Queensland Branch History

by long-term member Athol Duncan

Athol Duncan - a long-standing member of the Queensland Branch of the Armstrong Siddeley Car ClubI ran Armstrong Siddeleys from 1947, the first being a 1929 15HP side-valve and later a Whitley was used to tow a trailer for my business. An Armstrong Siddeley utility was used by Cliff Grice in his business in Bulimba. In the early 1960s a rusty Star Sapphire could occasionally be seen parked near the river at Kangaroo Point. The owner, Bill Stephens was the captain of a ship that travelled between Brisbane and New Guinea (now Papua New Guinea) and sometimes carried the Star Sapphire on the boat. He became a foundation member of the Queensland Branch of the ASCC.

As far back as the late 1940s and early 1950s, a number of Armstrong Siddeley owners were interested in meeting other owners, long before the Branch was formed, my long-term friendship with Cliff Grice being just one example. When the Grices moved to the Toowoomba District they made contact with a number of other Armstrong Siddeley owners based in that area.

In the June 1977 edition of The Southern Sphinx, Penn Bradly enthusiastically announced the inaugural meeting of the Queensland Branch. The meeting organisers were Cliff Grice and Simon Gilliland and the venue was Athol and Coral Duncan's home in Brisbane.

Interstate visitors were Penn Bradly from Sydney and Alan Simons from Canberra. George Baden-Powell, Kev Bartenstein, Ken Skilton, Bill Stephens, Clyde Newman and Geoff Clarke were amongst the 23 people present. All were keen to see the formation of the Branch and under Penn's guidance, this occurred. Before long there were members from the South Coast, Beaudesert, Brisbane, the North Coast, Toogoolawa, Ipswich and Toowoomba.

Events were held at Toowoomba, Merengaden, Moogerah Dam, Buderim, Coolangatta, Hinze Dam, Brisbane, Bribie Island, Somerset Dam, Lake Perserverance, Tenterfield, Maleny, Ivanhoe Dam, Pomona, Ipswich, Southport, Mt Tambourine, Toogoolawah, Fernvale and a safari at Miles.

Distances of over 200 kilometers were often travelled by members to attend meetings and outings with as many as twelve cars present at some events. Our 10th Anniversary celebration was held at the Duncan's home.

Paul Caro, David Liffin and Geoff Hillion organised a significant event called Motoring of Yesteryear - a gathering of old cars that was so successful that the event continued. The first two events were held at Redbank Plains with about 150 cars attending. The event was moved to Anzac Park in Towong for a few years and then to Mt Gravatt showground where attendances reached 600 cars. David Liffen was the MC for the day and always did an excellent job.

The Queensland Branch has hosted four Federal Rallies, two at Toowoomba (1982) and 1992, one at Stanthorpe and one at Cherrabah - the first Federal Rally where all meals and accommodation were catered for.

The following have served as Branch Chairman or, prior to the creation of that role, as Secretary:

Cliff Grice and Raymond Zahl ready to represent the newly formed Queensland Branch at the Armstrong Siddeley Car Club Federal Rally at Cootamundra, 1977
  • Simon Gilliland
  • Charles Moore
  • Cliff Grice
  • Ralph Hickling
  • Kev Bartenstein
  • Geoff Hillion
  • Ron Hutt
  • Jenny Caro
  • Wayne Lander

The Branch has been in semi-recession for a few years now with only a sprinkling of activities. With several new members (although geographically scattered) and a new Chairman, Wayne Lander, we are working hard to revitlise the Branch.



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