This is going to be a longish post so you might want to take it in stages. I have headlined it to help. We have travelled from Esk at the end of May to Mataranka now since I last wrote a Walkabout blog post. So this is an attempt to fill the space of the last three months during which much has happened. We went to the Gympie guns fair again and then on to Bundaberg and Agnes Water (Walkman’s Beach) where we found Paradise Lost.
You will remember me raving on about Walkman’s Beach last year, well they have slightly changed the system, demarcated campsites, and now there is a Bogan Mafia who control the place, they victimised a bloke who ran his generator during normal hours, they had campfires and there is a total fire ban in the place, they had parties right next to us with loud boom boom music and generally spoilt the atmosphere. We were disappointed but as I did mention earlier there were positives; we met the delightful Italians who cooked pumpkin risotto for us and were able to get into Bundaberg to get the van key repaired, it broke off in the lock and the ambulance came very quickly when I had a vertigo attack. I went to the doctor in Agnes Water and now have the right medicine to take when I am so attacked. All good as they say here !!
HISTORY ON THE HOOF
Next was The Biloela Historic Machinery Annual Festival. This was a real highlight. Not many selling stalls but several selling old stuff and lots else to marvel at. There was a wood chopping contest, a demonstration of carving fence posts out of huge trunks, demos of how the draft horses was used to drive machines like wheat grinding and water reticulation and the Grand Parade led by the local members of the Light Horse and consisting of many OLD farm machines, trucks and cars, a 3-wheeled Messchersmitt among them. I was enraptured by the love and attention that had been paid to restoring those old things. We joined the crowds at the day’s end jollifications on the Saturday night and thoroughly enjoyed expanding my sense of country Australians who use expressions like ‘fair dinkum’ ‘you beaut’ and everyone is ‘mate’. The pictures will tell the story better.
We stopped at a ‘bush camp’ for a couple of nights beside Lake Victoria with some of the other marketeers, Carl, Terry and Dave and bought LED lights for the outside of the caravan and car, they looked splendid, (past tense re the caravan – more later). We camped in a ‘laager’ and I really enjoyed the company of humorous interesting people. Bella had a good time not being on the end of a chain all the time.
Childers Festival was a pretty good event, lots of music and nice food and then on to the Rocky Swap, also a good-ish event although down on last year, our neighbours arrived well after us and set up so that we were almost completely hidden. We were grateful for every sale we made. Rockhampton to Anakie is where we had the big adventure. Bowling along happily looking forward to seeing Glenda and family again when this loud BANG interrupted our happy musings.
THE WHEEL FELL OFF
The wheel on the passenger side of the caravan had fallen off, took Alan 400 metres or so to bring us to a stop with the caravan running on the hub which was new before we left Coffs Harbour in May. A woman coming towards us waved us down and showed us where the wheel had landed on t’other side of the road in the bush. But not before it had wrecked the cupboards and contents and counters inside the caravan, damaged the chassis and bowled off over the road. We were shocked to our core, what to do?
The CIL caravan insurance were so helpful, got a salvage vehicle out to us which loaded the ‘van onto a huge flatbed, pics to follow and video on You Tube, watch for it… and we followed into Blackwater where we booked our shattered souls into the motel. Sorting ourselves out completely preoccupied us for the next days. We hunted for a caravan to hire in the area and there was nothing available, this being mining country, the Gemfields, every form of accommodation is desirable. We hired a trailer, put the trade goods into it and the mattress and domestic stuff into the van and set off for Anakie. We stayed at the caravan park in a cabin a bit overdue for refurbishment but were grateful to have it as we needed the gazebos for the market so couldn’t have used them to live in.
All went well at Anakie, lovely to see Glenda and Shawna again, pleasant people came through the stall and we were offered a caravan to buy by one of them, he was camping at Sapphire so we planned to buy it from him. It is a good one we are in it now, slightly bigger than the first one and much more comfortable, also a few years newer. However it has left us ‘platsak’ – ie with no financial reserves at all. Got to have a home and who knows how much longer we will be given to enjoy it.
This time to Bowen in the Whitsundays. Supposed to be going to Clermont for the Gold and Coal Fest but the weather so confidently predicted rain for the Friday and Saturday of the Fest that we piked and headed for Bowen instead as the rain was supposed to be over by the Sunday. All this came true and Bowen was pleasant. We stayed in the caravan park there and weeded out our possessions so we fitted everything into the Sprinter not named Tardis for nothing! We even left our folding chairs. I was reminded of a story my cousin Noreen Ramsden tells of when they left London they left Mark’s high chair on the pavement, couldn’t fit it into the taxi with themselves – 6 of them – and luggage!! So happy to get to Ayr where we were due to take over the caravan and did although we had to wait. Left the Whitsundays and headed for Camooweal.
THE DROVERS FESTIVAL AT CAMOOWEAL
This was a huge highlight, after a huge drive, but I have to complete this asap as we have to leave the caravan park before 10 and it is 10 mins to go so I will tell about Camooweal, Bushies and Yarning in the next post.