Station Vehicles. Part one.

February 2, 2011

Me in the HJ47 a long time ago!

Me in the HJ47 a long time ago!

When I first came to Kilcowera in 1980, Greg had a new yellow Hilux, his pride and joy, his Dad and Mum, (Toot and Clare) had a big old blue Fairlane (their pride and joy) and 2 station trayback Toyotas.  These were called Toot’s Toyota and Green door.  Vehicles had to have names of some sort so everyone new which one was being discussed.  As green door was the oldest it became our chariot. Those old Toyotas were so dependable and easy to fix if anything went wrong, they really didn’t know when to give up.

A few years went by and Green door was retired and a new vehicle was purchased from the Toyota dealership in Thargomindah which is owned by Greg’s sister and brother in law.  I’m looking at the purchase order here now: It was 1984, it was a HJ47 and white in colour which was a change from that nasty old light brown of our previous ones.  With a tow bar, bull bar and a body it cost us $13,357.10. And it had a digital clock and 4 gears.  A new one today is out of our reach for the foreseeable future as they are around $60,000 and getting just a bit too pretty, precious and soft to use for everyday work on the property.

Toot died in 1985, Greg took over the reigns of both places and the new HJ47.  An overseer was employed to live and work on Zenonie and he took over Toots old Toyota which is what it was always called.

1990 rolled around and it was decided a new car was needed again, so off we went to the dealership and came out with another white trayback ute at a cost of around $30,000 from memory.  It was very upmarket with air conditioning, a new dashboard, the digital clock, a snorkel, winch, 5 gears!!!, and 2 fuel tanks.  While it wasn’t as roomy inside as the older ones, the air con was pretty nice!  Toots’ old Toyota was relegated to being the fencing vehicle and the overseer got the HJ47, aka Whitey.

Anyway we cruised around in the new one, with me opening the gates, doing the water runs for 3 years and not once did I drive it!  Not once!!!  His lordship would be perched up behind the wheel in the air conditioning, like a little buddha, watching the Missus struggling with those mongrel little wire gates (cockies gates).  After about 18 months of this I decided not to get narky about it, but to see just how long it would be until I was granted the privilege of driving it – and it was a bit over 3 years.  There are some things a person doesn’t forget!

The last ute we bought was in 2001, second hand as they were getting to expensive to buy new.  It was a pretty silver one owned by the brother in law, just 2 years old with about 20,000 km on it.  It didn’t really have any more bells and whistles on it than the last one back in 1990.  Oh, it has a limited slip diff, a canopy, mags and fat tyres.  Yee Hah !!!

Whitey 1, the HJ45, got sold to some dill down south who promptly drove it through a metre and a half of water and cooked the motor and the 1990 ute is now the fencing vehicle and has taken on the moniker of Whitey.  The poor old thing never seems to catch up to itself or it’s not allowed to at any rate. One month you’ll look at it and it’s listing to one side (the drivers side, naturally), and favouring a back leg.  So it gets new backsprings and up she perks…. but not all round.  Then it might get some new back shockies and it looks like it’s about to buck out of the shed.  Recently Greg put some new springs and shocks and new tyres on the front and it now looks like something out of Mad Max ready to pounce on you if you walk past it.  The poor old girl never seems to be level though – still it’s easy to slide into the drivers seat now.

When our first child came along we had to upgrade from the Hilux to a Station Wagon and being on a very tight budget we looked around for a second hand one.  The neighbour down the road was upgrading so we became the proud new owners of a brown and white Toyota wagon.  I have fond memories of water spitting out of the monstrous grate of the air conditioning while dust oozed in through the perished door seals and Creedence blared from the cassette player.  We’ve had 3 more wagons since then.  The old girl we have now is getting a bit long in the tooth but after 9 years of drought and a greatly diminished income we really have no choice but to hang onto it.  It’s a good reliable vehicle being an 80 series Toyota and well looked after and serviced by the rellies in Thargomindah.

Our 80 series wagon on the job at Kilcowera Station.