ACC Stand at the Echuca Great Outdoor & 4x4 Expo by Kaye Hocking
The ACC Murray River Ramblers Branch held a muster at Tongala so we could attend the Expo and man the ACC stand. Six vans pulled into Tongala in very inclement weather. With rain falling, Kaye, Ian, Vince & Cathy ventured to the Expo site to set up the stand. Amid the mud and slush, it was with much amusement we watched caravans being towed in through the mud with tractors.
We had a corner site with two walls undercover “thank goodness”. We set our stand up on Thursday afternoon then went back to our vans for happy hour. Friday morning Kaye & Ian set off to man the stand and park their car in 4 inches of water. Gloria & Phil came in after lunch, luckily they had gumboots. Saturday the sun came out for a while and Kaye & Stan looked after our stand. Vince & Cathy did the afternoon shift and we all met at the Falcon Hotel for tea.
Sunday dawned overcast and gloomy with rain pelting down. Peter, Chris & Kaye headed to Echuca to do the morning shift. Heather & Rob relieved us for lunch, then Gloria, Phil, Ian & Kaye packed up the site and waded out to their cars with the show kit, tables and chairs. The organisers of the Great Outdoor Expo at Echuca are to be congratulated for their tireless efforts to make the Expo go ahead, spreading heaps of wood chips and straw to make walkways through the mud, and checking on stallholders to see if all was well with them. After a cold wet & muddy 3 days, we signed up seven new ACC members.
Chairman's Update - Tom Smith
RV Warranty Issues
Over recent times members have approached me about various RV warranty issues as well as concerns with the rated weights applied to their RV and in particular their caravan. When these issues are raised, the members invariably ask what ACC can do to assist. Some suggest that ACC simply raise this with our industry contacts.
Raising issues with industry is not quite as simple as calling them up and saying that one of our members has had this issue! As a club representing the interests of our members we can certainly make representation to the industry, However it is not appropriate to simply raise issues or matters on a here say basis. To have any chance of being heard and acted upon by the industry the club must present unbiased facts about the problem. It also needs to clearly document the course of action taken by the member and the response of the dealer concerned.
With the increasing number of issues being raised by members the Club is happy to collectively present these cases to the industry controlling body however to do this we need members with concerns to document in writing:
1. The issue they have
2. The course of action the member has taken and with whom.
3. The response from the dealer or other supplier regarding the outcome.
Once we have member’s responses we will be in a position to place these concerns before the industry. Without members factual input we as a club cannot take this matter forward.
To have any chance of the industry listening to us we need hard factual irrefutable evidence.
ACC Facebook Page
Recently a story contributed by a member appeared on the ACC Facebook page noting a constant danger to caravans using a bypass under a low bridge. The result is a caravan less roof air conditioner and other roof mounted equipment. The picture below highlights the damage.
A suggestion from Tom, if possible change the settings on your GPS to truck or caravan this may help avoid problems with low bridges.
As well as a great note for warning members the story set a record for visitation to the ACC Facebook page. The attached report highlights the impact that the story had on visits. An amazing increase and record for the ACC Facebook page.
The Board is seeking to increase awareness of the Club making much more active use of the ACC Facebook page. We have a ready army of reporters in our 4000 members. To assist members prepare material for ACC Facebook page the Board has appointed Margie Smith as Online Editor. This role is to source, style and arrange publishing of stories for both the ACC Facebook page and website.
This is an exciting new initiative and the Board encourages members to contact Margie who is available to stylize your story for the ACC Facebook page and website.
Membership Renewal Notices
Membership Renewal Notices, issued from the first of July this year, have an extra item that should be filled in, should you wish to receive your issues of the Nomad in hard (i.e. paper) copy.
The delivery of a printed version of the Nomad is conditional on members paying an additional fee to cover the postage and handling costs involved. Currently this fee amounts to $20 p.a. - so for a one year renewal you need to pay an additional $20 on top of your membership renewal fee. For three year renewals an additional $60 is required.
The Board is sending a reminder to all Branches it is necessary to comply with the Branch Operational Procedures (BOP) in the following areas of Branch administration. A copy of the BOP is held in the documents section on the Club website. For detailed information please refer to section 6 Branch Management [ii] and [iii] and section 9 Club Clothing & Signage [a] [b] and [c] for the following:
Musters and Events - PRIOR Board approval is required for all events held. This is essential as club insurance requires that all events are sanctioned by club management prior to being held.
Event Attendance Sheets - Each person attending the event must complete their details and SIGN the form. This is required for insurance purposes. Following the event a copy of the attendance form is to be forwarded by the Branch Secretary to the ACC Secretary.
Financial Reports - Prepare financial statement for the branch as at 30 June each year. The financial statement is to be signed by two Branch committee members and forwarded to ACC Secretary by 31 July each year.
If your Branch hasn’t forwarded an end of financial year statement to the ACC Secretary please do so as soon as possible.
Club Clothing and Signage - Board approval is required for Branch banners, logos, flags, clothing for special occasions and all promotional material prior to use or sale of items.
2017 Australian Caravan Club Safari
Ron McGrice Safari Coordinator would like members to seriously think about going on the Safari.
Twenty caravans are needed on the first Safari, to travel the complete route, Sydney, Snowy Mountains, Melbourne, along the coast to Mt Gambier, then Adelaide, Wilpena Pound, Ayers Rock, Alice Springs, Darwin, back to the Three Ways, across to Townsville, down to Brisbane then Sydney via Armidale, 63 days in total.
Membership Support Committee Update - Graham Christie
Our Committee has had a change of name from Branch to Membership Support. The new name reflects the work the current State Reps do by welcoming new members to the club, working in recruitment as well as helping members who wish to form a new branch or who want general advice on their membership. Kim Gladman from the Sunshine Coast has also joined the committee as the Show Coordinator.
The club has a new Special Interest Group (SIG) in the English Van Owners. If you have an English Van or Motorhome go to the SIG section on the Web page and join the group who were formed to share tips and advice on their vans. Members can contact their State Membership Rep if they would like to form a SIG.
Advocacy and Policy Team Update – Graeme Tree
The expanded role of incorporating the Town Support roles into the policy team seems to be working very well particularly through the appointment of Sate Reps who in effect are becoming the face of ACC advocacy within their state. Coordination of these roles at a club wide level provides the necessary support and consistency of our voice.
The National Muster at Shepparton will also provide us with the opportunity to meet face to face as a group (all team members apart from one will be attending) enabling us as team to review and reconsider what has been achieved and work through what works and what doesn’t as well as how we can improve what we are doing to better meet the needs of ACC membership.
Our Queensland State Rep Ray Cornall is developing and expanding the club’s advocacy profile in that state by maintaining ongoing contact with the Fraser Coast Council meeting with the Mayor and assisting council with its deliberations regarding RV parking and provision of overnight camp stops.
He has also made contact with Gympie Regional council and has commenced dialogue with the possible objective of gaining an RV camp stop at the Gympie showgrounds.
Ray’s profile has developed to such an extent that he was contacted by a lady in Kuranda seeking to re-establish the Chamber of Commerce with the objective of increasing RV tourism through Kuranda. It has subsequently transpired that the lady thought she was talking to the CMCA however seizing the opportunity Ray was able to provide her details of the ACC Town Support programme.
Eric Cumming our State Rep continues to monitor developments within the state and in particular the WA governments re rite of camping legislation and regulations, however as with all matters political they take time for anything to eventuate.
Darrell Phillips our state rep delivered an ACC submission to the District Council of Grant
(Mount Gambier) It is pleasing to report that the council has now developed a “free Camping Policy” and is planning opening of a number of camps in the council area.
Publicity Update – Lionel Mussell
With the National Muster fast approaching I’ll be sending invitations to the RV media inviting them to cover the event. I have already given my editor at Caravan World an invitation to send someone and she has noted it in her diary. I’ll also send information to the Shepparton news media.
The next edition of Caravan World (November - out in October) will have two ACC stories - one general one by freelance writer, Claudia Bouma helped by me, Rob Tudor, Tom Smith and Alan Lazarus, and one personal one about my involvement with our club since day one at Golden Beach.
Meet Your Club Official
Each edition we will introduce the Membership to Club Officials who undertake work on behalf of the club.
In the spotlight this edition are Allan & Heather Hermann.
How and why did you come to join the ACC?
We owned a Motorhome and we were asked to join the club by a friend.
What do you do within the ACC?
We are the Club Shop Coordinators.
Where do you live and why?
We live on the Sunshine Coast – it is the best spot to live
What is your favourite holiday destination in Australia?
Do you have a special camp spot?
Yes, Kenilworth in Qld
What is your rig?
Our vehicle is a Jeep and we tow a Coromal Caravan.
What tips do you have for those new to caravanning?
The best tip we can give is to get out and enjoy yourself.
What is next on your bucket list to do?
We want to travel around Australia again.
What is the most incredible view you have ever seen?
The Horizontal Falls in Western Australia.
If you could close your eyes and be anywhere on earth when they opened, where would it be?
We would be in Canada.
Notes from the Board will be produced every 8 weeks.
All over Australia there are obstacles waiting to wreck our travelling. It is up to every one of us to stay alert and protect ourselves.
Here is some information sent in to us by a very concerned member (this is one of many bridges in Australia).
Nearly every week a caravanner loses their airconditioner by trying to go under the low level railway bridge on Garroorigang St which is between Goulburn and Braidwood NSW.
Here is a picture of the sign on the southern side of the entrance to the bride but the bridge entrance is around the corner (see 2nd photo) so you don’t see how low it is until you turn the corner at the bridge. I assume many people who keep going past the 2.7 m sign are hoping they will fit under the bridge rather than face trying to back up around an uphill bend.
This low level bride is on the route the GPS will take you if you are leaving the Hume Highway at Goulburn to go towards the coast or vice-versa.
Here is also a picture taken 2 weeks ago of a brand new van that did not make it and the evidence on the ground from yesterday that yet another van did not make it!
My partner, David House is a member of your club. He helped the owners of the caravan by storing and tarping their van until it could be patched up for safe return to their home in Sydney.
It was their first trip in it! They have told us it will take 6 months to be repaired. The roof was caved in so we expect the damage will exceed $25k so they are fortunate the van was insured.
I have found it useful to measure the height of my caravan (including air con) and put a small label on the top driver side of the windscreen as a reminder. When approaching a low bridge, check label against sign.
Remember, when going under a bridge the caravan is not level and will be higher then it is when on a flat surface,
If it is close, get your passenger (if you have one) to stand outside whilst you drive SLOWLY under the bridge.
If you are on your own, you may want to jump out for a quick check as you are about to enter the bridge.
ACC Stand at the Queensland Outdoor Adventure & Motoring Expo
(5-7 August 2016)
Well, what a great event, a great team of volunteers, and a great result.
When visiting the capital of the Darling Downs in August you can expect cool winds, and we certainly had those at the beginning, but we also enjoyed some sunny days. Those who camped at the Showgrounds really enjoyed the atmosphere of a major event in the largest inland city in Queensland, plus the country smells and friendliness.
This event was well attended, up 10% on last year, with new members joining our Club, from Rockhampton to Armidale, Goondiwindi to Landsborough, and everywhere in between. We gained 35 new members and friends over the 3 days, plus a couple more in the following days, and there is now a strong possibility of a Toowoomba branch in the near future.
It was great to see ACC members Allan & Heather from Buderim and Maureen & Bruce from Brisbane, as well as Danny & Denise visiting from NSW. We also met Malcolm & Diane, two of the very early ACC Members in Queensland, and discussed the development of the ACC over the past 10 years.
I hope you all enjoyed yourselves, returned home safely, and perhaps even bought the usual gadget or two for the van! Some members were looking at new vans and motorhomes, accessories and parts, towing and other equipment, 4x4’s and boats, even safaris and lifestyle products.
A big thank you to the willing volunteers for the ACC stand (Dennis & Geraldine, Lawrence & Petra, Tom & Sandra, Lynne & Ray, Val, and Trevor. Some of your travelling included from Tara to Moreton Bay, and Sunshine Coast to Inverell. Your valuable time and effort taken to support the ACC cause is very much appreciated.
“ ACC Chairman Tom Smith presenting the first of our RVSTAY signs to Inverell Boats And Caravans who are part of our Member Benefits Scheme inside the ACC
The idea of the Signs is to make it easier for Members when on the road to Identify Businesses that are suppling Benefits to our members., and can therefore enjoy the improved service and discount
BTW Inverell Boats and Caravans have the best price for LPG refills in Inverell
So keep your eyes peeled for these signs when travelling
A new Special Interest Group has been set up called the ACC English Van Owners Group.
This group is formed to share tips, advice and general information regarding the maintenance, parts availability and modifications to imported English caravans and motorhomes.
If you are the owner of an English van and would like to share your experiences and tips, or receive advice from other owners, join the ACC English Van Owners Special Interest Group
Some of the members from the Lockyer Valley RVers took a members caravan along to the Helidon Heritage Fair and met with local residents talking about the Australian Caravan Club and the area's local branch the Lockyer Valley RVers, It was a lovely sunny day and interest in the club and local branch was a lot higher then expected with 2 new members joing the club plus an existing member signing onto the Lockyer Branch.