Its now time to do a trip to Horsham in the Western Victoria
There are two Centurions around Horsham that I had info and photos of but as yet I have not seen them myself. I had a trip planned for S.A. for this weekend with the wife going to Ballarat. But as it was put off at the last minute for a later date, I decided to go to Horsham.
Leaving Kilmore at 6.45 am on a cold and cloudy day, I drove towards Ballarat, and finally arrived at Horsham at 12 am. Booked into a motel and had some lunch, before heading out to Ian Puls property, about 60 kls away.
This signboard was on the way out. It reminded me, as it would a lot of others, of the Battle Honour's won by the 1st Armoured Regiment in Vietnam. Balmoral was a battle where Armour and Centurion M.B.T.'s, were to prove their worth again in Vietnam
This sign had me thinking of much that I had read on the Battle of Balmoral, and I forgot to turn off here, which I should have done. So I was in fact approaching Ian's property from the wrong directions. This made my scribbled instructions pretty useless. When I decided about 50 kls later that something was wrong, I thought I would ring Ian and find out where I was. Not so. No mobile network for my phone up here. I asked directions and was told I was miles away. I found this strange but started off soon to decide that they measure distance in Kangaroo hops up here. I did a lot of miles before finding another living person who gave me more directions. Away again and after many miles, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a tank track showing in a shed on my right. I was there. It was at this stage I become aware that I should have turned off at the Balmoral turnoff not 52 Kls down the road. Anyway Ian was there and so were five large sheds.
The first shed held stationary engines. They were huge, a few would have been about 15 ft long 6 ft wide and about 12 ft high with big 6" exhausts out either the wall or the roof. These were used to run generators. There was one that had done 1000,000,300 hours, which is rather a long time. They built them well in those days. They had massive flywheels, some about 6 ft. To be quite honest I was quite surprised by it all and am not 100% sure of what I did in fact see, but I think I have most of it correct. Into another shed and it was full of old tractors, quite a few that never saw production and others that did not last long in the market place. They were quite amazing, all covered with sheets and as the sheds were quite dark, photos were not a good idea. The next shed has small stationary motors, and there were plenty of these. the next one housed the Centurion and other vehicles, including a small tank with out a turret, and many interesting vehicles. The next one had a beautiful Bren Gun Carrier, it looked in mint condition and I think Ian said it was the original paint. In all it was quite an amazing place, and I could have spent a whole day there. I would also have liked to photograph the many units even though they were not Centurions they were very nice and interesting. There is just something about old items of machinery.
There was something different about Ian's Centurion. I quickly noticed that he had built another smaller Aux. Fuel Tank
Ian removed the two internal fuel tanks, as it gave more room to access the engine and especially the spark plugs. I would imagine the 100 - gallon tank had a rust problem, and the easy way was to just build a new one.
Its a pretty good neat job and I imagine it would gravity feed the fuel, doing away with a fuel pump.
Note the difference yet??
This shows just how thick the up armoured glacis plate was, as the weld marks show
Spot the difference yet? The number was 196055 where as it should have been 169055! It was that way when Ian purchased the Centurion. I now wonder if that is the correct number either. It goes without saying that there was no id plate in the drivers compartment. It does not look like original army numbers
Ian says that they only bring her out for a run once a year, then put her back!
From there I now headed back to Horsham returning the way I should have come. The directions were now very good, and I made good time, arriving back about 5pm. It was very cold so I had dinner and then went to bed with the strip heater, the air conditioner onto high heat, and both the electric blankets on roast, and a good book. After about 2 hours I turned every thing off and had a good nights sleep.
I was away at 6.45 am . My next call was to see Ron Schneider, and it had to be early as he was going out at 10AM. Again I was lost and drove up a 22 kl road three times before I found a chap driving a huge tractor with a rather wide set of ploughs, just entering a paddock. He gave me directions and I was saved. I mentioned that he had a big days work in front of him. He replied, "No I am only doing the small paddock today and then off back home." The small paddock, from where I stood on one corner, had fences stretched into the distance in two directions, I could not see the other fences, they were out of sight! And this land was flat as! I decided I would not like to see a large paddock.
Away, and I finally met Ron Schneider, and what a collection he had !
This was 169035. Ron has not had her running yet but said she was a goer when he brought her. Ron said he decided to change the spark plugs one day. Did 5 out of the 24 and that took all day. I know how he felt, it was a job I did once with a mate and I do not ever want to try it again.
169035 is missing a pair of roadwheels but Ron said he has them. I do believe him as there is not much he has not got.
The front section of 169035
The rear showing that the straps for the 100-gallon tank have been fitted
Another view of 169035 showing the missing roadwheels
The other side with the full set of roadwheels
A landing craft in the yard
One of Ron's planes
A pair of Centurion suspension stations, complete with the box they came in
Tracks and roadwheels from a Bren Gun Carrier
A very nice Bofors
A pair of Ron's trucks looking very nice also
I could not id this one but Brad Baker from Mascot said it was a Valentine--Thanks for that info Brad
The rear view
This one came from my old home area--The Snowy Mountains
A snow cat, something they would not have much use for at Horsham