February 16th, 2024

When the Historic Vehicle Show happens at Clunes showground next month look out for the retired truckies as they catch up with tales tall and true.
Clunes’ Jon Paine (left) and Strathlea’s Barry Dodson with “Greenie” the 1970 C Line International truck. Image: Eve Lamb

When the Historic Vehicle Show happens at Clunes showground next month look out for the
retired truckies as they catch up with tales tall and true.

Starting the day before, the town’s attractive little showground gradually transforms as it fills to the
hilt with retro vehicles, many of them historic commercial trucks as this annual fixture is staged by the Historic Commercial Vehicle Club of Australia, Ballarat branch.

For Strathlea retired career truck driver, Barry Dodson, for example, it’s a time to show off a historic vehicle or two from his own collection, and also for some serious chin-wagging as he catches up with
others in the scene that has its own staunch following.

“This show is on the circuit,” says Barry who clocked up seven million kilometres (but who’s counting!) during his 52-year pro trucking career that started when he was a mere youngster of 20. Imagine the stories to come out of clocking up that many ks.

Yes, Barry says, there are a few. But some of them involve witnessing some things on the road that
you’d probably rather not recount.

“I’m a worn out, retired truck driver,” he laughs.

“I drove for seven years interstate, Adelaide and Brisbane, and then local, bulk grain and fertiliser.”

By “local” he means the state of Victoria and pushing a bit over the NSW border as well.

“I drove Internationals and Western Stars. The first semi I ever drove was an International. It was a C
Line Butterbox. I’ve always had Internationals and loved ‘em.”

These days Barry loves few things better than to spot some old neglected vintage vehicle and then
lovingly restore it to full gleaming glory.

He currently has a collection that features three vintage International trucks including a 1970 International C Line with V8 engine, Tasmanian oak tray and chrome features, that he loves to take
along to shows like Clunes’ as a conversation starter.

Suffice to say he’ll be heading along to the upcoming show here on Sunday March 10 to add the
beautifully restored 1970s workhorse (named Greenie) to the impressive number on display.

“This is the 13th show here and I came to the first and then joined the club,” Barry says.

Many who get along to the Clunes show also link in with other similar vehicle shows on the state’s

“Besides this show at Clunes there’s another one at Lancefield before it and one at Kyabram after it
and people will go from one to the other over the three weeks,” Barry says.

“You do get a lot of retired truck drivers.”

Camping is encouraged at Clunes and many make a weekend of it, says the club’s Jon Paine, a Clunes
local who helps make it all happen.

“It’s a get-together for people to chat about old times and who used to work with who,” he says.

And it’s not just trucks. There’s also all sorts of collectible cars, small engines, caravans and tractors
that roll up as well, Jon says.

Vehicles that go on show must be at least 25 years old and Jon says they never quite know what’s
going to roll through the showground gates until the day arrives.

In the past, the surprise packets that have shown up have ranged from a vintage agricultural crop
header to the musician “Chooka” Parker.

“Last year there were roughly 80 trucks here on the Saturday night before the show and over the
Sunday of the show we had 180 trucks and 200 plus cars,” Barry says.

The admission fee is $10 for adults with kids under 16 free and the HVCA Ballarat branch donates
proceeds raised to good local causes and organisations, having given away $200,000 over the past
decade, Jon says.

The event is also a significant fundraiser for other local entities as well, including the Clunes and
District Agricultural Society and the local primary school which provides on-site food, alongside various food stalls that get along as well.

“It’s a time for everybody to come and enjoy themselves and relax,” Jon says.

The Historic Vehicle Show, presented by HCVCA, Ballarat branch, takes place Sunday March 10 at
Clunes Showgrounds with gates open 9am-4pm

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