Friday, 2 March 2012

Ballarat Swap Meeting 2012

The Ballarat swap meeting , the write up states 2,300 sites and 30,000 visitors ,certainly must be one of the biggest swaps in Australia .Previously known as The Super Southern Swap Meeting this swap was run by an enterprising local who for a mountain of reasons relinquished the control to the Ballarat Rotary Clubs who have run the event as The Ballarat Swap Meeting .The new operators have changed a couple of things , the site holders and public have swapped their entrances and carparkes ? more toilets , NAB ATM's on site more street signs and the service clubs doing the food ,all in all an improvement .
The site is located on land abutting the local airport and has an old landing strip running through the centre of it, this lines up with the operational strip and we were swooped by light aircraft most of Friday afternoon , a minor matter more interesting than irritating ,they use this bit of seal to line up cars for sale ,we arrived to set up camp / site on the Friday afternoon, with temps in the mid to high thirtys Andy was keen to get the fridges plugged in to the batterys and in some sort of shade . When the camp was set up its time to tramp the streets and pick up the real bargains before the public are allowed in on the Saturday morning , but we found none! probably less than half of the sites would be occupied at this stage and some sellers kept stuff under wraps until the official opening .The afternoon progresses with sellers rolling in from interstate and setting up , so you wander over and peer into their trailers searching for stuff on your list . By 7.00pm the swap moves to stage 2 the social stage we pull up chairs under the annex and settle down to bike talk with a string of visitors who drop in with a couple of cans and talk motorcycles only .
When I first went to this swap I was surprised to see a number of special purpose vehicles made by the shoppers , the distance involved at this swap is huge ,serious blokes bring push bikes to cover the distance [ I have never seen all of the sites ]so carrying junk becomes a big problem in the past I have seen blokes wheeling push bikes with milk crates mounted ,bag trollies ,kids 4 wheel carts ,and then the hybrids ,converted ride on mowers with esky racks and shade sails and my favourite was half lawn mower and half a supermarket trolley, the driver sat over the motor and the thing articulated in the middle to steer a bit like a scraper. Unfortunately they had to crack down on all these motorised units and you don't see them any more .

The spoils of war ,various bits I thought I might need in the future , the other half of that Big 4 crankshaft will be hard to find , Geo managed to grab an original Model 7 front guard for me on the Saturday morning some bastard has cut one side of the front edge away , my guess is that it has been reversed and used as a rear guard and needed to be trimmed to clear the rear chain .

The camp / site , on Saturday morning while the tail end Charleys were still trying to find their sites a four wheel drive pulled up and a woman got out and addressed Chris and said " do you know that you're flying the Union Jack upside down " Chris immediatly replied " yes , whe're in distress " . It was a half truth really ,but I thought he deserved 10 points for the quick retort .

Northerly view looking down the disused runway , the place is still pretty quiet at dusk on the Friday evening but was humming by 9.00 am Saturday .Pics from ground level fail to convey the magnitude of this swap meet ,the website has an ariel pic that gives a true impression ,on Saturday morning the wind was getting up and many of the site holders were pulling down the cabana's and tarps and so forth for the fear of having them go West ,or South in this case .

This pic is taken from the South West corner looking East down along a fence line, the layout is in a 'L' shape with the tarmac running down the centre of the L, the service blocks admin ATM's food tents are located in the crook of the L and the two entrances and associated carparks are at the distal points . I found a map showing an approximate area designated "motor cycle area"we're about in the middle of that zone . One little tip for anybody thinking of pitching a tent near the tarmac ,they will need a small sledge hammer and good sturdy tent pegs .


  1. Steve, looks like you've been spammed above!

    I'd suggest that you nuke it & change your comments setting so that you have to approve comments before they appear.

    That said, I don't envy you being at the Swap Meet in 38C heat. Were there any complete bikes and if so, what sorts of prices? Did you take any pics?

    Cheers Jules.

  2. Thanks for looking Jules , I'll take your advice on the spam ,got pics to post and more comment and I need to edit it, should have it right by next weekend

  3. Jules, I have at last worked out how to get text somewhere near the pic , hope I can remember what I did for next time .

  4. Looks good Steve. The pictures come up to quite a good resolution when clicked too.

    I forgot to ask an obvious question - did either you or Andy actually SELL anything?

    Cheers Jules.

  5. Did we sell ? Jules I basically don't have any stuff I wan't to part with, but Geo and Chris did sell a bit of stuff ,my view is that the swap is a good place to buy but a bad place to sell .Despite the huge number of punters at the swap you might take an item for years before selling at it's real value ,if you want to sell do it on E Bay if you want a bargain go to the swap ,the bloke who owns Modak is always buying up big and selling through his shop .I have no interest in dealing ,I just want to get the bits I need to get these Nortons running but I do enjoy the social aspect of the swaps , bike people being as they are .
    Cheers Steve