An interpretive centre at Pt Parham will highlight the town’s history and pay homage to the unique jinkers of the area following a funding commitment from Adelaide Plains Council, through the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program (Round 2), on May 25.
The $36,000 project is the brainchild of the Parham and District Action Group (PDAG) and is just one of 62 initiatives prioritised by the group for the town and neighbouring Webb Beach area.
Local resident and PDAG secretary Alvin Jenkin, is excited by the project and has secured what he believes to be the seaside town’s original jinker to feature at the centre.
The interpretive centre will also include display boards covering the origins of Port Parham and Webb Beach, the history of the area, in particular the port which operated from the 1870s to 1948, the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, community links with WWI and other war servicemen, and the impact of the nearby Proof Range.
Mr Jenkin said he believed the first Jinker was built by Bob Collins of Collins Motors Dublin, who was well known for innovation, in about 1967.
“It was once the second largest Nissan/Datsun agency in SA country, and Bob designed and built Collins carts which were well respected in the go-kart fraternity in SA,” he explained.
“There was a go-kart track at Dublin until the land was resumed for the Port Wakefield Road bypass (and) Bob had several attempts to improve boat launching capability in the shallow water at Port Parham including motorised jockey wheels on boat trailers.
“He then came up with the concept of a “high” vehicle and mounted a Vanguard Car chassis at a high level.
“He was assisted by his apprentice Geoff Jenkin, who is my brother.
“Geoff tells me his main job was to go down the back yard of the workshop and extract parts from wrecks to go into the building of the device.”
Mr Jenkin said the vehicle was known as the “Bobmobile”, after Bob Collins, and was housed at Len and Nancy Webbs premises at Port Parham, from where it could be borrowed by approved persons to launch their boats.
“Having seen it in operation others started to build similar vehicles to the extent that there are now more than 100 in the area, all different, mostly powered by Holden or Ford motors,” Mr Jenkin said.
“The name “Jinker” came into general use in the late ‘70s when the shape of the vehicle was identified as being similar to Timber Jinkers used in timber yards.”
About six years ago Mr Jenkin asked his brother what had become of the “Bobmobile”.
“He advised it was in a paddock in the Lyndoch area,” he said.
“He subsequently retrieved it, semi restored it and delivered it to me with the view that it would be put on display.
“He has since built his second Jinker, “Bobmobile 2”, which is housed at the family property at Webb Beach.”
Mr Jenkin said he hoped the interpretive centre would become a drawcard for tourists and locals alike and would provide an educational facility for people to understand the area and local environment better.