Friends and Memories

Following the death of an old mate, Lionel fondly recalls their times in Apex before heading off to an Australian Caravan Club muster.

The Marlo estuary.

Way back in 1972, we had a barbecue at our place in Mornington, Vic, to start an organisation we called Apex 40. You leave Apex at 40 years of age, and we wanted to have continuing friendship with people we knew from our active Apex days.

Two of the people present that day were Alan Kinder and his wife Nola. Alan was always ready to take on any role in Apex 40, including national president. 

Alan and Nola often travelled with their caravan to Far North Queensland.  He was a keen golfer and one year I caught up with him for a game up north. One of Alan’s shots finished up in one of the trucks on the railway that ran alongside the golf course heading for the sugar mill and he said, “I’ve just played the longest world record shot – that ball is going all the way to the mill!”

Alan and I drove up to Queensland to start our second Apex 40 branch at Maryborough and played golf every day on the trip. One very hot day, Alan turned to me at the 16th hole and asked, “Do you want to play all the way up to the 17th hole and then all the way back here, or would you rather go into the clubhouse and have a nice cold beer?”

There’s no prize for guessing my answer!

Sadly, aged 90, Alan passed away recently after a short illness and I was able to be at the funeral courtesy of the internet. Not quite the same as being present, but it was the next best thing. It was not a sad funeral as  there were lots of wonderful shared memories from the family and some of his many friends.


After that, Yemmy was all packed up ready to go, so I left home at 4pm heading to my friend Eric’s place at Officer, Vic. At that time of day, the evening rush hour was calming down, so I arrived by 7.30 to find Eric was not well and he headed back to bed. 

The next morning, after a call to his doctor, our friend Stuart took him to hospital for tests, but not before Stuart had changed Yemmy’s oil and oil filter. Good bloke, Stuart!

I’d intended staying overnight at Officer and heading for our ACC muster in Marlo the next day, but with Eric gone there was no point in hanging around so I was soon on the freeway heading east. Approaching Sale, I remembered we had an ACC farm stay at Sale, so I rang the owner, Derick, and asked how much notice he needed for his farm stay.

“How far away are you?’ he asked. 

“About 40km,” I answered. 

“That’ll do he said – see you soon.” 

His phone had told him who was calling and there were another two ACC couples staying as well. We had a barbecue and a nice social evening – up until about 9pm, that is! My phone had an email that told me there had been some suspicious activity on my credit card and it had been temporarily blocked!

The next morning, I was off at 8.30 and had a pleasant run down to Marlo. Seeing the Snowy River reminded me of an incident 50 years ago. I was Apex zone president at the time and, with a fellow Apexian, had driven down to attend the local Apex club’s annual handover dinner at Orbost.

One of the members asked if we’d like a trip on the river the next morning. We said “yes, please” and he duly picked us up from our motel the next morning and away we went.

After we’d been cruising the Snowy River at Marlo for a bit, we saw a man in a boat stationary near the opposite bank. Our friend said “hold tight” and, opening the throttle to flat-out, steered straight at the other boat and then swerved at the last minute! The spray from our boat rocked the other boat violently and the poor occupant was wet through!

Our friend explained his actions as we continued cruising down the river. “That so-and-so works for me in a hardware shop. The other day I was bending down doing something and that so-and-so shot me in the bum with a nail gun! I’ve been waiting my chance to get even.”


We headed for the beach on Saturday and had morning tea – or coffee – looking over the water. Before the walk there were pictures taken of those wearing shorts, semi length and longs. Some us chickened out for the walk and relaxed back at the caravan park.

At night, we went to the Marlo Hotel for a lovely dinner although two members seemed to find their phones more interesting!


We had been divided into six teams of six to play finska, boules and putting. On Sunday morning, two players from each team played one of the games and we played down to two finals teams for each game.

The finals were held at happy hour when we could all watch the action.

In the Finska final, one team needed a score of 11 to win. Previous throws of the log had left most of the numbered pins quite close up, but a stray throw had put the 11 some way from the others.

The lady tossed the log towards the group but the log went over them, hit an uneven patch that turned the log straight at the 11 pin and knocked it over! The cheering and clapping from the onlookers was great to hear. 



I walked down to the Marlo shops on the Monday and clocked more than 6000 steps for the day. The local real estate agent must be happy because one of the two caravan parks had been sold.


After a great weekend, it was time to head back to Officer where Eric was back home from hospital and feeling much better. The next morning, we had another go at the brakes, which are always a bit spongy – a Sprinter weakness.

A very pleasant run on the Western Freeway saw me back home by 5pm after a great trip.