THE BUSH BAZAARS
A MAJOR club effort saw the advent of the Bush Bazaars’, hosted from 1949 until 1954 and run by committees with representation from the hospital board and the motorcycle club.
This match race was to settle a dispute between the two friends resulting in a win to Bennett and the Triumph over 4 laps. Many interested spectators attended.
The bazaars became the major fund raisers for the Mildura Base Hospital and the Nurses Home Building Fund. The latter was an effort many single members saw as an investment in their future!
The Kings Birthday events were another tradition and included activities such as scrambles, dirt track racing forÂ motorcycles, midget cars and bullock chariots, the odd rodeo, speedboat racing, rowing, highland dancing, spinningÂ wheels, side shows, food stalls, BBQ’s and the Paddleboat Avoca, used as a floating dance palace, complete with Graham Bell’s Band.
It was after the first Bush Bazaar in June 1949, that the club improved the existing dirt track circuit and rodeo site into a speedway dirt track, modelling it on the famous â€˜Wembley Stadium’ circuit in London. President Winton had had a dream about building a speedway to the same specifications as Wembley. Little did he know what an impact that dream would have, more than five decades later.
The second Bush Bazaar had speedway racing as an additional key attraction for both solos and sidecars. SA riders Laurie Jamieson, Jimmy Cathcart, Jim Silvy, Keith Ratton/Ted Taylor, Don Willison and George Robertson with midget
driver Roy Sands were among the notables to compete.
The Bush Bazaars were now being advertised widely as Australia’s greatest outdoor variety show’ and the club started a project to light the speedway arena so night meetings could be held to beat the heat of the day.
It was at this time that the breaking of records became a strong club contest and loading up a motorcycles with as many people as could clamber on board became a real attraction.
The London Police held the record with 12 people on a Triumph so members decided that they would attempt to break the record as part of Bush Bazaar activities.
During practice sessions Max Robinson’s 500cc Indian with Midge on the throttle was used but for the record attemptÂ Ben Hocking’s 1936 1200cc Harley, ridden by Ron Olson, was to be the machine.
Thirteen people clambered aboard before Ron suggested that a 14th could get on over the front wheel. The Harley got the wobbles and everybody fell. For the next attempt, the person over the front wheel got on early and there were no further problems. The highest passenger, who was standing on top of two other people, carried the club flag proudly.