Conventions – “A pipeliner’s asset”

The Convention committee consisted of Gary Howes (Chairman), 1981-82 President Keith Fitzgerald, who hasn’t missed a convention since they commenced, Jeff Gray, APIA Honorary Life Member Ken Barker and Dennis Hays.

There were 164 delegates, guests and partners who attended the convention which was centred around the Arkaba Hotel in Adelaide.

The networking commenced with a visit on the Saturday to the Barossa Valley, followed by a BBQ which “˜flowed’ through to Sunday’s activities. On Sunday attendees had the opportunity to play golf or take a ride on a paddle steamer from Murray Bridge.

The golf tournament was organised by APIA’s golf fanatic Keith Fitzgerald at the Flagstaff Golf Course. Some 36 golfers, including three ladies, participated and took on the greens and sand traps of the course. It would seem that everyone enjoyed themselves, particularly the leap from the 9th to the 19th hole for refreshments (nothing has changed over the past thirty years!)

John Moss of Caltex won the tournament for the second year running, acquiring the nickname which sounded a little like “˜Ned Kelly’ and had something to do with his handicap.

Other winners were Peter Kerrison, the “˜Best Left Handed Trier’, Carl Weatherford, the “˜Best Gross Score’, Bob Hamilton, the “˜Nearest Pin 9th’, Buck Royal, the “˜Best Individual Hole’, Peter Richardson, the “˜Longest Drive’, Corbet Gore the “˜Nearest Pin 9th’, Eddie Rayburn, the “˜Best Expatriate’, and Richard Bird with the “˜Highest Score’.

In the women’s category, Susan Bird achieved the “˜Best Score’ and Eletta McDonald with “˜Longest Drive’.

Stuart McDonald carried a camera on the course rather than clubs. His favourite trick was to focus on a golfer at the 9th, the hole where all the money was lost. This was a sure fire method to get everybody to bomb out under pressure although he stated that he had no financial arrangement with the “˜Bookie’, Alan Thomas of Lordco.

There was some 60 delegates who decided not to play golf and ventured off to Murray Bridge and enjoyed a trip on the Murray River. A tourist bus transported 50 of the delegates while the remaining 10 were driven in a Transit Van aptly named the “Pipeline Express”, driven by John Barker. Upon arrival at Murray Bridge it was all aboard the P.S. Avoca where everybody enjoyed another BBQ lunch. The entire cruise took about an hour and a half. The bus trip home was uneventful as everybody relaxed and enjoyed the scenery of the Adelaide Hills area. Naturally, refreshments continued to be served at the rear of the bus and a detour through Handorf was necessary for the “relief” of some.

On the Sunday night Banbury Engineering sponsored a “˜Garb and Gourmet’ night where fashions were presented by some beautiful models and food was plentiful.

The Convention was opened by the Hon. Hugh Hudson, SA Minister for Mines and Energy. Under the rule of the Chairman John Bonython (then Santos Chairman) the keynote address was given by Frank Studwell of Bechtel Pacific Corporation. After a smorgasbord luncheon sponsored by Tubemakers, well known underwater diver Henri Bource spoke about his diving experiences and Graham Witty of Gas and Fuel Corporation gave an address on Natural Gas in Albury/Wodonga. Graham eventually served on the APIA Executive Committee for 16 years.

The Monday night was a social highlight with the CRC Crose “˜Hoedown’ with a Country and Western atmosphere, square dancing and non-stop entertainment.

On Tuesday 36 ladies toured and lunched in the Handorf Village courtesy of Lincoln Electric. The convention delegates were treated to talks from Harry Butler and Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation engineer Ken Bilston.

After lunch the Chairman gave a summary on the papers presented which was followed by a look at the Melbourne Cup on colour television. Once again Keith Fitzgerald had been busy organising Cup Sweeps and some of the winners included Lorraine Ashmead ($220), Bill Jones ($50), C, Cavallotti ($30) and Corbet Gore ($10). Keep in mind that these were 1975 dollars!

Smaller sweep winners were Tom Hoffman, Joe Shoukri, Sid Webber, Maureen Fitzgerald, John Brennan, Gary Howes and Les Lehmann.

The final night was the Annual Dinner Dance which was preceded by a cocktail party courtesy of CIG. The festivities continued on Wednesday morning with the Caterpillar champagne breakfast. There were some very tired but happy pipeliners present at this breakfast – and yes, there were some still inebriated farewells exchanged for yet another year.

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