Motafrenz Car Club

Australia's premier motoring club for the LGBTIQA+ community!

Event Recap: Weekend Away for the Bendigo National Swap Meet 2023

The story of the Motafrenz weekend away for the Bendigo National Swap Meet goes all the way back to pre-COVID times (and pre-Paul times as a matter of fact). The Committee at the time had committed to supplying some volunteers for the Swap, but then the event was cancelled due to bushfires, then COVID, then the unavailability of the Showgrounds… So, you can imagine my excitement when, at the one and only Federation (the Federation of Veteran, Vintage and Classic Vehicle Clubs – Victoria) Meeting I attended, they announced that the 2023 Swap has been confirmed and will go ahead in November!

I collected the necessary forms, and eagerly coerced Motafrenz volunteers to join me. In the end, I think we had around thirteen attendees – some volunteered, some stayed with us in the house for the whole weekend, and some made the day trip but, from all accounts, all had a wonderful time.

I would love to tell you all about the wonders of the Bendigo National Swap Meet, but my shift was 10pm to midnight on the night before it opened – I fully intended to go back and have a look, but I never got around to it. Reports from the other attendees were pretty much said the same. Do your shift, come back to your Motafrenz lol.

Having said that, the group we had was a wonderful mix of ages and interests, but still very cohesive and complimentary. We decided early on, Daniel and I, that we would leave the schedule fluid so people could complete their shifts and come to meet the rest of the group if our activities so interested them. Our first trip was out to the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. The Club last visited here two years ago (I’ll add the link to that article below), but even in that short time, so much had changed. This is a living development, much like the Sagrada Família, and it is expected to be several more years (decades, perhaps) until it’s completed. If you haven’t been recently, you really should.

So our first stop was pretty much our last, as the group thought we would prefer to relax back at the house and enjoy each other’s company. Although I did insist on visiting the pie shop in town first lol.

The rest of the weekend was pretty much just that – a whole bunch of blokes enjoying the freedom to be themselves with a great group of friends.

Honourable mentions go to:

  1. The Chinese restaurant for the second night’s dinner – House of Khong – fantastic food, and I have no idea what that cocktail was, but wowee!
  2. Daniel’s guided city stroll after dinner on the first night – which included a stop at a rooftop bar to watch the sunset, and several closed public toilets.
  3. Sunday lunch and bargain shopping at Motafrenz’ favourites, the Mill Market and Das Kafeehaus in Castlemaine – where, once again, I found my dream hair and, once again it wasn’t for sale ☹

All-in-all, a wonderful time, and I thank all who made the effort to make the trip.

Words by Paul Hollingworth. Photos by Daniel Borton, Chris Dunkinson, and Paul Hollingworth.

Paul Hollingworth

Back to top