Barcaldine

Tuesday 7th May, (Barcaldine).

This caravan park does have a function of an evening. Both nights we have been here so far they have had a Billy Tea and Damper and they are an event to remember. The management, or the new management to take over next week, give an explanation of what is to offer not only here but in surrounding towns as well. Along with, and during, plates of damper are served among the tables, spread with butter and golden syrup, deeelishus! And enough was served to fill me to the extent I did not want any tea each evening. The manager then progresses into his telling local Ausie jokes, and does it well. I am not sure whether I could attend every night though, as the evenings are, as one could imagine, designed for a different audience each night and can get a little repetitive.

A walk around town taking photos was the order of today and I found that there were easily many shots to nearly fill my memory card. This town offers, as a tourism draw card, a tree in the main street under which the local shearers and such would hold work condition related meetings very early last century and as the story goes these meetings resulted in the formation of the Australian Labour Party. The tree is referred to as the tree of knowledge.

One thing that drew my attention was again the pubs, and number of them, in town; in one block in the main street there are actually four pubs, all operating, and there are more.

We copped a story about the above man in black resting up against the wall. He is actually a timber cutout, if not obvious, and was installed several years ago by the shop owner. The shop is up a side street from the main street and as the story goes there was a lot of talk around town about this fellow, viewed from the main street, resting against the wall and how the owners could permit him to remain there in that state. Then one day the locals ventured up the side street and became aware of the actual circumstances. This story leads me to one of two conclusions; either the shop doesn’t do much business, or it doesn’t mention anything for the possible mentality of some of the locals. At first glance he does look a little realistic though.

Barcaldine

Monday 6th May, (Barcaldine).

With us now staying in a small town for a period of four days or so and there being limited things to see and do the result is not much put down in words. We are enjoying the extra time relaxing though.

We have left Blackall feeling rather peeved. We had intended staying at the park we did all along, but one thing that may have influenced us was the advertising of a camp cooked meal almost every day provided by the management, at a small cost, but in the five days we stayed there they did not have one. We were so looking forward to attending this function as it gives one a chance to meet and talk to other travellers, so we are a little annoyed that it didn’t eventuate. One gets the impression that it was an advertising ploy to get people to stay at the park. They did have one the night before we arrived, supposedly, and were planning one for the tonight, supposedly, but we are not there any more. The excuse given on each day was that there were not enough people staying in the park, but every night we were there the park seemed to be packed.

Anyway back to travels, we are now at Barcaldine. This town is on the junction of the highway from Brisbane, which we have been travelling, and the highway that traverses from Rockhampton west to, ultimately, Mt. Isa. Barcaldine is another sleepy little outback town as well as the others, but there seems to be a little more to do here than recent towns. Reports over the next few days will reveal this to be true or not.

The park we are staying at, Homestead caravan park, does have evening functions, we have just been invited to a Billy tea and damper session at 5:30 and are looking forward to meeting others and having a good time.

Blackall

Friday 3rd May, (Blackall).

The power system did get a full test as after using more than we usually would, and as it turns out that being winter with the sun on a fair angle, or there is a fault in the system, the charge was not as high as I was expecting so I had to fire up the generator late the following afternoon to boost charge. While we had the gene’ running we decided to leave it going all the next night, until bedtime at least, if for no other reason to give it a run.

We had an enjoyable two days at the rest area at Tambo, with the only problem being the grass seeds from the dry grass in the spot we parked. These are part of the learning experience though, so in future we will look for a green-grassed area or gravel if available, otherwise whatever is available will have to do.

We have since moved on from Tambo and onto Blackall, 100k from Barcaldine (Barky). We have been here since Wednesday and originally booked in for four days. After hearing that Barky is booked out on the weekend I made several phone calls, and they are, so we have now booked in for another day and booked into Barky on Monday. I also checked with Longreach and booked in there for the following Friday as bookings were building. This is the time of year that the shows are travelling this area, hence the reasons for being busy.

Linda is now somewhat happy as we have been missing the shows around the country during our travels and the local Blackall show is on this weekend so she will be able to visit one at last.

The caravan park we are staying in advertised that they regularly have a camp roast get- together meal for guests, so we are looking forward to attending one. They have not had one since we have been here, but are hopeful of organising one for tomorrow. Naturally they have to have enough people attend for it to be viable so it is not held as regularly as was anticipated.

Blackall is a sleepy little outback town, as are most we have stayed at lately, which makes the visit a lot more enjoyable and relaxing.

The main attraction at Blackall is a wool scour situated just outside the town. It is the only steam driven scour left existing in the country, built at the turn of the last century, and when it shut down in the 70’s it was left intact. The locals a few years ago decided that it would make a good tourist attraction so they have banded together and are restoring it. Most of the mill was operational when we visited and they expect it to be completed soon. It was a very interesting visit, as one just does not see anything like it anywhere still complete and in operation.

I have made comment on how surprisingly the price of fuel in the area is a little lower than I had expected, but Linda has found out today that the same does not apply to foodstuffs as she did some grocery shopping today and was somewhat taken aback by the prices. I guess this is what we will just have to put up with.