past events

Copeton Waters national meet 2006




Australian CamperTrailers Group national meet Copeton Waters 2006

photo by keith


      Another successful national meet was held at Copeton Waters State Park on the shores of Copeton Dam near Inverell on the NSW northern tablelands during the week of Monday 2nd to Friday 6th of October 2006.

      Members started to arrive from Thursday the week before with the bulk turning up on the Saturday, Sunday & Monday. In all 48 camper trailers comprising of 102 adults, 40 kids, 18 dogs, a cat & a parrot, attended the groups second national meet from all around Australia.

      As each camper trailer came in to camp they were met by group co-owners Rob & Kevin who introduced themselves & directed the weary travelers towards a suitable site. The majority of those attending had chosen a powered site. There were plenty of portable concrete fire places around placed in a suitable location by the friendly park staff who also provided ample firewood to keep us all warm at night.

      Campers walking to the toilet/showers had to be on guard as a nesting magpie was on the attach swooping at everyone  that passed by.

      The itinerary for the week was left mainly open as we had found in the past everyone likes to do their own thing. There was plenty of sightseeing in the surrounding area including a drive around the dams foreshore, visiting nearby national parks, conservation areas & nature reserves, museums, zoos & of course what the area is famous for fossicking. There is also galleries & wineries as well as a number of displays including the Draught Horse Center, New England Woodturning Supplies,  Gwydir Olives,  Morris's Honey Farm & the All Nations Stamper Battery.   

      SUNDAY night was a mighty effort with a combined use of technology to provide all with a large screen view of the rugby league finals. Everyone hopped in with bits & pieces, satellite dish, large screen, leads & the like.

      MONDAY afternoon seen the first official function with the opening ceremony by Kevin & Rob. Kevin welcomed everyone to the meet & spoke about of the beginnings 5 years earlier & how the group had evolved to become the best of its type on the net, now approaching its 2500th member.

      Rob handed out a few awards....

      GOLDEN PEG AWARD 2006 is for the funniest moment when camping & voted by members via poll. The winner was Jenkie/Robyn Jenkinson with this entry.....
      The scene - camping behind dunes near Eli Creek Fraser Island with relatives first time on Fraser Island.
Set up of camper trailer- ours with all the gear we normally have our shower, toilet etc plus 2 tents one with sister and brother in law and 2 nieces 11 year old twins and 1 nephew 23 year old.

      We had been camping for approx 1 week well behind a high dune because of 30knot winds forecast for the week. Our shower surround which we used to keep the toilet bucket in during the day was getting old and with the high winds starting to deteriate, we decided to put down at night so that we would have a usable shower cover when needed.

      Breakfast time all sitting down to a lovely cooked breakfast and me dressed in one piece togs needs to go to the toilet so with instructions to everyone that they were to stay put where they were behind the side of the camper annex, I went about the business that was needed but of course toilet out in the open. Females with one piece togs would know what I mean having to virtually strip down to nothing. As we were camped for nearly a week with no one going on track we were camped on did not even think about toilet out in the open with own party being told to stay put. Next minute hear a car coming along the beach then thinking to myself the car did not sound that it was on the beach side of the dune and end up looking straight in the car of very surprised men on the track in front of me. Don't know who was laughing so much , was it me or my family or the poor unsuspecting party in the ute. Certainly was a camping trip to remember.

      HANDIEST ITEM AROUND CAMP AWARD was also voted for by group members via a poll before the meet. This was won by Barry & Margaret's CT, Campertrailer the guard dog. This how the winning entry went.....

      As we all know it is important to share jobs when on the track, (no one gets a free ride) so he's main duty is to guard "Lilly" our Ultimate, he does this with gusto, so much so that he really must be chained up, dear little fellow does not seem to mind at all. Of course this chaining up is to comply with some camp ground rules.

      We do leave him with some refreshments. However, I am really concerned for once we left him with a green bottle of water (well I THINK it was water, would never leave wine would we?) and off we went for a drive (it was rather a hot day), when we returned the bottle was not only empty but had been sucked flat. Can't figure how he managed that one!

      We have discovered a by-the-way of "CT", he tries really hard to keep those bloody bottle dumpers away from "Lilly", and for a while he really did a fantastic job. Unfortunately for "CT" the "BBD" got smart, they now sneak up behind him and silently PLACE the bottles, no more chucking them. I fear this has slightly tarnished his image.

      He has a great sense of humour and does love to share a joke with whom ever. His little head shakes, his little tail wags and his beady little eyes fairly sparkle with delight.

      He is just such a friendly little guy, even magpies love him. The odd cat and dog have been know to approach with caution. I think he does deserve the title "Handiest thing for the Camp". He gives so much pleasure to so many, asking so little in return, and he has spawned a whole new genre of pets. Wonderful.

      BEST DIY ITEM The Tuco light as it has become to be know must be one of the best do it yourself items that members have. At weekend get togethers the brightness of these lights brought to the attention by group member Tuco can be seen through out the camp.

      TUESDAY saw something a little different this year with a few workshops by members to share their knowledge with others. These proved very successful.

      The first on Tuesday morning was a medical/first aid update by Brad Fawkes. This talk was well presented & enjoyed by a large number. Brad discussed the DRABC procedure as well as providing first aid to a large range of bites people receive while out camping. He then showed what should be in a good first aid kit.

      The second workshop in the afternoon was by Rob who showed how to disassemble a trailer wheel bearing, clean with kerosene, inspect for wear or damage, regrease & reassemble, including the tightening of the bearing nut. One of the keenest participants here was Brenda Hamilton. Rob got home without the wheel falling off.

      The highlight of the meet was a evenings entertainment by bush band 'The Rabbit Trappers' which consisted of Robert 'Fat' Hardy/vocals & acoustic guitar & Dudley Gooda/voclas & piano accordion along with Bush Poet Jimmy Brown. Jimmy recited a number of his own poems as well as a few by fellow bush poets. 

      The hat was passed round & the group managed to raise over $260 towards the Westpac Rescue Helicopter which the guys do a lot of charity work for. Well done everyone. A big thanks also to the President of the Inverell Tourist Association, Les Moulds for arranging this excellent evening. 

      WEDNESDAY morning was the bread/cake/damper/scones in the camp oven/Cobb competition held right in front of the 'singlemans quarters'. With the high standard of cooking it was decided by Rob & Kevin to award everyone a winner.

      Special mention must go to two boys, Joshua Chilcott 12 & Ethan Cornhill 11, who whipped up exceptional treats for the judging. I'm sure this will develop into a big morning tea for the next national meet. Thanks to everyone who entered, the table looked just like the Royal Easter Show as Ed said. Keep up the practice Renee.

      A big thanks to George Marvos who provided all participants in the Copeton Camp Cook Off with prizes of reusable cookasheets by Toastabags The prizes consisted of a large sheet of cookamesh & a pack of several baking sheets of various sizes & a toastabag. Thanks George.

      THURSDAY morning saw another workshop, this one by Alan Grant on Satellite TV. There as a large crowd gathered to hear Alan talk about what is needed to pick up TV reception in the bush, the cost involved etc.

      In the afternoon the folding toilet tent competition was held with John Heath the winner in 13 seconds. Rob persevered & ended up closing the tent down in several consecutive goes. When the time came to take the tent back to the front of his Patrol he could fold it up.

      FRIDAY was the last official day of the national meet. Kevin & Rob closed another successful meet in a communal happy hour. A few awards were presented as well as special thanks to some who had made the meet one to remember. Kate for supplying all the kids with sparklers, Jill with glow sticks for everyone at the meet & Clancy for another of his now famous scooby workshops.

      COPETON CAPERS AWARD was voted by members attending Copeton for the funniest happening at the meet. This years prize was a copy of Collyn Rivers book 'The Camper Trailer Book' donated by Colin & Tony Warren who won it in a guessing competition run in the group some months ago. They had already bought a copy of the book so suggested to me if we could use it as a future prize. Thanks again Colin & Toni for this generous offer.

      The nominees for this years 'Copeton Capers Award' were again in good form following the high standard set by last years participants.

Rob..... had a shower in his shower tent at the front of the Patrol & forgot to take a towel. Was heard calling from the shower tent.... Eeeeeddddddddddddddd, could ya chuck me a towel.

Andrew Cornhill..... reversing his Prado into a tree. You thought no one saw that didn't you.

Linda..... telling all around the fire she had found another shower block. Everyone went searching for this shower block no one knew about & turned out to be the disabled showers.

Kevin Davis..... Heard soon after arriving using a hacksaw to cut through padlocked tabs on his camper. Changed the locks on his camper but left new keys at home.

Renee.... Ken tripped on his shoe laces sitting around the fire & went flying across the circle. Renee was busy eating her baked in the coals apple & simply brushed him to the side as he flew past without missing a spoonful.


Bruce Fewtrell.... When packing up his camper removed a tent peg & up came a gusher. He had driven the peg into the plastic water main when setting up camp. Somehow the peg had sealed the water pipe until it was time to leave & remove the peg.

      CHANGE TENT COMPETITION winner of the fold up change tent competition was John Heath with a fine effort of 13 seconds. He won a bottle of Port donated by Barry & Margaret Pierce.

      SPIRIT OF THE GROUP It was decided everyone attending the meet represented the spirit of the group with the camaraderie showing over the week.

      We would like to thank Dwayne & his friendly staff at Copeton Waters State Park for their never ending service & help in setting up this week long get together. We will see you again next year. 

      Thanks also to everyone who attend for the fantastic time. Looking forward to the next national meet.

                                                          written by Rob




What a fantastic week

    What a fantastic week we had at Copeton and didn't the weather god do well!

    By all accounts everybody had a great time and all are looking forward to next year. That's good because we are looking forward to it too and planning is already underway.

    I'd like to thank a few people in particular for their contribution to the success of our second National Rally.

    For preparing and presenting the very informative information sessions many thanks to Brad Fawkes (First Aid), Rob Sanderson (Wheel Bearings), and Alan Grant (Satellite TV).

    Jill Skinner literally lit up the camp when she gave everyone a fluorescent `thingy' to wear one night and Kate Dukes wowed the kids with the enormous sparklers she brought for them all. Thank you both very much.

    And to Clancy Skinner who ran a `scooby' workshop – thanks mate, much appreciated.

    To all the camp oven cooks – what a high standard you set and wasn't it great to see a couple of young boys contributing as well - thanks Joshua Chilcott and Ethan Cornhill.

    John Heath tamed the toilet tent very quickly but wasn't it fun watching all the other brave souls having a go – thanks to all for participating and giving the rest of us such a good laugh.

    Thanks must also be heaped upon the Inverell Tourist Association for organizing some seriously good entertainment for us. The Rabbit Trappers sang up a storm and Jimmy Brown certainly widened my understanding and enjoyment of bush poetry. And thanks to everybody for kicking in and donating $263.15 to their favourite charity, the local Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

    I'd also like to give many thanks to Copeton's Head Ranger, Dwayne Hawkins, and his staff. They did a terrific job looking after us by taking away the rubbish and providing firewood. And fixing water mains that were plugged by tent pegs - I bet Bruce and Jenni Fewtrell will long remember the geyser that erupted when they pulled the peg out to pack up.

    Finally, thanks to all who came along. Your support was appreciated and your company much enjoyed.

    Hope to see you again in 2007.





Thrills and Spills around the Campfire (or Ken's Trip...)

    It was a pleasantly mild evening and the blazing campfire ring was creating a lovely ambiance as we gathered for a chat and a couple of ales in its glow.

    We had Ed and Donna, Ken and Renee, The Chillcots, Rob, Paul and Rachael and Myself and some of the kids, among others that were flitting about from fire to fire. All was right with the world, God was in his heaven what could go wrong? No radios or TV’s, just good company and happy conversation. What a fantastic atmosphere..

    Ken had just cooked a couple of Custard and Apples in foil on the coals under the careful supervision of those gathered, especially Renee. There was much merriment, laughter and happy conversation while Ken and Renee tucked into their dessert.

    Ken, upon finishing his, got up to clean his plate when he suddenly lunged across the circle diving straight at Renee. The only thing that saved Renee was her quick reflexes. She performed an expert fend that Shane Webcke would have been hard-pressed to emulate, leaving Ken clinging to the arm of her chair barely holding his balance.

    The crowd was silent, in shock at this unprovoked attack and the skillfully performed defence move, and in awe of the fact that Renee didn’t miss a beat and kept eating her dessert unflustered. I was thinking that this must be one of those silly games we married couples play from time-to-time and had a bit of a chuckle.

    Once the shock wore off and we calmed down enough to be able to ask what that was all about, Ken explained that, as he got up to walk across the circle, he had trodden on his untied bootlace and the rest is campertrailers group history now. This, of course, then brought the house down. I am still snickering a week or two later; it took me three goes to tell my wife the story when I got home.

    Happily this ended as a happy, funny tale and has given me a memory which will be with me for a long time…

    Can't wait for next year to see who can top this...

                                                                                         Wayne P Dwyer



photo by keith


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