Central Victorian Ulysses Club History
The History of Central Victorian Ulysses Branch
by Reg Loe
One Saturday morning in July 1996, not long after we had moved to Bendigo, Glennis was reading the Ady and drew my attention to an ad for a meeting to be held in Heathcote to gauge if there was sufficient interest in forming a Ulysses group in Central Victoria. This sounded good to me, when living in Cohuna I had become involved with the Goulburn Valley Branch which was the closest branch to where I lived. Naturally I had stayed involved with the GV branch since moving to Bendigo, but a couple of close calls involving 'roos had dampened my enthusiasm somewhat regarding travelling back and forth to meetings, a group in Central Victoria sounded good to me.
Keith Walker (our own old number one) was the convener. He had contacted Natcom, had got the go ahead, had obtained a copy of the members register (those were the good old days before freedom of information concerns) had posted out invites to all Ulyssians in the area, placed ads in the local papers and generally did a damn good job all at his own expense to publicise the meeting. I might add in those days you first became a group, then if it appeared there was sufficient numbers, enthusiasm etc, after a period of time you could then apply to be granted branch status. Reading the invite sent out to members it states. "All Ulysses members, friends and associates are welcome at the Union Hotel in Heathcote (Keith then lived in Heathcote) at 8.00pm 30th July 1996. To get a bunch of like minded old fogies together to see if there is any on-going interest in forming a "group". Glennis and I fronted on the night and were pleased to see the back room at the pub near full of "old fogies", about thirty I think was the number. There were some people there we already knew from the GV branch in Pete and Carol Simpson and Ron and Jenny Brown, also several members from GV had accepted an invite to attend and talk about starting up a group. Dennis Coultas tells me he had trouble finding the meeting, he rode over (he's still got the same bike) and rode up and down the street looking for a stack of bikes parked outside a pub! Some things never change, most had arrived at the meeting by car.
Keith chaired the meeting, it was unanimously agreed we should start a group and Keith called for nominations for president. "Where are you Ron" said Keith casting an eye around the room for Ron Brown. Little did Keith know that Ron had developed an urgent need to head for the toilet! Ron obviously knew Keith was going to put the hard word on him! So it came to pass that Keith became the initial CVUG president. Keith wished to hold CVUG meetings in Heathcote, but with most members coming from Bendigo and surrounds it was suggested that we meet somewhere closer and Keith arranged for the meetings to be held at the now departed Brolga hotel at Eppalock.
I can't remember much about the initial meeting at the Brolga, but, the rest as they say is history. We've had a few moves since then, first to the Axedale pub, after the Brolga owners found it an inconvenience having to stay open so late on a weeknight when we were there! Next to the Junortoun hotel in late '98 as the Axedale pub was becoming too small for us. We were happy for many years at the Farmers Arms and then just as a move was being mooted, the pub burned down! And we've been at the Rodders club rooms since early '09.
In some ways our branch has come to be defined by our Golden Dragon Rally. Our rally was first run in 1998, I was PR officer at the time when the rally was first suggested, then became President mid year and I argued against it. We just had no money, if we'd had a wipe out that first year, I don't know would have happened, perhaps a whip round of members to get us out of debt? Anyway, everyone threw themselves into making the rally a success, we made money that first year and have every year since. Gee what was I worried about? The first four years the rally was held at Ravenswood motocross track 'cos we could get it for free; a big consideration considering our financial situation, but boy was that hard work. No power or water, so we had to source a generator and bring water on site every year, no showers, the toilets would run out of water and/or block up and well, it soon became time to move on. I remember the last year at Ravenswood being up to my elbows in, er, sullage unblocking the toilets and thinking "we've gotta move". So to Tarnagulla we went and haven't looked back since, long may our rally run.
Another institution is our Saturday morning get togethers, I remember Tony Elliott was the one to suggest this in around '98, I approached Boardwalk Cafe (our rides left from lake Weroona then) and so it started. We weren't at the Boardwalk long though, we weren't quiet the right type for them. So to Di's Deli for some years, briefly to the Foundry Hotel, a long stint at Tyson's Reef Cafe, a short period then of trying various venues and now we are settled at Huntly Cafe, phew! It's not easy finding a suitable venue for a pack of motorcylists to meet at, I've spent quiet a bit of time travelling around Bendigo looking for sites, believe me there aren't many. Huntly might be a bit out of town, but otherwise it ticks all the boxes, hopefully we'll be there for a long time. And so here we are, more than sixteen years since our branch started, people come, people go, some retire from riding, sadly some pass on, such is life. I'm not going to mention names, as I'm sure I'll miss someone, 'cos gee it's hard to remember who was at that first meeting, but there are still some some of the originals involved which is great to see. Who knows what the future holds for our branch, or the Ulysses club itself, but I've certainly gained much from my association with club and branch. As long as there's a CVUB I'll be there, there's much more that binds us together than holds us apart.
The Club meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm.The meetings are now held at the Centre State Rodder's clubrooms at Bendigo Airport. (opposite the flying club) All new prospective members are warmly invited to attend meetings and find out what it's all about. Having Fun mainly