By John Barram, photos by Ken Philp and Anne Blackwood.
Rob Preslmaier organised our August Sunday drive from a meeting spot that was new to me, the Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park in Walloon to the west of Ipswich.
The park contained a memorial to two little local girls who drowned in a lily pond in 1891, including a commemorative poem written by Henry Lawson who had visited the area soon after the tragedy.
We soon had 25 Lotus ready to go including Greg and Chris Bray in their lovely Elan representing the earlier cars.
After a briefing by Rob and the handing out of route instructions we set off to the west. The first 50km part of the drive was on the back roads of the Lockyer Valley where the country was looking particularly green in this wetter than average year.
We stopped for morning coffees at the Gatton Transport Museum, with plenty of parking and well able to cope with our mob. The trucks on display there represent just about the opposite end of the automotive spectrum from our light little Lotus cars and I don’t think anyone looked too closely.
On leaving Gatton we sped (at legal speeds) past further green fields to the foot of the main range for the climb up to the Darling Downs. There are only a few roads which climb the main range in South East Queensland and this is certainly my favourite. It follows Ma Ma creek, with lots of nice curves on a good two lane road with a reasonable surface and it is far enough from major towns that it is not yet spoiled with tedious speed limiting.
So we climbed the mountain, turned right at the New England Highway and drove on to Rudd’s Pub in the tiny town of Nobby. Here we met up with Anne Blackwood who had difficulty getting her computerised navigation system to recognise Walloon or something, so she had simply made a bee-line for the pub!
Australian writer Steele Rudd lived from 1909 on a property at Nobby where he wrote four of his books and is reputed to have penned some of his stories sitting by the fireplace in this pub. His life in the area was the basis for much of his writing including the radio series Dad and Dave.
A fun drive in the winter sunshine, good pub food and the usual camaraderie of the Lotus Club made for a most enjoyable day.