At the March 2019 meeting Doug. Williams took us on a journey to places we hadn't expected. He had been researching microfilm copies of The Sun in the State Library looking for references to the first meetings of the Club. Some years ago he had found this one: [Click an image to enlarge it.]
which appeared in Peter Gavaghan's column 'At The Wheel' in the Young Sun section on March 13th 1969, page 39. He had a vague memory that there had been further notices in the same column later in the same year. In searching through to December (fortunately this column was always in the Thursday paper) he found two more snapshots of history from May 8th (page 45) and June 5th (page 23) respectively:
Communication in these days was either face to face, by telephones connected entirely by wires, or what has come to be called snail mail. Doug communicated with Peter by telephone and claimed that was the reason for a couple of mis-information items in these notices.
In the May one, Doug claims he told the story of, not himself, but his mother chasing down a Moke in the street to tell the driver about the Club. Picture it. Middle aged mum in Ford Consul Mk 1 chasing young hunk in Moke down Wattletree Road and into his driveway.
In the June one, the name of the club still isn't correct. From the first newsletter, May 1969, the club was called Moke Owners' Association of Victoria. Doug's memory is of that being agreed at the inaugural gathering in March. Also, the weekend away was at Bellfield Dam (not Dellfield Dam).
1969 was a big year for the world. The first club for Moke Owners in the world and the first landing of Man on the moon.
Scanning through The Sun, Doug couldn't help noticing the front pages from July 21st and 22nd. Australian papers had a problem with this event. Everyone knows that the lunar landing was on July 20th, 20:17 with the first man on the moon six hours later on July 21st, 02:56. But that was Greenwich Mean Time so The Sun had gone to press on the 21st before the big event and didn't go to press the next day until after the boys had packed up and gone back to the module. The front page on the 21st had photos of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Colins and told us what they had for breakfast. The front page photo on the 22nd was of the two astronauts working on the surface. Something on the right side, in the background behind Armstrong, caught Doug's eye.
There was a familiarity to it.
So he made a copy...
...and with the help of a photo resolution expert (Cameron Bendix)...
...was able to enhance a photo sent 384,000 kilometres 50 years ago without wires...
...to reveal a truth that all Moke owners should know...
YOU CAN TAKE A MOKE ANYWHERE!
And now you know why Elon Musk is so anxious to make the first commercial lunar landing.
Fifty years ungaraged and no rust!
Just imagine the kudos in bringing back this abandoned lunar support vehicle and developing it into the world's first self-driving electric Moke!
What a story!
The finale though was surely this birthday card the club received as a result.
[Editor's Note: Readers are reminded that in the promo for this meeting Doug wrote "You won't believe some of the things I have to show and tell!". Another truth perhaps.]