For my latest mini-break (one night away from home) I went back to Shepparton, 181 kilometres north east of Melbourne. With a population at the last census of around 53,565 it’s the sixth largest city in Victoria. Shepparton is served by rail, but I drove, firstly because train services are currently suspended for track improvement works and secondly because I was paying my annual visit to SPC. Horrendous traffic, rail and hail made for a less than pleasant drive there.
SPC? In 1917 a group of fruit growers in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley formed a cooperative named the Shepparton Fruit Preserving Co. Ltd. It began operating in 1918, canning fruit under the brand name of SPC. After various changes of ownership in recent years, the company reverted to local ownership.
My interest in SPC? Shepparton town centre is home to their factory outlet store which carries lots of bargains: bulk buys, short dated products and end of line stock. I picked up lots of non-perishables and soft drinks which will see me through Christmas and well into the new year.
After a good night’s sleep at the Paradise Lakes motel, I went out to my car to find a flat tyre. Not what I wanted, especially with the spare wheel buried under a pile of food! Unlike the day before, it was a dry sunny morning and I got all sorted within an hour.
Late breakfast and then before driving home I visited MOVE, the Museum of Vehicle Evolution. I’d been there several times before, back to when it was Shepparton Motor Museum. It was rebuilt a few years ago and now houses large displays of cars, motorcycles, bicycles with a huge truck gallery where alongside the trucks the stories of their owners are told. Many came from southern Europe just after WW2 and built up sizeable transport businesses on the back of the fruit growing and canning industry. For those with little interest in transport there is a fashion gallery, display of vintage electronics and a gallery devoted to Furphy agricultural products.
Then home, thankfully a trouble-free easy drive.