Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson.jpg

Warwick’s Wheelie Bin Grand Prix

 

The jewel in the crown of Bush Week was the inaugural Australian Wheelie Bin Grand Prix.

 

Story: Paul Munson  |  Photos: Warwick Community |  Published: December 2021
 

Bush Week was the brain child of Brian Collins and together with Peter Beatty who was the Regional Development Committee Chairman, saw a great idea grow beyond anyone’s expectation. The jewel in the crown of Bush Week was the inaugural Australian Wheelie Bin Grand Prix held on Saturday 4th May 1991. Barry Green was the ideas man behind the Grand Prix. The basic rules were: this was a relay race where one runner pulled another in the bin to the changeover point at each pub, where another member of their team was waiting. The one in the bin then took over pulling and the one waiting jumped in the bin. So, each team member took a turn pulling the bin with passenger inside, and also rode in the bin for one leg. Before taking off, the runner had to down a pot of beer and wolf down a pie (only one beer and one pie was consumed by each person).

Greg Wallace was the official starter for the race and it was led by Hudson’s Pie Cart. Behind the field was the yellow H&J Fourex delivery van carrying the St John Ambulance volunteers who were ready to assist any causalities. Whip crackers set the atmosphere at 12 noon when they drove the field on between Fitzroy and Grafton Streets.

The field started from the site of the old Australian Hotel and thundered up Fitzroy Street, turning right into Palmerin Street, and to their first port of call the Criterion Hotel.

It was then the sprint to Paul McLaughlin’s Palace Hotel for their second hot beer and cold meat pie. Tony Maroon’s Langham Hotel (now Condamine Sports Club) was the third port of call and then into Grafton Street to enjoy their fourth hot beer and cold pie at Mrs McKerrow’s Grand Hotel. It was back into Palmerin Street, around the monument to the Mayfair Hotel to enjoy another hot beer and cold pie. The next stop the Club Hotel. Now it was time to have the fittest runners for the long stretch to the Horse and Jockey Hotel where they consumed the 7th cold pie and drank the hot beer. The Warwick Hotel was bypassed as Mrs Albiez did not wish to participate, but in those days the Parkview Hotel was not too far along the street where no. 8 beer and pie was consumed. The race was not over until they were back at the site of the Australian Hotel to complete the circuit and take the chequered flag. Across the road at Hudson’s Pie shop, Darryl Fitzgerald had made 325 pies to be consumed by the competitors of the 26 teams which entered the Grand Prix.

The guest commentators Billy J. Smith, Andrew Ramsay and David Fordham called the race. Mrs McKerrow representing the eight sponsoring hotels and Hudson’s Pies presented cheques to the winners. SES was the support with crowd control and scrutineers had been appointed at each hotel. All bins were numbered with removable markers and all competitors numbered on the back of their hands. All drinks had to be consumed within the walls of the hotel to satisfy licensing laws. Pies may be eaten on the streets. Wheelie bin passengers need to wear helmets and are encouraged to wear gloves in case of a spill. The crowd was estimated over 2,000 people making this grand prix bigger than Ben Hur.

Gerard Walsh wrote in the Daily News this interesting account of the race: Crowds Vote Race as ‘Wheelie Good’

‘Thousands lined Palmerin, Grafton and Fitzroy streets for the inaugural Australian Wheelie Bin Grand Prix on Saturday and watched a race of speed, excitement, spills and stamina with Meandatta Suckers taking the chequered flag in 21 minutes 25 seconds.

Hudson’s Pie Shop provided the background as 26 teams assembled before the gun of starter Greg Wallace. Wayne Steele and Dave Broadhouse of ‘Undecided’ enjoyed pole position as 26 wheelie bins lined up, wheel-to-wheel across Fitzroy Street.

The Army Reserve team was decked out in jungle greens, some Warwick Cowboy footballers wore bow ties with front rower Lou Ots a picture in his spotless white shirt for ‘Groom’s Men’. National Australia Bank manager Bob Clements led from the front for a team that left no doubt who they represented. There is an art to pushing a wheelie bin and the first crash happened in the first 10 metres of the race as the bin and helmet-wearing passenger hit the bitumen near the inside of the track.

Mark Collings started off for Dad’s Army, consuming a pie and stubby before pushing Greg Collins to the Criterion, and the former Collegians winger made great pace to the bar for his pie and a stubby. Meandatta Suckers were 10/1 and wasted no time in their quest for stardom.

Billy J. Smith, Andrew Ramsay and David Fordham were guest commentators with co-organizer Peter Beatty and Warwick ambassador Katie parker on the podium outside the Town Hall and this event could have been compared with a Wally Lewis State of Origin try or a ‘It’s a knockout’ splash in terms of excitement.

The teams’ 400 metre runner was needed for the up-hill stretch to the Palace and Dad’s Army made up ground on this leg. Dad’s Army led into the Palace but Col Campbell’s lightning-fast eating and drinking gave the Meandatta Suckers the lead, proving there were many parts to this iron-person event.

Care needed to be taken for a smooth landing on the street outside the Langham. The stair record for time from the street up the stairs to the bar was broken at the Langham with the crowd in the bar acting as touch judges and ensuring every ounce of beer and bite of Hudson’s pie was negotiated.

Patrons followed the race like ‘bees to a honey pot’ and some have never covered the ‘main drag’ on foot with such speed. Warwick wheelie bins were standing their greatest-ever test and a new national sport was evolving in Warwick.

The field was spreading out for the western journey to the Grand with former Suburbs second-rower Paddy Windle finding every ounce of energy to keep Dad’s Army up with the leaders. The team sprinters gave their all for the journey to the Mayfair with ‘Beattie Corner’ causing problems on the leg to the Club Hotel.

Former Queensland Sheffield Shield cricketer Simon Beattie failed to straighten up the wheelie bin after ‘Beattie Corner’ near the Byrnes monument and Cowboys dual-premiership coach Brian Dunne and the Glennie Heights tennis club bin saw the Palmerin Street Garden plots from a new angle. Front rowers have the strength to push the bin but Simon Beattie found Brian Dunne quite a weight to stand up.

The Club to the Horse and Jockey was a marathon stretch and Greg Ryan took off at a cracking pace for the Meandatta team. He slowed as he passed the swimming pool-500 metres with a full bin is equal to a mile on foot and the lead was maintained as Stephen McConville pushed Tony Ryan up hill to the Parkview. Stephen kept his composure and the lead despite three spills for Tony Ryan to finish the final leg of the relay with passenger Dave Cook.

Deighton Motors enjoyed a big weekend sponsoring Allan Grice’s visit to Warwick and finishing third in the Wheelie Bin Grand Prix. Yes, it was an exhausting race and Hudson’s soft drink sales boomed as thirsty pushers needed a reviver as St John Ambulance officers returned after the final finishers in the yellow Horse and Jockey beer delivery van.

Equal Rights, the all-women team stole much of the excitement and won the mystery prize and the hearts of the crowd, finishing in front of some all-men teams. Number 24- J and J Exhausts and Wrecker’s team won the best-decorated bin award.

The crowd down Fitzroy Street to the finishing line resembled the finish of a Commonwealth Games Marathon with enthusiastic fans looking for a glimpse of the first Australian champion. Mrs Irene McKerrow, on behalf of the sponsoring hotels and Hudson’s Pies, presented the $1,000 first prize cheque and the Grand Prix garland in front of the Warwick Town Hall to Meandatta captain John Cooper.

This Grand Prix did have detractors. In the lead-up to the event, Barry Green was contacted by the Ministers’ Fraternal re the concerns of one of their members that the event was going to be a community disgrace. He thought it was going to emulate the infamous Ruthven Street Swill in Toowoomba, which was an unashamed pub crawl on the run involving a lot more pubs, distance and drinking. Here’s what a post on Facebook said:

‘I ran it in 1982 or 1983. It started with a pot at the Blue Mountain and finished with a pot at the Southern, but with 7oz beers at every pub in between. Teams of three completed: one drinker/runner, one bucket person for the spew and one traffic person to stop cars while running across Ruthven St. Total insanity. There was a prize for finishing first, but can’t recall what.’

Of course, the man of the cloth’s concerns was well unfounded and he was duly informed. It still didn’t stop him from remaining a vocal critic, though.

Barry Green fondly recalls:

 

‘As one of the Daily Dashers team, I remember that when it came to knocking down my pie, the table was awash with spilt beer and the base of the ‘Bluey’ soggy to the point where the backside fell out as I picked it up to eat!

Given that carrying a human body is not part of wheelie bin’s design brief, no surprise that there were plenty of spills. As well as not being so accommodating, the bins weren’t all that easy to pull – or push - along at ‘speed’ with someone in them!! Given the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, the team that stacked its members with lightweights rather than super heavyweights would have had a heck of an advantage.

Regardless, the whole thing was an absolute hoot. The community got right behind it by way of participation, spectator and sponsorship support. The ocker nature of something as bizarre as a wheelie bin grand prix obviously appealed broadly. After all, it fitted the idea of ‘What do you think this is - Bush Week?’ perfectly’.

Photos were submitted by community members for publication in People N Places Magazine

Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson2.jpg
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson.jpg
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson
EDIT 1991 Wheelie Bin Granx Prix Peter Sauer.jpg
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson
1991 Wheelie Bin Granx Prix Peter Sauer.jpg
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson.jpg
Warwick Wheelie Bin Grand Prix People N Places Paul Munson
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Pricing & Quantities

Prices may vary depending on job/finish/artwork. Please contact us for a quote today

Prices listed are based on a standard 90mm x 50mm design with a matte or celloglaze finish. Prices listed include GST but may not include freight 

500

$185.00

1000

$220.00

2000

$375.00

3000

5000

$525.00

$800.00

stack-of-business-cards-640x350.jpg

Finishes

A wide range of finishes and styles are available. All our business cards come standard with double sided/single sided matte or gloss lamination printed on premium 400gsm artboard at no extra cost.

For a customised quote or to talk about the best option to suit your business please contact us and arrange an appointment.

The following finishes are available and are quoted per job.

Foil, Letterpress, Raised, Embossed, Spot UV, Laser Cutting, Duplex/Triples Cards, Edge Colouring, Velvet, Plastic.

400gsm

Standard

Matte

Standard

Gloss

Standard

Foil

Velvet

Optional

Optional

Depositphotos_46686217_xl-2015-sml.jpg

Artwork Guidlines

A full design service is provided. Our print ready specs are as per the below chart.

size + bleed

90mm x 54mm

+ 2mm bleed

Colour

3mm in from all sides

Text

All fonts must be embedded or converted to curves

Resolution

Profile

300 dpi for all images / 800 dpi for all text as an image

CMYK or greyscale only

We can design, print and deliver your business cards in a matter of days!*