An informal meeting by several persons interested in forming a Vintage Car Club on the Gold Coast was held in the Girl Guides Hall, Goodwin Park Coolangatta, Queensland on the 11th November 1968, this meeting was chaired by Brian Cowan with Gary Cox as the Acting Secretary.

Those in attendance at the meeting where –

Bill Jarman 1928 Model-T Ford Alby Wright Singer
Gorden Short 1902 Swift/1929 A Ford David McAlister Morris
Dale Hanley 1922 Vauxhall Bill Catlin 1928 Cadillac
Barry Skimmings 1909/1924 Maxwell Gary Volkers 1925 Citroen
Graham Flanagan 1926 Austin Gordon Singh Unknown
Peter Gardiner 1936 Austin and T Ford Peter Harris FIAT 501
Frank Muggeridge 1911/1922 T Ford Lex Harris 1927-29 La Salle
Joe Maddison Unknown John Henneken 1928 Model A Ford
Ian De Somer 1928 Model A Ford Brian Cowan 1928 Model A Ford
Gary Cox 1920/1924 Coventry Standard Bob Rothwell 1928 Model A Ford
Kay Cowan Unknown Marie Harris Unknown

A show of hands to see if the club could put on a display of cars in December and they selected the 25th November for the inaugural meeting of a club and at this meeting the first committee was formed as shown in the table below

President Brian Cowan Secretary Peter Harris
Treasurer Bill Catlin Vice President Barry Skimmings
Publicity Officer Marie Harris Spare Parts Gordon Farquhar
Editor Dale Hanley Rally Director Barry Helsham
Assistant Editor Graham Hetherington

On the 9th December after much discussion the club’s name was decided upon, and the final vote was in favour of “Gold Coast Antique Auto Club”. At the same meeting it was also decided to call the club magazine the “Crankhandle News”. The first car rally was held on the 18th January 1969 starting at 11 am from Nerang, and the first edition of the newsletter was printed in May 1969. The first official AGM of the club was held on the 14th July.

The G.C.A.A.C. Clubhouse

The Gold Coast Antique Auto Club was formed in November 1968 but wasn’t always fortunate enough to have a clubhouse. Initially meetings were held in the Palm Beach Girl Guide Hall.

Opportunity knocked though in 1974, when the Burleigh Heads Methodist Church needed to extend its church. Reg Schuster, a club member and Burleigh Heads Methodist Church parishioner, learnt that the church was to be replaced by a much larger brick one and that the small wooden church he had been attending would be available for removal. When he relayed this information to the Antique Auto Club members they were enthusiastic about transforming it into a clubhouse.

The church building had been erected on the corner of West Burleigh Road and Burleigh Street and the first service was held in it in December 1928. It consisted of two sections divided in the middle by a kitchen. The front section was the church and the rear section was used as a hall for fellowship functions.

When extensions to the church commenced in 1974, the building was cut in two at the partition where the kitchen and vestry joined the church. This section and the hall were removed. At the time, the late Reg Schuster, who was the Patron of our club, had a crane hire business and there were several members who were tradesmen in the building and electrical trades and there were many willing helpers, so it seemed like a good idea to secure the unwanted structure and renovate it for a clubhouse.

First though, a site had to be secured, so the hall was stored at Mick Stevens’ yard at Burleigh Park and remained there for about a year. That was a particularly wet year, plagued by cyclones. As the building was open on one end, efforts had to be made during the bad weather to secure it and to keep the rain out.

The Albert Shire Council, which has since amalgamated with the Gold Coast City Council, made our present site available for lease. Land at Mudgeeraba was not in demand in those years and the club was given a lease on the whole area now known as the Mudgeeraba Heritage Centre, including the present Museum site. The building could now be moved to this site. The truck transporting the hall became bogged both getting the hall out of Mick Stevens’ yard and into the new site. In fact, the position of the clubhouse was decided when the operation became bogged at the present site.

What was originally the back of the church hall became the front of our clubhouse. The kitchen remained in the same position, but part of it was taken by the ladies’ toilet, while the old vestry was converted to the men’s toilet. The back wall was closed in and after many working bees by the eager members the clubhouse was complete and ready for use. While the men worked on the building, the women kept the food coming.

The project was only possible through the efforts of the generous volunteer workers, led by members who were qualified tradesmen, and through the generous donation of the use of equipment such as Reg Schuster’s cranes.

While we were fortunate to have so many benefactors who donated their time, equipment and even some materials, the project cost money and the fledgling club had very little. Fund raising was conducted, such as sausage sizzles and car shows, as the project progressed, but much more money was needed. There was a solution, though, the issuing of debentures to club members. All this hard work paid off, the project was completed, and the first meeting was held in the hall in July 1976.

For many years our annual Swap was held at the clubhouse. Through the years, as the lease on the land has been renewed the size has gradually diminished to allow for other clubhouses to be squeezed in and we now have a lease extending only one metre beyond our buildings. The accidental siting of the clubhouse so long ago turned out to be advantageous though, as we have more parking space and can use the low-lying parkland below our clubhouse for club events.

Since those days, club membership has grown, and we have been fortunate enough to have the finances and to have members with firstly the vision to see that two different lots of extensions were needed and secondly the expertise to design and build them, giving us a clubhouse of which we can be justly proud.