The Birregurra Motor Enthusiasts Club Inc was officially formed in 2013. Around 2011, a group of local Birregurra enthusiasts with interests in all types of vehicles and machines decided that they would try to form a club. The club is unique in that it caters for enthusiasts with a wide range of interests. Although motor vehicles are the most numerous single category, members also own, motor cycles, trucks, tractors, farm machinery, stationary engines and powered toys. The Club has approval to register eligible vehicles under the Vicroads Club Permit Scheme. This scheme is designed to allow Classic, Vintage and Veteran vehicles to be used on Victorian roads at a reduced fee for a limited number of days per year.
The Club currently has 167 members, a number we believe makes it the largest Club in the Birregurra district. The membership is split approximately between those members actively using the Club Permit Scheme, and those with either current projects or who are social members. The Club actively encourages social members who have an interest in vehicles, the club and its activities. Most members reside within a 30 km radius of Birregurra and include representation from the towns of Winchelsea, Deans Marsh, Barwon Downs and Colac. Membership of the Club is open to both males and females, although male membership predictably dominates.
Many varied and well supported activities are undertaken by the Club every year. Wherever possible, these activities are centred around family oriented interests. Typical activities include rallies, historic homestead and museum visits, bus trips to Sandown and other historic vehicle races, shed visits and a host of other activities. The Club is particularly proud of its annual Good Friday Rally which raises money for the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal. Events and fundraisers are also held which raise money for local community projects. Donations are made to charities and individuals in the community who may be undergoing hardship, or faced with health issues.
The major event on our annual calendar is the Birregurra Festival which is held over the second weekend in October every year. Local as well as invited vehicles are exhibited on both the Saturday and Sunday, usually from a site in the main street. The Club site attracts a varied and interesting range of exhibits, ranging from carefully restored veteran and vintage cars and motorcycles, through to farm machinery, Classic vehicles and Hot Rods. “Barn Find” and unrestored exhibits always attract an enormous amount of interest, particularly from older people attending the Festival. These people can relate to the exhibits and often remark that they once had one in the family, or a neighbour down the road used one to feed out hay to his cattle from the back of one.
In 2015, the Club had the opportunity to purchase a 1927 Federal Knight bus. The bus is not only important to the Club, but holds a historical connection to Birregurra, as it was used in the 1930’s for the commercial bus run between Lorne and Birregurra. One elderly Birregurra resident can recall seeing the bus running in his youth. The trip to Lorne must have been eventful at times, as cable operated brakes on the rear wheels were the only means of slowing the bus on the journey. The engine is interesting in that it is a sleeve valve design, a type that was popular on a few of the more exclusive vehicles of the time including Daimler, Minerva and Panhard, as well as on Bristol aircraft engines of the 1940’s. The bus currently has Club Permit registration, and will continue to undergo further restoration over time.
The Club has monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of the month at the Birregurra Recreation Reserve, which are often preceeded by a light meal. The Club has an emphasis on good fellowship between serious enthusiasts and interested local people and forms a solid link to integrate all members of the community. People interested in the Club and its activities can view the Birregurra Motor Enthusiasts Club website, contact the Club via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively ring Pat Davis on 0429 427498