Bendigo Scale Modellers – Road Trips Pt 1

The group of 'retired gentlemen' and a 'ring in'

by Roger Pearson (with a lot of help from John Loughman and David Buchanan)


Our group within a group, the ‘old farts’ portion of the BSM have recently undertaken a couple of military museum visits. Perhaps the term ‘old farts’ should be replaced by ‘the group of retired gentlemen’.

Our first trip, before Christmas was to the Puckapunyal Tank Museum where we had an enjoyable time thoroughly checking out the vast array of exhibits, both in the museum itself and the shop.

(John) Five of us, Roger, Mat, Maurie, Jeff and John (took the photo’s below) headed off in Jeff’s dual fuel Ford. On arrival at the security gate we were given the anti-terrorist treatment, and warned against going into the shopping area even though we stressed we only wanted to have lunch there.

The museum staff were much more friendly and we were able to move around without any restrictions, both indoor and outdoor. The indoor display had plenty on offer, weapons, models and dioramas and full sized uniformed figures including a mounted lighthorseman. If I had any criticism it would be an improvement to the dull lighting.

The outdoor display of armoured vehicles allowed movement all around the exhibits allowing chances for detailed photographs. The two Staghounds came in for special attention due to the impending release of the Bronco and Italeri 1/35 scale kits. There was no shortage of Leopards, including one being run up to charge the batteries. Another indoor display had radios, ammunition and a number of cut-away instructional displays. Finally, after an exhausting trip around the outdoor display in the hot sun we re-entered the museum through the rear door and into the small but well stocked model shop. Several purchases were made, then it was back into the car, out past the security and onto Heathcote where we finally had lunch at the local Bakery.

Our second and most recent journey took us interstate, over the Murray to Moama where five of us called in on the Chanter Estate Winery which has a military museum attached.

(David) As a” personnel-non retired” an opportunity to join the Chelsea Pensioners (a group of military like minded members) of our “nibble ‘n‘ natter” modellers club to trek up to Moama to visit a military vehicle museum was an opportunity not to miss. A quick day trip up across the border ended at Chanters Winery.

Upon arrival, a group photo (Roger, David, Maurie & Jeff) was taken of Dad’s Army in front of a L.A.R.C (Lighter Amphibious Recovery Cargo-I think is the correct name) once used by the Army to replace the old D.U.K.W. In the old days these vehicles were based in Melbourne as part of Royal Australian Army Service Corps.

The winery building is an old Church which was removed from a nearby country town and erected next door to a very large shed which housed the military museum exhibits. Around the sides were the Bren Gun Carrier – Carrier Universal to the more military type, Ferret Scout Car, several old Blitzes that was used by the Australian Army overseas, a Gamma Goat, Jeep, Chevrolet configured to Long Range Desert Group, various military paraphernalia (radios, etc.) a number of items that belonged to former military personnel from around the area of Echuca/Moama.

Tracing our way up stairs to a walkway that completed ¾ the way around the shed were various displays of scale model aircraft including both Axis and those used by the RAF/RAAF, uniforms, a nice display of long arms. As to how the jeep found its way up there was explained by the young lady at the foyer -- a fork lift was used. Pity that there would not be room for Johnny McGillivray to take it for a burn. (John Mc G is currently restoring a 1:1 scale Willys Jeep). Across on the other side were a large number of photos/newspaper articles covering most of the campaigns that the Australian Army, Navy and Air Force covered from WW1, WW2, the Malaya Campaign and Viet Nam.

A happy Jeff Surman is under the helmet above.

(John) Most of the vehicles were trucks and jeeps from WW2 including what appeared to be a mint or freshly painted LRDG Chevrolet. There was also an upstairs gallery with motorcycles, weapons, some dilapidated 1/72 aircraft models and uniforms. Unfortunately the vehicles were stored too close together to allow anything but front on photographs, but nevertheless well worth seeing.

Outdoors again we came across a turretless Grant and a M3 Stuart with the rear turret plate missing allowing a view into the interior.


As the door of another nearby shed was opened we peeped inside to be rewarded by the sight of a multitude of trucks, International Mk3’s and 6’s, Studebakers, GMC’s (all left hand drive) a large recovery vehicle and a lot more I didn’t record. There was no explanation as to whether these were to be a future part of the museum display.

Back down the stairs and exiting the museum are a couple of rather depilated hulls of a Grant and a Stuart that has been cut away to show the inside of the vehicle. This gives one the opportunity to see how thinly protected the armour was on these vehicles.
Curiosity having taken the better of some of us drew us to another shed which was basically being used to store many vehicles including a Diamond Reo, Studebakers, International Mk 3 and Blitz.

Departing from the Museum, we headed for the RSL Club just outside Moama where members took photos of the Centurion which are now dotting the countryside at these clubs and a 25 pounder ( a model which I can’t remember seeing before as it didn’t have the turn table as per the classic gun)
Taking time to have a pleasant lunch, a quick squizzy at what remained of the club’s display as most of it had been packed away due to renovations, we headed home. A short stop over at a train shop (Southline Models) saw members buying up bits n’ pieces before returning back to our homes.


Thanks to John Loughman –Chauffeur/Tour Guide, (been there before and told us about it) Jeff Surman, Maurie Jorgensen and Roger Pearson

(Roger) While not really interested in armour/military vehicle modelling I still enjoyed the two trips (more to follow I believe) and the companionship of those who came along for the ride.

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