ASCC Annual National Rallies

The first ASCC National Rally was held in Wagga Wagga in 1968, eight years after the club was formed. It was such a success that it became the first of what was to become an annual pilgrimage for many members. This is especially true of Alf Britton who has demonstrated his enthusiasm for the Club by attending every Federal Rally that has been held (c2010)!

The Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire tug-of-war team versus the 16/18HP team at the Swan Hill Federal Rally, 1973The annual National Rallies are many things to many people. They offer opportunities to renew friendships and make new acquaintances with people who share an interest in the marque. Rallies provide a chance to share Armstrong Siddeley and motoring knowledge and expertise. Attending a rally often results in increased enthusiasm and motivates many participants to further their restoration efforts on their return home.

The success of the National Rallies is due primarily to the wide variety of activities catering to the differing needs of Armstrong Siddeley enthusiasts and their families. The main activities include:

An Armstrong Siddeley MK I Sapphire at the Federal Rally gymkahna in Canberra, 1975
  • the National Concours d' Elegance
  • the Annual General Meeting
  • an auction of Armstrong Siddeley parts and other items
  • the display and sales of Club shop items and spare parts
  • technical discussions and presentations
  • the opportunity for the Board of Directors to meet face to face.

The social activities of the rally are equally important and these include drives and visits to local tourist locations, BBQ's, picnics and buffet meals and of course, the Prize Giving Dinner. In the past, regular gymkhana events were enjoyed by all. These activities provide many opportunities to chat and enjoy the company of other Armstrong Siddeley enthusiasts. In earlier years, the Saturday night dinner often included a dance band, the party mood often continuing after dinner to someone's motel room for the "after party party".

Baby sitting and children's activities were a regular part of the rally scene. "Are we there yet" was the normal refrain from the back seat for many attendees. What was often not recognised at the time by the children was the important education they were receiving about regional and rural Australia.

A club viewing of the rarely seen antique collection at Seppeltsfield during the Armstrong Siddley Federal Rally to the Barossa Vally in 1981The earlier rallies were held over the four day Easter period as this was considered a good time for working people with young families to be able to get away. In recent years, due in part to the current (2010) age demographic of members, the rallies have been held later in the year to avoid popular holiday times. They have now also been extended by an extra day to make a five-day event.

It's a serious undertaking to attend a National Rally and not just in terms of time and money. Driving an old car many hundreds of kilometers on roads across regional terrain (like the Hay plain) tests its reliability. This is particularly the case for cars that are not often used and that are normally kept garaged and driven only occasionally for short distances. Even though mechanical and restoration work is commenced well in advance of a National Rally, all too often Murphy's Law steps in. Work is often completed only days before a departure, leaving little time for adequate road testing. It was against this scene that the Hard Luck Trophy was established. Members often share stories of their travelling adventures, the funny side being appreciated only after the event. To illustrate: a Sapphire arriving with the front grille removed to aid airflow through the radiator, partly caused by driving through a locust plague and a Hurricane needing to stop at regular intervals during a very wet drive to wring out towels that had been used to soak up water from inside the car! Mechanical problems are not unknown with blown head gaskets, seized pistons, overheating problems, blown tyres and failing magnetos being typical problems encountered.

The unique social dynamic of a historic car club is highlighted by the scene played out frequently at the first gathering. Anxious rally participants await the news of those who have not yet arrived or who have had trouble on their journey. Sending out a search party on a dark country road to find a member who should have arrived hours ago has occasionally been required.

The Prize Giving Dinner is a special part of the rally, with the awarding of trophies and speeches that often include recognition of the efforts of particular members who have contributed to the club. The Club Person of the Year is announced and then, in closing, a public thank you is made to an exhausted rally coordinator and his/her team on behalf of all the participants along with their appreciation for a job-well-done.

A local history lesson for participants at the 1971 Armstrong Siddeley Federal Rally in CoomaThe National Rallies are organised in rotation by the State Branches who all know well in advance when their turn is next due. It typically takes two years to secure accommodation, organise venues, tours, security and when necessary, permissions for processions. Rally promotion and the preparation of rally packs which include all the required information and some surprise goodies are also part of the organising committee's work. During this process it is often noted that interest from local Branch members increases as they all pull together to make their rally a success.

The National Rally has no doubt been a vital part of building a successful Car Club and in so doing has been a major contributing factor in the preservation of the Armstrong Siddeley marque.

Click on a State on the map below to see the rallies held in that State or use the reverse-chronological or alphabetical lists to jump straight to a particular rally.

  Chronological List   Location List
  2015 Broken Hill (SA)   Ballarat (VIC) 1984
  2014 Maitland (NSW)   Barossa Valley (SA) 1981
  2013 Bendigo (VIC)   Barossa Valley (SA) 1996
  2012 Sapphire Coast (NSW)   Bathurst (NSW) 2009
  2011 Toowoomba (QLD)   Beechworth (VIC) 2003
  2010 Swan Hill (VIC)   Bendigo (VIC) 2013
  2009 Bathurst (NSW)   Bowral (NSW) 1985
  2008 Echuca (VIC)   Broken Hill (NSW) 2015
  2007 Canberra (ACT)   Canberra (ACT) 1969
  2006 Inverell (NSW)   Canberra (ACT) 1975
  2005 Tanunda (SA)   Canberra (ACT) 1983
  2004 Wagga Wagga (NSW)   Canberra (ACT) 2007
  2003 Beechworth (VIC)   Cherrabah (QLD) 1997
  2002 Jindabyne (NSW)   Clare (SA) 1991
  2001 Mildura (VIC)   Cooma (NSW) 1971
  2000 Singleton (NSW)   Cootamundra (NSW) 1977
  1999 Mt Beauty (VIC)   Cowra (NSW) 1995
  1998 Goulburn (NSW)   Dartmouth (VIC) 1994
  1997 Cherrabah (QLD)   Deniliquin (NSW) 1976
  1996 Barossa Valley (SA)   Echuca (VIC) 2008
  1995 Cowra (NSW)   Goulburn (NSW) 1998
  1994 Dartmouth (VIC)   Griffith (NSW) 1970
  1993 Tumut (NSW)   Inverell (NSW) 2006
  1992 Toowoomba (QLD)   Jindabyne (NSW) 2002
  1991 Clare (SA)   Maitland (NSW) 2014
  1990 Mudgee (NSW)   Melbourne (VIC) 1974
  1989 Wangaratta (VIC)   Mildura (VIC) 1978
  1988 Thredbo (NSW)   Mildura (VIC) 2001
  1987 Stanthorpe (QLD)   Mt Beauty (VIC) 1999
  1986 Renmark (SA)   Mudgee (NSW) 1990
  1985 Bowral (NSW)   Narrandera (NSW) 1972
  1984 Ballarat (VIC)   Renmark (SA) 1986
  1983 Canberra (ACT)   Sapphire Coast (NSW) 2012
  1982 Toowoomba (QLD)   Singleton (NSW) 2000
  1981 Barossa Valley (SA)   Stanthorpe (QLD) 1987
  1980 Tamworth (NSW)   Swan Hill (VIC) 1973
  1979 Wagga Wagga (NSW)   Swan Hill (VIC) 2010
  1978 Mildura (VIC)   Tamworth (NSW) 1980
  1977 Cootamundra (NSW)   Tanunda (SA) 2005
  1976 Deniliquin (NSW)   Thredbo (NSW) 1988
  1975 Canberra (ACT)   Toowoomba (QLD) 1982
  1974 Melbourne (VIC)   Toowoomba (QLD) 2011
  1973 Swan Hill (VIC)   Toowoomba (QLD) 1992
  1972 Narrandera (NSW)   Tumut (NSW) 1993
  1971 Cooma (NSW)   Wagga Wagga (NSW) 1968
  1970 Griffith (NSW)   Wagga Wagga (NSW) 1979
  1969 Canberra (ACT)   Wagga Wagga (NSW) 2004
  1968 Wagga Wagga (NSW)   Wangaratta (VIC) 1989