A young Warwick De Kretser We took the car for a test drive and I was satisfied that this car had been carefully maintained and was in excellent condition, even though it was nearly ten years old. Jim haggled with the salesman and we agreed that One Hundred and Ninety Pounds was a reasonable price to pay for the vehicle. I could meet the monthly repayments after allowing for the board that I paid my Aunt and a small amount of spending money that was reserved for petrol, servicing, etc and personal expenses. A 21 year old Ed Rowlands wearing pretend glasses The hire purchase papers were signed and a small deposit lodged to secure the car. I had to wait until the hire purchase agreement was approved and next week-end, I picked up my very own “First Car”. I drove back to Albert Park to show my Uncle Percy and Aunty Bertha my pride and joy and they gave their seal of approval. The next letter to my parents was a very positive one as Ed Rowlands had finally made his mark in Australia. The next trip was to see Warren and Freddie and we went for a drive along Beach Road to Mordialloc and back.
A young Warren Dickson In the mean time I had made friends with Monty and Heather Mack and their parents who lived in Springvale and renewed acquaintances with Brian and Charmaine Janze and their parents who lived in Morrabbin. Warwick de Kretser who was engaged to my cousin Peggy Rowlands who lived in Adelaide also became a good friend. Heather and friends This group of friends took over my life until Dad and Mum and the rest of the family arrived in October 1961. Every Friday night straight after dinner at my Aunt’s, I would head off for the week-end at Freddies house. I shared a bed with Warren or slept on the floor, depending on the amount of beer that was drunk that evening. Once, I got sick in bed and it took a long time to live down this episode.
Fred De Silva, Ed Rowlands and Warren dickson at Tailem Bend coming back from Adelaide.
Freddie had bought an old Volkwagen car and we stripped down the engine and reconditioned it most nights after work or on the week-end. Warren had bought himself an old Ford Prefect “Convertible” and this was also a source of constant enjoyment with the “girls”, until after a Service, the mechanics forgot to refill the engine with oil and the engine ceased.
Warwick De Kretser, Warren Dickson and Ed on the way to Adelaide (Photographer – Freddie de Silva) Once a month, Warwick, Warren, Freddie and myself would take off on Friday evening to drive to Adelaide. We would drive all night and arrive at Adelaide next morning. This was a hairy trip, especially during the night, over the “Pentland Hills” before we got to Ballarat and the mountain passes before Adelaide. Ben Chapman, Cedric Rowlands and Ed Rowlands We stayed at Peggy’s parents house (Vere and Norma Rowlands) and made friends with Peggy’s girlfriends and enjoyed our regular week-ends away. While we were in Adelaide we did the usual things that a tourist would do, like visiting the Victor Harbour, driving to the top of Mount Lofty, going to the Zoo and generally driving around.
Ed Rowlands in Adelaide in 1960 During the winter of 1960 we worked most nights in Freddie’s parents garage and reconditioned and put together the engine of the Volkswagen that Freddie had bought. When the job was completed, after a few hilarious and anxious moments, we decided to take a trip to Adelaide in this car rather than my Peugeot 203C. The engine was tuned according to the Instruction Manual and every thing was ready to go. This trip took place in the middle of winter and if we had known the problems we would encounter, may have had second thoughts before we commenced the journey. For a bunch of amateur mechanics, we had done a great job in putting the parts of the air cooled horizontally opposed engine and its cooling system. The tuning was immaculate and the engine purred like a pussy cat. We handled the Pentland Hills comfortably, but when the heating was turned on, the less than adequate job of cleaning the panels properly resulted in the car filling with oil fumes. Not to be deterred, we wound down the windows at the front, opened the awning windows at the back, put on more warm clothes and continued on our merry way. We heaved a sigh of relief when we got to Adelaide next morning.
Warren Dickson and Ed at Victor Harbour A good time was had that week-end and the return trip was undertaken with a wish and a prayer. Needless to say we got back safely home on the Sunday night. These trips continued until Warwick and Peggy got married and later to see girl friends we had met in Adelaide. Peggy's Friend Lorraine We also got to know the Collette Family who owned a Service Station on the highway to Adelaide at a place named Eagle-on-the-Hill. As time went by, the trips became less frequent and finally stopped when life in Melbourne took over Freddie De Silva at Victor Harbour