4WDING, CAMPING,CARAVANING, ADVENTURING...& A BLOODY GOOD LAUGh
TROOPCARRIERS OF AUSTRALIA 2016 WINTER RAMBLE
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY MARK ALLEN
Just few short years ago, a few mates were sitting around a campfire pondering, amongst other things, the idea of starting an online 4x4 group specifically catering for Landcruiser Troopcarriers. Troopcarriers of Australia was born via Michael Shaw (yep, it’s his missing finger that the Shawry Salute is derived). While there were various prior catch-ups with the small band of mates, the first two Winter Rambles were organised by three fellas (Cal Tomlinson, Ryan Kestle and Dan Smith) and held in a reserve just out of Gloucester with just their own three Troopies in 2013 and rising to 17 Troopies in 2014.
Looking for a larger venue to cram a couple of extra Troopies into, the guys moved it to Coorongooba campground (near Glen Davis) in 2015 and attracted 76 vehicles. Tripin’ forward 12 months for this 2016 TOA Winter Ramble where an incredible 150 Troopies turned up. That is nothing short of astonishing given TOA is a closed group! I for one reckon that number could easily double, triple or break the 1000 mark next year or soon after given there is a smidgeon over 3300 online members to date.
The admins that I spoke to at the Ramble and over the phone all expressed their amazement and thanks to all who helped organise and turn up for this event and wanted to note that they are not a club, just a group of like-minded people that are always ready to help each other out with either info, help and parts, which means there is no El President, no fees, no insurance implied and the only rules are ‘play nicely’ with one another. All are welcome, fellas, Sheila’s and families alike, noting this year there were a handful of families complete with caravans and kids joining in the fun.
My personal experience with this mob has been nothing short of fantastic; about one month after purchasing my second hand Troopy, I was sent on a mission to QLD and had a couple of dash lights come on. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the manual or paperwork to know exactly what one of the lights meant so I punched a question into the group while parked on the side of the road and had a reassuring answer within five to ten minutes. That’s all I needed to know, so headed on my merry way knowing I could fix the problem at my leisure, so thanks again to those that answered. I’ve seen countless similar experiences with plenty of likeminded, helpful Troopy-owning people.
Another generous and superb outcome of this 2016 Winter Ramble is the $4850.00 that will be donated to The Southern Cross Kids Camps charity which is a not-for-profit mob who take less fortunate kids out camping in the bush – what a brilliant form of healing to be sitting around a campfire with people that care for you. That amount was raised via a few members making, selling and donating profits from beanies, hoodies and various stickers, plus there was a raffle over the weekend with all prizes donated from a heap of TOA members who run their own businesses. A huge pat on the back to all who helped raise that money and organised the profits to be handed to the selected charity; I reckon those involved deserve an extra frothy one around their next camp fire.
Why on earth would we buy what is essentially a commercial vehicle for our travels? Toyota Troopcarriers are the epitome of touring 4x4’s; they can be camped in, on top, or next to, plus can tow almost any camper trailer or caravan on the market. Worldwide, they fit the bill perfectly for remote travel, both long term and shorter jaunts having cavernous internal proportions, are reliable, simple and have rugged mechanicals, plus have a huge choice of aftermarket gear to choose from and are easily modified. While we don’t buy them for their on-road cornering prowess, super-flexi suspension or their standard stereo systems, the Troopy is the perfect platform for the adventurous amongst us, plus easily and comfortably double as daily drivers. Sure they have their problems, as all makes do, but straight out of the box, they can be taken almost anywhere on the planet.
There are other Rambles throughout the year during spring and summer and in various locations around Australia, so, if your keen and own a Troopy check ‘em out on Troopcarriers Of Australia on Facebook and join in the fun; you could do a lot worse if you’re looking for a laid back community to belong to. Till next time Legends… Froth on!
Like every closed group or secret society that has a clandestine handshake, covert wink, tickle or hug; the TOA mob have their own unique gesture of acknowledgement… the Shawry Salute. Originating from the loss of a digit from Michael Shaw, one of the group legends hands, the Shawry Salute has become the official TOA greeting. Ramble campfire chat had that digit being chewed off by a huge croc, run over by a Troopy wearing split rims and even from being slammed in a Troopy barn door. The real way Mr Shaw lost that ring finger is… sorry, can’t tell you as anyone that is told outside of the Troopy family will face the same painful consequences. So, if you really must know; buy a Troopy and join the family.
Tattoos, number plates, windscreen stickers, beanies and hoodies; you name it and these guys have it covered all in the name of promoting their legendary vehicles.