HOW THE CLUB CAME TO BE
By Werner Brocks – President and founder 1973
In late 1971 whilst on a working holiday and living in Gladstone, Queensland, I was one of the founding members of the Gladstone 4WD Club, and enjoyed many trips out and the companionship of other families who shared the same interests (camping, four wheeling and the great outdoors). My employer, an American construc????on firm, asked me to relocate to work on a new construc????on site in Geelong. In 1972 we arrived in Geelong and our children, Darren and Trevor, were of school age so my wife and I decided to sell the caravan and buy a house making Geelong our home.
After living in Geelong for six to nine months, we looked around and found no local 4WD Clubs in the area so decided to place an advertisement in the local paper to find other people who may be interested in starting up a Geelong 4WD Club. Much to our surprise, Les Crowe showed up on our doorstep and said he had several other families who were also interested. They had been talking about forming a club but never got around to doing it.
In the first five years … On the 6th May 1973, we held our first mee????ng at Kana Street, Grovedale and officially formed the club. I was voted in as the first President. For the first few months we held our meetings in Les Crowe’s garage (Kana Street) and we were always reminded to bring our own chairs! In our first year we had 12 to 14 families. The main vehicles at that ????me were Land Rover, Toyota Landcruiser and Nissan Patrol, and one lone 1942 ex-army Jeep. Our first trip was to the Brisbane Ranges.
Shortly after forming our club, other clubs approached us to create the now Association. We were one of the first four clubs in Victoria to be involved in forming the Victorian Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs. Brian Tanner, one of our early members, became one of the Association’s first Presidents. Today the Association is the umbrella body for all affiliated Four Wheel Drive Clubs in Victoria, and represents the interests of all recreational four wheel drivers in the state. It is presently made up of over 94 clubs which in turn have a membership totalling over 13,000 subscribed members representing four wheel drive enthusiasts and their families.
Later on … A????er some ????me, we found club rooms at Norlane’s D W Hope Centre which was a former Migrant Hut. The Club met there for several years until the centre was demolished. Over the next 8 years we drifted from school to school to holding meetings as one of our members worked for the Education Department. We eventually found club rooms at the Wood Street Reserve in South Geelong where we resided for approximately 15 years until it was demolished. Up until then we were one of only a few clubs in Victoria to have their own Club Rooms. In mid 2008, the Seaview Social Club invited us to affiliate with them and in January 2009 we officially moved to the Seaview club in Lovely Banks. A couple of years later the Club was successful in taking over the management of a rebuilt Council Hall and has turned this into our permanent home (and managing the sub-leasing to a dance school).
Over the years we have worked in conjunction with several councils to remove car bodies from the bush and other scrapped metals. We have also assisted with the Clean Up Australia Day efforts – mainly clearing the bush. In the mid to late 1970s the Geelong City SES was formed by volunteers from the Geelong Four Wheel Drive Club and some of our members today are still highly recognized in the State Emergency Services. David Dixon and myself were awarded the National Medal through the SES for over 15 years’ service.
Our first inter-club activities were held at Forrest at a quarry and we camped at the football oval. This event was run for approximately 8 to 10 years consecutively. Then came Quarry Capers at Maude and then back to the Forrest area, Gellibrand and Dandos. Then it became Forrest Frolics, followed by Otway Antics and then Sokil Scramble. Over the years we developed a good relationship with the Bendigo 4×4 Club, whom until recently we met at least 3 times a year (Forrest, Avoca and Hopetoun). Now there is one annual event held at Moonambel on the Queen’s Birthday weekend called the Moonambel Muster.
Our club trips on a regular basis include Beachport and Robe, regular activity in the Dargo High Country area, and in the winter, we often booked out the Woods Point Hotel for all our members and had some great weekends driving in the snow (this became so popular we often ran 2 to 4 trips each year). John Foot, now deceased, was one of our early members to initiate snow trips to the Woods Point area.
We have had many club members leading long trips into the outback such as: Alice Springs, The Kimberleys, Birdsville, Cape York, Fraser Island and the Curdimurka Ball. Not only have we got together in the bush, but often enjoyed social activities in the club rooms – be it a few drinks after a meeting, the large Christmas parties, presentation night held mid year (and even fancy dress ones!), hot dog nights, fundraisers—they were all great.
Over the past 45 plus years since the club was formed, I have met some wonderful people and enjoyed many a good ????me with them. Their children are now members themselves bringing their families along. We have since celebrated our 25th, 30th and 40th Anniversaries and now on the 6th of May 2023 – our 50th Anniversary.
A club is only ever as good as its members, and in my opinion, our club is, and always has been, a fantastic club. Well done to everyone, past and present.
Catch you all on the tracks,