Joining a Club
Looking for a club? Try this Clubs List.
Advantages of Club Membership
There are benefits to club membership not enjoyed outside the association, such as:
access to an excellent, and more comprehensive than most, vehicle insurance scheme (which may be economically extended to cover camping equipment etc). Members can also find the latest copy of the Cover Note newsletter on the ANFWDC web page. The Cover Note, along with other information can also be found on the broker's web page.
A discount purchasing.
Access to low cost quality training in vehicle operating techniques.
Access to a better than average Public Liability Insurance coverage when travelling on an authorised trip.
Voluntary Workers Insurance coverage for volunteer projects undertaken by club members.
The fellowship of club members, no matter where you might be in Australia.
Access to HF radio networks.
The Club's activities offer support and advice to new four wheel drivers, through personal contact and reference libraries.
Most Clubs are able to offer members discounts for the purchase of spares, equipment, and services. Probably more important, is the opportunity to gain access to members more experienced in the type of driving likely to be encountered on your trip.
Be in it. Help to promote this controlled attitude which will be recognised as responsible use of our roads and tracks, and help to preserve access to public land for all to enjoy.
Why join a 4WD Club?
Recreational touring by 4WD is a means of gaining access to attractive areas and places of particular interest. With lesser equipped vehicles this would be difficult or impossible because of isolation, and road and track conditions.
Photo caption: Bush welding a broken spring mount.
Trip planning dictates self sufficiency for travel in remote areas which necessitates carrying spares, fuel water and effective long range communication. This type of driving frequently generates an interest in vehicle maintenance and recovery techniques.
Club membership also enables outback touring to be accomplished with greater safety because such trips are undertaken in a group of 2 or more vehicles.
Touring in remote areas raises many questions relating to access and the environment. A working knowledge of the current State legislation, by-laws and the conservation issues is necessary for compliance with the law and custom pertaining to the area being visited.
Assistance in answering questions arising out of these and other considerations is offered within the 4WD movement.
The 4WD Club Network
A quick glance at one or two of the 4WD chat sites on the Internet, or simply perusing some of the 4WD press, and you soon come to the conclusion that most of the general four wheel driving public have little or no concept of the structure and function of the organised 4WD Club movement. Even some club members, particularly the newer ones, often struggle to come to grips with what we're about. So here's the way it is - from local club to National Council - an organisation of over 10000 family memberships.
Most 4WD Clubs start from humble beginnings. A few friends who enjoy the outdoors and each other's company holiday together in more remote and natural areas decide to become a more formal group so they can share resources and experience. They start to notice that access to their favourite areas is becoming more and more restricted and realise that they need to join others in the struggle to prevent track closures.
The pooled strength of 4WD Clubs in each Australian State and Territory is the 4WD Association, now becoming more commonly known as Four Wheel Drive Queensland etc. These Associations are no more or less than bodies of elected 4WD Club members, all volunteers, working with one goal - to maintain and regain access to Australia's 4WD track network and remote destinations. Association committees typically work many evening and weekend hours on Association commitments. They are comprised entirely of 4WD Club members who have been nominated and elected to State committees by their peers. They are not, as one chat site chump would have you believe, "highly paid fat cats with secretaries and company cars". Far from it - none are paid and most wouldn't even claim expenses.
While clubs focus primarily on member activities, including 4WD trips and social activities, with many providing driver training, the focus of State and Territory bodies is clearly on maintaining and regaining environmentally sustainable access to Australia's diminishing network of 4WD tracks and remote destinations. They do this by lobbying government and negotiating with land management agencies, promoting driver training and the positive aspects of recreational four wheel driving and remote camping. Add to this the field work required to support written submissions to park and forest management plans and related legislation and regulations.
Then there's the business side of running a State organising body. Most Associations work to raise income outside their membership base to keep affiliation fees down and expand membership. Good communication with clubs also is vital if State bodies are to identify and respond to club member's needs and if clubs are to provide the support needed for the State body to be effective.
Every State 4WD Association has a member on the executive of the Australian National Four Wheel Drive Council, the national organisation with seven executive members and several appointed support officers, again all voluntary. The Council works to improve cooperation and communication between State and Territory bodies so that successful strategies are shared and mistakes not repeated. There is also a National public liability scheme, supported by a 4WD vehicle and equipment insurance policy written by the council for its membership.
The ANFWDC has also produced, through its member Associations, the only Nationally Recognised 4WD Training documents and distributes these to training providers across the country.
So if you're in a 4WD Club, don't ask what it can do for you, get involved - or you just might find that special place you go four wheel driving has disappeared. If you're not in a club ask yourself why not.
The above article appeared in 4x4 Australia in October 2003. You are welcome to reproduce the article in full with source acknowledgment as ANFWDC.
Ian Lacey, PR, ANFWDC, July 2003
How to join a club?
Many Clubs take the name of a particular vehicle, but while there may be a predominance of a particular make of vehicle in that Club, many are not exclusive of other makes.
Contact the club to find out what they can offer, and ask details of meeting times and places, activities and fees.
4WDSA affiliated 4WD Clubs (see this contact list) are oriented toward family activities which revolve around trips of varying duration, distance and difficulty. There will be trips of one day or many weeks to fit your interests.
Other activities which compliment trip planning and travel, are social functions, film nights, guest speakers covering a wide variety of topics, technical sessions, 4WD training and interclub activities.
Join a club and support responsible 4WD touring.
Read the Code of Ethics