Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. maintains its presence as the prime active club in South Australia exclusively dedicated to the preservation and restoration of motor vehicles of the Citroën marque.
The Club has a functional and symbolic significance. It provides a forum for Citroën enthusiasts and it is an umbrella for all the Citroën Clubs in South Australia that evolved during the 1970’s and gradually declined or dissolved. An old photograph indicates that South Australian Citroën enthusiasts met with their vehicles as early as 1923 at Belair National Park, but there is no evidence of formal club proceedings.
Early Citroën dealers in Adelaide include Maughan-Thiem and Silver and Killicoat. The early photograph mentioned previously was taken on Sunday 16 September 1923 following the run from Maughan-Thiem Motors in the city to Belair National Park.
Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. was officially inaugurated on Thursday 25 July 1985. However, the origins of the Club can be traced to 31 August 1970 when Citroën Owners Association of S.A. Inc. began its proceedings as the first Citroën club to be incorporated in South Australia. During the 1970’s several break-away Citroën clubs formed, all of which have either terminated or become inactive. Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. was the phoenix club which absorbed the remaining finances and members of previous South Australian Citroën clubs.
The Club has several members such as Mr Rolf Breyer, Mr Phillip Ogg, and Mr Les Tapping, who have maintained a continuous association with a South Australian Citroën club from the 1970’s to the present.
Citroën Owners Association of S.A. Incorporated
It is thought that Citroën Owners Association of S.A. Incorporated was established by Mr John Hatton-Davies, a professional photographer, who bought a Citroën DS from Max Ward’s car dealership “Citroën SA Sales and Service”. According to Mr Phil Ward, the designer of at least one logo for Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. and designer of Raid Australia logos, his late father, Mr Max Ward was responsible for establishing the first Citroën dealership in the 1970’s in Adelaide.
The first premises of Citroën SA Sales and Service was located on Port Road. Max’s hardware and boat building business, Warlan Pty. Ltd., was also situated on Port Road. The car dealership later moved to the central business district of Adelaide with a showroom frontage on King William Street (C Bennet pers. comm. 2008 ). The site later became the business “Chateau Moteur” which is now located on Glen Osmond Road. It was the existence and location of Max Ward’s city business which became the catalyst for the formation of Citroën Owners Association of S.A. Inc.
The first meetings of Citroën Owners Association of S.A. Inc. were held nearby at the Brecknock Hotel at 401 King William Street. Currently, Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. meetings are held at the “Lounge” within the North East corner of the Burnside Council complex at the Greenhill Rd/Portrush Rd intersection.
Citroën Owners Association of S.A. Inc. published an official newsletter, titled “L’Auto”. The title of this newsletter has been retained by Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. Early editions of this newsletter from 1971 to 1972 are located in the National Library of Australia, Canberra. Later editions of L’Auto dating from 1985 onwards are held by the State Library of South Australia.
Citroën Car Club of Australia Incorporated
On 2 September 1971 Citroën Owners Association of S.A. Inc. was renamed Citroën Car Club of Australia Incorporated. The name change is attributed to Mr Dave Milne, now deceased, who intended to raise the profile of the Club to a national level. After several years Mr Brian Knight established a spare parts scheme in the Club which flourished. It was later run by Mr Phillip (Phil) Ogg followed by Mr Bob Koster (C Bennet pers. comm. 2008 ).
One legendary story from this period of Club activity is that Dave Milne was so enraptured by the Citroën, that he completely buried an entire Citroën D in a colossal hole in the frontyard of his home at Skye (C Bennet pers. comm. 2008).
The Citroën Car Club of Australia Inc. produced a club logo which was produced on an enamel badge in two sizes. The smaller badge (pictured) was manufactured as a badge with a pin fixture at the back, whilst the larger badge was made to fix to the grille of a motor vehicle (pictured).
South Australian Citroën Car Club Incorporated
By 1973 there were stirrings of discontent amongst members. On 15 March 1973 approximately four members, whose primary interest was the Citroën DS, formed a break-away group, South Australian Citroën Car Club Incorporated. Mr Jeff Harris was responsible for forming this club (C Bennet pers. comm. 2008 ). Records of the South Australian Office of Business and Consumer Affairs indicate that the name of this club is still active.
Citroën Traction Avant South Australia
Further rumblings of discontent ensued, and in circa 1975 a second break-away Citroën club was formed, this time, by Mr Hughie Keeris. The primary focus of this unincorporated club named Citroën Traction Avant South Australia was a passion for the Traction Avant (C Bennet pers. comm 2008 ).
Members who joined this Club included Mr Chris Bennet, Mr Leslie Tapping and Mr Peter O’Rourke. This enthusiastic, socially active club attracted members which may explain why numbers declined in the Citroën Car Club of Australia Inc. Another member who later left Citroën Car Club of Australia Inc. for Citroën Traction Avant South Australia was Mr Phil Ward, the son of Max Ward (C Bennet pers. comm. 2008 ).
Citroën Traction Avant South Australia produced its own newsletter, ‘Traction Torque’, for at least 7 years. Traction Torque appeared with at least 3 different cover designs (pictured) which were arranged and printed by Peter O’Rourke. Some of these newsletters are held by the State Library of South Australia and the National Library of Australia in Canberra.
Citroën Traction Avant South Australia had its own logo which was designed by Peter O’Rourke. The Club posseses a dark blue round cloth patch with gold embroidery (pictured) which bears the title ‘Citroën Traction Avant S.A.’.
There appears to be no clear indication when Citroën Traction Avant South Australia dispersed, but according to the date on the last Traction Torque lodged with the State Library, it was during or after 1983. During the early 1980’s interest in the Traction was waning and club members were declining. As a result, a decision was made to merge Citroën Traction Avant South Australia with Citroën Car Club of Australia Inc. and the remaining Traction club finances were donated to the surviving Citroën club. Some of the members from Citroën Traction Avant South Australia chose not to join Citroën Car Club of Australia Inc. These people included Mr John Allen, Mr Hughie Keeris and Mr Peter O’Rourke. Some members who transferred to the the surviving Citroën Car Club of Australia Inc. included Chris Bennet, Les Tapping and Phil Ward (C Bennet pers. comm. 2008 ).
Club Citroën of South Australia Incorporated
Around 1985 some members of Citroën Car Club of Australia Inc. such as Mr Peter Dansie and Mr Dave Milne (Public Officer) were unhappy with the way the club was being run. Dave Milne organised to freeze the club bank accounts with the result that the club could not function administratively. This event precipitated the registration of a new Citroën car club which was Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. The committee at the time of registration was responsible for the club having a French sounding name.
Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. was incorporated on Thursday 25 July 1985 (right ) with Allan Ward as Public Officer (Reg. No. A9900). The deregistration of Citroën Car Club of Australia Inc. occurred on 11 December 1986 (Reg. No. A3632). The spare parts scheme which was held in a separate bank account in Citroën Car Club of Australia Inc. was also transferred to Club Citroën of South Australia Inc.
In the 1990’s the spare parts scheme which had been run by Bob Koster for approximately 5 years was privatised and run by Roger Parker as “Oleopneumatics“. Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. continued to publish L’Auto, with many copies held by the State Library of South Australia.
At least two logos were produced to represent Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. The first logo was designed by Phil Ward in 1985 and featured side profiles of the Traction, the 2CV, the DS and CX Citroën vehicles (pictured).
Club records show a new Club logo in use in 1991, probably designed by Mr Phil Ward (pictured right). According to Mr Philippe Mortier this logo was most likely altered to a simplified form, by himself and Ms Ann Gill. It is believed that Ms Kelly Schulz adapted the logo by including Arial font text around 1997.
Meetings have been held at the City of Burnside since 1982: Club Citroën of South Australia Inc. continues to this day, now meeting second Wednesday of each month (not January) in the comfortable and spacious “Lounge” within the main section of the Burnside Civic Centre.