Day 20 Wed 4th April
Penrith to GPO Sydney - distance 59 km
To Martin Place, Sydney weather was fantastic vehicles came the 59kms from Penrith to Martin Place via the spectacular Anzac Bridge that gives amazing views of Sydney city and Darling harbour on approach.
Just near Barangaroo our veteran vehicles stopped to take positions for the final run into the city. Our police were on hand to assist us as we made our way. I was first to Martin Place by train and walking to support the Veteran Car Club of NSW with the prearranged parking positions to be marked. The men quickly took their plan and converted our area to a parking lot in front of the GPO and over 15 metres from the Cenotaph. Thanks all for your support with our parking. Before we had finished along came a man on a bike not one of our veterans and wanted me to know he had come to welcome everybody. Everyones included so our Club members found him a parking place. Next arrived the two German entrants on their bikes ahead of the group. A little while later to plan our lovely ladies made their regal left turn into Martin Place from George Street and each took position. I felt so emotional as each friend arrived, meaning both the driver and their vehicle. Some of the bike entrants did not ride to the city as the stopping and starting is not quick. At times there is a short delay to getting mobile again at lights and give way situations.
Then in rode our oldest bike rider Denis Tobler, aged 75 on his 1909 Triumph with pride and perfect completion. I was overcome with tears of pride.
Our cherished vehicles do at times take a break and where this will occur is the leading question. So Sydney city driving is another challenge.
The five Brushs each completed the full journey. With pride and happiness the Lamond family Bob and his sons Craig and Andrew each finished. Only yesterday I was behind Craig as he in his red Brush struggled and struggled to keep the wheels rolling.
For three hours, the lunch crowds of Sydney plus admiring family and friends mingled. Such pride but also feelings of I want to continue. Wishing, No, not over yet. This trip has been amazing far more than I could in my wildest dreams have imagined.
We were all very happy and proud to meet with our Patron and loved Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir AC, CVO who was vitally interested in us, our vehicles and journey.
As each lady left I felt a little sadder. Never before have so many veterans been gathered together after a 4,200 run over the Nulla. One learns to listen to the song of a happy singing or a cranky clatter of engine. These vehicles are loved and a valued part of many familes. Now every vehicle and every person who made this crossing has made history - Congratulations.
As I was preparing to watch the last leave John Handley said do you want to come for a spin in my car? John boarded his 1909 red Darracq, Sid their mascot and I set off. My Australian flag of fame was flying and I waved as we passed a very happy to see us crowd. Bus drivers, car drivers, school children and people living their day were quite amazed to see us pass by. Our drive took us to the Rocks, over the Bridge and wandering around North Sydney and to park in the shadows of the mighty Harbour Bridge.
Indeed the Sydney Harbour Bridge was not built in 1912. 1912 was before the two World Wars. Before planes, TV and computers.
I took the train back to the city and wandered past Martin Place twice to reflect and there was not a trace of our Veterans. It was like a dream, and as we know, so very REAL.
We are now the 2012 Expedition Family. Forever our lives are enriched by this historical adventure and new friends made. We are from Germany, Canada, New Zealand, UK and Australia. We wish all those who supported, greeted and helped us every happiness in their future. Also, we wish each other well and hope our paths will cross again in the future. What an amazing adventure.
Judie Stephens OAM - Expedition Director
THE DAY AFTER - THURSDAY 05 APRIL 2011
The day after a BIG event, marriage, birth, unexpected change, graduation and now our Expedition. Our minds and hearts may now contemplate, how and why this happened. Our minds having lived the expedition are forever changed. Those who extended kindness and support to each other to be on the road again really dared to make a difference. Without that only a few vehicles would have rolled in to Sydney. How did those little things do it? Their owners and support teams are the best mechanics and fully understand their machines. They took the risk and dared to do it.
Congratulations to every entrant and their support crew.
Special thanks to Bob Lamond for sharing his dream and providing us the opportunity to travel with him as a team
and his and our focus was To honour our forgotten heros
What you Imagine - YOU can Achieve
Wishing you all - la dolce vita