"WE THOUGHT the handbrake worked, but we never tested it on a hill," Gympie historic car enthusiast Rob White said yesterday as he and friends rolled their latest project off a trailer at the back of Gympie's Cooinda Aged Care Centre.

The project is a beautifully restored 1959 Austin A40 Farina, which will itself be retired as part of the decor of the centre's dementia unit, helping lighten things up for residents.

Members of the Gympie Historic Auto Club have restored the classic vehicle in recent months and yesterday formed its "outside handbrake" as they guided it from the trailer, across a rocky drain and down to the shed which will now be its home.

"Lucky it only weighs 750kg," one of the volunteers remarked as they pushed forward to get the little car over rocky obstacles and backwards to slow it down on the slope.

Club president Barry McLean said it was hoped the car would help residents to reminisce "and help folk assimilate with the past."

"It's the other end of the process for us.

"Each year we have our swap meet and car show and (give the) proceeds to driver education in schools.

"The schools go pro-rata with us.

"This year we donated $7000."

RETIRING: Pushing the Austin into its final spot (from left) Lorie Breese, Paul van Horck in driver’s seat, Barry McLean, Steph van Horck and Tim Royle.
RETIRING: Pushing the Austin into its final spot (from left) Lorie Breese, Paul van Horck in driver’s seat, Barry McLean, Steph van Horck and Tim Royle.

And they hope to top that at this year's show, to be held at the Gympie Showgrounds on September 12.

"We thought we'd also do something for people at the other end of their driving career."

Member Rob White said he and fellow members jumped at the idea and people like Paul and Steph van Hork, Ted Cooper, Glen Morrison, Noel Morgan, Lorie Breese and Tim Royle also helped with important parts of the repair and restoration project.

"One of our members thought up the idea to help people with dementia," Mr McLean said.

"My father had dementia and he associated with the past, so we hope it will help," he said.

A Cooinda spokesman said dementia sufferers and their families often had trouble maintaining a positive outlook and extra effort was needed to understand what can lift an individual person's mood and inspire joy, hope and wellbeing.

Gympie Times


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