Molong Extravaganza.

This event was an invitation from the Packham’s and Lee’s to join them
for a weekend away in the country in Molong, with a choice of 4 sites for
accommodation, Packhams Ranch, Lees “Gamboola Cabonne homestead,
Molong Motel and the caravan park.
It all started meeting 8 fellow Buickers at 10am at the Blaxland Info
Centre on Friday 8 th , joining our convoy over the Blue Mountains to Walang
and Molong. As I knew the road well, 3 off us played leapfrog passing the more
powerful 1965/73 Rivs and Electras when the inside dual lanes and traffic lights
allowed, at every opportunity.
Walang was an add on to our planned weekend, organized by Colin &
Dawn Castle, it’s between Yetholm and Bathurst, to look at a collection of
Army and farm vehicles; & equipment etc. including 2 Matilda Tanks; 2 Ferret
scout cars; 4 Howitzers; old Case tractors: rotary hoes; a 1959 Chev Bel Aire;
Chev pick-up and Landrovers, etc. all stored in 2 new huge 20M wide by 42M
long & 6M high sheds, all the vehicles recently moved from Bilpin NSW by 28
semi trailers, a mammoth task for Peter and Chris Alce, the ownesr.
At Walang, we caught up with Peter Cook’s 1924, Geoff Ward’s 1928 &
Paul White’s 1936, and again at a lunch stop in Bathurs . Each time the older
cars liked to get a head start on the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s Buicks but eventually we
passed all 3 going up Rocklea Hill just before Orange, leaving them in our wake.
Upon reaching Molong, the now 11 car convoy divided into 3 to find
their accommodation. We were booked into the Motel where we met up with
the Masseys who had arrived a day earlier in their newest toy, a 1982 Riviera
convertible, plus others, 12 Buicks in the motel car park.
The welcoming BYO drinks were at Gamboola Cabonne in the rear
wisteria courtyard, followed by a huge spread of food organized by Nancy,
Genine & ladies of the committee. For the now 50 people! Nancy said later
“That she did not expect such a large response and was amazed that 50 people
came in 25 Buicks”.
The old homestead is 126 years old, John Lee & Genine bought it 18
months ago and hope to convert the old stables to a B & B accommodation in
the long term. More Buickers arrived including the Greens and more of the Lee
family, Warren & Joanne & Brett, & girlfriend.
The next morning we marshalled at the rest stop east of Molong for a
short drive down a dirt road to “Printhie” winery for a tasting of local wines
then back to the Packhams for morning tea before heading off to Manildra &
the old “Amusu” picture theatre.

Angle parking outside the tin theatre we filed inside the theatre
decorated with old movie & actors posters. The usherette explained about
Tom’s passion for not only running the local garage but taking the movies on
the road around the small towns setting up the tent to show the latest (yes
well before T.V.) movies. In the theatre you had your choice of seats single or
lover’s doubles. Or the back row where many young fella’s learnt to do the
breast stroke, she said. Lots of laughs! Lights out but before the show we all
stood to sing “God save the King”. On with the show, first came the ads – a
long subtitled ad for “Bushells” tea with the old Sydney panorama including
North and South pylons of the under construction Sydney Harbour Bridge
(1930). A car cartoon followed. Then the feature, a diatage of the flour industry
and the largest (Manildra) flour mill in NSW. The End.
While eating our fresh sandwiches and watermelon and looking through
the museum next door that was in Tom’s 1914 (he died in 1995) old converted
garage, would you believe it started raining and we had to run out in the rain
to our cars, and “get back on the road again” to Molong, fjording a flooded
causeway along the way.
Back at the homestead, not a drop of rain. A hand shearing display had
been arranged in front of the old stables with local professional father & son
shearer team, explaining & demonstrating the technique of using hand shear
clippers to shear 2 sheep on their portable trailer mounted shearing stand.
Some of the ladies, Helen, Maggie, Barbara & Joanne enjoyed getting sweaty
leaning over young Andrew’s shoulder & being photographed holding? Oh yah!
Sheep shears, what else!
After Keith & helpers packed up the chairs again, moving them back to
the Ranch for dinner later that night, something else came up on the agenda. It
was a drive up to John Lee’s workshop and see where he is up to restoring
some of his old Buicks. Eight to look at in various stages of resto, up on hoists –
rolling chassis – bolts & panels laid out in an organized messy fashion that John
has all in his head, with a lot more rusted bodies, & spare parts, in more sheds.
A lifetime of collecting! And I thought he was a retired geologist? Not
Thirsty and starving by now, Ha! The evening meal was a BBQ. Getting
back to Packhams’ Ranch finding Saddo cooking steaks, sausages, etc. in Keith’s
garage workshop & committee in full swing. Nancy comes from a big family &
to prepare Christmas lunch etc, she said it was normal to do all this
preparation, you are amazing and can you cook! Especially those homemade
slices, cakes & deserts. Thank you for making us feel like family too!

All done for the evening so most headed off to bed, except the few
staying at Keith’s, to help Jim drink a bottle (was it your birthday) of Johnny
Walker, a present from Virginia. No need for a plan B.
Up early Sunday, a few running repairs on/by Geoff Ward on the 28’s
rear brakes adjustment, before the farewell breakfast at Keith & Nancy’s. But
before leaving we got an escorted tour of Keith’s computerized concrete
making plant, the crushed burnt limestone (cement) goes in there from the
hopper, add a scoop of sand & another of aggregate (blue metal or pebbles),
add the right amount of water and make a batch (like making a cake or hard
rock candy) rumble it around in the trucks agitator, then off it goes to the job.
Keith also makes precast blocks & larger retaining wall foundation blocks &
pavers on site.
A great weekend, no breakdowns, everyone enjoyed themselves, all
good company and an easy run home incident free. Thanks again to the
Packhams’ and Lees’ for your invitation & hospitality it was a great weekend
and greatly appreciated by everyone!

Gary Ferrett

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