Farina - Volunteers and Ruins

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Oceania » Australia » South Australia » Farina
July 1st 2021
Published: July 11th 2021
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Next stop, Farina to check out the ruins. We heard about this place just a few days before we left on our trip. The volunteer restoration programme and the Underground Bakery captured our imagination so we opted for a couple of nights here instead of going on to Maree.

The volunteer restoration project runs for 10 weeks from May through to July. Anyone can volunteer, skilled or no specific skills. Teams of volunteers work on the designated project for the year. There are teams involved in cleaning, stone masonry, all aspects of the bakery through to garbage and campground fees collection. Many of the volunteers are grey nomads, some returning almost every season. People come from all over Australia to volunteer. Buildings are being restored just to a height where visitors can wander through and imagine what the building use to be like. It is kind of eerie, illuminating and lots of fun.

The bakery is open to the general public and runs for the duration of the yearly programme. In this Covid world only 10 customers were allowed inside at any one time so there was often a long queue outside. You had to be patient; but it was worth it. The queue on Saturday never seemed to shorten much even though some people would give up and leave. Then 2 buses arrived and skinned the place out. Sunday, though still busy was much quieter.

We stayed in the camp ground on the edge of town. $20 per vehicle per night. Park where ever you like. It was packed. No power or water but there were 3 flush toilets, 2 eco long drops and 2 showers that required someone to stoke the fire and we were told you had to dance around in to get wet. By mid-morning the grounds were almost empty. Many travellers were contemplating their options as they were heading over the border to the Birdsville Bash and would then have to isolate on return, which was not always an option for them. Some abandoned the plan, others were taking the risk and hoping circumstances would change before they needed to return and yet others had all the time in the world so didn’t really care.

No sooner had we pulled into the camp ground than a fellow camper bailed us up to pick our brains. They have the same brand of caravan as us and couldn’t get their hot water system to work. Mission successful. This is only the 2nd Caravan we have ever seen of the same brand as us. This one had a completion date almost the same as ours.

We spent Sunday investigating the ruins, imagining at each room how it could have been used. Some were obvious but others not so much. We explore the nearby dam and extended camp ground before tucking in early ready for another day of adventure heading north.

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