It all began when Frank Dandridge and Reg Whitley bought their first Land Rovers and met through the agents at the time, Fischer & Simmonds.
Frank Dandridge was 47 years old and worked at SAA as an aircraft maintenance engineer and owned a 1957 Series I Short Wheel Base station wagon. Reg Whitley was 48 years old and worked as a diamond cutter and machinist and owned a 1960 Series II Long Wheel Base station wagon. Both lived in Kensington and remained faithful members for the rest of their lives.Read More
The first 10 members all lived in Kensington or Malvern. They were introduced to Bill Siebert, the owner of a safari company in Bechuanaland. (He had a 1960 LWB Hard Top). Bill’s slides on his various trips and trophies as well as his stories on the rallies he had attended in Solihull, resulted in the formation of a Southern African Land Rover Owners’ club. The first meeting was held on 26 July 1960. The next committee meeting was held on 16 August 1960, at which the committee was expanded to 6 members.
Practical advice from the Secretary, J.D. Tracey, of the Land Rover Owners’ Club of Great Britain helped them with the details and in September 1960 the first eleven members put their money on the table. The entrance fee was 5 shillings (R0.50) and the annual subscription was 1 Guinea (R2.10).
Thus the Land Rover Owners Club of Southern Africa was officially formed.
1960 First Rally - On 10 September 1960 on a disused mine dump, directly east of the Kensington Golf Club, just off Sovereign St), the seven entrants, judge and timekeeper, three marshals and about 400 to 500 spectators (due to a write-up in the media), gathered for the first ever rally held by the club. The fine, loose, deep sand and the black mud swamp next to the sand put the Land Rovers through their paces while their drivers navigated the set course, much the same as our trials today, except that this was also a timed event. Sandy ditches, stiff climbs and not one vehicle getting stuck in the swamp, had the spectators claiming that this was some of the finest entertainment they had seen in years. Not to mention the enquiries the club had for membership. The Rand Daily Mail gave a good write-up.
During 1960 three safaris were arranged to attract new members - On the first safari eight of the group headed off to Portuguese East Africa for a month of good hunting. Three Land Rovers, with heavily laden trailers, set off to bag a few trophies. The most notable were a lioness shot by Frank Fernandez and an elephant shot by Herb Ririe. Halfway between nowhere and somewhere, a latecomer to the safari, Geoff Coles, had his number four piston seize on the landy. Stranded and with no spares available he did the next best thing, whipping off the sump and head, he removed the bad piston. He re-assembled and pulling his two ton trailer for the next 400 miles on three pistons, he arrived at camp where he knew he could rely on his trusty LROC members to assist him with spares.
The second safari saw Bill Siebert and an American friend spend two glorious months in the Kalahari Desert on a photographic and hunting expedition. They also spent a few weeks taking notes and photographing the lives and habits of the Bushmen they readily encountered.
The third safari was aimed at the anglers in the club, as they headed off to fish along the ‘Oro’ coast in Mozambique. Traveling on appalling tracks in Zululand, the three Land Rovers arrived at ‘Oro’ Point, drove straight onto the beach and headed north with 70 miles of beautiful white sand to traverse.
1962 saw the LROC activities include film evenings, where members had the opportunity to show what they had filmed on their various safaris to the far corners of the continent and for that matter the globe. Oh yes, way back in 1963, some of our members where journeying through Africa, making modifications to their vehicles, like specially fitted tanks to carry extra petrol, a tank to carry drinking water, gas stove and a double bunk bed with ample storage space below.
Club socials also made their appearance with roaring log fires and mounds of juicy steaks. Safaris continued with trips to a snowy Sani Pass, Tswaane Pan in the Kalahari - navigated through the sole aid of rough hand-drawn diagrams - and a Christmas trip to a farm outside the Kruger National Park. Competitive rallies were fast becoming very successful events, with new Land Rovers taking part in every rally.
The club has now celebrated its 55th anniversary and is still organizing safaris (now called long trips), rallies (now called trials), socials, film evenings, away weekends and technical talks.
The great bond that existed between the members of the Land Rover Owners Club all those years ago still exists today, ensuring that, no matter where you may be, the members of the Land Rover Owners Club can always be relied on for help and assistance.
The oldest 4×4 club in Southern Africa, LROC is a family-orientated club, exclusively for Land Rover enthusiasts.
The club was formed in 1960 by a handful of like-minded people who were passionate about their Land Rovers and wanted to enjoy all the benefits of owning a Land Rover. Over the years many of the faces have changed, as have the vehicles themselves, but the basic reasons for the existence of the club still remain. These include bringing together the owners of Land Rovers, organizing events for members and encouraging members in the proper use and maintenance of their Land Rovers.
The Club is based in the Gauteng region of South Africa, but has ‘country’ and ‘overseas’ members almost spanning the globe. The current membership is around the 500 mark, representing (at last count) some 900 Land Rovers of all ages, shapes and sizes. Although most of the official correspondence tends to be in English, the club has a substantial Afrikaans membership and many other languages are also spoken.
Over the past decade or so, the club has gone from strength to strength and is recognized in the industry as one of the most prestigious off-road clubs to be associated with, renowned for its good conduct and always striving to ensure that its members will be welcomed back to venues it has visited.
Jakob joined LROC in 1999 and since 2000 has served various Committee portfolios, PRO, Clerk of Events and Legal Compliance Officer. For the past 8 years he has served on the Driver Training Sub-Committee and has organised numerous long weekends and overland trips with the club.Contact Jakob
Bernadette is an outdoors adventurer and lover, having grown up camping regularly and heading out to Kruger. Always keen for a road trip to get out of her home town of Jo'burg; there is no better place than driving with her partner in their Td5 90. Engaging with people and building community is something she works at everyday in the creative service industry.Contact Bernadette