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F1 WORLD CHAMPION 1959, 1960, 1966

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The City of Manningham, which encompasses the suburbs of Doncaster and Templestowe, with great vision (and considerable assistance and guidance from Graham Hoinville) arranged for the construction and erection of two heritage signs commemorating the existence and history of the old Templestowe Hillclimb track, described in 1951 as ‘Australia’s most spectacular hillclimb course’.

These signs are positioned near the original start line and on ‘Banana Straight’. Much of the original track is still visible for those who know where to look and now forms part of a walking track on land controlled by the Council. The famous ‘Wall’ with its daunting gradient of 1 in 2.5 feet, was (and possibly still is) the steepest bitumen road in Australia, is in reasonable condition but seems to be getting steeper when you walk up it – or are we getting a tad older.

The 969 metre long track was designed and constructed in 1951 by members of the Victorian Sporting Car Club, and 99 multi-club hillclimbs were conducted at the venue, which was enormously popular in its day. It is recorded that at one of the early events there was an estimated 20,000 spectators in attendance. However, with interest in hillclimbing waning and the encroachment of a modern exclusive suburban development, known as The Domain, the final event was conducted by the MG Car Club on 6th December 1987.

An official launch of these heritage signs, arranged by the City of Manningham led by the current Mayor, together with members of the Domain Residents Association, provided a very pleasant BBQ for many of the original devotees and their partners on Sunday 30th October last. These included Maurie Monk (founding President of CAMS, and Executive Committee member of both the VSCC and the Australian Motor Sports Club), Bruce Walton (six times Australian Hillclimb Champion and eight times outright record holder), Jim Hoy (past Secretary of the VSCC), Graham Hoinville (CAMS Delegate and former VSCC Committee member and competitor),Ted Hider-Smith (well known for his GN Special), Ray Cann (past outright record holder in May 1969), Dick White (twice outright, including final record holder in November 1969), and Neal Charge, former VSCC Committee member and well known competitor throughout Victoria in the ‘Charge Brothers’ MG TC.

There were many speeches and reminiscences and a great time was had by all those fortunate to attend such a unique occasion.

 P.S. If you want to see the site for yourself:
The Hillclimb was (or should I say is) located at the far north end of Blackburn Road just over the roundabout at the intersection of the Heidelberg - Warrandyte Road.

If you look at your Melways Map 34 E3 to E1 - follow 'THE PARKWAY' to the area now known as the 'DOMAIN WETLANDS' as indicated on this map and the first Heritage Sign is on the left hand side of the road just across the bridge.


                                                             - Article and photos by David White


                                        (Click on photos for enlargements)


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