Corvette club of South Australia Inc.

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Drive, eat, drink, repeat… party till the COWs come home…

Whyalla Car Enthusiasts Group - Facebook Post - Friday 2nd October 3.29pm - “Just passed about 17 corvettes heading into town! What’s going on?”. Yes, the local Bongo drums were sounding the moment the Vettes hit town. You can’t sneak into our town without us hearing about it!

Earlier that day, Angus, myself and a couple of local Corvettes of Whyalla members, aka COWs, met at the Whyalla Visitor Centre to film a segment for the regional news. AJ & Julie just happened to be in town and we quickly seconded AJ to be the club spokesperson. You can watch his Emmy award performance, and exceptional car polishing skills, on You Tube. Just skip to the 13 minute mark in the video Thanks AJ. You did the club proud

Organising the weekend activities in the midst of COVID-19 was challenging, to say the least. After moving from Plan A to Plan B to Plan C and back again, and with an inclement weather forecast for the weekend, this is what went down…

Everyone settled into their Sundowner accommodation except Sean & Kirsty (#homeless) with dinner that night at the Sundowner Hotel and a few post-midnight ales (#normalrowdyselves).

Saturday morning, a sunny and warm 34°C, we assembled at the Whyalla Visitor Centre with some members touring the HMAS Whyalla – a Bathurst-class Corvette warship constructed during World War II. It was the first ship built in the

Whyalla Shipyards in 1941. Others visited the Maritime Museum to see the fabulous model railway display depicting the Whyalla region, and to watch the video history of HMAS Whyalla and her relocation to dry dock display in 1988.

Visitor Centre Manager Teresa Coles voted Alan Litchfield’s ’72 the most outstanding ride, for which he was later presented a C7 model prize (#AlanAlanAlan!!!).

HMAS Whyalla Car Display captured from Jesse’s drone

It was off for a drive around Whyalla and up Hummock Hill on our way to lunch at Breeze Café. All meals gratefully received except for ‘No meal McPhee’

We headed off to Point Lowly lighthouse, shamefully overtaken by a Harley rider with a pillion passenger, to check out the local natives, bush flies and ‘skippys’ who paid us a visit.

We dined on the hill at Mirambeena that night as the temperature dropped and the wind blew up from the south heralding the onset of the weather change. Some club members were surprised at the attendance for dinner, commenting “So you really do have a wife, Angus!”. A lovely lady was also heard saying “Just eat the ******* salad Angus.” There is a clown in every circus, so they say.

After dinner, taxi buses shuttled members back to their accommodation via Hummock Hill lookout to view the brand new, just opened, only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere, $7.8 million circular jetty with its state-of-the-art LED lighting bringing it to life at night. Check it out here

Sunday morning, we assembled at McDonald’s to meet up with some local car enthusiasts before heading off to Cowell. The southerly change was well and truly upon us as we arrived, and the heavens opened up with an inch of rain falling during our visit to the little seaside town. FYI - another inch fell in the few hours after we left! Total 44.8mm.

The rain didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. It was off to the Franklin Harbour Hotel for lunch. This old pub is well known for country style meals (#mediumpizza). The pub was built in 1881, and as Brenton the Publican said, “No matter which way you look at it, whether you’re vertical and leaning on the bar, collapsed on the floor, or sitting outside on the deck, the leadlight sign above the door still reads 1881”.

After lunch, in the bucketing rain, we headed around the corner to Turner’s Oyster Farm for a tour and tasting. This was undoubtedly the most talked about highlight of the weekend. Humble and very knowledgeable hosts Meagan and Simon Turner explained their business history and the science ‘beyond the plate’. Their passion, pride and respect for the seafood was obvious. Who would believe this tiny, country business has created their own local oyster hatchery and now sells oyster growing products to 17 countries around the world!

Next morning Meagan posted on Facebook …

When the Corvette Club comes to town for oysters and brings rain and lots of it I felt incredibly uplifted by this passionate group of car enthusiasts who showed a great interest in our oyster story and operations. Neil and Noreen even allowed me to take their Corvette for a spin out the highway! Huge adrenaline rush! Loved it thanks guys! Meagan Turner. Turner’s Oyster Farm
You can order oysters direct at wholesale prices. And yes, they will send them to you.

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Hoping to escape the heavy rain in Cowell, we headed back down the highway with rain falling again as we approached Whyalla. It continued into the night as another inch fell. Dinner at the Westland Hotel was in the beer garden. On what would be any other normally quiet, sunny, dry and dusty day in Whyalla, we couldn’t move inside the restaurant due to COVID over-crowding, with a roller derby and many tourists in town to see the new jetty. The beer garden blinds came down and the heaters went on. After moving three tables to dry ground, only one was left outcast at the end. The drama didn’t stop there. “No meal McPhee” struck again. It seems the salt ’n’ pepper squid just didn’t want to take to the hook

The rain ceased overnight. On Monday morning some headed for home whilst others ‘waited’ for coffee at the Beach Café. We then split into two tour groups. One visiting the eccentric Elvis Museum, and the other checking out a must-see man cave complete with HSV models, super cars, Coca Cola memorabilia and heaps more. This obviously single bloke even has Russell Ingall’s Camaro! This car rocks, literally, at idle! If you’re ever in town, call Angus and he’ll tell you where to find it.

The party heading on to Port Lincoln assembled at McDonalds before driving off into more inclement weather.
On any other day, you don’t see rain in Whyalla (we boast 320 days of sunshine a year), it takes 15 minutes max to get a coffee, and your meal arrives as ordered. Well, you wouldn’t have anything other than Corvettes to talk about if none of this happened.

On the other hand, the locals thoroughly enjoyed it. Resident car enthusiast Jeff Hardyman said, “Everywhere I went in town over the weekend, people were talking excitedly about the Corvettes. I heard many great comments”.

And now we are back where we started this report. You can’t sneak a muscle car into our town without us noticing!

Big shout out to the following locals for their time and photography expertise:

Video by Darren Shaw Photography:
Drone footage by Jesse:

Posts on Whyalla Car Enthusiasts Facebook page by Neville Rotherham, Ron Matthews, Fred Butson, Jackie Golding, Terry Lee, Wendy Poskitt, and Jayden Chaney Whyalla Car Enthusiasts Facebook Page
We hope you enjoyed your stay in our not so little industrial town. Under COVID pressure we did the best we could, but you can’t control the weather.

Farewell from the COWs… Angus, Kathy & Ken

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