MONDAY 25 APRIL 2022
Well it is Anzac Day as we sit in the Griffith Village Caravan Park.
We left home on the 4 April at 5:40am.
First stop was at the Newlands Bakery at Waikerie on the Sturt Highway. Could not break tradition. The breakfast was exceptional. We eventually got to Balranald which was our first end of day on the way to Wagga Wagga at around 2:20pm
We did discover the batteries in a van normally last say 5 years. Ours had lasted 6.5 years and died at approximately 7:30pm. Pitch black in a free camp, so off to sleep we had to go.
Went straight to Wagga Wagga the next day to purchase two new batteries. Then off to Yerong Creek for a few days. It was enjoyable watching the sheep in the paddock alongside the oval.
Went into the Clay Target Association Grounds Wagga Wagga on the Sunday afternoon.
I was assigned the task of being in charge of the cleaning team. Assigned myself the title of “Dunny Bunny” seeing that Easter was coming. A lot of hard work by all involved. Covid took out some of the entertainers and some of the those attending. Microphones at a previous festival were responsible for some of the performers getting it.
The entrance to the site looked familiar after a few of the motor homes arrived.
Our next door neighbours had a new puppy he was getting used to others, 11 weeks old.
Some of the ladies had made items to donate to charity
The Chief Crow is very very crafty. Prize for Breast Cancer raffle.
Could not resist buying a new tee shirt that was in Thebarton Boys Technical High school colours.
On our way to Griffith we stopped for lunch at an establishment that is run by Toby the chap that ran the coffee cart at Stone the Crows.
Settled into the Caravan village in Griffith for a couple of days.
SATURDAY 30 APRIL 2022
We were headed to Cobar, when we got there the park was full. Filled up with fuel and decided to head for the Kidman Camp at Bourke, where we stayed for 3 nights. This was our third time in the park
Whilst picking out a spot it started to rain and continued for the next 14 hours. The paddle steamer was not operating because there was to much water in the river.
We went out for tea for my birthday, expecting to have Chinese, but a busload of tourists also came and had arranged for normal tea being the menu for the night.
Left for Cunnamulla and nearly had a passenger.
We also stopped at the Barringun Roadhouse for morning tea. They had at least 43 mm of rain in the last 48 hours so a reasonable amount of of water in the front of the building,
In Cunnamulla we visited the weir where a water supply has come from since 1991 for surrounding landowners. Also used for recreational fishing. Notice the chair on the right hand side
The Cunnamulla Fella is a tribute to the hard work of the youth of the area, 15 or 16 years old and working daylight hours seven days a week
The railway station was at the end of the line that came from Charleville but originated from Brisbane in 1898. Built in the 1930’s it replaced another destroyed by fire. It closed in 1994,
Not a silo being painted but a water tower.
WEDNESDAY 4 MAY 2022
Well today we shifted from Charleville to Blackall.
Our stay in Charleville was quite enjoyable.
Our trip to Charleville was interrupted by a stop in Wyandra which was a railway siding prior to the railway ceasing. Now it is open for morning tea from the post office which doubles as a camp ground and little store.
As per normal it had to have a couple of dogs to play ball. Unfortunately they had not been trained to catch on the full toss. They were still able to catch on the first bounce.
Amongst things that we did in Charleville besides walking the streets and testing the local Thai restaurant (best coconut rice ever) was a tour of a secret WW11 American air force base. It was built as a base for bombers to be repaired and troops to have R&R.
The tour was a tag along which got off to a bad start. We had paid and gone to have some lunch. We returned for the start and I got out to say we had returned. I was talking to one of the tour guides when a complete stranger came over to me and suggested that I unlock my vehicle. I had been away from it for say 5 minutes and could not understand her request. She said that my wife was pretty unpleased to have been locked in and had gotten her attention by banging on the widow, We discovered later Lorraine could have gotten out if she had pulled the drivers door handle.
The Americans had provided the base and we provided the food.
The main security was over the bomb sights used in the planes and stored in the following building. Looked like a garden shed and housed up to 30 devices at a time,
This is the device.
In the display building you can try your skill on an electronic version. I sunk the ship in one out of three tries.
The Americans were not used to the freedom that existed in Australia and returned with a different attitude.
We also went to the Cosmos Centre for a look through the telescopes at the stars.
The weather was overcast and it was looking like the stars would not be possible. Fortunately there was a break in the clouds and so it was possible to gamble and go out and chance it. Very knowledgeable person was in charge of the three telescopes and kept the show moving so we all got to view stars.
We also discovered that Qantas was started in Charleville but the first fee paying customers went out from Longreach.
On 24 March 1927 the DH9C G-AUED was on a regular route between Charleville and Mount Isa with Tambo as its secondary destination. It intended landing on the clay-pan that serves as Tambo’s airstrip when it was seen to dive suddenly into the ground. Mystery surrounds why the crash occurred but it was determined the aeroplane had landed at a nearby station to undertake repairs. The three men on board were buried at the Tambo cemetery.
Tambo is also popular for Teddy’s that can be ordered over the internet and are delivered in a carton.
TUESDAY 9 MAY 2022
Today we shifted to Barcaldine. Not a large distance was covered and we left the park a little later. Could not get into the park until after 11:00 am
Whlist in Blackall we went to their show and saw the usual type of displays. Birds and flowers, plus the cooking drawing displays. The kids had small animal farm and the pets on parade. One child brought his pet yabby, which was reluctant to be taken for a walk around a small area.
They also had a dog auction. The animals were allowed to display the skills on sheep and cattle. the cattle got bore at one stage and jumped/hurdled the fences. Dogs went for prices between $1500 and $16 000
We also went to the wool scour, which has been restored after being used until 1978. It commenced operation in 1908. It was unique in so much as the sheep were shorn on one side of the complex and the wool stored on the other side. Returned to the other side of the complex to be washed and cleaned. Interesting process seeing I lived within 2 km of a processing plant in Adam Street, Hindmarsh operated by GH Michell and Sons.
The Blackall wool scour was originally powered by atersian water from a bore on the property,
The water was used in the boilers that were imported and burnt the local timber that was cut by axe.
The entire plant was driven by steam that drove belts which operated the different machines.
Some processes were still manual, like the wool press. Apparently two men operated it.
After storage, the bales were brought back and cleaned.
Two machines were eventually used. A local machine was made and ran in parallel. After being dried it was blown into a loft and then baled again using the following machine. The bottom part of the machine was rammed upwards.
The town of Blackall does not have water heaters as the artesian water supplies the local residents at say 59 degrees C. The water smells of sulphur but is ok to drink once cooled. The original bore was down the road from the caravan park and still operates. Locals put their sprinklers on, prior to having a hot shower. The bores are capped but cannot be completely turned off, it would cause pressure problems with the pipes.
Original drilling machine is on display.
Machine was driven by steam boiler.
The saying “this side of the black stump” apparently came from Blackall after the Queensland government used to site surveying equipment on a stump.
Interesting way to welcome people.
THURSDAY 12 MAY 2022
Today we shifted from inside to outside. Not a large distance was covered and we did not leave the park.
The words of the song “always look on the bright side of life” sprung to mind.
The Rose garden is flooded so morning tea in a great little garden is not going to happen. Lorraine will have to put up with the barking frogs for another night.
The entrance to this quaint caravan park that only holds 12 vans.
The amenities are kept very clean. Park has a meeting place.
There has been plenty of rain. Drainage is not normally a problem due to the lack of rain. Yesterday was however different.
Some of the attractions around this town come from a bygone era. The shearers strike is one example of how this area was shaped.
The tree of knowledge is now enclosed to protect it.
This tree was where the shearers met and the strike played an integral part in the formation of the Australian Labor Party
An example of the type of windmills used is also in the main street.
This can operate in wind speeds of 3KPH with a wheel diameter of 27 feet. Manufactured in Rockhampton in 1917.
They also have a recreational park that is used for water skiing and kayaking. Water comes from a bore.
Unique shape that allows for laps and not seeing the other person.
The line across show where tracks went before construction.
TUESDAY 17 MAY 2022
Today we shifted from Longreach to Winton. Only a distance of 180 km.
Overall out trip has taken us from Adelaide to Winton.
We arrived in Longreach after being delayed by the rain. No worries on the road. Sailed through Ilfracombe and thought that we would come back for lunch.
Settled into the park and decided to go and get some lunch. It looked very quiet.
OK we thought, all is well until we discovered that the day was a public holiday for the Longreach Show that had been cancelled.
Lorraine had a trim/ haircut on the Saturday morning and told the hairdresser we were going back to Ilfracombe for lunch on Monday. However we were informed that the Markets were being held on Sunday. So off we went for morning tea and lunch.
Previously the hotel had been relocated.
The pub looks a bit different now.
Inside the hats had been attached to the ceiling.
The Qantas display is interesting that they have a prop plane
Plus a 747 all protected from the weather.
The Saturday afternoon was spent at the Stockmans Hall of Fame.
The static display has been updated so that you roam with an Ipod that contains all the stories associated with the displays,
Prior to the Horse skills and sheep/ dog display was interesting. How horses can be trained and a couple of songs.
Also cattle enjoy being dressed up.
FRIDAY 20 MAY 2022
Today was a short trip on what they call a Developmental Road. It is basically a single strip of bitumen suited to a 4 trailer semi cattle truck. Basically it has right of way either from behind or towards you. The advice I got was get off the road if coming from behind. Once he has passed you quickly get behind him and let him “clear the road”
We left Winton after seeing the sights. Stayed at the Winton Roadhouse Caravan Park because a bush poet we have seen at Stone the Crows, appears there every night. A little known fact is that he used to paddle a TK1 and K1 (flat water kayaks) on the Hawkesbury River at Penrith. He is very enteraining. We have a stubby holder to prove he is enteraining.
He specialises in Banjo Patterson because he composed Waltzing Matilda out from Winton in 1895
The following is from the Waltzing Matilda Centre
Australian Age of Dinosaurs was another trip out of town. The centre has been set up to educate people as to how the dinosaurs disappeared in billabongs and creek beds and then the bones or parts of them have been bought back to the surface.
Once the bones have been collected they are stored and then cleaned
A bit like dentist tools being used to clean dirt / small sediment off.
Not all parts are found as seen in the following. From other remains found they are able to reconstruct most of the skeleton
They discovered parts of a crocodile that when xray’d indicated that it had a part of a dinosaur inside it.
They have also built a climate controlled building where various sections of a 54 metre track site discovered on a property Karoola out from Winton. It took say 2 and a half years to take it apart and then reassemble it correctly.
One section looks like the following. Can you see a small foot print.
Another town that seeks glory as the birth palace of Qantas
This is a plaque from the Waltzing Matilda Centre.
WEDNESDAY 25 may 2022
Well it was as we left Hughenden that the landscape changed.
The grass was greener with water on the side of the road. Not what we had expected.
Whilst in Hughenden there was not much water in the river. So camping on the banks of the river was out of the question. The town had a display of the big windmills that were used in the early 1900’s
The closer you got to them the more interesting they were.
They were used around the district since around 1912. Both are 20 foot in diameter.
We also went out to Porcupine gorge to the north. Quite spectacular views in both directions.
You do however need to be careful as to where you walk, due to the spiders building cobwebs.
Charters Towers was an interesting place to stop. The lookout which was once the site for gold mines and then later during the war, had bunkers up there gave a good vies towards Townsville.
The original place that as used to remove the gold from the ore was another tour that we went on. All the machinery in early days wa belt driven. The miners paid a price per ton for processing, not dependent on the gold retrieved.
The ore waw stamped, so the rock was crushed and then processed.
Cyanide was used to process the ore to remove the gold, it was agitated in tanks outside,
Eventually the very fine sand was placed in a small vat with mercury which was heated so that the mercury evaporated and the gold remained in the vat.
Eventually I got the bike off and went for a ride. Got a puncture but did manage to meet a friendly looking local.
SATURDAY 28 MAY 2022
Well it was off from Townsville that we departed for Bowen. We stayed at the Coral Coast Tourist Park. Near the airport so we saw the F18 circle the airfield at least once.
The caravan park is the best we have stayed in so far.
We did the usual tourist things like go to the beaches in Townsville for a walk,
The best thing that we did was to book a trip to Magnetic Island and included a bus trip for the day around the island with a local guide.
It was worth the time to be guided around to see the best parts.
In 1900 the Hayles family took a lease on some land and built a school.
In 1912 the City of Adelaide (not the one at Port Adelaide) caught fire and in 1916 was towed and run aground in Cockle Bay, Magnetic Island.
Today it is being reclaimed by the environment, A tree is growing in it.
It is visible from a beach house built in the 60 that still survives. In the background is Townsville.
Wallabies also exist on the Island and can be hand fed,
Aquasearch Aquarium is run by Dr Rick Braley to inform people about the clams he is producing in a laboratory. He also displays other sea life.
This is one of the clams he displays.
He actually produced around 300 clams to restock the Great Barrier Reef.
SUNDAY 5 JUNE 2022
Since the last update we have travelled and stayed at Mackay and travelled to Yeppoon, on the coast, out from Rockhampton.
Whilst we were in Bowen it was interesting to learn that say 50 years ago they exported coal and cattle from a jetty that has since been reduced in size. The beach is quite pleasant and has an abundance of sea life that can be seen from the jetty,
We actually went to lunch at a seafood place but were slightly disappointed. Back from lunch we were suddenly speaking to a renegade magpie. It was actually a Butcher bird who kept coming back to visit.
Off for a drive and came across a park where the animals in the lake kept coming for food. The longer we stayed, the more turtles came.
The town did not have silos to paint. But up on a hill they had water tanks, so guess what.
Off to mackay we headed, to Blacks beach caravan park. The first night they had a Pizza oven come into the park and also some entertainment. One woman I spoke with thought that a severely handicapped person was going on a site near her. She thought differently after a entertainment system was loaded into the chair. A male singer on guitar and a lady pushing the chair and playing drums and singing.
Right on the seafront with 6 sites having a harbour view. We did not have one, but we did sit during the day watching the islands, They did not move.
We decided to have an ugly bird competition,
We had heard of the eimeo Hotel, a nice place to have lunch. Great views and food.
The park is not overly cramped. Interestingly it is a social place. We had a chap out the back that had a new joke for every day. Used to work as a console operator in a petrol station in Melbourne.
He asked whether we had heard about the state funeral for the person that had invented sprinkle bread. It had to be postponed because they thought they would get hundreds and thousands attending.
So far the best park we have stayed in. Can you spot our van
Saving the best until last. Sunrise looking out into the pacific.
SATURDAY 11 JUNE 2022
Well yesterday we shifted from Emerald to Roma. Our previous park was in Yeppoon where we had stayed back in 2018. Right on the beach and a short walk into the town.
The best part about this park is being able to watch the sun rise over the sea. During our stay the weather had change and we had to actually get into bed. The mornings were chilly and overcast.
we were close to the boundary of the park which allowed us to watch over the garden.
Some previous people have commented about being not far from the road. This is the view along the vans that were alongside us.
The chap alongside us went fishing in a six metre tinny, fifty kilometres offshore. No PFD’s and in rough waters. He actually paid to go, but they did catch fish so he was happy.
When we went into Emerald Tourist Park we were advised that the fish and chips were served from 5:30 pm when the camp fire was lit. It was interesting that there was a Pensioner pack for $20. Chips 4 pieces of fish and salt and pepper squid.
Peter and Vicki are the entertainers for the next 2 months. For a 75 year old he does not do a bad job. He has backing tapes for the music and strums guitar, It is like listening to Saturday Night Juke Box (60’s and 70’s) on 5AD from olden days. Or so Lorraine tells me. He used to have a band when he was younger and player around the Emerald district. I suggested to Lorraine that Milton could play keyboards and Bev could be backup singer !
We had only seen one Island Star Caravan all trip. On free to air Satellite TV Noel’s advertise quite regularly, So people that have seen the add normally sing “Noel’s Caravans, Noel’s Caravans”
When we went over to sit around the camp fire naturally you end up bunched together. Sat alongside a couple from near Bega in NSW. Lorraine and the other woman went and put some money in the bucket for Peter and Vicki. They are buskers, not paid by the park. Lorraine said we were from SA. The other woman said, “oh! our van came from SA. We have an Island Star” They came back laughing. The following is no problem with the van, rather the their car is having an issue with warning lights.
The couple alongside were we had our van was parked actually had a claim in the gem fields around Sapphire. From previous information it is like Opalton. No gardens are allowed because they do not want weeds introduced to the native environment. They did not offer any samples of Opals.
THURSDAY 16 JUNE 2022
Well today was a mammoth day for driving.
We previously had a very exciting drive from Roma to Lightning Ridge. The road had eventually opened so off we went. Had to scrape the ice off of the window. After getting onto the main road out towards Surat I advised my trusty navigator that I had an asterisk on the dash. The temperature was 1 degree. She informed me after consulting Willie Weather that it was minus 2, so the * was actually a minus sign.
The message is not to drive through flood waters. We stopped at Hebel for a drink and something to eat. The pepper pies were home made and delicious. not much to do so off we went.
As we got to within 18 km of Lightning Ridge, we actually came across water on the road. Not mentioned on NSW Live Traffic.
Had no option but to go through the two inches over the road. The photo taken of the rear view mirror shows it all.
At the Opal Caravan park they have an afternoon Happy Hour with buskers that we knew from previous years at Stone the Crows. I have never laughed so much during the show that they put on. We went to their house for morning tea. The house was built by John Murray who does caricactures. The following is an example.
They purchased the house and use it to perform shows. It is quite an example of what can be obtained from the “local Bunnings” or rather the tip.
They are quite exceptional performer’s. Bush poets, singers, comedy and yarns.
Had our photo taken with them.
It was during the show that it was pointed out that it might be a good idea to return home and cut our holiday short. So we left at 2:00pm and headed for Bourke. It must have been Christmas as both caravan parks were full. The following is a picture of our toilet facilities at 5:00am prior to us leaving, 100 km out from Cobar. Would be a good spot to scare people by playing banjo’s during the night.
So we left to have breakfast at Cobar. Only 1048km for the day.
Had to stop for the Fruit Fly Police at Oodla Wirra and admit that we had forgotted=n the cherry tomatoes and mini cucumbers. We had eaten mandarins and oranges and put excess in a bin. Could not find the other bins that were mentioned on previous signs. Lorraine dobbed me in as I had not told her of my intentions to keep going. All good, no fines and he got rid of the veggies.
We arrived home at 7:30 pm and I got to sleep in a big bed.