Roger Allan Foy: 2023 OAM Recipient

The Friends of Fagan Park are proud to have as our longest serving volunteer, Roger Allan Foy, who has been awarded in the 2023 Australia Day Awards, the Order of Australia Medal (OAM). To us he is known as Allan, but during his working life he was known by his first name, Roger.

Allan joined us after his retirement in 1995 and is our ‘guru’ for all things mechanical and technical, and the knowledge and expertise gained in his working life has assisted us in every possible way in problem solving. Every Tuesday, Allan drives his 1960 prototype (actually built in England) Austin Freeway to Fagan Park from his home at South Turramurra. This much admired vehicle came into his hands from his employment at British Motor Corporation (BMC) Australia.

His most notable contribution was the discovery of Bruce Fagan’s 1932 Leyland “Cub” truck out at Canowindra in Central Western NSW, its retrieval, and playing a central role in the long process of restoration culminating in its debut in 2009. Aside from this, he has been involved in virtually every restoration undertaken at Fagan Park, with advice and practical contributions wherever things get tricky.

Allan was born into a farming family at Binya, NSW (near Griffith) where his relatives continue farming on “Quandong Park” to this day.

He completed his education at Sydney Boys High, and immediately developed an interest in motor sport, leading to his participation in the REDEX trial of 1954 in a Peugeot 203, and again in 1956 in a Standard Vanguard. These exploits attracted the attention of BMC whom he joined in 1957, becoming in 1961 their “Road Proving Supervisor”, and it was his job to carry out testing for “customer usage durability“ and “accelerated structural durability“. Of course, most of BMC’s designs originated in England, and were no match for Australian roads, so they had to be improved to match the durability of Holden and Ford. They purchased the oppositions’ products to strip them down for analysis and to disguise their test vehicles under Holden bodies to escape press attention. The major undertaking by BMC was the fully Australian designed P76 in which he had a major role.

Unfortunately. the parent company pulled the plug on the Australian operation before its potential was realised.

Allan remains active in numerous Historic Vehicle organisations, has co-authored several books including documenting the history of BMC in Australia. He is a life member of the Veteran Car Club, and was President in 1974 and 1975 of the forerunners to the Council of Motor Clubs (CMC). Through these bodies he helped establish the Club Plate scheme for Historic vehicles which allowed their movement to events, which later became the present-day Historic Vehicle Scheme with much greater flexibility of use of vehicles over 30 years old.

The Friends of Fagan Park have been privileged and proud to have Roger Allan Foy in our ranks for 27 years, and hopefully for years to come, and to have been one of the referees for the award. His OAM is justly deserved, his family is very happy and proud for him as this prestigious award is so fitting for one who has made such a contribution to motor vehicle engineering in Australia.

The Order of Australia recognises Australians who have demonstrated outstanding service or exceptional achievement.

– Ian Browning, Hon Curator,
Vern Sotter, Hon Assistant Curator,
Heritage Museums at Fagan Park, Galston