This poem was inspired by my recent trip from Yaraka to Isisford in Western Queensland but it could be any country road out west … Continue reading
I have recently participated in a tagalong of motorhomes as we made our way to Blackall in Queensland for our Solos Rally. I started my journey to catch up with the tagalong in Melbourne on the 13th April 2019 and it finished at the Blackall Solos Rally on the 10th May travelling just under 2,500kms.
This poem is about some of our adventures along the way. Sometimes there were only a few of us and in other places the group grew to just under 100 motorhomes and campervans. You can probably imagine it was a lot of fun!
The aborigines have their Rainbow Serpent that travels across the land
And it gathers tales and legends of inland seas and sand,
And lofty mountain ranges and fertile camping places,
And they tell the stories of its way in dance and painted faces.
The Solos have their tagalong that travels across the land
And it gathers tales and legends of their happy nomad band
That met the Man from Snowy River and in Wagga Stoned the Crow
And everywhere it travels, the stories tend to grow.
I caught up with them at Wyalong out at the Poppet Head Mine
Where they started their morning with yoga, and then danced in a line.
At Bogan Weir we dressed the part in our daggiest bogan wear,
Then it was off to dusty Nakadoo and a wonderful campfire there.
The camp was split in Lightning Ridge and our growing tribe was scattered
But we made the most of the tourist sites and saw the ones that mattered.
Some of us went to the opal fields and dined at the Pub in the Scrub
While others enjoyed Mel & Suzie’s place and savoured their camp oven grub.
We camped along the Minor Ballone just out of Dirranbandi
And discovered the showers at the truck stop, and boy, did they come in handy!
The bakery was popular, with vanilla slices and pies,
The coffee was good and the jam drops were huge so we feasted with more than our eyes.
Each night we entertained ourselves with happy hour till late
Gary would often bring out his guitar, and Jean would bring us all up to date
With what was planned for tomorrow, and “Will we go to the pub for tea?”
Ad the numbers would be counted to warn the next town what they might see.
The cook at the Bollon Hotel walked out when he heard there’d be 80 or more
But the publican rallied the staff around and provided food galore,
So we all turned up in our Op Shop Glam looking so gorgeously fine
And the locals came out to gawk at us – and we drank the pub out of wine!
Well, the word got passed on the bush telegraph of this mad solo crowd on the move
So Wyandra planned a night on their town and the locals all got in the groove
They bought in food and closed the road so we put on our dancing shoes
But what the pub forgot to do was buy in more supplies of booze!
So the pub ran dry by half past five, they were out of bubbles and wine
But how could anyone get upset when they’d looked after us so fine.
Our travelling band was rolling along with Charleville our next port of call
And a fancy dinner was held in the Bush Camp and more fun was had by all.
See, we all wore our undies as ‘overs’, like Clark Kent when he becomes Superman,
And just like super heroes, raised money from an auction we ran.
On our last big night together, the sausage sizzle added some more
$500 was raised for the cancer ward, now that’s worth raising money for.
The muster begins on the weekend and our tagalong comes to an end
We’ll have one final night in Tambo, camped out at Stubby Bend
For months we have travelled together making memories and friendships to last
Thanks to Jean and her Adventure Team, this whole journey has been a blast.
Rosemary Robinson 2019
Were all doing the Aussie Salute, waving away the sticky little bush flies! They just don’t leave you alone here in Blackall.
We’ve bought every fly net available in town and they’ve had to bring in more supplies. People that swore they’d never be seen dead wearing a fly net are sporting them like the latest fashion statement.
I absolutely swear by my ‘fly ointment ‘ that I bought in Alice Springs in 2015. A little dab around the ears and the flies literally buzz off!
And the gifts for the volunteers at our rally here was this very handy little fly switch.
Everyone is doing the Aussie Salute!
Now I find out from Wikipedia that it is also called the Barcoo salute! Where are we? At Blackall on the Barcoo River! We’re in the thick of bush fly country!
Here’s my poetic comment about flies …..
Flies! The Aussie…
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I was fortunate to attend the Man From Snowy River Festival at Corryong this year. The Festival is inspired by Banjo Paterson’s poem, The Man From Snowy River and now the Festival has inspired me to write about my experience there. I’ve called it The Corryong Sound!
The Corryong Sound.
The sound of the whips as they flick and they crack,
The whinny of horses that are camped out the back,
The smoke from the campfires that light the campground
And line dancing music, it’s the Corryong sound.
The cooking of damper, each one its own taste
Some made with cheese, and others port laced.
The rain’s getting heavy and sogging the ground
And I’ve looked for a raincoat – there’s none to be found!
So it’s out with the brolly to view the events
And feel sorry for campers who are only in tents.
There’s a chill in the air, and the atmosphere’s damp
It’s not the best weather to enjoy a bush camp.
But the company’s friendly and the programme is good
And the truck comes around every day selling wood
And they’re re-enacting Jack Riley’s great ride
That chased the rogue colt down the steep mountainside
Where he ran with the brumbies, so wild and so free
But this kind of life was not meant to be
He was cut from the run and forced to the stockade
And this story was how Riley’s legend was made
Then Banjo related the story in rhyme
And the legend lives on long after the time
That the word went around that the young colt had gone
And the horsemen had gathered to chase him down.
Now each year in Corryong there’s a great celebration
Of the ride that has captured the heart of the nation.
It’s open for all, we’re all welcomed to town
And the campground’s abuzz with the Corryong sound
Of whip cracking, whinnying, country music and fun
So for four days we’ll party until the Festival’s done.
By Rosemary Robinson April 2019
I’m still on the Victorian Silo Art Trail but this time I’m in North Eastern Victoria, roughly in the area from Benalla to Yarrawonga and bordering the High Country.
I based myself at Broken Creek Bush Camp, about 15 kms to the west of Benalla (more about that at the end of the blog).
There’s double value at Goorambat because not only are the silos painted but the little Uniting Church has a beautiful mural behind the altar. As part of the 2018 Wall to Wall festival, Goorambat silos were painted by famed iconic Melbourne Street artist Dvate, and Sophia at the Uniting Church was painted by Adnate.
Continuing along the Devenish Road we do in fact arrive at Devenish which features my favourite silos on this particular trail. The artwork is of both a First World War nurse and a modern day combat medic.
The Devenish Silosartwork was unveiled on Anzac Day Eve 2018 and coincides with the 100 year centenary of the end of the First World War. Fifty young men and women from the Devenish community enlisted in military service for the First World War.
Well here is a bonus I didn’t expect! The little town of St James is in the process of joining the Silo Art Trail and I happened to pass through when artist, Tim Bowtell, was working on his massive painting of G.J Coles, who opened his first store in the area which grew into the huge Coles Supermarket chain.
I’m not sure what he has planned for the adjoining silos but he is working on them until the end of April so if you are in the area pop along and see him at work.
Tungamah was the first of these north eastern Victorian towns to sponsor Silo Art and here it is the last on my trip along the Silo Art Trail.
I’m so sorry that Tungamah doesn’t promote itself apart from the silos because it was a pretty little town with some wonderful historical buildings, green parks and gardens and well maintained homes. It is nestled on the banks of Boosey Creek and you can camp there, only a short walk to the General Store and pub. It’s a place I’d like to go back to and explore further.
The Broken Creek Bush Camp is a fabulous place to base yourself to view this particular Silo Art Trail but personally I don’t need an excuse to go back there – the hosts, the facilities and the size of the place make it a winning combination for a few days camping. It’s $7.50 per person per night, $1 for a shower, there is a massive camp kitchen and water and toilets are available. There is no power for RVs but there is power in the camp kitchen if you need to charge up the phone or computer. Friday night is pizza night and Doc and Cathy, the hosts, will be selling their delicious wood fired pizzas for $10. Yum!
A couple of weeks before arriving in this area I went to Rochester, which also boasts Silo Art. This was very special to me because the Motorhoming Club I belong to (CMCA – Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia) has a chapter called the Kingfishers and it is my home chapter. The Azure Kingfisher is our symbol as depicted on this silo.
Well, I’ve seen the Silo Art of Victoria! There is so much more to look forward to in other parts of the country and I know they will become magnets that will draw me in their direction. I look forward to you joining me on that journey, too.
Throughout February this year I followed the Silo Art Trail in Western Victoria, an adventure that had been on my bucket list for some time. NOTE: If you follow my daily blog, The Daily Snail, you will have shared this journey with me as it happened.
What else is there to see in the area?
1. It’s only a two minute walk into town from the campground. Like many of these small towns there are many closed shops but there is a couple that cater to the tourist like the Teapot Cafe and the original Cust’s Store.
2. Next door to the campground there is the amazing Woods Museum. They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure and Woods Museum …. well, you can make your own mind up about it.
3. It’s an absolute must to travel west a few kilometres to Murtoa to view the ‘stick shed’, built during the second world war using the only materials available at the time – timber. It was a grain storage facility until fairly recently and is the only one of its kind still standing in the world.
I made myself comfortable in the great little campground at Rupanyup managed by the locals. It was dry and dusty as most of the country is at the moment, but was nestled on the banks of Dunmunkle Creek and only a short walk into town and to the silos. $10 a night for power, $1 for a 5 minute shower and toilet block open 24 hours. There is also a dump point.
The land throughout this whole area is dry, so dry. Most of the dams have very little water in them, if any, and the photo on the left shows you what the drive to Sheep Hills was like. The Silos were like a burst of colour in a barren landscape. They were painted by Melbourne street artist Adnate and you can find out about him and his inspiration for this silo art here.
Unfortunately the tourism factor was not enough to keep the local pub open and this wonderful old building is no longer pulling beers – or pulling crowds. I bet there’s been a few good yarns around the bar here over the years.
Guido van Helten would have to be one of my favourite silo artists. He captures the character of his subjects so well you feel like you’ve met them in the street, or at the bar, or over the fence. As an aside, the tree I parked under nearly stole the show – magnificent!
Although these silos dominate the local landscape they would be my least favourite on this Silo Art Trail – somehow they don’t seem quite so … momentous? The Rosebery Silos were painted by street artist Kaff-eine.
The silo on the left captures the grit, tenacity and character of the region’s young female farmers, who regularly face drought, fires and other hardships living and working in the Mallee. In her work shirt, jeans and turned-down cowboy boots, the strong young female sheep farmer symbolises the future.
Descriptions from siloarttrail.com
The silo on the right portrays a quiet moment between dear friends. The contemporary horseman appears in Akubra hat, Bogs boots and oilskin vest – common attire for Mallee farmers. Both man and horse are relaxed and facing downward, indicating their mutual trust, love and genuine connection.
Love these silos! When I first saw them I was a little disappointed as I thought the paintings were fading into the background of the silos but the more I studied them the more natural it seemed that these ‘locals’ were part of the environment, not separated from it. The couple are painted on the end wall of each silo and you can read about the artist, Rone, and his vision for these silos here.
I had an ‘overnighter’ at Lascelles, staying in the community campground with power, showers, toilets and water available for $10 a night. The bonus was it was next door to the pub so I wandered in for dinner, met some fellow travellers, and feasted on a good old pub parmy! (served by the cook with bare feet!)
Patchewollock is the northern most silo town in the Wimmera/Mallee area – the end of the trail ….
Completed in late 2016, the artist ……….. portrays an image of the archetypal Aussie farmer – faded blue “flanny” (flannelette shirt) and all. Hulland’s solemn expression, sun-bleached hair and squinting gaze speak to the harshness of the environment and the challenges of life in the Wimmera Mallee.
Description from siloarttrail.com
This whole Silo Art Trail is only about 200 kilometres from whoa to go and could easily be done in a day but if you are carrying your home with you, as I do, why not slow down and spend a little more time exploring the surrounding areas.
I did some serious wandering during the last half of 2018 – and I may have been lost occasionally – but I justify that by saying I find a different way :)!
From my base at my nephew’s home in Bundaberg I looked at my options to arrive in Mudgee for a Solo Traveller’s Rally that I was attending in late September. One option was a pretty straight line south – a total of about 1150 kms.
But I found the other option a lot more interesting! I had nearly 3 months, after all! 🙂
This was a fabulous trip out to Western Queensland and New South Wales. The map shows my campsites and the times I stopped in caravan parks. As many place names aren’t on the map, my stopovers included Moura, in Queensland, where I camped at the Dawson River campground for about a week while I waited for a new tyre to arrive and be fitted. I did a really good job shredding one as I was coming into a little town called Banana of all places. What’s the saying – If you’re going to do something, do it well? I did! It was no hardship being at this camp ground, though, which had toilets, water and hot showers all for a donation to keep the facilities serviced. Moura has a mural on their water tower and as I left to head further west I came across the first cattle I saw on the long paddock. The drought situation only worsened!
My first caravan park stay was at Rolleston to do the washing and also catch up with a travelling friend, Rosanna, who I had met at Boulia in 2013. Other stopovers were Emerald, Jericho, Barcaldine, (to see the Tree Of Knowledge) and then Longreach where I indulged myself with some touristy things which were the subject of an earlier blog called A Tourist in Longreach.
After a few days on the Barcoo River in Isisford I made my way to Yaraka and a catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen for 35 years. That is also the subject of an earlier blog – Yaraka the End of the Line?
I had a wonderful week with Gerry (pictured above) and her husband Chris, who are the publicans at the Yaraka Hotel- and Chris does a fabulous trip up Mt Slocombe at sunset, which is not to be missed. Then –
- Blackall – claims the original Black Stump of the Australian outback and is the venue for our Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia Solos Rally next May
- Tambo – home of the world famous (and very expensive hand made!) Tambo Teddies
- Quilpie – a must visit to St Finnbars Catholic Church to wonder at the opal altar, font and lectern
- Eromanga – the Natural History Museum is home to Australia’s largest dinosaur discovered on a property nearby
- Thargomindah – where Brutus pulled up on the side of the road and refused to go any further until he was rescued by my favourite mechanic, Johnno, from Cunnamulla, who worked his magic and Brutus hasn’t looked back since.
- Cunnamulla – home of the Cunnamulla Fella and, as I said, the best mechanic in the world (in my humble opinion)
- Barringun, on the border of Queensland and New South Wales,where the old pub burnt down and there is now a pop-up pub
- Bourke – a nostalgic visit to the place I first visited in about 1970 with my then husband, Rex, whose family owned the North Bourke Hotel – another pub that burnt down, although some years ago now
- Trangie – who would have thought a little place like Trangie would make it to my list of memorable places, and it was a caravan park to boot. But Andrew, the host, made it a wonderful week, made even better by my sister joining me there
A couple more lovely bush camps and it was time for the rally in Mudgee. I was pretty busy with committee work throughout the rally so didn’t get to enjoy a lot of the activities but there were about 300 motorhomes and a similar amount of people who attended and the program was chock full of activities. At the Poet’s Breakfast I recited my newest poem, Dry as Dust, for the first time. It was written as a reaction to the devastating drought throughout Queensland and New South Wales. Absolutely heart breaking scenes for mile upon mile of travelling.
With the rally over I was off to my next house sit in Casino, looking after a little dog for a fellow Solo when she went overseas. It was only a couple of weeks but gave me a great opportunity to see some of the New South Wales coast, an adventure I hadn’t had before.
I got more – and also less – than I bargained for! The rain came down in torrents for days, making it impossible to enjoy all those beautiful coastal towns along the way. It also backed up in the gutter around my pop top and seeped into every cupboard just like house gutters overflowing into the eaves and ceilings …. what a mess. Sodden toilet rolls, wet clothes, and, disaster – my deck of UNO cards got soaked and stuck together. Well, they went straight into the bin and onto the “things I want for Christmas” list! (Thank you Marion for my new cards)
The weather was fabulous after I left Casino so I really enjoyed the coastline, fell in love with Nambucca Heads, caught up with a mad bunch of Solos in Buladelah, had new curtains made for me in Maitland by Solo friend Ros, travelled with fellow Solo Lynn for a few days through Gunning and Jugiong, stayed with my cousin Gretchen in Wagga Wagga and finally arrived at Lee’s home in Albury, the site of my last house sit for the year. And then it was off to my sister’s home in Nagambie, Victoria, for Christmas and New Year.
We also shared an adventure when a winemaker friend of Marion’s asked if we’d like to go to McLarenvale in South Australia to pick up a couple of barrels of wine. This was known as the Two Tarts Wine Run and was shared with a concrete meerkat from the garden next door! I wrote about it in my blog The Travelling Tales of Monsieur M Kat.
I’m exhausted just writing about all the places I went to this year ….. this blog has made me realise what a lot of ground I covered! But none of this was done in a hurry and I loved every minute of it – well, almost ….. I could have done without all that rain. Oh, and it would have been better if Brutus hadn’t broken down but the upside of that is I found a mechanic who finally got him running better than ever before. For the first time in 3 years he hasn’t got a miss in the engine so that’s a win! Unfortunately, Cunnamulla is a long way to go for a car service 🙂
For those interested here is my Expenses Summary. My only income is the Aged Pension which is just under $24,000 a year. Thank goodness I had managed to save some of that to meet unexpected car repairs. But I’ll have to cut back on the Coffee and Cake I think!
|Rego & Insurance (inc Roadside Assist)||$1420|
|Food & Drink Expenses||$6768|
|Groceries, Butcher etc||$3354|
|Coffee & Eating out||$2498|
|Hair, chemist, makeup, clothes, shoes etc|
|Gas Mobile Phone and Internet|
|Touristy things gifts, newspapers, lotto, subs|
|New porta potti, new laptop, new curtains, fridge repair, etc|
People often ask in Facebook Forums “Can you live permanently on the road on the pension?” Answer is “Yes!” My lifestyle has certainly changed – I value things of little monetary value, my pleasure comes from the places I go and the people I meet. It’s a simple life and one I thoroughly enjoy.
I also began another blog in 2018 called The Daily Snail. So far it hasn’t been quite daily, but it gives me the opportunity to do short posts about where I am or interesting things I have seen. It takes the pressure off these ‘bigger than Ben Hur’ blogs on The Snail Trail. I hope you have a look at it and click on follow for more regular updates from me.
So much to look forward to in 2019 – February, The Silo Art Trail in Victoria, The Man From Snowy River Festival in Corryong, Victoria in April, CMCA Solos Rally in Blackall, Queensland in May followed by the Guiness Book of Records world record attempt for the Longest Line of RV’s in Barcaldine, Queensland.
And after that? ….
Roll on 2019. May it be a great year for us all!