A BRIEF HISTORY ON THE ULYSSES CLUB INC. : ORANGE BRANCH.
As recalled by Bill Seers member # 2070. Dearnley medalist # 9. June 2005.
I joined the club in 1988 (it would have been sooner if one of the then members had made an effort to get me an application form or give a contact number. Since then I have always made sure that when asked I would post out an entry form without delay). In those early days there were only a few properly constituted Branches, others were normally referred to as Groups when members didn’t want the officialdom of being a branch.
The Ulysses Club was incorporated in 1988.
The first Orange resident to join the club was: -
Frank Whitehead N0: 187. Followed by: -
Terry Annis Brown N0: 259
Peter Woods N0: 345 Actually joined in Sydney before moving to Orange.
Merv. Ball N0: 409 He also was a Sydney member prior to moving.
Roy Gates N0: 377
Jim McCully N0: 448.
John Myer N0: 738 Joined in Dareton before moving to Orange.
Denis Gregory N0: 906.
Bryan Gregory N0: 952.
Dick Page N0: 957.
Kevin Collyer N0: 959.
Gordon King N0: 1251.
Peter HawesNO: 1285.
Charles Rofe N0: 1333 Unknown to me.
Ventry Miller N0: 1438.
Valerie Whitehead N0: 1732.
Greg Maher N0: 1799.
Kevin Davis N0: 1830.
Dennis Daniel N0: 1992.
Of the above only Merv Ball & John Myer continue to receive the newsletter.
Bill Seers N0: 2070.
Andy Selmes N0: 2177.
Henry Ferguson N0: 2344.
Artie Webster N0: 2345.
Roy Riley N0: 2540
Don Flynn N0: 2580
George Evans N0: 2744.
This was the local membership as at 1990.
Roy Gates, Kevin & Rita Collyer, Frank & Val. Whitehead & Kevin & Trisha Davis ran a very successful “Camp Out ” at Carcoar Dam which was probably the first organised event ran by Orange Members. As I recall this event was ran in 1988 & 1989.
Up to joining the Club I rode mainly with a few friends (not members) and my son Gary and some of his mates. I would have averaged up to 15,000 kms. per year.
My first ride with members happened by word of mouth usually organised by Denis Gregory. We were to meet in McNamara Lane at 2:00 P.M. I arrived all full of fuel and ready to go, six other riders turned up and we waited for others who were supposed to be coming, eventually leaving at 2:40 P.M. Our Destination Forest Reefs for a beer! They then returned back to Orange for a few more beers. This ride happened about every six weeks. The only other events were a couple of rallies that the members attended. The Iron Bark rally at Wyangala Dam was always well attended, with the members riding down in small groups.
The 1990 AGM at Broken Hill was probably the first time a large group of Orange Members travelled to an AGM. Others still travelled in their own little groups and camped at the venue. Those who rode in the main group were: - Merv Ball ,Ventry Miller, Bryan Gregory, Denis Gregory, Dick Page, Roy Riley, Henry Ferguson, Artie Webster, Peter Hawes and Bill Seers. We stayed overnight in Cobar on the way up and back. Separately Roy Gates and Kevin Davis also made the trip. There may have been others that I can’t recall. 600 members attended this AGM.
Pictured at left are ......................Bryan Gregory (partly obscured): Peter Hawes: Denis Gregory: Dick Page: Bill Seers: Artie Webster: Roy Riley & Henry Ferguson.
The 1991 AGM at Glenelg S.A. saw the group ride down and back together. As I recall, Roy Gates, Kevin & Trisha Davis, Bryan Gregory, Denis Gregory, Roy Riley, Dick & Anna Page, Henry & Barbara Ferguson, Andy Selmes, George Evans, Peter Hawes and Bill Seers. This is the first AGM that I recall where some of the girls came. 800 members attended this AGM.
In 1991 we started to ride a little more regularly. We would meet and discuss where we were going to go etc, but still we would be waiting for someone to turn up. It was about this time that I started to map out some district rides which varied from 180 to 200 kms. Using mainly back roads, I had six rides which could be ridden in reverse. This gave us the choice of twelve rides. As I had access to a photocopy machine at my factory I was able to print a single page of news which set out the next Saturday’s ride. We began to start our rides from Dick Page’s home in Trinity Place (mainly because Dick was always late and this way he was ready.) As I had devised the rides it was up to me to show the others so I led the rides and started leaving right on time at 2:00 P.M. They soon got used to it and the system worked well. The news sheet was handed out each week to those who rode, our numbers gradually increased and it was quite often we would have 30 riders, a lot would also travel down from other towns to ride with us.
We organised weekend rides usually to old pubs for a ride and a few ales, Gary Britt’s hotel at Canowindra was a regular spot. Early in 1992 we travelled over to the Bland Hotel for the weekend where we joined up with the then four members from West Wyalong. Unknown to me they group had decided to crown me the leader “ Captain Mallery ” “ Captain Mookie” were a couple of names used. “ Mookie & Fearless were a couple of nicknames I had in my youth. I was dressed in a fur coat, a helmet with horns, a mayor badge of honour, sat on a throne and crowned leader of the Orange and Mid West Ulysses Group.
I accepted the position and started a monthly newsletter, word of which soon got around as prior to this members in this area relied on Riding On as their contact with the Club. It wasn’t long and the newsletter was being sent to members in Parkes, Forbes, West Wyalong, Dubbo, Wellington, Bathurst, Lithgow, Gilgandra and Coonamble. We actually became known as the Central West Ulysses Group for a while until the other towns increased their membership and formed into their own groups. We had a lot of Mid West Group rides which were always very popular.
Even today some of those members still receive a newsletter.
I forget when but about 1996 the cost of postage was starting to escalate and it was costing me quite a bit so I introduced a $5:00 annual charge to cover printing and postage. Locally in Orange Roy Riley, Dick Page and myself delivered the newsletter to save costs. (The annual fee has now risen to $10:00 as I have them Photostatted by a printer, due to the fact that our photo machine has died.) Now of course I was receiving monies so I had to open a bank account and start keeping a record of the incomings and my spending. I began taking monies for bookings for accommodation etc.
Our wives and girls friend were becoming more involved travelling away for weekend trips and to the Annual General Meetings.
The Orange Camp Outs grew in statue attracting over 100 members, some were fancy dress. Roy Gates and Kevin Collyer did a great job with the assistance of other members. It was at one of these Camp Outs, 1994 or 1995 which was attended by Stephen Dearnley Old N0: 1. our founder. After I had welcomed the visitors, Stephen replied and referred to me as “Fearless ”and then the “ Fearless Leader”. This was where the name eventuated.
Years later at the Gold Coast AGM when Stephen presented me with the Dearnley Medal, he said: - “ I might be NO: 1, but there is also only one “Fearless Leader” Bill Seers from Orange.
My library of “Riding On Magazines ”goes back to 1988; the first mention of Orange was in the Sydney Branch’s ride calendar March 1989 “ April 22/23rd. March Carcoar weekend camping. Orange members organising meals approximate cost $20:00. Meet Richmond 9:00 A.M. Saturday.
Riding on June 1989 ran some photos of the Camp Out.
Riding On March 1991: - An invite to the Camp Out at the Scout camp submitted by Roy Gates.
Riding On June 1991: - Another reminder.
Riding On September 1991 a final reminder.
Riding On December 1991 A write up on the weekend. Which referred to the Central West Ulyssians at Orange.
Riding On February 1992. Sydney Ride Calendar. A ride to Sofala to meet up with the “Orange Branch.” First mention of Orange Branch.
Riding On September 1992. Roy Gates reported on my 60th. Birthday Party.
From about 1993 I started regularly submitting a report in Riding On for the Orange Group, this I continued to do until the end of 2004 when the format of Riding on was changed.
I have completed 13 years as leader of the Ulysses Club Inc.: Orange Group.