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Variety Fire Truck

20th Anniversary

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OV12 is a Brisbane Queensland entrant in Variety Clubs Charity Bash events that helps raise funds for sick children


PLEASE take the time to help those that help us, at the bottom of this site is a list of our sponsors, shop with them!

Day 0 - The beginning


We made it without any problems. Mackay the first night and Townsville on Sunday.


The new guy is stuffed already. Hit the wall on the second day.


Minus two days and counting.....Houston we don’t have a problem yet!!!


Day 1 - Starters at the gate!

It was an early start at the Strand in Townsville for our first day and the locals must of loved us. We had breaky on the water front (not the M&Ms) and a number of jet skies went pass to start the bash. The Bash Truck got a visitor the first day. It was Anna and it was her Birthday. So her Birthday wish was to go for a ride in a Fire Truck. So we didn’t want to let her down and she came with us on the first day.


We made our way through Townsville and we had a number of Schools to visit this day. The Schools we did visit were Bambaroo State School, Victoria Plantation State School and Trebonne State School. The kids had a great time seeing all the bash cars and Blazer of course with a bit of Fire Ed by Iain.


It didn’t take Steve long to get comfortable in the truck.

The small town of Trebonne must of thought what was going on when about 150 cars and around 500 people turned up in their main street.

After that stop we had a real huge climb up a mountain range where the truck went so well. It didn’t overheat or break down like a lot of the cars did. Must of been because of the mechanic that fixed the truck from last year (me). Once at the top we had lunch and a water tank was donated from Bushman Tanks to a little school called Mt Fox State School with I think has 5 or so kids.


Then it was off to our overnight stay at Undara and came across a few break downs so we got in at about 10 that night.

We had no issues with the truck and went so good.

Day 2 - Undara to Hughenden

The morning started with a wash of your windscreen for a donation as all the cars were so dusty from the drive yesterday. Once we left Undara it didn’t take long for another break down to happen. This time the car lost its wheel but was all repaired and back on the road in a short amount of time. The roads today are real dusty and rough. A lot more cars had trouble during the day.


We visited a School at Mt Surprise and tried to get fuel. Again about 150 cars and one petrol pump later we were on our way again.

This year we have a World Champion female surfer travelling with us, Lane Beachley , Great lady.


Blazer had time to do a bit of fishing beside a creek. Didn’t catch anything.

After a few more car break downs, the Variety clowns kidnapped me and took me for the rest of the morning. At the lunch stop one of our crew members was going with another vehicle to do a fun stop but by the time they got in at lunch, the vehicle had already left. In the mean time the guys picked up the New Zealand Variety Bash Director to take him for a ride in the truck. This meant I had to find myself a lift to the days finish line. I got a lift with some friends in AW999. This had comfortable seats and air conditioning. Couldn’t complain. We stopped at a place with what must be one of the smallest pubs I have ever seen. Check out the closing time!

The afternoon run was long and dusty again. To break the trip up we stopped and played cricket. Once we started a lot more cars stopped and joined in. This made us late into our night stop at Hughenden and we missed most the night function.

Once I caught up with the crew off the bash truck they were a bit sheepish. I found out that they had broken the truck. Some one engaged the pump while driving which is a NO NO. Now this means we don’t have a water pump. I will have to fix it when we get back to Brissy.


Day 3 - Hughenden to Winton

Before we departed for day 3 we had a visit from John Dodd and his wife from Brisbane. Most of the Firies will know John as he is a QFRS Officer which works in Brisbane in the B.A room.

Today was change the navigator day. Your navigator was taken away and some stranger was put into your car to navigate for you. It is a great way of meeting other teams. We had Nick from the Shrek bus. Thommo left us and went with another team. He had a ball once we met up again.

This is another long day and on the way we had a stop at the point of geographical Centre of Queensland. Also a bore which was dug 106 years ago and has not stopped. The water temp is a hot 65Degrees C. At one stage we thought we had arrived at the Big Rock in the middle of Australia. But we were wrong.


For the lunch stop it was at the Muttaburra horse races. A small town with a lot of nice people that couldn’t do enough for us. Just to let you know my horse didn’t win. We were buzzed by an ultra light plane which dropped heaps of lollies for the kids onto an open paddock. It was called a lolly drop. Go figure. The kids went crazy and searched for the lollies.

We had Variety duties after lunch. We had to do the afternoon check out of all the cars, which made us late and we went the direct way to Winton which was over 200 km away over dirt. I think there is a pattern forming that as soon as the crew members get in the back of the truck they fall asleep. So we had to keep them awake with some games.


Once we did get on the main road we had heaps of road trains which are big units going past and you just get out of their way.


Day 4 - Winton to Mt Isa

Today is a very early start for us. We have to do the first check point and get to the place before the other bashers get there to mark them off on the run sheet. More road trains and that’s no bull. Look at the eyes who is scared of who????


Again that pattern is there. The whole team this time.

Once we arrived we set everything up and Blazer made an appearance. (Just a note it was about 35 Deg C ). We had a visit from Gladdie one of the Variety Clowns. Nice Lady as well.


If you are wondering why the cab is up on the truck....It was not broken, just checking everything, as it has had some big days on bad roads.

On the way back to Mt Isa we came across a man riding his bike in the middle of nowhere. He is riding the Birdsville track and he is from Holland.

When we pulled into a small township called Dujarra we were met by some local kids. We chatted about the truck and Fire Ed and gave them some presents which we had on board. They all had great manners. Good on you kids.

This maybe the last time I get to this web site until Alice Springs as the phone coverage is not real good where we are about to go. I will try but if not I will complete it when I return home.





Day 5 - Mount Isa to Adels Grove

Sorry everyone for not updating but I had no phone reception until Alice Springs but was way too busy there to catch up. So much to see and do.

Day five was a reasonable easy day. Most of it was on bitumen and It was also a straight drive to lunch. No visiting any schools. OV12 had two visitors today. One was Kimberley and the other was Geoff who drove OV12 for the day. Geoff was a crew member a few years ago. I drove his car OV9. Every now and then we stopped on the side of the road for a comfort stop and to break the monotony of the drive.



The bash stopped at a place called Gregory Downs Hotel for lunch where there was an Italian theme lunch. It was great food. This place was visited on the first ever bash in 1985 with Dick Smith, Bourke to Burketown. It was a hot day and just behind the Hotel was a great waterhole. Most people had to go swimming as they passed through to the night stop.


After lunch it was back onto dirt and very rough to our night stop at Adels Grove. When we arrived it looked like a dry old dust bowl of a joint. But once I had a chance to go for a walk there was a river flowing through the property. (See photos day 6). How could a place be so dry and dusty and a deep flowing river be there?



Day 6 - Adels Grove Rest Day

Today was a well earned rest day for everyone. Some people worked on their cars to get them ready for the next halve of the bash but since the truck was not giving us any problems, we could do what we wanted.



A friend, Chrissie and I went for a joy flight with the owner of the property. It was amazing to see what was around the place. He was so informative about the region he has lived in for the past 15 years. He flew us over his property, then up the gorge to see such a beautiful area with the flowing river around such a baron area. It was amazing to see how the landscape changed in such a small area. Not far away was a large mine which is the Century mine. What a pity to destroy such a area.





When we got back to the camping area we went for a swim for about 3 hours. Just didn’t want to get out. There was of coarse fresh water crocodiles in the area but if was safe to swim. So they told us!!!!


That nights entertainment was Leo Sayer and James Blundell performing singularly and then together. It was a really good night before we hit the rough and dusty roads tomorrow.

There was an appearance from two lovely ladies in pink. Try and figure out who they are. It was not me this time. They said some girls tricked them into getting done up but they did seem very comfortable in what they were wearing. (Note - it was not a theme night).




Day 7 - Adels Grove to Urandangie


Today there is a lot of dust as we head towards the border of Queensland and Northern Territory. Today’s visitors are Trish a Variety Photographer and Karen a Pussycat Doll.



   It didn’t take long before we hit the dirt and dust but out of nowhere this great creek crossing where the Variety Clowns will help anyone and no he didn’t drop her but everyone was yelling to do it!!! Just around the corner the dirt and dust again and again. Getting a bit sick of the dust but “it’s a bash”.



Ok we have come to the conclusion that Steve the Ambo can sleep anywhere. The pattern is, get in the truck and in 10 minutes fall asleep. We must be boring. He even fell asleep when he was navigator.


We stopped a few times to help other bashers that had broken down so we got to our lunch stop a bit late to see the kids at Camooweal State School. They just started to head back to class when we pulled up. A quick sound of the siren and a lot of waves later we kept on travelling to Urandangie along, yes again, a dirt and dusty road with a lot of road trains. Just have to pull over and wait for them to pass. The back trailer can whip so much when you are travelling towards them.




            As we arrived in Urandangie we were met by some of the local residents and Blazer went to say hello. I think the kids were overwhelmed by all the bashers and the big koala walking around. Did a quick Fire Ed with them and they all knew the right answers. Good on you kids, great to see. We where made very welcome by all. We had a street party that night and a donation from Variety of a chain wire fence around a great new kids play park. Before it was a barb wire fence and the slippery slid faced straight into it.





Day 8 - Urandangie to Jervois Station

Not long after we left Urandangie in the morning we left Queensland and entered Northern Territory. Just before we went over to NT, the Variety Police stopped everyone for a passport check. I hid on the roof of the truck and was smuggled into NT.

We all got exited as we thought we could see the Rock, which would of been hundreds of kilometres away, so we joked about it. It passed the time away as we drove to our lunch stop. I would not like to be travelling behind the truck along this road. The road was called the Plenty Highway. It was rocks and bull dust. A lot of cars destroyed tyres and suspension along this stretch. OV12 had no problems thanks to the Bridgestone tyres and of course the guy that services and maintains the truck.


As we finally got into our lunch stop we had a fun stop with the Hippees doing a medical check and immunising us against nipple moth ????? As you can see the lunch stop was in a dusty field and we all had to wait as the truck with the lunch broke down. Two and a half hours later we had lunch and off to our night stop. Again we got in late as we helped more bashers with break downs.


The stop had no showers but we rigged up a shower from our water supply and portable pump which was just what was needed after that day. Some other bashers found out we had showers and so nicely asked if they could have one. Which of course we agreed to. After the shower there was a concert but we camped a little way away so we made a fire and sat around it and talked for quite a bit of the night with the music from the concert in the back ground. As the night went on, we had visitors to our camp fire and it was very relaxing.


Day 9 - Jervois Station to Alice Springs

The last day of dirt today – yippee. Only 180 Kms of very rough and dusty dirt and then bitumen all the way to Alice Springs. Once the dust settled in the truck, all of us had a nice shade of red dust all over our faces and arms. The bash all stopped before we hit the main highway into Alice Springs so we all could travel through town together so Alice Springs know we have arrived. On the way the speed limit is a bit more than what we are used to in Queensland. I wound the old girl up and nearly got there, I had to back off for the car in front and that’s my story.


We all got some looks from the locals and plenty of waves and cheers when they realised who we were. The finish line was only the finish for the Queensland Bash as we still had another day for the National Bash.

We arrived in Alice Springs just after lunch so we could look around and as we were tourist the other states bashers started to arrive and we were continually waving at every car that drove past.


That night it was our last dinner and awards night which was so good. It was announced that the Queenslanders raised $1.3 Million for the Disabled and Disadvantaged kids of Queensland. That was a great effort considering the economic climate. It was hard to fundraise this year. I didn’t have the figure of what OV12 raised this year but it should be around the $8000.00 to $9000.00 mark. I want to raise a lot more next year. Here’s hoping!!!!


Day 10 - Alice Springs – The National Bash drive through.

In the morning we had to line up for the drive through town with all the other States. We saw NSW, Vic, NT, SA and WA bashes all ready to do the drive. There was about 2000 bashers in Alice Springs for this event. A couple of states finished here in Alice Springs but some are in the middle of their bash.


Once we arrived in town we had to drive through the mall where the reception was so awesome and so many people that you didn’t know which way to look. Everyone was yelling and cheering, taking photo’s and movies of us.




The drive finished at the Henley on Todd Regatta where Variety made a boat and entered it in the Regatta. It was made from xxxx Gold cartons, plastic tubes and cable ties. The atmosphere was party mode as we finished another bash.


That night it was the National Bash Dinner and we had special guests which one of them was Dick Smith who was the one who originally started the bash tradition in 1985. It was mentioned that all the Variety states raised a massive $8 million together. The nights entertainment was a great line up of acts which included, Leo Sayer, James Blundall, Dave Gleeson, John Paul Young, Frankie J Holden, Wilbur Wilde and The Screaming Jets. Huge night and I didn’t take my camera :-(

It was also the night to say goodbye to all the bash friends until next year, or the next social night which may be in September . But still had to say goodbye.


Thank you to all the sponsors and the people that made this year’s bash possible. Also Thank you to this year’s team members, Iain, Steve, Deb (mum) and the Honouree team member Anna.


The next day and the trip home.


Even though the bash was over, a group of us went for a small trip to the Ayers Rock which was over 400 Km away and in the wrong direction to home. The roads were flat and straight. We got there in time to see the sun set and stayed there until sun rise. It was so awesome and glad we did it. Walked up and around the Rock and then drove back to Alice Springs.






We also stopped and stayed with one of our sponsors, Mr and Mrs Rogers from Toobrack Sheep Station at Longreach and they made us so welcome. Then the drive back to reality.




OV12 travelled 10 185 Km total and 3 234 Km home. What a trip. If you read the back of the shirt of all the bashes done in the past 20 years, I believe we are doing them all over again as from next year.


Bye everyone till next year or some new news......


Life is meant to be full of surprises , some we can do with out though, after some 'issues' with the PTO the 'issues' where located and will now be repaired.




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