July 18, 2012
Peter and Gaye Schneider lived in Mooroopna and were members of the Melbourne Branch of the Ulysses Club. As they were the proprietors of a Milk bar in Mooroopna they were unable due to time constraints, to attend many of the Melbourne groups functions.
In 1993 the Ulysses Club held the National A.G.M. in Shepparton with around 980 Ulyssians attending. This was organised by the Melbourne Branch, with Noreen (as event Co-ordinator) and Lional Miles who lived at Arcadia at the time doing a lot of the organisation along with two or three other locals.
Around February 1994 Peter and Gaye considered their situation and decided they would reluctantly leave the Ulysses Club as it was not serving any purpose for them.
In March 1994 Peter and Gaye still wanting to stay in the Ulysses Club along with two other couples began to wonder if there were other people in the area who would join a local Branch if it was established.
With that in mind they asked a number of their friend who were also motorcycle riders to attend a meeting at their Milk bar on a Sunday afternoon after closing time. They requested these friends bring along anyone they knew of that might be interested.
The Milk bar located at 86 to 88 Mc Lennen St is now a two story Pizza Cafe. The meeting was held there on a Sunday afternoon. This would have been late March - early April 1994. I don't have the exact date. That meeting saw 13 people attend.
A second meetings was held in May after the Alice Springs A.G.M.with 23 people attending and discussing what to do.( In 2010 there are only four active members still in the Goulburn Valley Branch who were at these meetings. They are Alan Bonnett, Lockie Grant Allen Loney and John Painter).
At that meeting a decision was made to place an advertisement in the local paper.
The advertisement was to state that a ride for older riders was to leave from the front of the Royal Mail Hotel, Mc Lennen St Mooroopna on the following Sunday morning. The advertisement was also to include that a public meeting at the Royal Mail Hotel in Mooroopna was to be held on the 7th June, to see what response it would attract.
Having decided that, we needed to figure out what we were going to call the group, and other items such as ongoing meetings and rides so people knew where we were heading. It was time to put a plan in place.
Twenty seven riders turned up that morning for the ride, far more than expected. Peter and Gaye were ecstatic as were the rest of us.
I might mention here that from a outsiders point of view Gaye seemed to be the motivator and Peter the mover. Combined they formed a great team.
The obvious name for the group was Shepparton Group, however the more it was discussed the more devisive it sounded geographically. Someone suggested we considered the area the members would come from. Thinking along those lines the Goulburn Valley Group became obvious as that would be the area where most members would come from.
The meeting was held on the evening of Tuesday the 7th June 1994 and Thirty three people attended. At that meeting we formed the Goulburn Valley riders Group, with the intention of becoming the Ulysses Goulburn Valley Group. The reason for the change came when Gaye advised us that when she got in touch with the Ulysses Club, she was told that we could not become a Ulysses Group that easily.We needed to show over a period of time that we had the devotion and commitment to continue and were not just a short term group.
This required the keeping of records of events and attendances at these events.
At that meeting it was decided to hold monthly meetings on the first Tuesday night of the month at the Royal Mail Hotel in Mooroopna. We have stayed with that date ever since.
On the 26th June 1994 our first official activity was held. This was a ride to Heathcote on a rather wet day organised by Stan Coutts. 30 people attended on 22 bikes. A previous ride to Ulupna Island to meet up with the Koala Rally group had taken place where only 6 people attended due to the others not being aware of the ride. Depending on which of two letters, both written by Gayle Schneider in 1994 you can interperate differently which was the 1st ride. The 26th June is stated as the first official ride in one of the documents. Stan remained ride co-ordinator for many years over his time with the branch.
Our ultimate goal of becoming a Ulysses group was achieve as Gaye and Peter processed the paperwork through to the National Body of the club and the group was officially formed on the 28th July 1994.
As time went by the Ulysses Club changed the Groups to Branches across Australia and became Incorporated to comply with legislation requirements.
For twelve years from 1997 to 2009 the Branch held a Rally each year. The event was called "THE BACKWARD ODYSSEY" and was the brain child of Mr Murray Parker. This was held at the Caravan Park at the rear of the lake. Attendances from other Ulysses Branches varied from one hundred to one hundred and forty or so over the years. With the global financial crisis in 2009 it became non-viable and ceased.
Currently in 2010 the Branch enjoys half day rides, full day rides, weekend rides and monthly evening tea rides. Socially we meet on every Saturday morning for a chat and morning coffee. A monthly meeting is held on the first Tuesday night of the month and a ten pin bowls night is held each month. Some of our members like to officiate at race meetings and find this a satisfying passtime. If this interests you, just ask one of the committee and they will introduce you to the relevent people.
In recent years we have been asked if we would like to participate in the Xmas breakup for special kids, we have accepted and are able to provide them with a ride or two on some of our bikes.
Other events we have held from time to time include - Poker run, Xmas toy run, Xmas lights ride, and various one off community events. Some of these may return soon.
I trust this has given you a insight into how this Branch was formed. This introduction is just that and is not a history of the branch.