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Corowa 2015.
Year of the Emergency Vehicle, and Year of General Motors.

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2015 was supposed to be "Year of the Emergency Vehicle, and Year of General Motors". However, the theme attribute appears to be becoming increasingly irrelevant to most attendees. That is not to say there were not GM vehicles and ambulance vehicles present, but the numbers were not noticeably greater this year.

Unlike in other years the wags don't appear to have renamed the theme, hence why I have headed this article with the correct theme name.
As always, the following article is my experience of Corowa, it is by no means representative of anyone else's experience or a comprehensive record of all the vehicles that were there.
As always, I find that Corowa is what you make it.
If you have low expectations, then your experience will likely be dull. Put some effort into it and your time will not drag. As I did not take a vehicle to this year's meet, I had no focus, so I took the opportunity to catch up with people I knew and also to make new aquaintances.

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I gave 2014 a miss: after my experience in 2013 I did not feel very inclined to subject myself to a repeat of the jealousy and nastiness that came my way.
It would appear that owning a German vehicle, especially a unique one, upsets certain people in this hobby. Why go to all the hassle and expense of taking a vehicle to Corowa only to be subjected to invented spite?
Those who are paying attention will also note there is no 2013 article, better not to write one at all, given my experience that year.
So this year, the Kettenkrad stayed home.

Ball Caravan Park, as per tradition was the main site. The showground/racecourse was supposed to be the secondary site, but save one lone camper was vacant until the food vendors started rolling in on Friday afternoon.

Armour:
As far as armour went during the week, there were 2 x LP2 Universal Carriers, one severely cut LP1 (stick steer) and I caught a glimpse of a White Scout Car late on Friday evening. The rest of the armour seems to have arrived very late on Friday or first thing Saturday morning.

We arrived early in the week (Monday) and strangely there were a lot of attendees at the Ball Park. Nobody could explain why. Other than perhaps a desire to make a week of it instead of a few days. But great to see the larger numbers so early.

It is interesting to hear how many people don't know whether or not they can make it until the last minute. One bloke I talked to from the Northern Territory had been waiting on a vehicle to arrive so that he could unload it, he had then bought an air ticket to Melbourne, but got diverted to Canberra before finally making it to Corowa.

A buzz for me is that a husband and wife team from the North Head Searchlight Group turned up with a 90cm light which they coupled to a Gardiner powered generator. This was their 2nd year running, however not being there in 2014, I only heard stories. Once lit, the light promptly turned into Australia's most effective bug attractor! My daughter got quite a kick out of joining the group of young kids on the control arm. The searchlight was never still with an eager bunch of kids to keep pushing it around.
The first night had a hickup in that the operator, who had obtained airways clearance had only just lit it when the Police arrived and asked him to turn it off until further notice as there was a night parachute jump taking place. Once that was over he was notified that he could light up again. Apparently he had had an eventful time getting it to Corowa and just could not believe his lack of luck. The opertor told me that if they can organise suitable transport, he wants to bring the 150cm next year, which will be quite something to see.

My digital camera could not cope at all, so I reverted to my mobile phone. The pictures aren't the best, but give an idea.

It was very interesting to see the beam from the searchlight. The weather conditions at Corowa were clear skies every night, so unfortunately there were no clouds. This meant that the beam was visible up to the point where the ground haze finished (I am guessing around 300' high), at which point the beam vanished. The effect was that we were looking at a giant light saber. The operator said that he thought the 90cm light was effective to up to about 17,000' (for military purposes). A policeman who was standing near me commented that the searchlight was rated at 38 million candle power. I have not bee able to verify that figure, but I would not doubt it.
On the side of the searchlight is a darkened glass window, much like the glass in a welding mask. Even so, you could only glance in and then have to look away, such was the brightness of the arc. The operator commented that the arc is actually plasma!
The arc itself is struck between 2 carbon rods. The feed rod is about 1cm in diameter and 30cm long - it lasts roughly an hour. There is an automatic feed to keep the arc gap constant as the carbon rod is vapourised. There is also an automatic feed that rotates the rod so that the arc does not chew away one side of the rod and cause problems. All of this is mechanical with no electronics or computers, which no doubt is why it still works after more than 70 years.
You may be able to see the smoke coming out the vent fan on top of the searchlight in the photos. From what I have been told, the world does not have a shortage of WW2 surplus carbon rods, as strange as that seems. So given sufficient interest to keep the surviving searchlights operational they will be able to be lit for a long time into the future.

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90cm Searchlight.


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90cm Searchlight - note kids on control arm.


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90cm Searchlight arc viewing window - even with the
dark glass it was extremely bright.


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90cm Searchlight beam.


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Searchlight tracks closeup.


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90cm Searchlight - track system.


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Ball Park on the Thursday.


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Hmmm, most unique tent, I wonder if the owner has been to Beltring?


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Austin Champ.

There was a very nice Pinzgauer 6x6 at Ball Park all week. The owner had done a very well thought out series of additions to the interior ranging from an overhead rack and roof lining, to a caged cargo area with locations for tools etc. Most impressive.

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Pinzgauer 6x6.

A West Australian had on display a Carrier track link casting master. Despite appearances, this is not the complete device. He is still trying to aquire another 2 parts which make up the full master.

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Bren Gun Carrier track link casting master.


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LP2 Carrier - wheel steer.


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LP1 Carrier - stick steer.


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Grant tank drinking water tank.


I have now been to my 7th year of Corowa, but no Kettenkrad this year due to the reasons stated above and also having to do a long way round trip.
Quite a few people asked where the Kettenkrad was and stated that they missed it not being there and hearing it's distinctive rattle, which was nice of them.

Here is the list of attending vehicles registered with KVE:

Vehicle list:
43 x Willys Jeeps
31 x Ford Jeeps
40 x Land Rovers
9 x Chev Blitz trucks
6 x Ford Blitz trucks
5 x GPAs
8 x Studebakers
5 x Dodge Weapons Carriers
3 x Dodge Command Cars
1 x Dodge M37
2 x Dodge WC53 (Carryall)
1 x BMW R-75 motorbike
1 z ton 4x4 Yankee Joe
2 x White Scout Cars
2 x Harley WLA
1 x Benz Fire Truck
1 x VW Schwimwagen
1 x VW 181
1 x Chev Cinema van
3 x Unimogs
1 x C15A Indian Chev replica
1 x Datsun 200B
1 x International F1
1 x International F2
1 x Acco Mk 5 tipper
1 x International Acco Mk 4 fire truck
1 x 1983 International Fire Truck
1 x Austin Ambulance
2 x Yamaha Motorcycles
1 x International Farmall tractor
2 x Ferret Scout Cars
1 x LP2 Machine Gun Carrier
2 x LP2A Machine Gun Carriers
2 x Leyland Mokes
1 x GMC
1 x Mule
2 x HUMVEEs
1 x Zundapp KS motorbike
2 x Toyota HJ47
1 x Condor Motorbike
1 x Chev Ambulance
2 x Mutts
1 x 1979 International 510A
2 x Austin Champs
1 x Pinzgauer
1 x Bedford QL
1 x LRDG Chev replica
1 x Kaiser Wrecker
1 x NM Mack 1 x Valentine tank
1 x Ford Van
1 x 1973 VW 182
1 x LP1 Carrier
1 x Strickland Carrier
1 x VW S2E
1 x BMW Replica motorbike
1 x Schwinn pushbike
a few military pushbikes
1 x Falcon Wagon

Plus a 1964 Amphicar

Total of 218
That's it for 2015.

 

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