Ballarat Swap Meet through the years

BALLARAT'S world-renowned Swap Meet this year celebrates 25 years of automotive trash and treasure.

The event is the biggest swap meet in the Southern Hemisphere and attracts stall holders from countries as far away as Canada, England and South Africa.

Speaking to The Courier in 1991, event co-founder Trevor Wolstenholme said the idea for the swap meet came from a life-long interest in old cars.

"Initially, we only had one paddock booked and we would have been happy if we had 750 sites - we ended up with more than 1500," Mr Wolstenholme said of the inaugural 1990 event.

Every February, the Ballarat Airport site is turned into a mini city, with thousands of stallholders camping at the site and up to 30,000 regularly attending.

The biggest year for the swap meet was 1999, when 45,000 poured into the site to grab a bargain and admire 64 hectares of wares.

The event has a quirky and rich history.

Stories of buyers coming from America to buy cars and ship them back are common, as well as people fashioning petrol scooters and bikes to navigate the 19 kilometres of stalls.

In 2002 and 2003, the Ballarat Morris Minor club provided a pick-up and delivery service, transporting heavy parts to people's cars.

Three quarters of attendees are from outside of the Ballarat region.In 1991, The Courier wrote the Ballarat Swap Meet was a boost to the area's sagging economy, with the event bringing an estimated $5 million into the region.

Year 2005 - Phil Jones

Year 2005 - Phil Jones

Year 2013 - Dale Bartholomew

Year 2013 - Dale Bartholomew

Year 1990 - First year.  Bill McLatchie admires a $70,000 1930 Invicta owned by Shannons Insurance. Car was one of only two in Australia and 56 in the world at the time.

Year 1990 - First year. Bill McLatchie admires a $70,000 1930 Invicta owned by Shannons Insurance. Car was one of only two in Australia and 56 in the world at the time.

Year 2002. The 13th Super Southern Swap Meet at the Ballarat Airport. Colin Bruhn from Ballarat, left, and Brett McLeod from Ballarat, right, look at the 1934 Chev Tray on display.

Year 2002. The 13th Super Southern Swap Meet at the Ballarat Airport. Colin Bruhn from Ballarat, left, and Brett McLeod from Ballarat, right, look at the 1934 Chev Tray on display.

Year 1991 - Heather and Lloyd Roberts with their 1934 Ford Roadster and a 1929 model Ford

Year 1991 - Heather and Lloyd Roberts with their 1934 Ford Roadster and a 1929 model Ford

2004.  Ian Hardman with a '36 Ford grill. Ian has been going to the swap meet every year for the past 15 and sets up on the same site.

2004. Ian Hardman with a '36 Ford grill. Ian has been going to the swap meet every year for the past 15 and sets up on the same site.

Year 1992

Year 1992

Year 2005 - Tony Jenkins

Year 2005 - Tony Jenkins

Year 1994 - Organiser Trevor Wolstenholme and the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing  Tom Reynolds inspect a 1928 Pontiac owned be Neville Podger of Timboon.

Year 1994 - Organiser Trevor Wolstenholme and the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing Tom Reynolds inspect a 1928 Pontiac owned be Neville Podger of Timboon.

Year 2006. Peter Richardson

Year 2006. Peter Richardson

Year 1995 - Site holder Matthew Gray

Year 1995 - Site holder Matthew Gray

Year 2006 - Jimmy Penhall with a Fleetwood Cadillac

Year 2006 - Jimmy Penhall with a Fleetwood Cadillac

Year 1995 - Caroline and Bob Stammers of Ballina, NSW check out a 1951 Renault 750.

Year 1995 - Caroline and Bob Stammers of Ballina, NSW check out a 1951 Renault 750.

Year 2009. Ballarat dealer Tim Griffin and a 1936 Ford wire wheel

Year 2009. Ballarat dealer Tim Griffin and a 1936 Ford wire wheel

Year 1996 - City of Ballarat chief commissioner Vern Robson (right), with organisers Jenny and Trevor Wolstenholme.

Year 1996 - City of Ballarat chief commissioner Vern Robson (right), with organisers Jenny and Trevor Wolstenholme.

Year 1997

Year 1997

Year 1997 - Kate Harrison on a 1942 ex-Army Triumph

Year 1997 - Kate Harrison on a 1942 ex-Army Triumph

Year 1998 - Parts galore

Year 1998 - Parts galore

Year 2007. Bill Stephens

Year 2007. Bill Stephens

Year 1998

Year 1998

Year 2005.

Year 2005.

Year 2009. Wayne and Ethan Jones and the second-biggest flame job in the world

Year 2009. Wayne and Ethan Jones and the second-biggest flame job in the world

Year 2013 - Krusty from Waubra

Year 2013 - Krusty from Waubra

Year 1999

Year 1999

Year 2013.

Year 2013.

Year 1999 - Dean Mashado

Year 1999 - Dean Mashado

Year 2005. Ryan Anderson

Year 2005. Ryan Anderson

Year 2012 - Athol Brand - Latrobe Valley.

Year 2012 - Athol Brand - Latrobe Valley.

Year 2000 - Stallholder Ray Alldrick from TCR Carponents in Bayswater

Year 2000 - Stallholder Ray Alldrick from TCR Carponents in Bayswater

Year 2000 - Kerry Hill - Croydon

Year 2000 - Kerry Hill - Croydon

Year 2004. Peter Whittle and Peter Niblett find bicycles the best way to get around

Year 2004. Peter Whittle and Peter Niblett find bicycles the best way to get around

Year 2001

Year 2001

Year 2004. Steve Caode from Brisbane carries his purchases in his "Radio Flyer" wagon. Steve has been coming to Ballarat for the past 12 years to buy parts and catch up with old friends.

Year 2004. Steve Caode from Brisbane carries his purchases in his "Radio Flyer" wagon. Steve has been coming to Ballarat for the past 12 years to buy parts and catch up with old friends.

Year 2001

Year 2001

Year 2005. Daryl McLeod and John Toose

Year 2005. Daryl McLeod and John Toose

Year 2001 - Richard Badham shows off his 1958 BSA 175cc Bantam

Year 2001 - Richard Badham shows off his 1958 BSA 175cc Bantam

Year 2007. Colin Menz and Niel Wright

Year 2007. Colin Menz and Niel Wright

Year 2001 - Geoff Watson

Year 2001 - Geoff Watson

Year 2003

Year 2003

Year 2007 - Paul Cameron, Simon Clark - Horsham check out parts of an XA falcon

Year 2007 - Paul Cameron, Simon Clark - Horsham check out parts of an XA falcon

Year 2006 - Aaron Olson & David Smith

Year 2006 - Aaron Olson & David Smith

Year 2008 - Bill McIntosh

Year 2008 - Bill McIntosh

Year 2009. Rod Black was selling his '39 Standard Coupe

Year 2009. Rod Black was selling his '39 Standard Coupe

Year 2009. Damian Knights (Ballarat) wrapped his valuable Bel Air in plastic to keep the dust off it.

Year 2009. Damian Knights (Ballarat) wrapped his valuable Bel Air in plastic to keep the dust off it.

Year 2009. Leigh Bunnworth and Linda Jebb of Ballarat.

Year 2009. Leigh Bunnworth and Linda Jebb of Ballarat.

Year 2010.

Year 2010.

Year 2011 - John Smith - Haddon

Year 2011 - John Smith - Haddon

Year 2011 - Jason Pring - Sebastopol Motor Wreckers

Year 2011 - Jason Pring - Sebastopol Motor Wreckers

Year 2011.

Year 2011.

Year 2012.

Year 2012.

Year 2013 - Jason and Serena Urquhart from Birregurra

Year 2013 - Jason and Serena Urquhart from Birregurra