David and Paula Anderson planned this event quite a while ago after visiting the museum, and prior to David realising the date clashed with him competing at the annual Winton Historic Race Meeting. That left Paula to finalise arrangements and lead our club run down to Nar Nar Goon. The weather was hardly inviting – a stiff westerly kept the temperature way down and the showers began at midday, increasing in intensity during the afternoon. Those keen enough to brave the elements in their sports or classic cars ran with hoods up and heaters on.
The route took us north from Warragul to Rokeby, then back to Drouin and down to Longwarry. At Longwarry our instructions had us heading south to Modella and Bayles, but instead we all blindly followed Paula as she turned right over the railway line and headed towards Bunyip and Tynong. It was around Tynong that Paula phoned me to ask if we’d missed a turn off somewhere ! There was little point going back, so we continued to follow the railway line to Nar Nar Goon. We crossed back over the freeway and followed Bessie Creek Rd for a few kilometres to the museum where our numbers increased with the addition of a handful of members who were waiting in the carpark, after making their own way directly to the venue.
The museum is run by Bernie and Frances Dingle, Bernie is a horse-drawn coachbuilder, wheelwright and blacksmith by trade and has restored all the horse-drawn vehicles in the museum. Bernie (in full military attire) and Frances invited us in and made us feel welcome with tea, coffee and biscuits. After a brief introduction Bernie proceeded to lead us on an extensive tour of the museum which is bursting at the seams with WW1 horse-drawn vehicles, weapons and militaria with a special focus on the role of animals in the conflict. Bernie’s extensive knowledge and infective enthusiasm brought the exhibits to life and made us much more aware of the horrors suffered by military personnel and their animal charges so many years ago.
Photos by Malcolm Irwin and Steve Schmidt