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The History of Skydive Ramblers
Back in 1966, Bob Morrison was the original Rambler. He trained up Instructor Dave McEvoy in 1967. With Bob, Dave and another Rambler, Phil Whatmore, made the Australian Parachute Team in 1970 and went to the World Parachute Championships in Yugoslavia.
Upon return from oveseas Dave carried the Ramblers torch and founded Ramblers Parachute Centre in 1974, opened a parachute shop at on Wynnum Road at Norman Park in Brisbane and started training new students professionally. Dave eventually brought the shop. The Shop was is use until 2008.
In 1976 Dave founded the successful Australian parachuting magazine ‘Rambling On’ to communicate with jumpers nationwide, after the previous magazine, the Australian Skydiver Magazine folded.
In October 1979, Dave purchased the land at Toogoolawah and built the drop zone from the ground up.
In 1979, Ramblers became the first Parachuting organisation in the world to use modern sport parachute equipment (piggyback systems) for student use.
In 1982, Ramblers was the first organisation in Queensland and second in Australia to adopt the Accelerated Freefall (AFF) method of student training.
From the very beginning Dave realized the need for an independent skydivers club for qualified recreational parachutists and their families so the Toogoolawah Skydivers Club (TSC) was formed. The Club continues to support all jumpers at the Drop Zone who take up this new and exciting sport.
During the 80s Ramblers Drop Zone was the host of two international skydiving competitions, the South Pacific Championships and the World Cup of Canopy Relative Work.
In the late 80s, the Drop Zone hosted three consecutive Australian National Skydiving Championships.
In 1984 the Drop Zone acquired a Twin Bonanza 10 pace aeroplane.
In the early 90s, Ramblers was the first operation in Australia to use the Tandem Assist (TAF) method of training students.
In 1994, the Drop Zone hosted the first Equinox Boogie, which is regarded as Australia’s premier international skydiving event. The Equinox Boogie continues to draw skydivers from across Australia and the world every second year.
In 2000, the Australian National Skydiving Championships were again hosted at Toogoolawah and were held there for another two consecutive years.
In June 2010, Ramblers purchased their first brand new Cessna 208 Caravan aeroplane, another monumental milestone.
In September 2017 Ramblers purchased its second Cessna 208 Caravan aeroplane.
Skydive Ramblers is the longest running and most experienced skydiving institution in Queensland. To this day, Ramblers continues to grow and reach new heights in the Sport and in the Industry. Ramblers is undoubtedly Australia’s most progressive parachuting and skydiving training organisation – a leader that has set the standard for other drop zones to aspire to.
Timeline of Ramblers
In 1971/72 Ramblers jumped at the Caloundra Airport.
In 1973-76 Ramblers jumped at the Aroona Drop Zone, at Kerry near Beaudesert.
In 1976 Ramblers moved back to the Sunshine Coast to the Caloundra Downs Drop Zone.
In 1978 Ramblers jumped at the Kingaroy Airport, before David McEvoy bought the land on 7353 Brisbane Valley Highway at Toogoolawah and the local council built the airstrip.
1978 was also the year that Macca first jumped into the Ekka, the Brisbane Exhibition. The Ekka jumps continued until 2006.
In 1979 Ramblers Drop Zone at Toogoolawah was established in. First jumps were made on the 2nd Saturday in February from the Cessna 180 VH-RJN. Jon Kent was the first to land, just before Macca.
The original Club House was moved from Brisbane (after it was moved back from Russel Island!) and erected at the drop zone for the weekend jumpers to have a home.
1979 – Grand Opening
Grand Opening, Queens Birthday Weekend – Monday 11th June 1979 (Video by John Grieg, Jas Shannon, and Karl Sporogis)
1980 – The Canteen was built.
1981 – South Pacific Champs & Airshow held at the Drop Zone.
1982 – Commonwealth Games, Ramblers “Magnificent Nine” jump tri-planes into the Closing Ceremony.
1984 – Pool Official Opening. The pool was built by the Toogoolawah Skydivers Club.
In 1984 Ramblers were the first in Qld to start AFF – Accelerated Freefall Courses, in addition to the traditional Static Line progression.
1985 – The huts for accommodation were moved to the Drop Zone.
1986 – Gatton World CRW Championships, Dave competes in CRW 8-way stack “XXXX – Early Openers”. Place third.
1986, 87, and 88 Toogoolawah hosted the National Championships.
1988 – Dave competed in 8-way CRW at the World Championships in Vichy, France. Place second.
1994 – First Ramblers Post Equinox Boogie!
1995 – The Drop Zone Rigging Loft was built.
1999/2000 – Nationals at Toogoolawah
1999 – Alan White’s Airsuits hut was built on the DZ.
2000/2001 – Nationals at Toogoolawah
2001/2002 – Nationals at Toogoolawah
2004 – 10 years Equinox Boogie!
2005 – First Skysisters Female Skydiving Convention SS1 held at Toogoolawah.
The 47-way female formation skydiving record was set.
2007 – The 2nd Skysisters Female Skydiving Convention at Toogoolawah saw a new female wingsuit flock and a CRW record being set.
2008 – April: The 9th WPMC World POPS Meet & Championships held at Toogoolawah.
50-way POPS, photo by John Donatiu.
2008 October: Equinox Boogie 2008
Hybrid 9-way, photo by Wayne McLachlan
2010 – Ramblers purchase their own brand new jump plane – our Cessna Caravan VH-DJV, aka “Homer”.
Sunshine Coast Airport, 11th June 2010
David McEvoy, aka “Macca”
2010 – Oct: Equinox Boogie 2010
Guitar jumper: Justin Frame – Photo by Steven “Belgy” Geens.
2011 – April: 3rd Skysisters Female Skydiving Convention – SS3
Toogoolawah Drop Zone – Photo by Norman Kent, SS3
2012 April: APF National Skydiving Championships at Toogoolawah DZ.
October: Equinox Boogie
2013 April: APF National Skydiving Championships at Toogoolawah DZ.
2014 June: 35th Ramblers Anniversary Reunion, Queens Birthday long weekend.
2014 October: 20 years Equinox Boogie!
2017 Ramblers purchases a second Cessna Caravan aeroplane.
2018 The Drop Zone keeps developing. Eight new self contained air conditioned units established, along with two modern motel units being built. Phil Whatmore Art Gallery established on the Drop Zone. Darren Doyle take over as Chief Instructor.
Today, the drop zone has grown into a style of Country Club – a Resort for skydivers! It is now regarded as one of the Top 10 drop zones in the World, for the facilities, the training courses, the weather, the aircraft, the people and the fun. Ramblers Drop Zone at Toogoolawah is an excellent place to Learn to Skydive and to do Tandem Skydives, as well as for fun jumping action, team training, Learning Curve Camps, and Instructor Rating Courses.
This is the place for your AFF Skydive Course! It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life and in no small part due to the great people at the Toogoolawah dropzone. I highly recommend this place for those considering learning how to throw themselves out of a perfectly good airplane. You won't regret your decision.