AROCA NSW was officially formed on 26th June, 1974 when a group of like-minded and enthusiastic appreciators of the company’s products came together to create the NSW Division of a marque Club that already existed in Victoria and South Australia.
The inaugural Club president and member number 1, Mr. Colin Goldie, is still an active member of our Club and was instrumental in the formation and continuation of our Hunter Valley Chapter. It was a wonderful moment to see our inaugural and current Presidents, Col and Mr. Richard McKee, together cut the Club’s ‘birthday’ cake,
To mark our 40th year, a weekend as close as possible to 26th June was dedicated for the purpose, that being 12-13th July, 2014. The weekend consisted of linked activities, so that members could enjoy any or all of them, as their own situations demanded. With the pressures of work and families, the concept was to encourage as many members as possible to participate across the weekend. Additionally, ex-members of the Club were also invited to attend.
Two meeting points in Sydney and one in Canberra on Saturday morning gathered together members for three group drives to lunch. Lunch was busy, noisy and large and there was lots of catching up with old and new friends, all with a great view.
After lunch, a contingent made their way to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at HMAS Albatross in Nowra. A guided tour was provided by a Club member, lending a personal flavour to the visit.
The 40th Anniversary sub-committee, in the meantime, was hard at work at Coolangatta Estate decorating and preparing the dinner venue.
The dinner venue was the old chapel at Coolangatta Estate. The tables were decorated – lots of newspaper and magazine clippings and photos scattered under clear tablecloths, green and red napkins arranged with commemorative key rings as the holders (these were given to each participant), small bowls of red, white and green lollies, and the crowning glory on each table were the balloon weights – cardboard versions of different models of Alfas holding bunches of red, white and green balloons.
Keeping the dinner guests entertained was a 1974 trivia quiz on each table, prizes for best 1970s outfits, a slideshow of nearly 1400 photographs, and personal recollections from various current and past members. We were also pleased to honour five members with their 40 year membership badges. The evening concluded with live music and dancing.
Sunday morning, and the weather co-operated beautifully. Back at Coolangatta Estate, cars were arriving for a display on the lawns.
There were some 23 cars on show, ranging in age from just over 40 years old to the current model Giulietta. Participants voted for their favourite car, won overwhelmingly by Brad Wilson’s 105 coupe, purchased just two weeks before.
Another rarity on display was the ex-Ray Gulson Alfasud Giardinetta (station wagon), of which there are just three in Australia.
Most of the assembled Alfas then made their way via scenic Kangaroo Valley to the very pretty Southern Highlands village of Burrawang for lunch where we were joined by day trippers who enjoyed the drive just for lunch.
As a life member, it was a great weekend of good company, memories, good food and good drives. It was wonderful to see members travelling from regions around Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra and the Central West for such an auspicious occasion.
Here’s to the next 40 years!