All posts by Jackaroo


Licence Towing Limits

At the last meeting, a discussion ensued on towing a trailer/caravan on a normal car licence in Victoria.
Greg Moore has supplied the following extract from the VicRoads website:
You can drive a vehicle that does not exceed 4.5 tones Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) and can seat up to 12 adults including the driver.
This does not include motor cycles and motor trikes. You may tow a single trailer (other than a semi-trailer) up to 9 tonne GVM or to the manufacturer’s specifications (whichever is less).

The full page can be found here:


Tristate – Newsletters

Here are our Newsletters about Tri-state events they are published in PDF.

2019 Tristate Gathering 2019
January Tristate Newsletter dated January 23, 2019
2018 Tristate Gathering 2019
October Tristate Newsletter dated October 20, 2018
August Tristate Newsletter dated August 17, 2018
April Tristate Newsletter dated April 2, 2018

2016 Tristate Gathering 2016
February Tristate Newsletter dated February 10, 2016
2015 Tristate Gathering 2016
December Tristate Newsletter dated December 21, 2015
October Tristate Newsletter dated October 2, 2015
August Tristate Newsletter dated August 2, 2015

2013 Past Tristate Gatherings
March Past Tristate Newsletter dated March 13, 2013
2012 Past Tristate Gatherings
December Past Tristate Newsletter dated December 23, 2012
November Past Tristate Newsletter dated November 2, 2012
October Past Tristate Newsletter dated October 14, 2012
March Past Tristate Newsletter dated March 14, 2012


Redcastle Cemetery – Annual Maintenance Saturday 6th September 2014

Linda McElhenny reports:
On a beautiful sunny, but cool, Saturday morning we all met at Gaffneys Bakery in Heathcote for coffee before setting off at 9.30am for the Redcastle Cemetery.
Although, some were torn between manual labour and the Heathcote Market, which looked to be of a considerable size, complete with local produce, craft items, etc.
The area had had a fair amount of recent rain and on a track not far from the cemetery gates, in true 4×4 fashion we had to traverse water. (Well, maybe a big long stretch of puddles). It was enough though, to put a nice grey slick on the 4by.
With great enthusiasm, we got out our various pieces of equipment – chain saws, whipper snippers, rakes, weed sprayers, etc. There were saplings to be cut down, weeds to be snipped from around
the graves, fallen trees to be cut up and lots of fetching and carry- ing of debris to either the fire, or the green waste pile.
Glenda’s sharp eye and spotted some small agave cactus, which would have filled a bucket. This find piqued interest in others who also found more cactus.
They were so small they were hard to spot. All our years of tending the cemetery have paid off with such a small regrowth of the agave. Graeme recalled in the early years, the cemetery was quite overrun with it.
With everyone working diligently, we had most of the work done before lunch. A great bonfire, lit to get rid of the dried wood, pro- vided us with some lovely coals for our sausage sizzle.
Graeme and Gayle prepared and cooked the sausages and supplied salad, cheese bread and rolls. A pumpkin and sultana cake and chocolate biscuits followed. Yummy!
After a final look around and a clean up of the last of the debris, it was time to head home. We left after a great day, tired but happy with what we had achieved.


Phytophthora cinnamomi – Can you help?

Phytophthora cinnamomi, or Cinnamon Fungus as it was once commonly called, is a foreign plant pathogen. The pathogen is a microscopic water mould that attacks the root systems of susceptible plant species.

Phytophthora cinnamomi (pronounced: fy-TOFF-thor-ah) does not spread quickly by itself across the landscape. Instead people are the prime movers of the pathogen. Numerous activities can lead to the inadvertent movement of infected water, soil and plant material. Overtime, the pathogen has been widely dispersed across Victoria and as yet there are no means to eradicate it in the field.

A Grass tree (Xanthorea australis) that has been killed by Phytophthora.

A Grass tree (Xanthorea australis) that has been killed by Phytophthora.

Heathlands and heath forest communities have been significantly impacted by the pathogen. A key indicator of the pathogen is the iconic Austral Grasstree which is highly susceptible and sadly whose ultimate existence in Victoria is threatened by the pathogen.

In some ecosystems the impact has been dramatic, leading to the loss of many plant species and native animals that depend upon them for food and shelter.

Research into the resistance of some species may provide a key to long-term management. Presently however the aim is to curb further spread. Collaborative efforts are needed to focus on protecting significant public land assets from inadvertent introduction of the pathogen. This requires improving hygiene procedures and appropriate planning of area usage.

A Strategy has been published to help coordinate and direct public land managers in managing this threat in key areas. Victoria’s Public Land Phytophthora cinnamomi Management Strategy was developed in consultation with major stakeholders. It states the objectives, management principles, legislation, priorities and proposed management approaches.

The full report is available for download from DSE. Hard copies are available on request to the DSE Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

(Article Reproduced with permission from DSE)

Red Rock Beach

Bass Strait Tourer

Colin, Margaret & Kerri Ritchie
Wayne & Christine Scholes
Tom Sebastian
Michael & Jan Martin (2nd day)

Day 1

Margaret Ritchie reports:

With a very grey start to the day, we all set off from the bakery (where else) at Granville and travelled down the highway towards Phillip Island. The day was designed to be very relaxing looking at some of the interesting sights and finding some of the fauna and flora around Phillip Island.
We took a short detour just before San Remo to admire the view from the top of a hill overlooking Westernport Bay. Due to fog and mist, this was a bit of a fizzer, but a good view of Cape Woolamai could be seen. It was then in to the back of San Remo and across the bridge to Newhaven, where we were to pick up our volunteer guide for the day. My daughter Kerri has lived on the Island for some time and was a ranger with the National Park for many years, so she has a good knowledge of the area.
A short trip across the road from the Information Centre is the Chocolate Factory. Too much to choose from and a little pricey, but we had been told their curries are very good. From there we made a quick stop at the Koala Conservation Centre, where Kerri told us a bit of the history of some of the original vegetation still standing there. She also spoke of the koalas on the Island and why their numbers are declining.
Cowes was next and we had a short drive down the main street, then walked out to the end of the jetty.
By then it was time for lunch, so we were on the move again to Red Rocks Beach. This spot is only a short distance from where Kerri lives, so Colin and I know this beach very well. It is a very good picnic area with toilet facilities and amazing views across to the Mornington Peninsula. We had the whole area to ourselves and got the cameras clicking.
Red Rock Beach
After lunch, a walk along the beach was a must. As we were walking, we could hear gunfire from the Naval Training Academy (Cerberus) just across the bay. Luckily, they weren’t pointing our way! Following this very relaxing lunch stop, we headed off towards Swan Lake. This is the only freshwater lake on the Island and abounds with birdlife. While the others walked into the lake, I waited in the information area. Even in that small area, I saw wrens, spinebills, honeyeaters, thornbills, red browed finches and the list goes on. There were birds everywhere.
When the others returned, they reported they had spotted many different birds, including one which required homework as no-one could identify it.
(Later that night, Colin and Kerri and a bird identification book, decided it was a white fronted chat, a bird not usually seen in the area.)

After Swan Lake, it was a short drive down to the famous Nobbies for a stroll along the boardwalk.

Most of the nesting birds had left the area at this time of the year and unfortunately, there were no late chicks left to see. We spent some time in the Nobbies Centre watching the seals out on the rocks via cameras placed out there. Their gift shop also attracted our members.

From the Nobbies, we followed a little known road around the coast that cuts through the old Summerlands Estate. The Government has been gradually buying back these lots for more than twenty years and has finally removed the last house from the penguin colony. The work being done to re-introduce the penguins to the area is obvious, with new nesting boxes and grasses planted everywhere. From the cliff overlooking Summerland Bay, where the penguins come in every night of the year just after sunset, Kerri gave us some information on the Little (or Fairy) penguin. Did you know that they always swim west towards Phillip Bay from Phillip Island? Or that they can stay at sea for up to three weeks and that they mate for life?
There is a count done by the rangers of the penguins as they come ashore each night. The count for the night before was 1,156. The count is done from the minute the first group of five or more penguins crosses the beach and the count lasts for fifty minutes. Why fifty minutes? As Kerri explained, most of the birds come ashore within that time. All across the area, there are many thousands of penguins coming ashore on any night, but only those at the parade stands are counted. From this count, the rangers are able to assess whether there are any problems with the colony.
The view from above the Penguin Parade is quite spectacular. One can look back along the coast towards Cape Woolamai and Pyramid Rock in the distance.

Back on the main road, we passed the famous and very beautiful Phillip Island Grand Prix Motor Racing Track. There were races taking place, but we were unable to stop and watch as it was getting a bit late in the day and tents still had to be erected.
We said our goodbyes for the day at the Newhaven Information Centre and took our guide back to her car.
Wayne, Chris and Tom were all staying at the caravan park in Newhaven, so they didn’t have far to travel. Colin and I headed home to Wonthaggi, about thirty five minutes away.
By the way, if you have ever wondered why some of the dead kangaroos along the side of a road have a pink cross on them, it is to tell others that their pouches have been checked to make sure there are no live young in them. If a young joey is found alive, it is taken to a volunteer wildlife shelter and, hopefully, reared to adulthood whereupon it is released back in the area where it was found.

Day 2

Christine Scholes reports:

Sunday morning started for us at about 5.00am with a huge thunder clap right over the top of us. It was followed by heavy rain. Great! Now we would have a wet tent to pack up. By brekkie time, the rain had eased back to a light drizzle. But we still had a messy pack up, so much so, that we were a bit late for our meeting time.
After meeting the others at Bass, where Michael and Jan Martin joined the trip, the group left at 10.30am, which wasn’t too bad all things considered.
Kilcunda Beach Our morning trip took us to the new desalination plant, then on to Kilcunda Beach, the trestle bridge and finally to the State Coal Mine historic No.20 shaft.
Here, in 1937, thirteen miners were killed in an underground collapse. (After living in the area for many years, this was the first time our trip leader Margaret had been there.)
From there it was on to the Wonthaggi Information Centre and then collected Molly, Colin and Margaret’s dog. She joined us for the afternoon. Our lunch stop was at the State Coal Mine picnic area, a pleasant relaxing stop.
After lunch, we went through the museum, which was most interesting (and free!) and saw the most amazing vegetable garden and chicken run. I wish it was mine! It was then back on the road and off to Eagles Nest to view the coastline from Venus Bay to Inverloch. We left the coast and travelled north through the most beautiful rolling green hills through Kongwak, Glen Alvie and on to Kernot. Here we stopped for afternoon tea among the quaint inhabitants of Gnomesville, Frog Hollow and Fairy Dell.
During our break, Margaret received a phone call from Kerri with the news that a heavy thunder storm was heading our way. We quickly decided to call it a day and head off on our separate ways home. It was a disappointing end to what had been an interesting and great day.

Thanks to Colin, Margaret and Kerri (and Molly) for a well planned trip.

Faults Codes

Understanding the MIL fault codes on a Jackaroo Turbo Diesel

The Jackaroo, as with all vehicles intended to be supplied to the USA market, (as the Isuzu Trooper) is fitted with OnBoard Diagnostics (OBD) to enable rudimentary servicing of the vehicle by non dealer mechanics. It was introduced in the USA as a mandatory requirement in 1996 to ensure that air pollution standards could be maintained. The MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) or commonly labelled Check Engine light is located in the instrument cluster.

(Download the full tip here – “How to Read Your Jackaroo Fault Codes” )


Dangers of using Motor Vehicle Recovery Straps (Snatch Strap)

People have been killed or seriously injured when using vehicle recovery straps that have broken or when components on vehicles have ripped off and struck the person with great force

Consumers using motor vehicle recovery straps should:

  • always read and obey the product’s instructions and warnings.
  • ensure the strap’s stated breaking strength is appropriate for the gross vehicle mass (GVM), including load weight, of the individual vehicle being recovered (the minimum breaking strength of the strap should be between two and three times the vehicle’s GVM).
  • ensure the strap is suited to the GVM rating of the lighter vehicle in the recovery
  • never attach the strap to a standard tow-bar, tow-ball or standard vehicle tie-down point (they are not designed for this purpose and may result in the strap or a vehicle component detaching and striking a person).
  • only attach a strap to a suitable rated vehicle recovery point or device
  • ensure the strap is undamaged and in a usable condition
  • drape something like a heavy bag or blanket over the strap during use to reduce any unintentional rebound of the strap.
  • ensure that any people outside the vehicles stand far enough from the vehicles – at least 1.5 times the non-stretched length of the strap. They must never stand in the line of recovery.
  • do not use the strap for lifting or conventional towing

For more information visit

There are currently three recalls for recovery straps sold in Queensland that do not meet the Queensland mandatory labelling standard for recovery straps. For more information visit:

Anaconda Group Pty Ltd –

Australian Trading Services Pty Ltd (ATS) –

Lion (Australia) Consolidated P/L –

Republished from