Words and Photos by Craig Watson
They came from every corner of Australia, in every colour and variation – and some I’d never thought about.
The occasion was the second national Moke gathering, Mokefest 2009, held at Wagga Wagga in NSW.
To give the event an international flavour, Leo and Margaret Jack, the couple who had their Moke stolen while holidaying in Australia (later recovered) returned from the UK, and after spending a week Moking in the Victorian high country travelled up to Wagga.
My first thought when I heard about this event was, “why Wagga?”. Having spent a week there I understand. Firstly, it’s quite central to Sydney and Melbourne, which, frankly is where most of the Mokes came from. Secondly, like most Australian towns, there’s a lot more to do there, and in the area, than you’d think from just looking at a map.
It was school holiday time in Victoria, so we decided to make a week of it, and arrived on the Tuesday before Easter. While most of the Mokees (Moke owners to the non-initiated) were staying in the local caravan park or one of the very many motels in the township, we had opted for Wagga Country Cottages on a farm-stay property about five minutes north of town.
This was a week of Moking, or enjoying the area in our Moke, with a couple of hundred like-minded souls. Even this early in the week, a drive through town was constantly presenting Mokes we hadn’t seen before. You’d pull up at a set of lights, and be almost guaranteed at least one Moke would go past on the other road. We grown-ups were having as much fun as the kids pointing out, and waving to, each new Moke we saw.
By Good Friday, it was virtually impossible to drive through any part of town without seeing a few Mokes.
Tours were organised to take in Coolamon and Junee to visit the liquorice factory, and the Roundhouse railway museum.
Alternative wine-tasting tours were organised, but whichever direction you chose, the best part was being in a long convoy of Mokes.
On Saturday more than 50 Mokes headed out to Temora Aviation Museum, for one of their regular air shows. The only flying Gloster Meteor, Vampire, Boomerang, and Spitfires in Australia, as well as the fabulous Connie – a Super Constellation passenger aircraft from the 1950s – wowed everyone with display flights.
Terry Pollard and his crew, particularly Rod and Faye Owers from Tassie, ably supported by Terry’s mum and dad, did a sterling job in organising the week’s activities.
If you would like to read the rest of this story, order your copy of Issue 19 of The Mini Experience. <plumshop>26</plumshop> <plumshop>25</plumshop>