Norcia 2016

Sunday morning started out very cool, but dry. Mustangs from all over the Perth metro area drove through minor fog and assembled at Muzz Buzz in Midland to commence socialising with their fellow friends and members. There was a fantastic mix of Mustangs in the car park to look out whilst the co-drivers lined up for coffee at the walk up window of the shop. There were also friends and family that came along in other brands of cars, making quite a spectacle for those who were in the area. It was obvious this was going to be a great event, Greg and Irene had planned this perfectly.

At 9.00 am the cars filtered through the start point, picking up their run sheet and a two page quiz. Now if there is one thing that will test a relationship, it is a navigation exercise. Add a quiz to complete whilst navigating to a destination and you have a guarantee of red faces, furrowed brows and curt responses from those in the car. Everyone turned right (correctly) out of the carpark, then it started…

We drove into Guildford past some of the oldest building s around Perth on a sensational morning. A cruise past wineries, breweries and various providores in the Swan Valley made for a delightful and picturesque cruise without the usual run of mini buses and family wagons blocking the roads. Onto Great Northern Highway with still very light traffic before turning onto the tourist drive. The tourist drive was a visual delight due to the views, an engaging drive from the twisty roads and an aural delight as you were on and off the throttle listening to the V8 rumble and crackle.

We pulled into Golden Grove Orchard and Café for a re-group and comfort break. Most of the group walked out of the building with bags full of oranges, mandarins and various citrus juices for enjoyment back at home. The car park was becoming somewhat crowded, so as instructed people got back on the road after a short stop. Back onto the bitumen and a few more awesome back roads to enjoy before hitting Great Northern Highway on the other side of Bullsbrook. Just when we got into top gear it was hard on the brakes to follow two 300 tonne dump trucks up the hill. Luckily the pilot waved us through and toward New Norcia we went.

Once everyone had assembled at the New Norcia Hotel I counted 24 Mustangs forming roughly two lines. It looked like fashion week, as everyone was trying to capture the moment on their cameras and mobile phones. The backdrop created by the old building gave a view not seen in many years. Into the hotel we filed and moved to the dining room. Others lined the bar to grab a drink, in both areas the noise from socialising was simply fantastic. A great group of people enjoying happy times together, all linked through Mustang ownership and club kinsmanship.
Our meal started with soup and bread, made locally in the area. A quick introduction of Paul White, the new President of the club was conducted where Paul thanked everyone for their support. Paul introduced Greg who gave a short description of his time here and results from the quiz. A beautiful roast was served in no time, and Greg took the opportunity to tell of his experience of losing the building keys outside, only to find them six months later under a lounge inside the building. A cake and cream came out for desert which was dispatched by everyone in no time.

The group gathered on the steps of the hotel for a photo, before heading to either the town tour or back into their cars for the trip home. Fond farewells were exchanged, the people leaving early hit the road whilst the rest gathered for the tour. The group walked around the various buildings hearing about the background and history of each. The buildings were built in various decades, reflecting on the influence of the architect of the time, the materials, technology and labour available at the time. It was obvious this self-supporting group knew what it takes to stay afloat as the views and requirements of society changed.

Our tour started on one side of the highway where we learned that the hotel was originally a boarding facility for parents visiting or dropping their children off for school. As better forms of transportation reduced the distance between towns, the monks decided to convert the building into a hotel, and thus generate further income for their town. This would be a common theme of changing the use of the building to meet the requirements of the time in society. We crossed the road and learned of the buildings that housed aboriginal families, the practicing monks and the monks in training. Back across the road and we looked around the school, another chapel and toured some of the exhibitions in the buildings. Before we knew it our two hour tour was over and it was time to return to the hotel.

Many people bid farewell, whilst others chose to enjoy a drink on the balcony and make the most of the sun glistening through the trees. The drive back into the Perth metropolitan area was a relatively easy one from New Norcia, with the biggest concern being the speed traps littering the roads in the area.

On behalf of the club we want to give a special thank you to Greg and Irene for planning such a fantastic event. The run sheet and quiz were accurate, the route planned was fantastic and the end point was one of the most memorable in years. It is also important to thank everyone who participated in any or all of the day's events. Your enthusiasm and friendship made the day simply fantastic for everyone else who went. As a club, we showed the public just how great the members are and how lucky we are to be together. In the words of our recently departed club member Bob Jenkins - "Memories are more important than dreams".

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