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Genevieve rolled into Ipswich town by the glow of gaslight.

In a parade of elegance and homeliness, vintage and veteran cars made before 1919 swept past the Hotel Metropole (all too swiftly) then sashayed down the main street. Car horns brayed, giggled and coughed, and each car’s gaslights, fuelled by hard-to-come-by carbide imported from Germany, reflected in polished metal. The 2012 National Tour of the Veteran Car Club of Australia had come to town.

For those who remember the 1953 comedy film about the London to Brighton car rally, Genevieve was a 1904 Darracq. Rally entrant 67 was a 1907 Darracq originally owned by Eleanor Constance Greenham. Ipswich-born Eleanor studied medicine at The University of Sydney then became the first Queensland-born woman to practice medicine and to have a private practice in Brisbane. She was one of the first Queensland women to own a car. Eleanor’s Darracq was rescued and restored by Denis Martin, Toowoomba.

I named my previous car Genevieve as the name means ‘white wave’ – suitable for a Mazda 121 white bubble car. With my love of jazz and swing, Genevieve evokes the unforgettable scene in the film where a tipsy Kay Kendall plays a swinging version of the song on the ‘plumpet’ to acclaim, and then falls asleep at her table.

Until the end of October, the Ipswich Art Gallery have a veteran car display featuring an 1899 Winton Phaeton and 1904 Rambler Model G Roadster.

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