Firstly I would like to apologise for the lack of any action about our group. Firstly, we have been battling with drought, and are fast running out of ideas on where we go from here, and, secondly we were dallying to give anyone who might be interested more time to contact us.
We have 21 names on our list, and I am sure there are others out there who are private owners – we didn’t ask Oka to send letters to commercial operators, although they are probably the best ones to give us the clues on how to get the most from our vehicles. In fact, we have met one operator who thinks the sun shines out of the Okas, but he believes the way to succeed in the tourist industry is to get “bums on seats” and reluctantly went to buses with more seating and now has only one Oka left, and it is for sale.
Here is a quote from a Sydney Oka owner: “While it is not common, there are a few of us for whom an Oka is a private vehicle and let me tell you, when you drive an OKA through Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, it turns more heads than a Ferrari.”
It was great to meet Mark and Alison Cochrane, from Mullimbimby, NSW, who dropped in with their family and their Oka and spent a short time with us on their way around the traps. They have a dual-cab with a camper on behind.
On the personal side, Kylie and Rocky Harvey are expecting their first baby this month (June) and we know you will all join us in wishing them all the best.
We would like to invite all Oka Owners to visit us here at “Eulalia” during the October long weekend (Oct. 5, 6 & 7) and we will see what we can sort out. Come earlier or stay longer if you wish. We are looking forward to meeting as many of you like-mined people, and discussing the trips you have done and the places you have been. Maybe we can organize a get-together later in some central part of Australia where as many of us as possible can get together for a fun time.
As far as a Newsletter goes, we would appreciate as much input as possible. A technical section would be great. The Oka is designed with many standard truck-type parts, and it would be great to find where these can be accessed or other brand-names substituted. Tyres seem to have a big variation, and we would be interested in your views on these and anything else that might be of interest.
We have included a list of the keen Oka Owners who have contacted us. If you find some in your area, perhaps you could give them a call and find out what they are up to. It would be appreciated if you would check your own details to make sure there are no boo-boos, and let us know if there are so we can fix them.
Who the hell are these Parsons people anyway? Well, we are cattle breeders in the Coonamble district of NSW.
We have five grown-up children, all married. Last count we have 11 grand-children, and probably a deposit on another. Lloyd’s hobbies are aviation and travelling. He has a Cessna 180 and also flies gyrocopters, but loves anything that flies. We have done many trips around the outback, and hope to travel the Canning Stock Route again this year, departing on July 5, if we can sort out the present drought. Marj is a happy passenger and mechanic’s assistant.
Our Oka is No 116 and is a single cab, and we have our camper on the back (and an extra 240 l. Diesel). As far as the technical side goes, we have fitted the cable gear-change modification as put out by Oka and it really works well (we were in Perth last year at the Oka factory and they demonstrated to us this gear change in a later model Oka, and as we were having gear-change problems, we were sold!). We have also found that a Toyota Landcruiser starter motor fits straight on – no hassles. One other change we have made is to put on an electric
fuel pump in place of the original pump. This means that if you run out of fuel, you don’t have any problems with priming, and this too works well.
We hope we can catch up with as many of you as possible on the October long-weekend.
Rules and Regulations:
When the idea for an Oka Owners Group first came to mind I had only met one couple who were Oka Owners, Noel and Lesley Peterson for Grawin, NSW. Now you might ask “where the hell is Grawin”??? Most people have heard of Lightning Ridge, the Opal town. Well, Grawin is the Capital of Lightning Ridge, and it so happens that Noel is the Mayor. Therefore it only seemed right to run a few ideas past him, specially now they have telephone (up until 2000 they were still sending smoke signals which meant no communication at all during bush fire season and only during daylight hours at other times).
Anyway, I said to Noel, “We have to do this right and have a few simple rules so we appear pure and set an example to the rest of the community”.
“Firstly, all members must own an Oka”. He agreed.
“Secondly, your Oka should be seen outside the local church on Sunday”. I thought he would like that one as he once told me his Oka was only used by a little old lady to go to church. (That has me baffled, because Lesley is a sprightly young thing.) I stopped short of asking him to get heavily involved and take the plate around, knowing full well that there is probably only one Oka owner in the country you can trust with the plate.
“Thirdly, sex will only be used for reproduction.” He took that better than I thought. It must have something to do with his age. After a short deliberation he came back and asked if he could have a practice run from time to time. Of course I had to say no.
“Fourthly, there will be no alcohol”. Boy did he go off then!!! He said, “That does it” and used a string of words that I haven’t even heard before and couldn’t find in the dictionary. Then he said something about the rough end of a pineapple only he wanted to use an Oka. Ouch!
I guess we’ll just have to stick to rule one! Makes it simple, don’t you think?
Sydney: Phil Somerville, “Somerville’s Truck & Plant Service, Pty Ltd
(Warwick & Beryl Oliver from Terrey Hills, Northern Sydney, have had all their major repairs done there and he also services a small local tour company which has Okas, but warn that he charges like a bull!
Cairns: Cairns Mechanical Workshop, 231 Scott St. Cairns Qls 4970. Ph: 0740331755. Contact – Geoff Michna
Sydney: (for raising roof) I & D Industries, Unit 4, 3 Richard Close, North Rocks NSW 2151 Ph: 0296302426 (had made a mould for a previous Oka roof, therefore not too expensive, also raised back upper window.)
Alice Springs: Rob Clarke of Fiddler & Clarke
Excerpt from a newsletter from Jack & Viv Frost, Jamberoo NSW
The track we had hoped to take from Cape Le Grand to Balladonia was closed, so in the finish we had to go back to Esperance and proceed via the bitumen to Norseman, Balladonia and after the longest straight stretch of road in Australia (146.6km they say) to Cocklebiddy where our travelling companions for the next two weeks or so were awaiting our arrival.
For those of you who like to plot our travels on a road atlas, I'll give you an overview of how we got from Cocklebiddy to Rudall N.P. - oh, and in case you're wondering, the OKA hasn't missed a beat so far!
Cocklebiddy to Rawlinna on the Transcontinental Railway, via station tracks.
From Rawlinna, pretty much due north towards Warburton on the Connie Sue 'Highway' crossing the Anne Beadell 'Highway' at Neale Junction.
- We turned west before Warburton, on Parallel Road No.2, joining the Great Central Road about 8Ok's east of Tjukayirla Roadhouse, where we refuelled.
- Then again virtually due north up the David Carnegie Road, via Empress Spring to the Mungilli Claypan on the Gunbarrel 'Highway'
Back east along the Gunbarrel for about 8Ok's to Everard Junction, where we again headed north up the Gary 'Highway' to Windy Corner.
- Then west along the Talawana Track to the Canning Stock Route at Well 23, where we had arranged a fuel drop. - A short section between wells 23 and 22 along the Canning and then west, again on the Talawana.
- And finally north into Rudall River N.P. and here we are!
Before I tell you about the trip highlights, I should say something about these tracks. Most of them were put in by Len Beadell and his Gunbarrel Construction Crew in the 50's and 60's to support the Maralinga and Emu atomic testing and Woomera rocket testing programs. In most cases they haven't been maintained since, although there are some welcome exceptions.
Parallel Road No. 2 and the David Carnegie Road were built for oil exploration, but again date back to the 1980's or so - the later being renamed in honour of one of the early explorers of this Vast desert region. There are a couple of aboriginal settlements, one off the Connie Sue and another off the Talawana, that have resulted in about 100 k's of wide graded road. The Great Central Road has also been regraded since our trip across four weeks ago and the Wiluna Shire has just graded their section of the Gunbarrel giving a total of about 200 out of the 1900 odd k's we travelled to reach here.
That said we were really surprised with the general condition of these tracks and made much better time than we had planned on. From Cocklebiddy to about 10Ok's north of Rawlinna is a limestone area of the Nullabor and the tracks are all pretty rocky - they didn't seem quite as bad as when we traversed the track paralleling the Transcontinental a couple of years ago - but we were still glad to get away from constant banging and jarring.
There were the inevitable corrugated sections that plague all outback tracks, with the Gunbarrel and parts of the Gary Highway being the worst. We were expecting plenty of washaways and there were a fair number - in most cases previous parties had established 'chicken runs' and although a lot of care was needed, there wasn't much that was dangerous or technically difficult. We're not in the business of trying to be heroes, so we were pretty happy with that!
It rained lightly for a few hours as we came into Tjukayirla Roadhouse and for the start of the David Carnegie, the Mungilli Claypan had water in it and required a detour, and some of the clay-pans as we got to the Canning were soft but none of this caused us any real trouble.
Because all the tracks had extensive rocky areas we kept our tyre pressures relatively high and a few of the soft sandhills on the Talawana as we neared the Canning were a bit of a struggle with 4W low range being needed. All certainly much easier than I had expected - a bonus considering how remote most of the area is.
--Traffic - what traffic? Well we met the station owner of Seemore Downs just north of Rawlinna - they were very friendly and helped us through the maze of station tracks until we hit the Connie Sue. The next group we met at Geraldton bore, on the
Gunbarrel. I didn't recognize him but one of the party was the owner of Kiama Landscaping, where we get all our landscaping requirements for Jamberoo - I'd actually lent him our Canning books a couple of years ago, but I guess the seasons have prevented an earlier trip. The Stock Route is still officially closed north of Well 33 although a couple of irresponsible people have got through, at the price of a.fair amount of track damage we're told!
And that was it until we got to Georgia bore (Well 22) on the Canning. Even there we thought we could have had the place to ourselves - we'd filled up with diesel, filled up with water, washed clothes, had showers and settled in for a pre-dinner drink, when the oddest collection of 5 vehicles arrived. Four of them were a group of Aussie Poles who didn't really seem to know where they were and spent a lot of energy 'discussing' this in their native lingo, while the fifth was a solo couple.
And then there were five! We'd been watching this family of six little Australasian Grebe's - the four juveniles were nearly as big as their parents, when fluffed up. They spent all day busily paddling up and down, duck
diving for small fish, etc, with a little bit of flying very low over the water - they dive when danger threatens - one of the youngsters wasn't quick enough when this nasty Black kite swooped in one evening! There was a real chorus of dingo howls that night too, that sounded Very close - we made sure nothing tempting was left out, but in the finish that was as near as they came.
Duncan & Ann moved on the next day, while we took a 130k side track to Hanging Rock. A few k's from our objective, we were having second thoughts when we got bogged in soft sand for the third time and finally had to let our tyre pressures right down to 20 psi. We hadn't known what to expect, but it certainly wasn't this! Hanging Rock is a spectacular isolated phallic rock pillar, set on a low mound, very much in the mould of Chambers Pillar (Alice), but with more character.
With tyre pressures this low we could do virtually anything we wanted, provided we avoided staking and there was a 6 metre high sandhill with a flat top and one of the few trees in the
Immediate area. That became our camping spot for the night and we settled down to wait for sunset barely 500 metres from ‘erotica’. The dune led right to the pillar, so a very short walk for sunset photos and more importantly sunrise shots next morning!
The views of the surrounding escarpments with their table top edges, sculptured mesas and various other columns and domes, were something special and we reckon this is on our list of one of our best ever one night camping spots! We headed out next day for the Desert Queen Baths - regarded as one of Rudall's prime attractions. A slow trip as all the side tracks in the park are rough, with numerous short steep dry creek crossings and lots of rocky areas.
None of our information gives us a clue as to the naming of these features and the Desert Queen Baths is no exception! What it is, is a narrow boulder strewn gorge with a series of six pools along it - the water is very cold and even winter swimmers might think twice about bathing! The pool at the entrance to the gorge is the longest and you clamber around the pool edges, crossing over from time to time to avoid the vertical cliff faces, and in between pools follow the dry creek bed with its cascading rock ledges and large sandstone and conglomerate boulders. At the top there is a very picturesque circular pool with vertical cliff faces to both sides and a narrow weir type entrance to another gorge- behind - the only way across 'would be to swim and if you made it before hyp6rthermia set in, it didn't look as if scaling the 'weir' was all that practical - we didn't try anyway!
There were 3 other vehicles the first night, but we were on our $own again the second - in between our arrival and departure a fire had ravaged the first 9 k's or so of the track in and may have deterred new arrivals. We certainly wouldn't have wanted to push through it if the area was still alight, as most sections of the track couldn't be charged.
So goodbye Rudall via Cocklebiddy and we're heading for Port Hedland. The tracks are all wide and graded courtesy of the mining companies - in particular Telfer and Woodie Woodie. Before hitting civilisation we've called in at Carawine Gorge, about 150 k's east of Marble Bar. The 'birdies' had told us about it and it must be one of the West's best kept secrets!
The gorge is on the Oakover River and where we are camped it is about 70 metres wide, bounded on the west by sheer cliffs also about 70 metres high. Our side is a wide orange and brown gravel flood plain,about 6 metres above the river and the bank is lined with tall white eucalypts. The water is deep and cold with lots of fish - all I've managed is three big catfish, but!
Note: Thank you to Jack & Viv. This is just the kind of information we are looking for when planning our travels, so if anyone has a tale of a trek somewhere, perhaps they could send it on to us for inclusion. I apologise for some messy paragraphs; I scanned the Frost’s letter onto the computer, and it didn’t come out exactly as it was first written. I wish we had the space for the whole letter!
N.B. I don’t have ‘Office’ on my computer, and while I could set up a database in ‘Works’, it is less likely to be compatible with most computers in this setup. Would anyone be interested in putting this information in database format? Please check the information to ensure it is correct, and if you have any changes, let me know. Thank you,
OKA OWNERS GROUP NEWSLETTER October 2002
We only had a couple of OKAs turn up on the October long weekend, but still had a very relaxed weekend. It was much better peering at OKAs than drought! We also had other people turn up who were interested in OKAs and we must have given all the right answers as Ron & Lyn Quigley from Greystanes, Sydney, have since purchased a dual cab. It was really great to meet up with like-minded people and put faces to names, and to see other people’s ideas and uses for their vehicles.
On the subject of our National rally, we first thought somewhere central so that OKAs from all over had the opportunity to come. However Gordon Rowlinson of Mackay, Queensland thinks somewhere central to where most of the members are would be better. He said that he wouldn’t mind if it was held somewhere in NSW, and then have the next one in WA.
Maybe we should have a get-together in Perth to coincide with the release of the New model OKA, if and when it happens (with OKA’s permission, of course). Is there someone out there who will throw their hat in the ring and come up with some suggestions for sometime next year, perhaps in winter?
Rowena Patterson has organised a weekend in Victoria on the weekend of 2nd to 5th November for anyone who would like to come. This doesn’t give you much time to make arrangements, so please contact her for more details. (See Below).
Please keep sending us information about your OKAs, your travels, your innovations and anything else you think might be of interest for the newsletter. We look forward to hearing from you
Lloyd & Marj Parsons
I have recently returned from a fantastic 2 week holiday up to Sydney and the Blue Mountains. The first week was spent staying with friends in the Blue Mountains touring around the country side and visiting all the tourist spots. My friends help run the Trike tours at Katoomba (3 wheel motorbikes with VW engines), so I had a great time riding around on the back of one of those great machines. They fit 2 passengers plus the driver and feel very stable and comfortable to ride on.
Later in the week, while at Katoomba visiting the Scenic Skyrail, I had an opportunity to meet a few of the tour operations from Sydney who were driving OKA’s. There would have been at least 7 OKA’s parked in the carpark at Katoomba, which is something you don’t see everyday.
The tour OKA’s leave from Sydney every day, making their way up to the Blue Mountains visiting many of the tourist areas including Katoomba and Glenbrook National Park.
I firstly spoke with Col from Aussie Blue Tours and secondly with Bruce from Frontier Photographic Safaris, both driving bus body OKA’s at Katoomba.
Bruce asked me if I would like to tag along with them as they were all going down to Glenbrook National Park for lunch.
As I was heading down to Windsor that day I decided that would be a good opportunity.
Glenbrook National Park is not too far from Penrith in the Lower Blue Mountains region.
I had a little bit of fun driving into Glenbrook National Park for the first time. The tour operators had no trouble negotiating those step turns and bends in the road down to the park as they had driven the road many times. I took one bend too wide coming down and nearly hit the barrier, which had a nice steep drop behind it. So I had to back-up the steep road behind me to be able to get enough turning circle to negotiate the bend. Boy was the road steep and bends tight! The next steep turn I managed perfectly, learning very quickly along the way.
When we finally arrived at the bottom of the park there was a nice camping/picnic area. Including my own Multi Cab OKA, there were 4 Bus OKA’s plus a Multi Cab OKA towing a large trailer that the tour operators use for catering. It was like having an OKA Jamboree!!
Then news came through that one of the tour operators OKA had just broken down in the Glenbrook township (which is the entrance to the National Park). Bruce asked me if I wanted to go for a drive in his OKA up to the township to pickup the operator and all his tourists to bring them back down into the National Park for lunch. So off we went with Bruce perfectly negotiated those tight bends and steep inclines.
Once we got into the Glenbrook township we found the operator and his Japanese tourists. They all piled in Bruce’s’ OKA and off we went back down again into the National Park. Apparently the clutch cable had broken on the operators OKA, so I wasn’t sure how he and all his tourists planned on going back to Sydney. Shortly after that I made tracks, one again trying to negotiate the road out of the National Park arriving in Windsor later that day. I stayed overnight in Windsor in a nice park overlooking the Hawkesbury River.