Words by Jeff Whitehead. Pictures by Jeff, Mat & Paul.
After several months of lockdown and just a day before the new restrictions are introduced, we had the chance to stretch our legs and roll our wheels for a spectacular drive to a surprising destination.
Starting with Group 1 at the pre-meet place, the 45 minute chinwag went very quickly. No doubt due to having no events since ChillOut because of the pandemic.
With Group 1 at capacity, we made our way easily down to Williamstown foreshore where we enjoyed some outdoor lunch as we spread out along the foreshore and enjoyed the views of Melbourne from the beach with yachts and boats in the foreground.
Group 2 formed up quickly and they headed to the Altona Foreshore for fish and chips. Between the two groups, a total of 28 joined us for the drive.
From there it was when the fun began. With glitz and style we merrily set off heading for Steiglitz on the edge of the Brisbane ranges. The closure of the Princess Freeway through Werribee for roadworks soon made this a challenging experience navigating around horrendous traffic. With the best laid plans of mice and men that had to be dumped, we in Group 1 tried to take a direct route west and zig zag north and west in utter traffic mayhem.
This first section was about half an hour of driving through the construction of Melbourne’s endless expanding new suburban developments. A sight for sore eyes as I don’t think any of us knew how much Melbourne was growing way way out west. These areas included Truganina and Tarneit which I had never heard of. We lost Gordon and Chris, but they did manage to find themselves joining Group 2 somehow. The mind boggles since Group 2 took a completely different way of getting to Steiglitz.
For some completely unknown reason to us, Google Maps thought it would be perfectly appropriate that our group should be routed down Cobblesdicks Ford Road. A rather fascinating trek over cattle grids and narrow unsealed roads to say the least except that; The Ford in Cobbledicks was too deep for my Ford to handle, or many of our other vehicles for that matter. It was only after watching a large truck make it over the ford that I thought “No Way Jose”.
The Werribee River was up a good half a metre and flowing fast. Anyway we weren’t alone. Google Maps had also sent every other day tripper down this single lane treacherous road to get stuck or washed down the river. Mike thankfully got his Plymouth Fury turned around in one piece. Nonetheless the scenery down Cobblesdicks Ford Road was amazing and worth seeing even if it was a u-turn back thanks to Google’s bright ideas.
Eventually we arrived at Steiglitz after more spectacular country scenery on some amazing country single lane roads. This certainly is a picturesque part of Victoria and everything was green and lush which is probably not the norm. The weather was also amazing as it was dry and sunny enough not to notice any chill in the cold air. The cloud formations were also amazing, continuing to threaten us with a possible downpour but we were lucky.
So here we were in Steiglitz at the old courthouse. Already a dozen other day tripper cars in the car park. Not expecting much else, we soon found that the hilly terrain was littered with the remnants of other dwellings with placards telling us where the school was, the black smith and on and on. We meandered off and found more and to read and thoroughly enjoyed learning about this remote gold mining town that was a buzz mid nineteenth century. Some dwellings still remain. The slag heaps and processing plant were literally at the back fence of the town. It must have been very dusty and noisy there with a very short walk to work.
So the day trip to Steiglitz turned out to be more of a fascinating and adventurous journey than any of us expected. So happy were we to stay around and discover history here in this sweet place that Group 2 soon caught up with us. It was wonderful to catch up with the others and still not exceed the social gathering limits as quite a few had to curtail home at various stages for various reasons.
From Steiglitz we headed back to Ballan where sadly there was not much to enjoy. The supermarket was there for a few snacks and time was getting on so it was off home again.
A big thanks to all who came along for part or the whole of the journey for making it a wonderful day for all.
Let’s hope we will still be able to have our next club day trip on the Mornington Peninsula next month. The date may move by a week but who knows at this stage what we’ll be allowed to safely enjoy.