Navy Mini

This vehicle was purchased new in 1963 by the Royal Australian Naval College, H.M.A.S. Creswell, Jervis Bay, A.C.T. 

The Mini’s primary use was to transport Navy personnel around the complex. The doors were aparently emblasoned with the Navy emblem. 

After a few years, as with virtually all Navy vehicles, it was sold/auctioned at a Navy disposals sale. It was bought by Mr. Charles Glyn-Daniels; a lecturer in English and History at the naval base.  

Charles used the Mini as general transport around the base until his role with the Navy changed in 1983. At that time his new role involved frequent road trips to Sydney. 

He decided that the Mini was not the most comfortable for such trips and, over a few beers in a bar, agreed to sell the car for $200 (originally he was asking $1000, but boy was he dreaming!).

The new owner was another naval officer at the base, by the name of Ian Watts. He purchased it as a second run-around car for his family. Their first job was to hand-paint the Mini, with his kids pitching in to help. Hand-painting was the way to go, as they didn’t want to over capitalise on their new acquisition.  

Ian and family took the car with them to Ian’s next posting at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. While at the Academy, Ian was told by his superior officer that the hand-painted Mini in the car park did not portray the correct image for his rank and standing.  

The family then moved to Sydney, when Ian was posted to a ship. With Ian away on-board ship much of the time, the car was not needed. It was sent to Byron Bay where in 1987 Ian’s father, who is an engineer, undertook engine and other reconditioning work.  

On completion, the Mini was loaded onto a train and returned to Sydney. The family stayed in Sydney until 1988, when Ian was posted to Canberra, and in 1991 he transferred to Darwin, again taking the Mini with him.  

In this new posting a Navy staff car was always available for his use when needed, which resulted in the Mini sitting idle for some time. Ian’s tennis partner, Richard Morris, expressed interest in the car during a family BBQ. Ian then decided to give the Mini, which was looking a little sad, to Richard. After receiving the car, Richard sent Ian a box of whisky in appreciation of the gesture.

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The BMC Experience Issue 12. Jan-Mar 2015 Magazine

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