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Old Centurions in a field?
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:50 am
Post subject: Old Centurions in a field?

I've had a look about but I can't find anything on this.

I'm wondering whether any of the Australian armies centurions are still sitting about in a field. I recall reading about them in the newspaper years ago (there was a picture too), with I think the mention that some had been sold off to farmers as tractors (without their guns). But then at the end of last year I saw a doco on the ABC I think, about a Vietnam crew that were reunited quite recently and as part of their 'catch-up' they went to this same field and found their old tank still there. The point of the story was that the one crewman had been terribly wounded in action in that tank and after evacuation and recuperation came home and went about his life - never speaking to his former crewmates until the story.

Anyway, this show ('Australian Story'? - there was also a car racing sub-plot to it as well - I think one of them was injured in a crash?), seemed quite recent and I was wondering whether anyone knows anymore about this field and whether it still has any Centurions?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:10 pm
Post subject: Re: Old Centurions in a field?

Hey Larso,

Here's a link to the story:


Last edited by Dennis_Smith on Tue May 08, 2007 10:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:20 am
Post subject: Re: Old Centurions in a field?

Thanks Dennis!

This is a quote from the transcript of that story -

BILL BARLOW, VIETNAM VETERAN: All our old Centurion tanks were up there at a place the other side of Albury out on this farm. And, actually, the tank that we were in when we got hit by this RPG, it was up there too. And so it was just great going up there and seeing this tank and where it had been hit and, yeah, there was a lot of nostalgia attached to it all. But the main thing is just meeting up with all the old crew members again and just becoming friends once again.

I'm going to try to find the article that I read in the paper - hopefully it'll be on the newstext site.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:01 am
Post subject: Re: Old Centurions in a field?

Well I had no luck with the old newspaper articles but I did find the following relevant web pages (providing I've done the cut & paste thing properly) -

Fri, May 06, 2005 The Border Mail By Howard Jones

MOST of the 132ha sold to Abacus has not been needed for the military since about 1986.
The former Pearces farm south of Pearce St was compulsorily acquired in 1940 and became part of the Central Ordnance Depot, later 311 Supply Battalion.
Large sheds accessed by standard and broad-gauge railway lines were laid out on the site.
About 100 redundant Centurion tanks were stored on the land until sold in 1989.

Larso: This is a very interesting site which contains advice about buying and restoring Centurions : www.raeme.net/spt.php?...nts&item=1

He concludes with –
OK! What should you pay for a Centurion.
• Excellent Condition$45,000-$50,000
• A Good Runner$30,000.
• A Fair Runner (blowing smoke)$16,000 to $20,000.
• A Gate Guard$8,000.

These are the opinions of a chap that cannot afford a gate guard. Good luck. I do know where most of the Australian Centurions are, 124 out of 143. I also know the condition of most of them and have driven a heap. If I can be of any help to anyone in any way please contact me.
Regards Col

(Larso: I’ve written to him to enquire if any of those Centurions are still there and available. Below is an article by the man himself.)

About Col Filtness
My name is Col Filtness and I am an old Centurion driver from the early 50's. I decided to drive to Puckapunyal to view the Tank Museum, as I only live 20 minutes away in Kilmore. The trop was great and I was surprised to see so many Cents around the place. On the way home I started to wonder where my old tank was 169007. As time went by, (about 24 hours) I decided to start looking for it. I hoped to find between 12 and 20 Centurions, in fact I found 120 odd from a possible 143. This I found astounding. Then to find some running still and in some cases better than when they were in service, was also surprising.
I was surprised to discover a few and thought I should write it all down in a notebook with serial numbers and locations. From this it grew to taking photos, which meant in a lot of cases, revisiting many I had found. From there it progressed to maybe writing a book as I was finding so much of interest to me that I thought others may like to share it. This soon came to an abrupt halt as the quality I wanted made the book worth about $400 a copy. No one would be interested in anything I had to say for that price.
So I decided to go the computer C. D. way. This meant I could do the lot myself, and most people today have a computer so it would appeal to a wide range of people. The cost of paper and ink plus binding went out the door to be replaced by some CD's, some printer ink and a few CD labels. Lots cheaper. I could also burn them myself. From here it just snowballed. People started to assist me, a couple of friends traveled with me over thousands of miles to look at and photograph tanks taking about ½ hour and then driving home again. But I could not have done the miles without their company and help.
I found it hard to imagine the people I was meeting. Nothing was to much trouble, no one would take any money for expenses, and I mean people supplied me with their tank for a drive would not take anything for fuel, I have been offered accommodation and meals from people that I have never met, one chap gave me the keys to his farming property, as he had to return to Sydney after two days, with the instructions that when I wanted to leave, just lock up and switch off the gas. And if I was ever up in the Snowy Mountains, I knew where the key was and I was welcome to just call in and stay, if there was no one around I knew where the key was! Not bad for a bloke I met via email and had never met till two days before.
The search used the email a lot and people started to email me with information of where they had seen or thought there were Centurions. I found that places that were out of bounds to me were suddenly becoming available. People connected with the Army and the Museums were bending over to assist me and its with out a doubt that they all helped the CD not only be finished but to be as good as it is. At this point I will point out that to me it was a labor of love, and I enjoyed every minute of the search. But after reading and viewing the CD about one thousand times, I did start to wonder just what sort of impact it would have on the people that were paying good money for it. The results were well beyond my highest expectations.
When I was still in the book form I was asking people to supply stories, photos and information, with the rider that I would not sell the story to make money for myself. By the time I was into the CD stage I knew it would have to be offered for sale as there was no way I could cover the costs myself, which up to this time it had been considerable. I was then stumped as my original idea said I would not make money from it. Some people suggested I just sell it to cover my costs, but I had no idea what the costs were and was afraid to sit down and try and work it out, so that was a no go.
Now when I first started on the story I found that no one would let me climb onto or into their Centurions. You cannot imagine, in your wildest dreams, how badly I wanted to sit in that seat again. But the insurance worry was the stopper and I could not complain. I t was at this time I rang the Vietnam Veterans Museum at San Remo, asking if I could photograph and enter their Centurion. Permission was granted and so my association with the museum and many Veterans started. I then decided to offer the CD to the Museum so they could sell it and raise some money for the new museum they are building. This gave me an out let of sale as well, and as I was not handling the cash I felt I was keeping my word to the people who in the early stages gave me assistance. So I burnt some Master Disks and presented them to the Museum complete with a computer, and set it up so they could have it running for anyone that wanted to see it.
The search of course led me to the Vietnam War and I started to meet many Vets who shared their stories and photos with me, which opened up a whole new area. As I had visited Vietnam I was aware o f some of the feelings, the heat, the people, the country and the villages, so the stories were very special to me as were the photos, and I started to get some understanding of what the Vets endured, enjoyed and hated about their tours. For someone that was too young for Korea and too old for Vietnam, it was a privilege to meet and talk to and be accepted by these people.
I am now working on a website, where I hope to put a lot of the information and photos for all to see. Just have to workout how to do it.
Col Filtness

Larso: One at least is still going strong -

Ever wondered what it would be like to be in the turret and command a massive 55 ton Centurion Battle Tank? Here’s your chance to experience the Rolls Royce engine roaring into life before your skilled driver has the tank thunder over undulating terrain while you enjoy the action.
Firstly you will explore the interior of the tank and see how the four man crew used to operate. Only two passengers travel at a time with the driver/instructor. You’ll climb up into the turret then the massive machine sets off. The V12 petrol engine is the same type that powers the Spitfire and Mustang fighters. You will travel over a special course, up and down hills and over undulating terrain.
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.
Valid For:
1 person
You must be able to climb into the turret.
There are only 2 passengers in the tank at any one time.
This experience may be cancelled in heavy, continuous rain conditions and will be rescheduled at a later date.
Session Length:
The session will last approx 20 min, which includes a vehicle familiarisation and history.
Extra Info:
Please booked around 3 to 4 weeks in advance of preferred date.
This experience voucher is valid for six months from date of purchase.

Price: $125

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:22 pm
Post subject: Re: Old Centurions in a field?


Lay me place and bake me Pie
I'm starving for me Gravy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:39 am
Post subject: Re: Old Centurions in a field?

Mr Fitness has written back to me and there are still a few Centurions still there -

Hi John, Just about all are now gone. I believe there are about 7 left and the going price last time I spoke with the owner was $50000 each.
There is one for sale at Cowra for $35000 with a lot of spare parts. This is owned by an ex RAEME mechanic and is in very good order and runs well. Has a tooth missing off the rhs final drive but hje has a complete reconditioned final drive in his shed for it. The guy, Bruce Holt is a nice fellow and his price is the best available at the moment and I feel it will also best in the future. There have not been many available in the last 12 months and a sale at Dandenong museum blew the price right over the top. Hope this is some help to you. You may wish to see my site on Centurions, if so the address is below and I also have 4 CD's for sale. Regards Col

Col Filtness www.centurion-mbt.com

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