Week 48: The Family Car

Sometimes it takes just one photo to bring back memories or to make you wonder how far we’ve come, so this week it’s all about our family cars.

I wrote about My First Car in July so this blog is about the cars or vehicles we’ve had as a family. When Bob and I first met, he had a brown Datsun sedan however, there are no photos, then just before we married in 1973, we bought a red Datsun. Some of these photos of our cars are in the background of other photos and as I used to teach people when I was scrapbooking, the history is in the background of the photo. My point has been proved here.

The red Datsun can just be seen over the fence in the first photo of Bob with our dog Sadie and down the side of our house in Rangeway. Note Bob’s beard. When our first daughter Helen was born, he had to shave off the beard before I would come home from the hospital!!

Our next car was a brown Datsun station wagon. Bob always loved Datsun’s and this showed in the first three cars that we owned. A station wagon was a necessity now that a second baby, Melissa, was on the way. The sedan was just not going to cut it. We had the station wagon for many years, until well after Peter was born in 1979. It even went through a colour change when we had the rust cut out of it and decided a nice sky blue car would be a change from the brown. Unfortunately, the rust kept coming through, so it was time to buy yet another car. This time, back to brown and our first second-hand car, a Mazda station wagon. There is a photo somewhere, but just for now, I can’t put my hands on it.

Coronation Beach

Coronation Beach

We both liked our independence and soon after we married, we had two vehicles. Bob had 4-wheel drives, for tripping up to the beach or taking rubbish to the dump and this little Suzuki in the picture above saw us take many a trip to the beach and on a couple of camping holidays. It was this little ‘jeep’ that Bob came up to the hospital to visit me after Peter was born and the nun on duty said I could go home. I was NOT going home in that jeep but she kept saying, it’s alright dear, it’s alright. So she carried Peter in her arms, down to the carpark (he was born in the old St John of God Hospital in Geraldton) and waited until I had climbed in, then placed him in my arms. No car seats for babies in those days!! How did we survive? Well, thankfully we did, but I’m sure many a child didn’t, hence the need for car seats nowadays.

image 2011-7-10 0007

Mitsubishi Sigma

I’m not sure of the year, but the Mazda eventually started to show some signs of engine trouble so we traded it in on a Mitsubishi Sigma. This time a white station wagon. That car saw us through the kids teenage years and it took many a trip out to Tardun Agricultural College where Peter went to school for 3 years. The photo above is during one of those trips out to Tardun when the roads were closed due to heavy rain and we had to take some backtracks to get across to Mullewa.

Moresby Heights, Geraldton

1994 Toyota Hilux

The girls had left home. Melissa had gone to Germany for 12 months and Helen, although a late starter in leaving home, eventually moved over east for a year, then headed to Canada for 2 years, leaving us just with our teenage son, Peter. He was into his surfing, football and hanging out with his mates, so a bigger 4-wheel drive, a Toyota Hilux, was needed to cart the surfboards and his mates to the beach.

In 1998, we bought the blue Toyota Camry sedan. I was working full time at Mitchell & Brown by then, so we upped the ante a bit and bought a near new car this time. It was only 2 years old. Gone are the station wagons, no need for them anymore. That car went on and on for nearly 20 years and would have kept going I’m sure, however, we were offered a really good deal to purchase another 2nd hand Toyota Camry Altise in early 2017. So we said goodbye to the blue Camry and now have a white, more modern looking sedan. Many a time I lost the car, that blue stood out from the rest and was easy to spot in a carpark full of white cars.

2004 Holden Rodeo

2004 Holden Rodeo

The Toyota Hilux 4wd eventually started to look a little worse for wear. It had seen us through many trips to the beach and even a holiday in the south to Albany in 1995. Bob always likes tray back utes so this time we bought a Holden Rodeo. A blue one at that! Matching pair. But, we had to put a canvas canopy on the back if we were going to go travelling with it.

We had some great trips in that Rodeo, first pulling a camper trailer to Mount Augustus, then it took us safely to Karijini National Park and back when we tented in 2013. In 2014 we took the plunge and bought a 21′ caravan and towed it with the Rodeo across to NSW via South Australia and Victoria to visit our son Peter.


Our new Caravan

2008 618 Coromal Caravan

Not long after our return, we joined the Midwest Caravan Club and went on many trekabouts out to stations in the Murchison, Wheatbelt and surrounds. It also didn’t miss a beat when we towed the caravan to the Top End, down through Alice Springs and home via Port Augusta in 2015.

Just before our trip in 2015, a hail storm caused some cosmetic damage to the roof and one side of the caravan, so on our return from the Top End, we put in an insurance claim to have it repaired. Little did we know that it would get written off and taken away. So it was a quick pull down to take everything out of it and leave it bare of all the things we had put in it. Then the fun was on to get another caravan. We saw one nearly the same as what we had, a 2008 Coromal, on Gumtree. Melissa was living in Perth, so she went and had a look at it for us, calling us on Facetime and walking around the van, inside and out, underneath and in every corner. It was too good a deal to pass up although we nearly renegged when we saw the condition of the awning. However, the sale yard came to the party and replaced that for us along with the deep cell battery that was dead when we tested it! We came out winners on that one and now have a great caravan.

We were due to do a trip across to Alice Springs in April 2016, six months after we’d bought the new to us, caravan. After talking to different people and looking at the compliance plates we found out that this caravan was heavier than the previous one, even though it was slightly smaller, 20′, the same year and make. The Rodeo was not meant to be pulling this caravan. What to do? what to do? We looked around and found a really good buy at a local caryard. This time, a Holden Colorado. No, not a trayback, but we are very happy with it AND it is white, the same as our car. I even got a fine at one of our trekabouts, when I was wandering around looking to hop in our blue 4wd!!!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get away to the Geocaching Mega Event that was on in Alice Springs as it took some time to get the Colorado tow ready. We wouldn’t make it in time. Eventually, we got away for nearly 4 weeks in October 2017, travelling out to Sandstone, Kalgoorlie, down to Esperance and Albany before heading home via Brookton. Bob was very happy with the fuel consumption of the Colorado and how it pulled the caravan.

For now, that’s the last of our vehicles and we feel that the ones we now have should last us for quite a few years.


About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
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2 Responses to Week 48: The Family Car

  1. This has put my thinking cap on…. not a single white car for us yet!!!!!! Green, red, silver, black, gold, two tone beige and brown (way back) …… and oh yes, there is a white. The land cruiser.

    • Jenny MacKay says:

      And noting how many cars one has in a lifetime was interesting. Dad used to trade his every few years while his were still in good nick, whereas we would keep ours until they could barely go or rusted out, as what happened more near the coast.

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