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Published: August 27th 2010
To 26 August 2010
Well, lots has happened since our last blog. Dad flew down from Kerikeri to visit us, staying a week. We had a lovely time together with David, Christine and the girls, and taking him for a drive into Central Otago, visiting the Chinese Garden and having a guided tour by David around the University, and watching the girls play soccer. Wayne took Dad and I up on the container crane which was one of the highlights of his trip. Dave finished work at Taieri Gorge Railway in the first week of August, and I did my Unit Standard assessment at the Polytech.
After searching and finding several Bushy Campers in Australia for sale on the internet, we whittled the list down to four to look at in Sydney. On the spur of the moment I booked flights to Sydney via Christchurch, giving us 4 hours to pack up the Caddyshack so that Wayne and Raylene could use it for visitors, and we packed a small bag each, Steve ran us to the airport, and we were in Sydney the next morning at 8.30am.
We checked out 3 vehicles, on 3 different sides of Sydney,
Mona Vale, Bondi Beach and Mt Druitt, near Penrith. The Mt Druitt truck was the best, so after two nights at Mt Druitt, we headed north to give it a good run to blow out any cobwebs. Over 3000 km later, and we need to turn back east to get back to Brisbane!
It was great to catch up with our sister-in-law-in-law, Joy, in Caloundra on our way north to Emerald to see Wick and Doreen, Juanita and Lance and their families, and neat to have a Barbie with Anne and Brian there as well. After a week of work on the truck (back door repairs, inverter installation, and other bits and pieces), and wonderful hospitality, we headed west on Sunday to Longreach (33 deg C). Looking forward to stopping in the late afternoon at a free camping spot just north of LR, we drove into a large, dusty, dry, unshaded area full of campervans, 5th wheelers and caravanners. Getting out the vehicle, Dave said to me “is this us?” I said “Aaaah….. no!” , so we drove up the road a few kms and ducked down a creek bed into the bush and had a lovely quiet night,
just Darby and Joan. I just said “watch where you walk, don’t snakes sometimes look like sticks?”
On Monday we filled in the day at the “Australian Stockman’s Great Hall of Fame”, an amazing centre and highly recommended. That afternoon we caught up with Judy Rodgers (Trish’s daughter), and her partner Jock. They took care of us for the night - we parked on their back lawn. Yesterday, we left Longreach at 11am and reached Slasher’s Creek Station at about 6pm. The town of Winton is in dinosaur country, so we had to check out “Australian Age of Dinosaurs”. We aren’t particularly interested in pre-history, but this was fascinating. This is the area where in 2006, a dinosaur graveyard surrendered a spectacular new sauropod, a herbivore, and it was named Matilda, or Diamantinasaurus matildae. Also in the same grave was a “murderous” carnivore named Banjoy, or Australovenator wintonensis or the “Southern Hunter from Winton”. Matilda’s femur (thigh bone) is 180kg in weight, taking 8 men to lift it. Anyway, enough of the science/history lesson.
Slasher’s Creek Station is 1000km west of Emerald, is 180,000 acres, the largest paddock being 50,000 acres. We are here because it is owned
by the family that Chris and Murray Squire are working for, and it is their ‘Run-off” !! Anyway, Murray is here this week, so we thought we’d pop down the road and see what he’s up to.
We arrived just in time for Dave to join 4 other guys to muster one mob of cattle (about 500) on quad bikes. They left about 6.30pm, and were back by mid-morning, drafting in the yards for the rest of the day. Gwen and Brian, the station caretakers have made us very welcome, and I am helping in the kitchen.
Oh, yeah, and we’ve eaten kangaroo (in Sydney) - a bit like venison. Have seen, in the wild, probably more than the average city-dwelling Aussie, ie frilly-necked lizards, wallabies, kangaroos, emus with chicks, dingo, sand goanna, locusts (messy on the windscreen), camel, and heaps of road-kill.
Yesterday Murray, Dave and I went out to one of the “turkey nests”, like a small dam but it’s a pile of dirt with a hole in it filled with water and reeds. The solar-powered pumps pump the bore water up into these “nests”. Murray had spent a day previously digging a 5km drain with the grader and laying the 50mm water pipe. We went out to fix a leak, then fill the pipe with water and fill in the drain. On arriving back at the yards the stock were being loaded into the two road trains.
In the afternoon Martin (station owner), Murray, Mitch (young station hand) and Dave went out on the bikes to muster the second mob. Brian, Gwen and I were on the way out to pick up a sick calf when we heard on the UHF that Mitch had fallen off his bike and had a suspected broken leg. Dave and Murray splinted it and we picked him up and put him on the back of the ute. OWWWW!!! Gwen took him to the nearest medical centre (100km away) at Boulia, as the Flying Doctor plane wasn’t available. He was flown from Boulia to Mt Isa hospital. So I cooked dinner for the men. We heard this morning that he is ok, it is badly bruised. So they are one man down and there is plenty for Dave to do. This has been such an awesome experience!!
Will put on more photos when I can.
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