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 .