One of the icons of the southwestern Sydney fringe that has long disappeared was the car museum and picnic ground know as Greens Motorcade Museum Park at Leppington on the Old Hume Highway.
The car museum opened in 1974 and had a collection of cars under cover in a museum hall. Museum volunteer Ray Sanderson recalls that the manager was David Short. He
was George Green’s right-hand man of his large collection, not just at the museum but storage sheds about the country. Not far from the museum was an old chook farm shed (commercial size) [that] housed more unrestored vehicles.
On the car museum site there was a re-creation of a early 20th century village with The Oaks Tea Rooms, the old Beecroft Fire Station, a garage complete with hand pumped petrol, and train ride which was a former cane train from Queensland. Rides were also provided by a 1927 Dennis Fire Engine and a 1912 English Star.
The Beecroft Cheltenham History Group states that the fire station was carefully shifted piece by piece from its original site to the museum park. They state:
In 1975 changes in equipment and the expanding number of personnel meant that the oldest fire station building was carefully taken down and reconstructed at Leppington in Green’s Motorcade Museum Park.
The museum collection was owned by woolbroker George Green who lived at Castlecrag in Sydney and was a member of a number car clubs in the Sydney area. George Green was a keen collector of Rolls Royce motor vehicles and foundation member of the Rolls Royce Owners Club of Australia in 1956. He was also a member of Veteran Car Club of Australia (1954) and The Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia (1944), which holds the annual George Green Rally in his honour.
George Green owned the museum in partnership with car dealer and collector Frank Illich. The manager of the museum was David Short of Camden from its foundation to its closure in 1982 when George Green died and the collection was auctioned off on site.
On the old Hume Highway the visitor and their family were met by the steam traction engine that was originally used to drive the timber cutting machinery at the Woods Timber Mill at Narooma on the New South Wales South Coast. It was presented to the museum by Mrs Woods.
There was also a large picnic area which hosted many community events, car club days, children’s Christmas parties, corporate functions, and other events.
The Vintage Vehicle Car Club of Australia held its foundation family day event at the picnic ground at Greens Motocade Museum on 21 August 1977.
The museum occasionally supplied its ‘old cars’ for film shoots, commercials and corporate events all over Sydney. At one time the museum management organised shopping centre car displays across Sydney, with a display at Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre after it opened in 1981.
One car in the collection was a Leyland P76 which was an Australian icon.
Another icon in the museum collection was a 1922 Stanley Steamer Car. The Powerhouse Museum states:
In about 1958 the car was purchased by George Green who from the mid 1950s collected some 100 vintage and veteran cars which he displayed at Green’s Motorcade Museum at Leppington, NSW, from 1974. In 1971 Green swapped the Stanley for a 1904 Vauxhall which belonged to Allan F. Higgisson of 22 Banner Street, O’Connor, ACT. Higgisson was keen to work on the Stanley, while Green wanted to restore a veteran car he could enter in the annual London to Brighton car rally. It was an unwritten agreement that should Higgisson tire of restoring the Stanley it would be returned to Green.
The National Museum of Australia’s has a 1913 Delaunay-Belleville Tourer which was part of the Greens Motorcade Museum Collection. Read story of the 1913 Delauney- Belleville Tourer at the National Museum of Australia and here. As well in the NMA Collection Database here
2 thoughts on “Greens Motorcade Museum Park Leppington, a lost Sydney icon”
It was one of the only Leyland “Force 7 coupe”, not a plain P76! I grew up at Castlecrag with Georges Grandson Simon Garrett and spent many hours at Georges workshop underneath his house in Linden Way which was next door to his daughters house. Many hours spent “Helping” on restorations of the 1913 Delauney- Belleville Tourer, De Dion Bouton, Hispano suiza sports, learnt to drive a 1910 BRUSH and many rides in the old Waratah Festival in Rolls Royce “Munster” silver shadow etc. Somewhere around I have an owners handbook for the Force 7 that the museam sold as a souvenir, Original books not a copy as Leyland started the printing of the handbooks before cancelling the production!
As it is the 50th Anniversary of the London to Sydney Rally, I would be interested to know if the Museum had in its collection one of the Rover 2000’s which were in the Rally. The car was entered by the British Army and completed the rally in Sydney and it was thought that one of these Rovers ended up in the Greens Motor Museum. I was hoping you may have a list of the cars that were on display. Best regards Rob Harrison.
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