It was somewhat ironic to be driving towards Shane Slatter?s place listening to commentators on the car radio describing the dire circumstances of farmers enduring drought conditions all over the country, whilst the wipers beat a constant rhythm clearing the persistent sleet, rain and hail from the windscreen. Warragul had received 25mm of rain overnight and the creeks were high. Unfortunately, the outside temperature wasn?t and the icy winds showed no signs of abating.
Driving into the Slatter?s estate, the ornamental lake was choppy, grey and uninviting. The invitation to catch one?s lunch with a rod and line will have to wait until our next visit and more clement weather; as will a leisurely walk through the lovely gardens surrounding the house, which includes a long, curved driveway lined with deciduous trees, formal garden beds with water features and a great variety of both native and exotic specimen trees.
On this occasion, the focus for most of the visitors was understandably the stand-alone garage/showroom/storage area with its free-standing slow combustion wood heater which was doing a great job keeping the chill at bay. This very spacious building is fully equipped with its own kitchen and bathroom and is tastefully decorated with automobilia, model aircraft, posters and other objects of interest. It houses maybe one-third of Shane?s impressive Jaguar collection which includes an un-restored early left-hand-drive E-type coupe, a late model V12 E-type roadster, a replica of the Goss/Hahne Bathurst-winning XJ-S and an ex-consular-general car from WA. Adjacent to the showroom and away from prying eyes is the Treasure Trove or Storeroom where bits and pieces that might one-day morph into a D-type replica reside beside a wild-looking E-type racer project which is buried deep beneath a pile of Jaguar and light aircraft components.
A separate, well-equipped workshop houses another D-type replica project based on a spaceframe chassis, this build has progressed significantly since our last visit with the scuttle and cockpit area, fabricated from alloy sheeting, now nearing completion. A fibreglass E-type bonnet sits in place up front whilst the D-type tail section hangs from the rafters. Another dozen or so vehicles including Jaguar sedans from the 1990s or later, were parked around the garages with oddities such as an old grey Fergie tractor, several motorcycles and scooters, a hillclimb racing special, light aircraft and a section of a massive power-station control module were also on display to interest those who were Jaguared out.
The Sporting Register members certainly appreciated Shane, Linda and Lachlan?s hospitality, especially the extensive morning tea which included hot sausages, sausage rolls, cakes and slices. The Club recognises the enormous amount of work that goes into preparing for such an event and appreciates the opportunity to add such outings to our calendar.
The aircraft is the only one of its kind. The Slatter-Husky.