The Next Berwick Swap will be on Saturday, 2nd February 2019
Enquiries: Ian 0419 312 304 or Roger 0407 568 488

Berwick Vintage Vehicle Swap Meet Akoonah Park, Princes Highway Berwick Victoria.

Generally held on the first Saturday in February each year.

The DVHCC held its first Swap Meet at the Clubrooms grounds, Glasscocks Road in Bangholm on Sunday 19 February 1978 only four years after the DVHCC was formed. The event was quiet small in comparison to the Berwick Swap that is held today. 2004_Swap_018

The Newsletter of that month reported:

“This will be our Club’s first Swap Day, other
Clubs have been invited to attend, Clubs all over
Victoria have been notified, and advertisements
3 weeks prior have been placed in Saturday morning’s
Age for the general public, so we expect full
cooperation of club members to volunteer for the
various jobs we will have to carry out to make the
day a success for the large number of visitors we
expect.  Plenty of stalls will be available and
parking area also, so start going through your garage
for any bits you want to swap or sell.”

The March newsletter reported a very successful day with 40 to 50 selling sites and an estimated 500 to 600 cars through the gate. Features included tables and chairs for the Mums and kids, catering in the Clubrooms kitchen and various vintage displays inside. Entry was 20 cents and $2.00 for a selling site. The DVHCC took about $200 on the gate and the report estimates around 800 to 1000 people attended.

The following year Sunday 4 February 1979 the Swap Day moved to Akoonah Park in Berwick and a full membership roster was published in the February Newsletter.  However there is no Swap Day report in the following Newsletter except for the President’s Report and the Editorial that indicate a successful day and a profit after all expenses of $600 to boost the savings account.The Swap Day of 1979 was held in what is now the car park of the Sunday Produce Market.Along the boundary of the
Princes Highway was a row of large pine trees that offered shade to Mums and children.

February being hot, these shady areas were reserved for DVHCC members who wanted a selling site, much to the annoyance of the general sellers who endured the burning sun in the open.We also sold out the indoor Shed, then being less than half of what exists today.   The Swap Day continued to be held on the first Sunday in February each year.   There were a few years when the Swap Meet as it became known, was held in mid or late January to accommodate the equestrian events that was held at Akoonah Park around the same time.

As the popularity of the Berwick Swap increased, partly due to the low cost entry fee and the free unlimited size selling sites, it became necessary to hire the “entire grounds” and sites were allocated in the gully which offered abundant shade from the summer sun, and later on, on the oval. With the establishment of the Akoohah Park Sunday Produce Market in 1996 the 1997 DVHCC Swap Meet was forced to move to Saturday.

Lengthy discussions with the Akoonah Park Committee proved fruitless and we made the most of our new situation.  As it turned out the DVHCC Berwick Swap on Saturday has continued to grow not only in size but in reputation as one of the best swap meets in Victoria.  There was also a time for a couple of years that we ran a Shannon’s sponsored “Show n Shine” which offered sixteen categories for prizes to be won.

This proved too much work at a time when the Swap was growing and was soon dropped to allow all members to work on Swap duties. The success of the Berwick Swap could not have occurred without the support of the members who work long and hard prior to and following the big day.

Credit must also go to the long time supporters of the “Berwick Swap”, the sellers, who come from far and wide. They set up as early as Friday afternoon (some as early as Thursday on occasions) to ensure position on their favored selling location.   The Berwick Swap had become too big for just the members to run, and for a time, we sought the assistance of the Warragul Club to help out on the gate duty.

Later we offered the catering side of the Swap to St. John and Rotary Cranbourne to relieve the work load on members. It was also felt that the DVHCC was giving something back to the community by sharing the profits.

The Berwick Swap now has a life of its own.  Members carry out regular duties with automation.  The catering has relieved the pressure and allowed us to concentrate on gate, parking and site allocation.  The profits enjoyed by the DVHCC run our Club for the following year, keeping annual subscriptions to a minimum and pay for entry to many monthly events as a reward for a “job well done”.