It was at the Jindabyne AGM in 1992 that the suggestion was made by Mike and Chris Beverly of the NSW South Coast Branch that Alice Springs be considered as a future venue.
Would members, in sufficient numbers, be prepared to make the long trek through the outback for such an AGM? The question was put to the members and the response was 100% positive. So the die was cast, the NatCom agreed to research the idea.At the time we had no branch in Alice, in fact we did not have a member there.
We decided to approach the Northern Territory Tourist Office in Sydney for information and Geoff Mayfield, then Vice President and I, as President had a meeting with a representative of the Northern Territory Government following which an invitation the visit Alice as guests of the Tourist Office was accepted. They flew us up there and the Desert Rose Motel provided us with accommodation for our four day stay.
A series of meetings where held with interested businesses, organisations and accommodation providers at which we outlined our expectations and requirements then invited their ideas and proposals to make our event memorable for both our members and the town. This enabled us to plan some unique events as well as our normal AGM activities.
Geoff was delegated the role of Event Co-ordinator and, with the help of his wife Barbara, did a tremendous job working with the NatCom and the service providers in Alice to make the event so successful. While we did our budget planning based on 600attending we were surprised by the member’s response with attendance reaching1200.
I have fond memories of this event; the ride up the Centre from Port Augusta which we thought might be boring. Instead we found constantly changing scenery,different vegetation, colours, wildlife, etc. Seeing the Kites and Wedge Tails soaring high in the blue sky or sitting on the road kill not keen to move off as we approached. No other traffic on the road except the company you were riding with, then, at the road house, a collection of maybe twenty or thirty fellow members busy filling up the bikes and themselves for the next 200 or so klms. Time for a chat, then onward. A couple of nights stop over at Cooper Pedy to see and explore the opal mines and take in the atmosphere then onward again to the Alice.
At Alice itself the evening train ride and dinner out under the stars was one of the highlights. We had the old Ghan steam engine with the original coaches etc.take us out into the desert where a local couple put on a camp oven dinner, soup,main course and dessert. The town itself is a colourful place with plenty to see and do and plenty of side trips into the McDonald Ranges, etc. to keep you occupied. We did an overnight bus trip out to Uluru were we camped at the Rock,I climbed it while Mary did a tour around the base.
On the Sunday night we had a dinner out at the Alice Springs winery with entertainment by Ted Egan and his bush band. Another great night.
I would urge members who have not taken this trip up the Centre to give it a go. It’s a truly unique experience and, in the company of fellow members, a very special event.
#21 Life Member