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Montmorency Petrie Park Probus - Caravan and Camping Trip

Montmorency Petrie Park Probus - Caravan and Camping Trip

Being new and green the Club thought they better be early so they arrived the day before to settle in to their cabin, only to find many earlier birds.  By the next day the eleven caravans had all arrived, entertaining members with their various reversing skills!!  All went well with nothing more serious than a puncture and a broken barrel in a caravan door lock, both easily fixed. 

The remainder of the group of about 70 luxuriated in cabins, one couple even entertaining with freshly made scones. 

The week in earnest started with a welcome dinner on Monday evening, a very happy, chatty, noisy event, where the week’s plans were outlined and revised by the excellent planning committee of four.  The happy chat was a signature feature of the whole week, around the caravan park or out and about. 

Despite invitations there were no takers for the early morning walks before breakfast – much more comfortable to avoid the freezing mornings and stay snug in bed!  However, there were a few keen cyclists and walkers who made the most of Bendigo’s extensive trails, one eager beaver doing a 44km ride.

Bendigo has a wealth of interesting things to see and do. 

First off there was an introduction into the history of this city.  Donning hard hats and helmet lights members descended into a gold mine, experiencing firsthand the cold and damp conditions of the miners, vividly presented by their guides.

It is hard to imagine the network of mines that still lie beneath Bendigo’s CBD.  Members were very glad to thaw out after returning to the surface.  Bendigo’s unique trams took us to the lake (Weeroona) for a lunch break before we travelled further for a taste of the other significant part of Bendigo’s history, the Chinese community and their contribution.  The Joss House has a colourful and continuing history.

Being Seniors’ Week they had a Seniors ‘Race Day on Wednesday.  Mary Keusgen says "This occasion was the glamour highlight of our stay.  Our Probus Club has a tradition of a dress up theme on these caravan trips and this year it was to be the Ascot scene from My Fair Lady.

Everybody rose to the occasion. Op Shops around Montmorency had been raided for weeks beforehand and the results were truly amazing!  Seventy people in black and white, more top hats than you can imagine, outrageously beautiful hats, feathers, satins, laces, flounces, parasols, gloves, canes, we walked or drove to the race track and took the place by storm.  

In the appropriately named Ascot Lounge members enjoyed bubbly and luncheon, emerging at intervals to watch the horses parade then thunder past. Members may not have made our fortunes but one table pooled their money and made $400 and one individual was rumoured to have made almost $300! 

Their Fashions on the Field judging was a challenge for the judges as they all paraded by.  The eventual overall winner was dressed in satin with cascades of pearls and every possible accessory, her hat crowned with a black feather boa.   The striking winning hat was a huge black circle worn jauntily to one side with a white flower tucked under the brim.

Some members enjoyed a game of golf the next day.  The winning men’s four had the “advantage” of five players, winning by one stroke – perhaps it was a draw after all.  The ladies were wise enough not to score.

Members had free time to explore on their own, wandering through the Botanical Gardens and around the city centre.  They visited and enjoyed a meal at the Peppergreen Gardens and Café, a community initiative on the site of an original Chinese market garden.  

This was just some highlights of the many activities explored during the trip. 

Mary says "For us the week was a great experience and very well organised. The atmosphere was happy and inclusive and it gave us the chance to meet and talk to lots of people.  The planning committee are to be congratulated."