Over the last four days Camperdown in Victoria’s south-west has been packed with visitors streaming in for some retro-fun, proving its Camperdown Cruise Rockabilly Weekend a draw-card festival event.
Think 50’s pin-up girls, burlesque and rock ‘n roll shaking off winters’ blue in an colourful October-fest!
Its a perfect and somewhat rollicking introduction to summer in south-west Victoria, and a must-see event.
Poppy-coloured lipstick, coiffured hair and bright swirling skirts: men in muscle-shirts with tans and sculptured hair and ‘rockabilly babes burlesque’ all brighten this rural landscape, which shelters under Mount Leura and nearby Mount SugarLoaf.
International acts rock the crowds along with dance-competitions and workshops, and it is glamour central beneath the town’s leafy avenue among stalls with vintage goods and retro fashions.
But it is was almost certainly the stunning array of custom and classic cars and hot-rods that competed with glamorous beauties as the most colourful draw-card for the four-day event.
There were plenty vying for the title of ‘Miss Camperdown Cruise’ and it was first-timer Tara McGaffin, a 30 year-old from Stawell in Victoria’s Wimmera district who was selected as the 2015 title-holder.
‘It’s a first for me at Camperdown and I am loving it,’ Ms McGaffin said.
‘It’s got a great atmosphere here and Camperdown is showing itself a great town for this type of event’.
It was also a first for Melbourne barbers Evan Rolton and Blake Churchill who were a long way from their usual home at the of ‘Rockit Barber Shop’ in Collin Street, Melbourne.
After three years of being pressed to attend, Evan says he was glad he finally relented.
‘Its an awesome festival and we gets lot of people who can’t get the real “barber treatmen” in their local area,’ Mr Rolton said.
‘Its a real drawcard and pulls in lot of people. We have had people from Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane stop by.’
Hayley Wiltshire from Rye spent the festival as ‘Miss Rouge Kitty’, fundraising and promoting Heels for Combat Boots a non-profit organisation raising awareness and funds for service men and women suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or from brain injury trauma.
Accompanied by District Directors Melanie Lorell of Toowoomba – ‘Miss Diamond Divine’ and Jzanelle Wilkins of Packenham ‘Miss Jza Jza’ – the glamorous trio were shaking the tins with funds going to ‘Soldier On’.
Natalie Grixti of Lake Wendouree said it is the fourth year she has set up her ‘Dishy Dames Stall’ at Camperdown Cruise.
“I am a fabric collector, and I originally sourced a lot of my retro materials from America’, Ms Grixti said.
‘But a lot of them are unavailable now so these prints prove pretty popular’.
Though only six of the ‘Lucky Seven’ swing band from Adelaide were on stage on Sunday they made rollicking good music, and the outdoor dance-floor was packed.
It is a delight to see couples rock and swirl their way round the floor especially as this band produces such a big sound.
While the avenue rocks visitors can join the large crowds ogling the stunning array of custom and classic cars and hotrods
For just $10 adults can spend an entire day on the Avenue, with open-air seriously good entertainment, or shop among the vintage goods stalls, rest under a shady canopy or avail themselves of a broad arrange of food and wander along admiring the classic cars or glamorous beauties that brighten up Camperdown for a long weekend.
Children are welcome, and there is a great playground in the centre of town for some quieter time out.
Camperdown has always been a special place: home to an extinct volcano it has long been preferred by farmers for its lush and bountiful fields.
But it was also the final home for many of the Indigenous Australians displaced from traditional lands, so take the time while there to visit the local cemetery with its special memorial to Indigenous leader Wombeetch Puyuun, who generously shared knowledge of the indigenous, traditional way of Aboriginal life, with European settler James Dawson.
There are great antiques stores as well in town, and I never pass the Camperdown Roadhouse for its fresh, hot and generous-sized meals, and where you can pick a bag of locally-produced potatoes.
Fresh honey straight from the hive is sold in Camperdown, there is an historic clock-building and plenty of history to explore.
The reasonably-priced event tickets make the Camperdown Cruise Rockabilly Weekend a delight for all. Book well ahead for accommodation as the event increasingly draws larger crowds.