Group national meet Copeton Waters 2006
photo by keith
Another successful national meet was held at Copeton Waters State Park on the
shores of Copeton Dam near Inverell on the NSW northern tablelands during the
week of Monday 2nd to Friday 6th of October 2006.
Members started to arrive from Thursday the week before with the bulk turning up
on the Saturday, Sunday & Monday. In all 48 camper trailers comprising of 102 adults, 40 kids, 18 dogs, a cat
parrot, attended the groups second national meet from
all around Australia.
As each camper trailer came in to camp they were met by group co-owners Rob &
Kevin who introduced themselves & directed the weary travelers towards a suitable site. The
majority of those attending had chosen a powered site. There were plenty of portable concrete fire
places around placed in a suitable location by the friendly park staff who also provided ample firewood
to keep us all warm at night.
Campers walking to the toilet/showers had to be on guard as a nesting magpie was
on the attach swooping at everyone that passed by.
The itinerary for the week was left mainly open as we had found in the past
everyone likes to do their own thing. There was plenty of sightseeing in the
surrounding area including a drive around the dams foreshore, visiting nearby
national parks, conservation areas & nature reserves, museums, zoos & of course
what the area is famous for fossicking. There is also galleries & wineries as
well as a number of displays including the Draught Horse Center,
New England Woodturning Supplies,
Olives, Morris's Honey Farm
& the All Nations Stamper Battery.
SUNDAY night was a mighty effort with a combined use of technology to provide
all with a large screen view of the rugby league finals. Everyone hopped in
with bits & pieces, satellite dish, large screen, leads & the like.
MONDAY afternoon seen the first official function with the opening ceremony by
Kevin & Rob. Kevin welcomed everyone to the meet & spoke about of the beginnings
5 years earlier & how the group had evolved to become the best of its type on
the net, now approaching its 2500th member.
Rob handed out a few awards....
GOLDEN PEG AWARD 2006 is for the funniest moment when camping & voted by members
via poll. The winner was Jenkie/Robyn Jenkinson with this entry.....
The scene - camping behind dunes near Eli Creek
Fraser Island with relatives first time on Fraser Island.
Set up of camper trailer- ours with all the gear we normally have our shower,
toilet etc plus 2 tents one with sister and brother in law and 2 nieces 11 year
old twins and 1 nephew 23 year old.
We had been camping for approx 1 week well behind a high dune because of 30knot
winds forecast for the week. Our shower surround which we used to keep the
toilet bucket in during the day was getting old and with the high winds starting
to deteriate, we decided to put down at night so that we would have a usable
shower cover when needed.
Breakfast time all sitting down to a lovely cooked breakfast and me dressed in
one piece togs needs to go to the toilet so with instructions to everyone that
they were to stay put where they were behind the side of the camper annex, I
went about the business that was needed but of course toilet out in the open.
Females with one piece togs would know what I mean having to virtually strip
down to nothing. As we were camped for nearly a week with no one going on track
we were camped on did not even think about toilet out in the open with own party
being told to stay put. Next minute hear a car coming along the beach then
thinking to myself the car did not sound that it was on the beach side of the
dune and end up looking straight in the car of very surprised men on the track
in front of me. Don't know who was laughing so much , was it me or my family or
the poor unsuspecting party in the ute. Certainly was a camping trip to
HANDIEST ITEM AROUND CAMP AWARD was also voted for by group members via a poll
before the meet. This was won by Barry & Margaret's CT, Campertrailer the guard dog. This how
the winning entry went.....
As we all know it is important to share jobs when on the track, (no one gets a
free ride) so he's main duty is to guard "Lilly" our Ultimate, he does this with
gusto, so much so that he really must be chained up, dear little fellow does not
seem to mind at all. Of course this chaining up is to comply with some camp
We do leave him with some refreshments. However, I am really concerned for once
we left him with a green bottle of water (well I THINK it was water, would never
leave wine would we?) and off we went for a drive (it was rather a hot day),
when we returned the bottle was not only empty but had been sucked flat. Can't
figure how he managed that one!
We have discovered a by-the-way of "CT", he tries really hard to keep those
bloody bottle dumpers away from "Lilly", and for a while he really did a
fantastic job. Unfortunately for "CT" the "BBD" got smart, they now sneak up
behind him and silently PLACE the bottles, no more chucking them. I fear this
has slightly tarnished his image.
He has a great sense of humour and does love to share a joke with whom ever. His
little head shakes, his little tail wags and his beady little eyes fairly
sparkle with delight.
He is just such a friendly little guy, even magpies love him. The odd cat and
dog have been know to approach with caution. I think he does deserve the title
"Handiest thing for the Camp". He gives so much pleasure to so many, asking so
little in return, and he has spawned a whole new genre of pets. Wonderful.
BEST DIY ITEM The
Tuco light as it has become
to be know must be one of the best do it yourself items that members have. At
weekend get togethers the brightness of these lights brought to the attention by
group member Tuco can be seen through out the camp.
TUESDAY saw something a little different this
year with a few workshops by members to share their knowledge with others. These
proved very successful.
The first on Tuesday morning was a medical/first aid update by Brad Fawkes. This
talk was well presented & enjoyed by a large number. Brad discussed the DRABC
procedure as well as providing first aid to a large range of bites people
receive while out camping. He then showed what should be in a good first aid
The second workshop in the afternoon was by Rob who showed how to disassemble a
trailer wheel bearing, clean with kerosene, inspect for wear or damage, regrease
& reassemble, including the tightening of the bearing nut. One of the keenest
participants here was Brenda Hamilton. Rob got home without the wheel falling
The highlight of the meet was a evenings entertainment by bush band 'The Rabbit
Trappers' which consisted of Robert 'Fat' Hardy/vocals & acoustic guitar & Dudley Gooda/voclas
& piano accordion along with Bush Poet Jimmy Brown. Jimmy recited a number of
his own poems as well as a few by fellow bush poets.
The hat was passed round & the group managed to raise over $260 towards the
Westpac Rescue Helicopter which the guys do a lot of charity work for. Well done
everyone. A big thanks also to the President of the Inverell Tourist
Association, Les Moulds for arranging this excellent evening.
WEDNESDAY morning was the
bread/cake/damper/scones in the camp oven/Cobb competition held right in front
of the 'singlemans quarters'. With the high standard of cooking it was decided
by Rob & Kevin to award everyone a winner.
Special mention must go to two boys, Joshua
Chilcott 12 & Ethan Cornhill 11, who whipped up exceptional treats for the
judging. I'm sure this will develop into a big morning tea for the next national
meet. Thanks to everyone who entered, the table looked
just like the Royal Easter Show as Ed said. Keep up the practice Renee.
A big thanks to George Marvos who provided all
participants in the Copeton Camp Cook Off with prizes of reusable cookasheets
email@example.com The prizes consisted of a large sheet of cookamesh & a pack of
several baking sheets of various sizes & a toastabag. Thanks George.
THURSDAY morning saw another workshop, this one
by Alan Grant on Satellite TV. There as a large crowd gathered to hear Alan talk
about what is needed to pick up TV reception in the bush, the cost involved etc.
In the afternoon the folding toilet tent competition was held with John Heath
the winner in 13 seconds. Rob persevered & ended up closing the tent down in
several consecutive goes. When the time came to take the tent back to the front
of his Patrol he could fold it up.
FRIDAY was the last official day of the national
meet. Kevin & Rob closed another successful meet in a communal happy hour. A few
awards were presented as well as special thanks to some who had made the meet
one to remember. Kate for supplying all the kids with sparklers, Jill with glow
sticks for everyone at the meet & Clancy for another of his now famous scooby
COPETON CAPERS AWARD was voted by members
attending Copeton for the funniest happening at the meet. This years prize was a
copy of Collyn Rivers book 'The Camper Trailer Book' donated by Colin & Tony
Warren who won it in a guessing competition run in the group some months ago.
They had already bought a copy of the book so suggested to me if we could use it
as a future prize. Thanks again Colin & Toni for this generous offer.
The nominees for this years 'Copeton Capers Award' were again in good form
following the high standard set by last years participants.
Rob..... had a shower in his shower tent at the front of the Patrol & forgot to
take a towel. Was heard calling from the shower tent.... Eeeeeddddddddddddddd,
could ya chuck me a towel.
Andrew Cornhill..... reversing his Prado into a tree. You thought no one saw
that didn't you.
Linda..... telling all around the fire she had found another shower block.
Everyone went searching for this shower block no one knew about & turned out to
be the disabled showers.
Kevin Davis..... Heard soon after arriving using a hacksaw to cut through
padlocked tabs on his camper. Changed the locks on his camper but left new keys
Renee.... Ken tripped on his shoe laces sitting around the fire & went flying
across the circle. Renee was busy eating her baked in the coals apple & simply
brushed him to the side as he flew past without missing a spoonful.
AND THE WINNER IS
Bruce Fewtrell.... When packing up his camper removed a tent peg & up came a
gusher. He had driven the peg into the plastic water main when setting up camp.
Somehow the peg had sealed the water pipe until it was time to leave & remove
CHANGE TENT COMPETITION winner of the fold up
change tent competition was John Heath with a fine effort of 13 seconds. He won
a bottle of Port donated by Barry & Margaret Pierce.
SPIRIT OF THE GROUP It was decided everyone
attending the meet represented the spirit of the group with the camaraderie
showing over the week.
We would like to thank Dwayne & his friendly staff at Copeton Waters State Park
for their never ending service & help in setting up this week long get together.
We will see you again next year.
Thanks also to everyone who attend for the fantastic
time. Looking forward to the next national meet.
written by Rob
What a fantastic
fantastic week we had at Copeton and didn't the weather god do well!
By all accounts everybody had a great time and all are
looking forward to next year. That's good because we are looking forward to it
too and planning is already underway.
I'd like to thank a few people in particular for their
contribution to the success of our second National Rally.
For preparing and presenting the very informative information
sessions many thanks to Brad Fawkes (First Aid), Rob Sanderson (Wheel Bearings),
and Alan Grant (Satellite TV).
Jill Skinner literally lit up the camp when she gave everyone
a fluorescent `thingy' to wear one night and Kate Dukes wowed the kids with the
enormous sparklers she brought for them all. Thank you both very much.
And to Clancy Skinner who ran a `scooby' workshop – thanks
mate, much appreciated.
To all the camp oven cooks – what a high standard you set and
wasn't it great to see a couple of young boys contributing as well - thanks
Joshua Chilcott and Ethan Cornhill.
John Heath tamed the toilet tent very quickly but wasn't it
fun watching all the other brave souls having a go – thanks to all for
participating and giving the rest of us such a good laugh.
Thanks must also be heaped upon the Inverell Tourist
Association for organizing some seriously good entertainment for us. The Rabbit
Trappers sang up a storm and Jimmy Brown certainly widened my understanding and
enjoyment of bush poetry. And thanks to everybody for kicking in and donating
$263.15 to their favourite charity, the local Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
I'd also like to give many thanks to Copeton's Head Ranger,
Dwayne Hawkins, and his staff. They did a terrific job looking after us by
taking away the rubbish and providing firewood. And fixing water mains that were
plugged by tent pegs - I bet Bruce and Jenni Fewtrell will long remember the
geyser that erupted when they pulled the peg out to pack up.
Finally, thanks to all who came along. Your support was
appreciated and your company much enjoyed.
Hope to see you again in 2007.
and Spills around the Campfire (or Ken's Trip...)
It was a pleasantly mild evening and the blazing campfire
ring was creating a lovely ambiance as we gathered for a chat and a couple of
ales in its glow.
had Ed and Donna, Ken and Renee, The Chillcots, Rob, Paul and Rachael and Myself
and some of the kids, among others that were flitting about from fire to fire.
All was right with the world, God was in his heaven what could go wrong? No
radios or TV’s, just good company and happy conversation. What a fantastic
had just cooked a couple of Custard and Apples in foil on the coals under the
careful supervision of those gathered, especially Renee. There was much
merriment, laughter and happy conversation while Ken and Renee tucked into their
upon finishing his, got up to clean his plate when he suddenly lunged across the
circle diving straight at Renee. The only thing that saved Renee was her quick
reflexes. She performed an expert fend that Shane Webcke would have been
hard-pressed to emulate, leaving Ken clinging to the arm of her chair barely
holding his balance.
crowd was silent, in shock at this unprovoked attack and the skillfully performed
defence move, and in awe of the fact that Renee didn’t miss a beat and kept
eating her dessert unflustered. I was thinking that this must be one of those
silly games we married couples play from time-to-time and had a bit of a
the shock wore off and we calmed down enough to be able to ask what that was all
about, Ken explained that, as he got up to walk across the circle, he had
trodden on his untied bootlace and the rest is campertrailers group history now.
This, of course, then brought the house down. I am still snickering a week or
two later; it took me three goes to tell my wife the story when I got home.
Happily this ended as a happy, funny tale and has given me a memory which will
be with me for a long time…
wait for next year to see who can top this...
Wayne P Dwyer
photo by keith