choose from one of the 3 mains and 3 desserts. Before and after ordering we all sat and chatted and enjoyed each other’s company – very sociable. The meals were presented very attractively and all had magnificent flavours, and all came out closely together – a great effort. The desserts were also absolutely delightful. Everyone agreed it was an amazing gourmet experience in a relaxed atmosphere. Well done Helena.

After a very social lunch, and after checking out each other’s cars, a group went down the road to investigate the Cowwarr Art Space. This amazing building was built to be an enjoyable work-place as the Cowwarr Butter Factory. It later sat derelict for many years, before an eccentric entrepreneur rebuilt and somewhat modernised parts of it, and it then passed into the hands of the present owner – a sculptor – who has guest artists working there with periodic displays of their works. Unfortunately there was little on display at this time, but the owner gave us an insight into the buildings history – about which he is very passionate – and he is enthusiastic about helping others save and restore other historic buildings in the area.

Then we all set off for home via different routes at our own pace.  A most enjoyable day.              

 John Fowler

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