Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Sunday 13th August 2006 to Tuesday 15th August 2006

Sunday 13th August 2006

Reflections on the Darling River
Reflections on the Darling River - Bourke

On the move again today, pulling out of the Kidman Caravan Park at about 8:30am this morning and heading off up the Mitchell Highway after enjoying our three nights in Bourke.

The drive north was pretty uneventful and we traveled about 130 km before we came to Enngonia, which is a settlement of about 30 people and boasts a school, police station and service station as well as a few houses. We didn't see the need to stop in Enngonia so we continued on through at the regulated speed limit of 50 kmh.

A further 40 km brought us to Barringum where the last pub in New South Wales is found, along with a service station or truck fill up station, but not much more. This was only about a kilometre south of the border with Queensland. We did stop in Barringun long enough to take a photograph of the last pub, then it was back in the patrol for the next kilometre until we stopped at the QLD border.

Once we had taken the obligatory photographs at the border, we hit the road again and continued through some rather flat and at times pretty bare patches of country with trees surrounding what looks like swamp flats. Although the roads in New South Wales were a little rough for sealed highways, once we crossed the border into Queensland the roads became even rougher still so we rattled our way up the highway toward Cunnamulla.

The road did not improve the further north we traveled and as we arrived at Cunnamulla, the turnoff to Charleville was at the entrance to the town. As we figured we will only pass this way but once, we decided to drive into Cunnamulla and we were quite surprised at what we found. It appears to be quite a neat and tidy town with reasonable facilities and a great statue in front of the shire offices. This is a bronze statue of 'The Cunnamulla Fellow' who was made famous by Slim Dusty in song.

After stopping in Cunnamulla for long enough to take photographs and look around we set off again toward Charleville. The next 200 km went by without any problems, although a fair amount of the time we spent veering around dead kangaroos, dead sheep and dead goats and looking at the odd eagle or two making the most of the road kill. We passed through Wyandra before finally arriving in Charleville at about 2:15pm.

We found there were not a lot of sites available in the Bailey Bar Caravan Park but we managed to squeeze onto a site that required some reversing between an obstacle track. We set up the caravan and then settled down for the rest of the day, with plans to spend three nights here and take in some of the sights as well as catch up on a few domestic things before moving on to Tambo and beyond, on Wednesday.

Pammy at the QLD border
Pammy at the QLD border

The Cunnumulla Fellow - Cunnumulla
The Cunnumulla Fellow - Cunnamulla

Monday 14th August 2006

We really did take it easy today with a late start and then some extremely in depth discussions around the caravan with others in the same situation. Then we discovered one of the caravaners had a 12 volt power supply in their caravan that had ceased to work. After discussing this for a while we offered to assist them is checking it out and the offer was accepted, so here started an interesting morning. After checking all the fuses in their system, we checked the power supply itself and found that there was no power output at all, although the power was getting to the system.

This increased the challenge so out came the power supply and the screwdrivers and after a short while it was spread all over a concrete sewer top in the park. Ah ha!!! Yes there was a blown fuse, but it was soldered into the PCB board and this required further dismantling of the unit. This was no challenge to a deftly wielded screwdriver and it wasn't long before it was all exposed to the soldering iron and levered from the board.

Next came the task of finding a new fuse, which meant a trip into town. As 'One of Us' was keen to see the shopping centre, the 'Other One' took her in to the town centre and at the same time, after visiting several electrical parts and repair places, managed to obtain a fuse holder and fuses to replace the offending part. We also visited the IGA Store for a few more groceries and a butcher shop for a couple steaks for dinner and some sausages for lunch. It was then time to return to the caravan park and cook up lunch.

After lunch the power supply was repaired after some time using the soldering iron, drill and screw drivers in deft fashion. It was then time to plug it in and test the repairs and Hey Presto... It blew another fuse.... and another fuse... After a few more tests it was ascertained that the power supply had a major fault internally and was beyond repair by amateurs such as us. This was confirmed when it was taken to the local electrician who confirmed our findings and said it was beyond him and he wouldn't be able to fix it either. So much for that good deed.

Later in the afternoon we took another short drive around the town and located the site of the Bilby viewing we intended to visit tonight, then returned to the caravan park for the rest of the afternoon.

Tomorrow is intended to be a quiet day also and we will move on further north the next day.

Queenslander Outback style home
Typical Queenslander Outback style home

The Horny Hotel
A Horny Hotel - (Cattle Camp Hotel) Charleville

Tuesday 15th August 2006

Australian Bilbies - Mother and baby
Australian Bilbies - Mother and baby
Wooden carving of a bilby
Wooden carving of a bilby
Been to the top of Australia
Been to the top of Australia at 50 kmph

Yesterday, later in the afternoon a caravan came into the caravan park behind a Chamberlain Champion 9G tractor and parked next to our caravan. The couple in it were members of the Chamberlain Club and had just been up to the northern end of Queensland with a group of other tractors of the same kind. They manage to travel at a speed of about 50 kmh most of the time and make about 300 km per day. It did create quite a lot of interest within the caravan park and many photographs were taken after they arrived and when they were leaving.

Last night we visited the Bilbies of Charleville at the Department of Conservation buildings on the edge of town. This consisted of a talk by a volunteer about the Bilbies and the conservation work being done in the area to ensure the survival of this little creature. We were then shown a dvd of a previously recorded Australian Story about the two men who chose to make it their lifes work to save the Bliby from extinction, and the fund raising and creation of a 25 square mile fenced reserve for them.

After the talk we were taken to a large fenced area that was lit by orange lights and were able to view two adult and one baby bilby, as they came out to meet us and fossiced around for food in the yard. It was not possible to take photographs using a flash light, so those shown above have been captured from video footage taken in the orange light. These little animals are about the size of a normal rabbit, however have very large ears, thin legs with the back legs appearing to be a little larger than the front and they have a tail that looks like someone has wrapped a dark coloured bandage around the top section of their tail, and they are so cute.

Needless to say, when it was time to leave, 'One of Us' ended up with a stuffed toy bilby and the 'Other One' walked out the new owner of a 'Save the Bilby' cap. They are quite a unique creature and this visit was well worth the $5 each, that all goes to a fund to save the bilby and other endangered species.

This morning we had a fairly slow start and eventually drove into town at about 9:30am where we strolled around the shopping area, including Country Target and Crazy Clarks where we bought some dark coloured hand towels, as the light ones that we have seem to get dirty very quickly, apparently. We also called in to one of the town butchers and bought some pork sausages for lunch and some Chicken Marylands for dinner, at some stage. Then it was into a food store that was called 'Food For Less' but turned out to really be a Woolworths country store. We topped up our supplies here, then made an extremely high priority visit to the bottle shop next door where another cask of white wine was added to our cellar, not to mention the block of Tooheys Gold beer. On the way back to the caravan park we called in to the Shell Fuel Station and filled up with fuel at 142.9 cents per litre.

After our lunch the afternoon was spent doing rather mundane tasks such as washing some bird deposits of the caravan and general cleaning jobs that should have been completed some time ago, along with a little relaxing with a book in the fairly warm sun. Oh well tomorrow is another day!!

Chaimberlain Champion 9G  or Nissan Patrol - your choice
Chamberlain Champion 9G or Nissan Patrol - ??

Skippy in the main street of Charleville
Skippy in the main street of Charleville

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