What a year that was! Just when museums and galleries were gearing up for the new Roaring Twenties, they were suddenly clobbered by Covid. Doors closed, events collapsed, and exhibits were mothballed in deep storage. Lock-down limbo was the new normal and dark clouds of despair descended like a cold wet blanket.
Fast forward to the Silly Season and it’s all beginning to look like a very bad dream, at least in Queensland. The Brisbane Tramway Museum is certainly moving forward and planning is well underway for a much anticipated rebound in 2021.
But despite the significant Covid challenges, there were some outstanding highlights in 2020. One was a visit from the VCCQ – the Vintage Car Club of Queensland. Formed in 1955, it’s the oldest vintage car club in the state and it also boasts some of the most interesting vehicles.
It’s probably fair to say the members are a colourful bunch of eccentrics, but they wear the badge well and often use their membership as a passport to party. They certainly celebrate a shared enthusiasm for vintage cars and some even boast of suffering from ‘Car-Owner Virus’ – an incurable disease for those inflicted.
It goes without saying that social distancing rules were strictly observed at all times, but vintage cars are often socially distanced anyway. Restorations are expensive and time consuming, so it’s usually prudent to park well away from swinging doors and popping champagne corks!
Cars seen on the green included an impressive 4.5 litre “Blower” Bentley, a brace of Rolls-Royce Ghosts (in matching aubergine livery), a rare Lorraine Dietrich, racing Bugattis to die for, ‘International’ Aston Martins, an insane aero-engined Vauxhall, and too many other gorgeous cars to list in a short article.
With 20/20 hindsight in 2021, some institutions will no doubt look back and ask questions: Should we have done things differently? Could we have done better? Post-mortem debates are all very well, but the truth is the Tramway Museum did remarkably well; it could have been a lot worse.
Members of the adjoining Men’s Shed also rolled up their sleeves to get on with the job of restoring Brisbane’s historic trams. They are the unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure a good selection of rolling stock is always on track for the anticipated bonza year ahead.
If you haven’t already visited to the museum, you are definitely missing out. And if you have been, why not come back on one of the ‘special days’ to check out the other exciting exhibits? You never know what may turn up. That said, we’re all hoping the Joker in the pack – Covid-19 – doesn’t spoil the show in 2021…….
The Brisbane Tramway Museum is proudly supported by the Brisbane City Council.
Photo © D. Fryer