1946 Kenworth W model makes waves at Clunes

A hot and sweaty Victorian morning (and afternoon, and evening) wasn’t enough to keep trucking tragics, families and interested visitors away from this year’s Clunes Historic Vehicle Show.

Rows upon rows of vintage trucks, cars, buses, and even machinery long forgotten to time lined the grassy fields of the Clunes Showgrounds, located 35km north-west of Ballarat along Ballarat-Maryborough Road.

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Instantly walking through the gates, making sure you got your hand stamped first, the sense of community and history hung strongly in the air – even more so than the heat of the sun.

Truckies came from all over Australia, some as locally as Ballarat and others as far as Queensland and South Asutralia – such is the loyal community that surrounds Clunes.

The sign to let you know you’re in the right place. (Image: Prime Creative Media)

Shade may have been scarce, but the joy of those both showing off their trucks and wandering around checking out others had brought was anything but.

The set ups to stay cool even offered a laugh – plenty of canopies propped up by the trucks and trailers themselves, and camping chairs outnumbering people.

Organiser Murray Pope had initially described the show as being for “anything more than 30 years old”. Some of these rigs were pushing 50, 60, some even as old as 70 and beyond.

Straight out the gate was an unmissable AEC Militant 6×6, as green as it was dazzling. Restored by Warren Harris of Harris Heavy Haulage, it looked as though it could very easily still be cruising down the streets of Ballarat, despite being first built in 1954.

Militant standing to attention. (Image: Prime Creative Media)

Wandering across the rows of trucks would have your head being pulled left and right, especially when so many didn’t look a day older than new with how brightly they shone.

The numerous restorations were particularly impressive, sporting their freshly minted decals and painted chassis’ with hardly a chip or scratch in sight.

That’s not to say those showing the signs of their age were any less of a feast for the eyes. One of the oldest rigs there, a 1952 Bedford ML had one of the greatest stories behind it.

Continuously registered for more than 70 years now with only two owners, it is still on its original plates.

1952 Bedford ML. (Image: Prime Creative Media)

Some of the models scattered around the grounds were exceedingly rare and unique. Ian Watson’s 1946 Kenworth W Model was no doubt one of the standouts amongst the showgoers.

Now standing just two years shy of 80 years old, it was certainly one of the contenders for oldest on show.

1946 Kenworth W Model, with the plates to prove it. (Image: Prime Creative Media)

While truckies flocked to Clunes from across Australia, some of the trucks had been on even longer journeys across their lifetime. Take for example ‘Bruiser’ the F761TL Brockway.

‘Bruiser’, a 1975 model, was one of 10 identically spec’ed trucks ordered for a Brockway dealer in Los Angeles, California. After working in the States for most of its lifetime, it has found its way here.

‘Bruiser’ is hard to miss. (Image: Prime Creative Media)

For those looking to escape the heat, there was plenty to do indoors.

Food and ice cream stands were popular attractions, while there was fun to be had for the little ones with motorised miniature trucks doing laps in one of the sheds off to the side of the Showgrounds.

Mini trucks inside, mega trucks outside. (Image: Prime Creative Media)

For a real taste of history, there was the photo display, located just off to the right of the entrance to the Showgrounds.

Housed inside were walls covered with black and white photos of trucking history not just of Clunes, Ballarat and surrounds, but Australian trucking as a whole.

Most were marked clearly with the models and owners, but some had been discovered with little to no information about who they belonged or the work they did, shrouded in mystery and lost to time.

Photos of trucks as far as the eye could see. (Image: Prime Creative Media)

For a full look at the photos and stories from the day, be sure to pick up the April 2024 edition of Deals on Wheels.

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