Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Blast from the past: Ford-ing!

I culled some paperwork this morning and found two photos that were MIA. This is "Tuffy" the F100, fording a river some-where in the Northern Territory.

Unlike Elmer, "Tuffy" didn't have a reserve fuel tank.  He had a 44-gallon drum mounted within the rear canopy area. 

My father rigged some kind of system to siphon the fuel.  I'm not sure how it worked, though my brother and I used to ride in the rear with the drum - with seating provided by a former bus seat, screwed to the floor!  Obviously life was very different back in the 70s!  (The mini-bike on the bull-bar was powered by an old lawnmower motor, so worked on a pull-start cord - when it worked).

Monday, 26 August 2013

Blast from the past: The Rig!

A few posts back I mentioned the F100 and 25-foot caravan my parents purchased for our extended around-Australia adventure.

While looking for something else today, I found this pic taken at Kempsey in 1978.  I don't recall whether it was my brother or myself who took the photo.   I do remember our Box Brownie camera  -  gifted to us by a great-uncle who was a keen photographer.  You can sort-of make out "Tuffy" our F100 and the full rig.  I've been trying to find another photo, which is a front-view showing the mini-bike that used to travel on Tuffy's bull-bar!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Fireside lunch ...

From Broadford, Nick and I made our way across to Tooborac.  We had spotted the hotel on our last visit to the area but on that occasion we ate our picnic lunch beside the Tooborac Hall (venue for the annual Rabbit Ramble Cook-Off)!

We were picnic-less today and the weather wasn't great for dining al fresco, so we enjoyed a fireside lunch instead.  My pie was lovely and we were well looked after.  Nick sampled one of the hand-crafted beers, made on the premises.  No doubt the Woodcutters Amber appealed to his inner lumberjack! 

Broad(ford)ly speaking ...

Nick had driven through Broadford, en route to Murchison a couple of weeks ago. 

He thought it was worth a better look, so we drove there today and poked around a bit.  The Broadford & District Historical Society  maintains a number of buildings on the site.

We were most intrigued by the giant silver ball! And now that we know what it is, we want to know more about how it worked!

The silver ball is a "straw boiler digester"!
"The silver ball is a straw boiler digester. One of 12, it was operating in the town’s paper mill from the 1890s to make paper from straw and other materials.

These materials included the sails and rigging from the sailing ships that brought people and goods to booming Melbourne town and the Victorian goldfields."  How about that?!  The signage inside the fence had a diagram to explain the process but I wasn't able to get a clear shot through the wire.

Seemingly the museum is housed in the Broadford Courier building and is open to the public on Wednesdays.  We might have to go back for another look!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Schemes and Dreams!

The Happy Hamby Campers' camp is even happier now that Nick's leave has been approved for 2014!

There was already some anticipation but now we officially going back to Yowah - for nine weeks!

By the time we get there it will have been around three years since our last visit, when we enjoyed a month-long stay over December/January 2010/11, following the success of our July 2010 stay.  We had so many adventures on those trips, definitely the stuff of family legend.

Yowah has long been entrenched in my history.  As a child, my family would holiday there annually for 3-4 weeks over winter.    In those days a block of school holidays fell during July/August but we stayed longer, so my brother and I had school work to complete as well. 

I'm sure I wasn't at school for our earliest visit.  We stayed in a converted bus and I became ill enough to warrant a call to the Flying Doctor.  I have vague memories of eating baby food when I was long-past the age of needing it.  On future visits we rented a basic holiday cabin, before my parents bought a shack of their own.

When I was around 8, my parents sold their holiday accommodation business on the NSW South Coast and bought an F100 and 25-foot caravan.  We were set for a round-Australia adventure!  First stop was Yowah where we stayed for a long time, arranging the sale of the shack and mining lease. 

In my memory we lived there for nearly a year (my brother and I doing school work via correspondence) - and I definitely remember celebrating my 9th birthday on the field, where I received a princess crown birthday card and insisted on wearing the attached golden crown most of the day.  In those days my hair was blonde and reached well-below my waist, mostly tied back in a ponytail but worn loose on special occasions, such as princess birthdays!

I made a trip back to Yowah with my father and brother when I was a teenager.  It was nearly 20 years before I returned in October 2000, for a week-long visit with a fellow I was dating at the time.  (He was from England originally and had never been to the Outback but loved the experience). 

Although I always intended to take my girls to Yowah, it was tricky to organise around a shared custody arrangement - so it wasn't till July 2010 that I was able to introduce them, Nick and Vaughan to the place where I had spent significant periods of my childhood.  I wasn't sure how they would cope but they all loved it too - so much that we returned for a month over Christmas that same year.

(While my family had spent time opal fossicking/mining at Yowah, Nick's family had made trips to Lightning Ridge - so he considered himself a "digger" of long-standing)!

When Nick first voiced his wish for 9-10 weeks away, I was hesitant to agree.  Of course, I liked the thought of an extended adventure but the logistics of organising care for one cow, four chooks and one aged/ill cat seemed a bit daunting - not to mention school for Vaughan, accommodation and a budget for everything!  In the space of a few short days, all potential problems have been sorted - and we have bargain accommodation organised also, in Louie's shack where we stayed previously (two doors down from my sometimes childhood home)!

So, now the scheming begins!  There are vague plans to visit Broken Hill along the way and hopefully some short trips radiating from Yowah.  No doubt Quilpie will warrant a return visit and I am definitely keen for another soak at the Eulo Math Baths!

Elmer requires some necessary maintenance - and some desired modifications.  There is other equipment on the wishlist.   I'll put an extra tab on my spreadsheet and jig the budget to maximise our discretionary spending.  Just as well we thrive on challenge (and adventure)!

In funny Universal synchronicity, I realised during the week that Vaughan will be celebrating his 9th birthday at Yowah also - though sans golden princess crown!