KVE’s 40th another success

By Robert Muir

The milestone 40th consecutive gathering at Corowa last week of the Khaki Vehicle Enthusiasts (KVE) with 230 vehicles and over 1,000 people was hailed another success by organisers. And it will be back to Corowa for number 41.

With the theme being ‘Year of the Amphibian- Year of the Prototype’, there was “a wonderful turnout of amphibious vehicles and other vehicles” according to KVE President Richard Farrant.

“It was very successful. We were extremely happy with the arrangements. Corowa is a lovely place and location with all the amenities we need and the people are friendly,” Mr Farrant, who resides in Ashfield, Kent in the UK, said. “It was a pleasure to stay here.” 

Mr Farrant, who has a 1943 Bedford truck, first attended a Corowa Swim-In in 1996 and, after a break, has attended all since 2011.

For over two decades, the 67-year-old worked in a British Army workshop on military vehicles before his own workshop business. He loves catching up with fellow committee members and all other ex-military vehicle owners and supporters, with several instances of three generations attending last week.

He also greatly appreciates the secretarial work of the lady dubbed ‘Superwoman’, Jan Thompson-Creamer.

Last week was Jan’s 38th visit and a particularly special one as she turned 50-years-of-age. It was the third anniversary of her wedding to Troy Creamer. She arrived by an amphibious jeep to the Corowa Lagoon area in 2017 for her biggest day.

“One of the highlights last week was the amphibious vehicles coming down the river to the lagoon – just like on our wedding day,” she said.

“Nine jeeps were in the water, a LARC and a DUKW.  The welcome at Ball Park down by the river was absolutely stunning. 

“The street parade was great with lots of people looking on. The Swap Meet at the showgrounds was bigger than any other according to Jan McKenna (Corowa Show Secretary), all the trips were good – which included Corowa Primary School, to Dookie (via the silo art in Tungamah, Devenish and Goorambat) Kel Baxter’s farm near Berrigan, Maurice Wilson’s property and the winery.”

Jan expressed KVE’s appreciation to Corowa-Rutherglen Football Netball Club regarding the Friday night dinner and guest speaker Doug Draegar, Corowa RSL Club for its support of the street parade, Federation Council for its financial grant, increasing the number of unpowered sites from 80 to 135 and the illuminated welcoming signs in town.

“KVE thanks the management of Ball Park for all they did to make this another success story,” Jan said.

On a serious note, Jan received an updated report on Monday from the wife of our KVE member KVE Graham Arkle from Geelong who underwent life-saving surgery at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne after being hit from behind by a B-double on the Hume Freeway near Glenrowan whilst driving to Corowa last Thursday night. 

Mr Arkle was driving a 1964 Alvis Stalwart amphibious carrier. The accident happened at about 11.15pm. “He has undergone further surgery and it will be a very long recovery. He is in a stable condition,” Jan said. “We certainly wish Graham all the very best in his recovery.”

KVE will return to Corowa in 2020 according to Jan. “Yes, we will be back,” she said. “The theme next year is The Year of the Military Motorcycle and anyone who has one can sign up with us.”

Local KVE committee member Neville Smith from Balldale praised last week’s event. “It’s a great job getting everyone here. It’s a great family fun event,” said the 1946 jeep owner in his total of seven vehicles, including three land rovers. “(President) Richard’s great and yes, Jan’s a superwoman.”