The Tongala Avenue of Honour
The Tongala Avenue of Honour has been reported on an earlier page, but I was contacted by Michael Thompson asking if I knew where they could buy a Centurion MBT to add to the Bofors Gun on display at the Avenue of Honour .
As their requirements were for a Centurion to sit stationary, there was no reason for them to spend the extra money required for a runner, as their tank would never move. I was able to immediately put them into contact with the owner of 169120 in Queensland. 169120 was not a runner, but did have all the bits and pieces attached. The owner naturally wanted to sell as quickly as possible, but Michael while he had the money coming through, was not sure exactly how long this would take. Enter a friend from Queensland, Brad Baker. Brad owns 169109, and was looking for a spare motor to recondition for his own tank so as he would have a spare. Discussions went ahead and Brad brought 169120 and removed the internal items, and stored 169120 until Michael was ready to purchase it. This came to fruit a couple of weeks ago, and 169120 is being picked up from Queensland Gold Coast on Saturday, hopefully arriving at Tongala next Monday.
Just a little bit of the drama that you can encounter when trying to move a Centurion! Much chasing around till you find people with the gear to move a Centurion --- and wait till they have a backload to cut costs a little. Ok that is all done, now we have to arrange somehow to have the Centurion loaded, remember no motor and no brakes! It will have to be pushed on, either a dozer or another tank, neither items just laying around. Then we find that the truckie wants to have a look at something in Queensland on the Friday (The day the loading was set for) Now people have to rearrange their day and hopefully will be available the next day. I am aware how much trouble can be involved in loading a Centurion so hope all goes well. Michael is flying up for the loading and I will travel to Tongala for the unloading, something that will be as much fun as the loading, I imagine.
Early Tank Museum shot of 169006??? 169006 at the Tank Museum today
Michael Thompson gave me a photo of this tank, that appeared on the Handout for the Tongala Memorial Day in 2004. I think it could be 169006. It has the .50 hole, a "B" Barrel, Glacis setup as tanks going to Vietnam, IR light and what appears to be two IR spotlights on the cupola. Notice the Drivers cover and windscreen and wiper blades. I never saw these items used, in my time. I feel this is a photo from early in the life of the Puckapunyal Tank Museum. I have also never seen the two lights on the top.
169006 also has the mount for the IR light in place but the light has been removed for storage. The front idler wheels are the same as are the driving lights, and both sets of Track links
Centurions being unloaded on their return from Vietnam, from the MV Harima Maru----Note the 20 pounder barrels have been removed. I saw a photo of the Cents being prepared for return to Australia, washed and so forth. And in that photo the barrels were also removed. Why was that done, had the barrels served their time and were dumped, or for some reason did they return unattached? Have a nagging feeling that I saw them laying on the track bins! Did they travel home there for some reason?
Nev Leaf from Nathalia, a friend of Michael Thompson also came down for the Tank Auction. We spent the day together. That night after dinner, Nev gave me some photos of items he has collected.
This was the start of his tank rebuild---A M3 Stuart-Australian the hull number is 950
Here is the finished job and very nice too.
Nev has also restored this nice Bofors
This is another of Nev's restorations, he fires this one.
ANZAC DAY 2006
Anzac Day 2006 was another great day. Unfortunately I left my camera sitting on the table at my daughters home in Thornbury, hence no photos.
Leaving for the march. This time I have my youngest son Scott, with me for his first Anzac March, and my Grandson Tom, coming along for his second March.
As mentioned I have no photos at this time, but would like to relate an incident that occurred as we were forming up.
Four guys approached Tom, all wearing Vietnam Medals. One was carrying a brown cardboard box. He said to Tom, "I brought this down to give to the kid clapping the hardest when we walked down Swanston St, but hell, you win it hands down." He then presented Tom with a beautiful black wooden carved M60, complete with folding Tripod and rounds. I was quite taken back and could see how impressed Tom was with this item. I am only sorry I did not get the names of the guys, to be honest I was a bit stunned. As can be seen Tom was wearing his G G G Grandfathers medals from WW1, which are kept in a glass and wood case on his bedroom wall, only coming down on Anzac Day. Coming home on the tram, Tom said to me, "Pa, could you make me another box so I can put my gun on my wall beside my medals." That made my day. If the guys are reading this they can be assured that it will be well looked after, and they will never be forgotten.
If anyone can help me in contacting these guys, both Tommy and I would appreciate it.