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Hundreds converge on the streets to relive memories of Innisfail in the 1970s

6/August/2021
Gary (Nip) Leeon owns the original Triumph Saint 1958 Tiger 110 motorcycle, which was a familiar sight around Innisfail in the 1970s.

INNISFAIL’s CBD was bustling as hundreds of locals flocked to see an array of glistening vintage cars and bikes lining Edith Street, replicating a typical Saturday morning of the 1970s when the town was full of life and activity.

The event, organised by Nev Scarlett and Max Neal, provided an opportunity for locals and visitors to showcase many cars and motorcycles from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, whilst supporting the town.

There are many motoring enthusiasts who love buying and restoring old cars and bikes, so what better way for them to get the whole community involved than by sharing their passion and providing a positive experience.

Lou Saro, who has owned his 1974 HJ Holden Panel Van for 45 years, with its original colour and 819,000 kms on the clock, said he parked it in the same place up the street as he did in the 1970s, opposite Wally the Wogs Café (now Famishes Café).

Two other vehicles, which graced the streets of Innisfail in 1970s, were Susan Richardson’s 1970 HG Holden Premier and Darren Pollard’s 1975 HJ Premier Holden cars.

Gary (Nip) Leeon owns the original Triumph motorcycle, which used to be parked for weeks at a time in the gutter opposite the QCWA Hall near the Jubilee Bridge. 

Gary’s uncle, Claude Leeon would stop there and walk to Larsen’s Newsagent to collect the newspapers. When he returned, most of the time the bike would not start, so he would walk home.

Claude would walk to the Milk Factory and later to Collins Cordials and each time he walked past it he would try and start the bike and when it did start, he rode it home.

It was the original Innisfail Police Bike (Triumph Saint 1958 Tiger 110 650cc with slick shift). 

The bike was bought by Des Hensler and painted purple, who then sold it to Claude Leeon. Gary purchased it in pieces in 1975, which he finished putting together in 1979, and it became his work bike.

The pipes, head, primary case, and seat are unoriginal.

Local businesses Oliveri’s Continental Deli, Anita’s Gifts, Jagads Epicurean Emporium, and Bite Me Takeaway supported the event and welcomed a busy trade as members of the public relived what it was like in Innisfail during that era.

After the morning event, many of the vintage cars and bikes then proceeded to the Currajah Hotel in Wangan.

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