August 11th to 27th 2014
Elmo, Blue Crane, Rattles, Wanderer, Hillbillies, and Marvin all met RV at Woomera where we avoided erecting tents one more night by bunking into the caravan park’s backpackers accommodation.
The happy bunch of adventurers soon welded into a fun group, supporting each other and solving minor problems, so admirably led by Pat and Colin. Amongst this motley lot there was vast experience – and I’m just talking about the girls!! Oh alright, the fellas too. We had been told to expect harsh conditions on people and cars on our trip following Madigan’s footsteps. Probably the decision to go later in the season was a wise one – others made tracks for us to follow. (Not just a pretty face is our Colin!) The weather was perfect – sunny days, fresh nights (some fresher than others), brilliant orange moon ordered and supplied for the first few nights, fresh winds kept flies at bay during the day, and good luck charms travelling with group kept the rain away.
Orange Moon at Woomera Pussy Willow Tree (dead feral cats) at William Creek
Algebuckina Bridge Eringa Waterhole
Andado Homestead Mungarannie Waterhole
Spinifex, Ghost Gums and wildflowers of every hue and size against the famous red sand hills with the brilliant blue skies – amazing colours.
ANIMAL LIFE SPOTTED:
Camels, Cattle, Emus, Dingoes, Horses, ‘Roos (at Clare!)
Birds: Eagles, Corellas, Hawks, Ducks, Budgies, Galahs and two Brolgas at Mungarannie
For all the pioneers (and their women) so sad to see the ruins of dreams and small graves. You almost feel their despair, as well admiration for them all.
FORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES: Only a couple
Bull dust crossing Hale River Plains – 6.5 hours to do 82 kms.
Corrugations into Birdsville on the QAA Line – these were really bad.
Getting bogged in both sand hills and river bed – and getting out
Leaders changed daily
Finding acceptable camp sites
Wood gathering and deciding which wood could be burnt and what was needed for woodturning
Bow tying displays
Mandatory ice-cream at Laura – at 9.05am on a 5 degree morning
This Madigan trip was very successful mainly due to the dedication and planning by Colin and back up by Pat. (Without us girls where would they be – stuck on a sand hill short cut perhaps?)
The group all pitched in with whatever needed doing, making the load safer and easier for all and that is what travelling with a group is all about. A memorable trip enjoyed by all.
Many thanks to Colin and Pat.
Broken Hill is one of those places we mostly travel through on our way elsewhere. When past members, Phil and Heather offered to host our club in their lovely city, the trip was planned and what a great trip it was. Phil and Heather put a lot of work into making sure we were well entertained, having created a full itinerary of the places of interest in and around Broken Hill. As this was held over the Easter/Anzac holiday a good contingent from our club were able to attend. Two vehicles came for the Easter period only and 10 vehicles attended for the period, Easter Sunday to Sat 26th.
On the first day (Sunday) we had our meet and greet at the racecourse on the outskirts of Broken Hill. Happy hour was followed by everyone bringing their chairs around the brazier that Phil had supplied and we spent an enjoyable evening getting to know each other. The evening was not too chilly, so there was lots of laughter and great stories being told.
Next morning we were off for a tour around the town. Here we visited the now defunct North mine and Phil was a wealth of information about what has happened with mining in the area and what is currently happening. Lots of questions to Phil on the radios as we toured around. One car stopped to let our convoy through, thinking we were a funeral procession!! At the incredible lookout we learnt that the local mayor has the lease for the restaurant up there with the best view, but sadly it closed it’s doors recently due to poor patronage. Sure to say, we would have had a coffee and ? had it been open! We did a detour and looked for Glen’s mum’s house (it had a red corrugated iron roof). This was our brief to find it, however 95% of houses in Broken Hill have corrugated iron rooves and most are red!! We did not find it on the Saturday, but it was located by Glen and Jenny later, having been significantly renovated. Our tour included the royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and we saw a film about the service and the incredible job they do. Our afternoon was free so off to explore the recently opened Broken Hill Village shopping centre along with the other older Centro Shopping centre. On returning to camp we found a Bocce championship was underway. This was played over the next 4 nights and ably won by Agnes after some stiff competition from all quarters. Happy hour with a lovely fire again, ably looked after by Steve and Mel’s great boys, Blake and Kyle. They made sure our fire was stoked and we were comfortable each night. Well done boys.
Tuesday we travelled out to Day Dream mine and most of us did the mine tour which was well worth doing. The climb down into the mine was steep and very low at points and our guide gave us a good deal of information about how the mine operated and how very harsh the conditions were when it was in operation. Life expectancy for the miners was around 50 due to the very harsh conditions. It was a very emotional experience and we were very glad we did it. Following this we went on to Mundi Mundi lookout and from there were able to see the vista which was very green due to the recent unexpected rainfall. Mad Max 4 was due to be filmed here but the location had to be changed as it was just too green. However, it was great to see it so picturesque. On to Silverton and we then had lunch there and toured the town before independently heading back to the racecourse for another happy hour and campfire. Silverton has a great deal to offer the tourist with its amazing old houses, heritage buildings and outback pub. A group of us tried the “test’ at the pub at the suggestion of Phil and Heather and you will need to do this for yourself if you visit Silverton. All will be revealed when you undertake it!!
Wednesday was a free day to explore the town on our own and shop, which we did, adding to the local economy and trying the coffee shops. We met back a camp at 4pm and travelled a short way out of town to Round Hill. All 10 vehicles went up the goat track covered in shale to take in the magnificent view. This was challenging for the newer members of our club, but not as challenging as the one shower at the racecourse for 20-30 vans and no mirror! Back to base for another great evening and campfire.
Thursday saw us all travel the 130 km out to Menindee Lakes and the historic Kinchega Woolshed, and 170km back along the Pipeline track, a mostly sandy, corrugated road. This was a big day full of great sights.
Stopped at the Pamamaroo Inlet (one of the water supplies) and marvelled at the large number of pelicans there trying to catch fish that were coming over the causeway. The water was not flowing very fast so any fish were easy prey. We took our lunch and chairs and sat beside the Darling River to enjoy this before heading back to base. Some of our members said that the historic woolshed was the highlight of the week. The vastness of the lake system (and the incredibly good free camping spots on the bank) was amazing. It was our last chance for a happy hour
together as we had decided to all go out for a meal on the last night. Lance said he wanted a “decent” happy hour and everyone pitched in to pool our nibbles and delights. Lloyd entertained us with several of his bush poems – thank you. Another great evening by the campfire.
Friday was a ‘relax’ day as the previous day had been a big one. This was also Anzac Day and some of our contingent went to town and the Anzac day parade. Others cooked up veggies as the quarantine control near the border is very strict these days. Others did repairs, maintenance etc and just enjoyed the incredibly gorgeous weather. We went to the cafe recommended by Phil and Heather, Alfresco, which had an extensive menu and Steve had organised that we pay for Phil and Heather’s meal as a small appreciation of the fantastic effort they had made for us. Well done to Phil and Heather. Then it was back to the camp ground, where we sat around reminiscing about the week. Phil asked each one of us what the highlight had been and there were many different answers. No-one noted the bad jokes that had been flying all week but we thought they were great. Phil had also organised a raffle and had been selling tickets to us to support the charity dearest to his heart, the RFDS. This was conducted with hilarity and Phil made sure that everyone received a prize. We were able to raise $250 for the RFDS and to donate a small extra amount left over from that evening’s meal. This was a lovely warm evening and none of us wanted it to end but, as the walrus said, “all good things must come to an end”, so with sad heart we packed up the next morning, said our good byes and left, looking forward to the next club trip.