A big weekend for Jeparit saw an influx of visitors over the long weekend with the caravan park booked out and nearly thirty campsites along the Wimmera River adjacent to the Wimmera Mallee Pioneer Museum occupied.

The weekend featured the annual Vintage Rally, garage sales, an art exhibition and a Saturday meal and music at the Town Hall.

The garage sales were held at various locations around town on Saturday and Sunday with a wide variety of goods for sale, including clothing, knitting, garden pots, books, tools, toys and many other items.

Local Jeparit artist Peter Gebert held his first ever exhibition at the Memorial Hall, in conjunction with Rainbow artist Belinda Eckermann. Seventy two year old Peter only began painting seriously three years ago. 

Since his days at school he had always been able to draw birds and one day he decided to expand his artwork. His paintings drew many positive comments at the exhibition and he was able to sell two works.

The Vintage Rally drew large numbers of people from all over Australia with visitors from as far away as Katanning in Western Australia and Batemans Bay in New South Wales as well as from many parts of Victoria.The visitors were well fed, with a variety of food stalls and a coffee van. The early morning bacon and egg rolls supplied by the Jeparit Tennis Club were extremely popular while the Nhill Lutheran School did a great trade in donuts.

New addition to the museum is the restored grader
New addition to the museum is the restored grader

There was a comprehensive display of vintage engines and other old time gear from the Nhill Vintage Club and the South Western Restoration Group. Other displays included chainsaws, the Clydesdale horses, blade shearing, a trick horse, a vintage letterpress printing exhibition, vintage cars, blacksmithing and knife making.

The Cobb and Co wagon rides were popular both with the children and their parents and grandparents.

A variety of stalls featured photography, crafts, plants, dog treats, knitting, homemade jam, artwork, second hand books, dolls and restored hand pumps.

The success of the Vintage Rally is a credit to the great group of hard working volunteers who put in many hours before, during and after the weekend.

John Johnson from Dimboola Bladeworks and his partner Tracy Gildersleeves, who is from Oregon in the USA, drew many interested onlookers at the Vintage Rally. They watched John produce knives made from recycled railway sleeper ties while Tracy showed off these and John’s other knives. John uses mainly recycled steel in producing his knives, axes and other small tools.

Tracy Gildersleeves attending the knives that partner John Johnson makes
Tracy Gildersleeves attending the knives that partner John Johnson makes

He spent his early childhood near the Ebenezer mission. He learnt about knife making from his grandfather. He and Tracy decided to move to Dimboola because of the supply of recycled metal. He and Tracy first got in touch in 2013 through a mutual friend, Tracy first visiting him in 2014. She is at the end of her one year visitors visa and is returning to the USA to see her two sisters and her cat. Tracy hopes to get a fiancée visa and return to Dimboola early next year to be with John. She is grateful for the many local people who are supporting her in her efforts to gain the visa. ??

Katelyn Clark from Gerang Gerung entertained visitors to the Vintage Rally with her demonstration of blade shearing and doing tricks with her horse Trigger. Katelyn has been blade shearing since 2012 at agricultural shows and other events. She enjoys the challenge of shearing in the old style.?? Katelyn has been teaching Trigger how to do tricks over the last twelve months. He is still learning but getting better at the tricks all the time. Watching Katelyn and Trigger, everyone can see the great empathy they have with each other.