THE MELBOURNE SWAP-MEET
The Melbourne Swap meet has now become an Institution. An important part of the Melbourne Branch activities. Tom Lambert has been in charge of the operation of every swap-meet to date and he kindly wrote the following.
The first Annual swap meet was held in February 1979, to try to build up our Club funds. This was held at the Rowville Drive In (now a housing estate) and raised a terrific profit of $750.00.
Our first CHACA stall was a mixture of cakes and odds and ends, as the Drive-Inn food venue was open to the public.
We stayed at Rowville for about four years, then had to move.
Don Main had told me about Chirnside Park Shopping Centre which had been holding a Sunday Market, but this had closed, so we talked to Graham Ashmore who knew the manager, and he arranged a meeting for me. The result was, we had a new undercover venue.
This was the start of our catering for the swap meet. My son, Les, sold soft drinks (he later handed this to CHACA). The Dobbs family stall sold cakes and confectionery. Leonie and Bill Roff had a pie stall.
Don, myself and volunteers went to the centre on Saturday afternoon and marked and numbered all the sites and cleaned things up for Sunday. Later the Club bought a 6 x 4' trailer to take the equipment we needed; trestles, pie warmer and our old faithful cafe bar. Purchased for the club for $125, second-hand. This has been to every swap meet since and never let us down.
Chirnside Park, I think, was our best venue, in the heart of the old car movement, and so we started our two swap meets a year; until we had nearly as many sites and Sellers outside as well as under cover.
In 1989, Centre Management decided no more swap meetings, so that ended that era.
The Chevrolet Car Club had been having their events at the Victorian Wholesale fruit and vegetable market, so, off I went to see the Management, and finally we were allowed there. They did say ‘no food stalls’, but after a bit of arm twisting, we had their permission to go ahead.
We had 600 sites to sell, so it was decided we would have a car display and Club stall as well. This has proved very popular, and has gained for us, new members.
The fees for the venue have risen by 150 per cent, causing a rise in our charges. Our food stall has been very successful, and is set up around the Club trailer, which has been vastly improved with shelving, tables, waterproof cover, etc. Thanks to the late Keith Burchall, assisted by his good mate Arthur Horner (the local villains).
As I said at the beginning, every club needs volunteers. We have a great band of members who assist at all events, I won’t name the swap meet crew as I’d hate to leave someone out. Most of the originals are still with us, some have gone and new ones have taken their place, but without them, there wouldn’t have been a swap meet.
This year, it seems, will be the last time we use this venue, so who knows where we’ll set up next. Seventeen years of Swap-meets: Hard work, but it has meant a lot of fun and friendship.