OLD DODGE ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Admiring the old 1923 Dodge are, from left, Bernie Stephens, Don Haidley, Peter Stacy, Mick Bradford, Wayne Sugden, John Eastwell and Cameron Haidley, who was pictured as a child sitting on top of the vehicle when it was delivered to the museum.

Two groups dedicated to the preservation of local history have combined to get a vintage vehicle back on the road in the lead up to its centenary year.

The Warwick Veteran and Vintage Vehicle Club has extended a helping hand Pringle Cottage Museum to restore a 1923 Dodge Tourer to its former glory.

The old Dodge helped the community in times of need – having been fitted out as a fire truck during World War II – and now that same community is returning the favour.

It is hoped to have the Dodge ready to hit the road in time for the club’s main event for the year – Heritage Weekend – in the last week of January next year.

The vehicle was first registered at Hedington Hill in 1923. It started life as a Dodge Tourer, blue in colour and typical of the day.

It was used locally for many years and sold to a buyer in Dalby. It was then used there, but sometime around World War II it was converted into a fire fighting appliance by removing the tourer body and fabricating a utility tray with a water pump driven from the tail shaft.

This pump was mounted after the gearbox and the rear axle was disengaged when the pump was engaged. This meant that the vehicle must remain stationary when pumping water, but changing gears meant that the pump would run faster.

The vehicle served as a fire appliance for many years in both Dalby and Toowoomba but it is believed it was retired from service sometime in the 1950s.

A daughter of one of the people involved with the Dodge when it served as an appliance was a boarder at Scots College in Warwick.

As the vehicle had served its time, it then found its way to the college where it resumed its water pumping duties. It was used at the college for years, but was left out in the rain sometime in the mid-1960s and found itself submerged in one of the Condamine floods.

The college then decided that it had completed its tour of duty and it was decided to donate the vehicle to Pringle Cottage Museum.

In 1968, Don Haidley went and got the vehicle from the college and delivered it to the Museum.

An old picture depicts a young Cameron Haidley sitting on the roof of the car as it was being unloaded at the museum. In that photo, the others are Robin Barrie, Gus Conolly, Peter Brixley and Len Bennett. The car was driven into the shed by Don Haidley and there it remained, largely untouched.

The museum decided that a serious attempt should be made to get the old girl back into running order in time to celebrate her 100 laps around the sun, which she will achieve in 2023.

They therefore, with the help of several volunteers, have given her a fresh coat of paint, restored the engine to running order, rebuilt her gearbox and pump and spruced her up considerably.

These restoration works are expensive and the museum needed a bit of help to perform the more elaborate work to get the old vehicle in a roadworthy condition.

The matter was brought to the attention of the Warwick Veteran and Vintage Vehicle Club earlier this year.

The club decided that this was indeed a most worthy cause. Therefore on Saturday 15 June, car club president Peter Stacy presented Pringle Cottage Museum president Bernie Stephens with a cheque for $5000 to assist in the remainder of the restoration.

Additionally at a recent club event held in conjunction with the Toowoomba club and the Lockyer Valley club, a raffle was held for the Dodge and a further $250 was added to the donation, making a total of $5250.

Volunteers at the Pringle Cottage Museum are busy preparing for the big Jumpers and Jazz Festival.

The museum opens from 9am to 3pm every day of the festival and has several features to fit in with the theme, including an impressive yarn-bombed sulky, a wall of sunflowers along the fence and crocheted bells representing each of the schools in the area.

New glass cabinets in Eastwell Hall are currently hosting a wedding dress display with the oldest exhibit dating back to 1908.

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