Trek 2004 – 9G’s Around South Australia

9G’s Around South Australia 2004

Trek 2004 – First Dispatch

10 July

Trekkers met at the Coolgardie Caravan Park and enjoyed a delightful meal provided by the Shire. Special thanks to the Shire and organisers.


11 July

We were all blessed by the Minister and vehicles were sent on their trek after being doused with champagne by Ron Bywaters and it was observed that not all Champagne was used on the Trekker’s tyres as Ron was seen to be having a sip at 9.45 am in the main street of Coolgardie. A collection was taken up for work in the Parish. Photos were taken on the steps of the Shire Office of all Trekkers.

A brief stopover was made in Kalgoorlie in order to give Trekkers a chance to get a few last minute forget me knots, have morning tea come lunch and move on to the next assembly point around the round about which took a bit of sorting out.

Sunday night was spent at Gindalbie Woolshed where hot showers were enjoyed by all. After camps were erected and dinners cooked it was great to sit in front of the campfire and catch up on the day’s events.

Our nurse Trekkers decided to do a bit of magic on our president – putting a scarf in a bag and producing a lollipop much to his curiosity.

12 July

All Trekkers were up bright and early, fires were stoked to boil the Billy and have breakfast. Some people thought Bob and Jock had joined the group as we were given our early morning call by Roger Whittaker of ‘Hello, good morning’. Hi Jock and Bob we will miss you this trip. Music was played by Alan and Marion Pierce.

At 8.30 am all assembled to get our instructions for the day and to hand out the Happy and Grumpy awards. It was fantastic to see so many happy people. A Bulldust award also reared its head so everyone needs to look out if they are tempted to do bit of that. Before we departed the owner of the station came to visit and wish us all the best.

Trekkers headed for Kookynie not Mt Celia as there had been a lot of rain. Kookynie Hotel was a great spot, which was enjoyed by most of the Trekkers. Phil and Shirley Astill were camping in the caravan park and some of the Trekkers caught up with them. Overnight camp was at Malcolm.

A game of closet to the pin was set up and we saw the best and the worst of bush golfing all participants had a good time. An evening of fun and laughter was organised and after the frivolity no one was game to report any illnesses for fear of what might happen from the nurses. Along our travels on this day we came across another of our members – Cedar Armstrong – who is unable to join us this year on the trek as he is about to become a Granddad (Poppy Seed).

Some Trekkers decided it was time to cook roast beef in the camp oven, it was put in an oven bag straight into the camp oven when next minute there was smoke billowing out of the pot and one of the other Trekkers came to their rescue and poured wine and sherry over it to give it a bit of flavour – all thought it was yum oh.

13 July

We arrived in Laverton and were made very welcome by the townsfolk. Dinner was provided on the local basketball courts with lots of 44-gallon drums full of hot fires for us to gather around. Some very talented local children put on a show of dancing for us to enjoy. Following dinner we moved into the local clubrooms for some more entertainment and an auction. A young woman who worked for Granny Smith Mines auctioned off her jacket. All Trekkers were handed an invite to a Mock Wedding which is to take place at Yeo – already the Bride has taken ill. Stan and Noreen arrived with the first aid kit.

14 July

We were spoilt once again with a four-course breakfast which was enjoyed and appreciated by all. Thanks to the Shire of Laverton.

Bush camp was at Yeo with very cold night and morning temperatures.

15 July

We had another bush camp but no mock wedding. At assembly we had a minutes silence in remembrance of one of our fellow Trekkers Brody Smith who passed away in tragic circumstances. Thanks to Jeff Fordham for his kind words.

16 July

Another great day enjoyed by all. Trekkers kept in touch with one another along the track with UHF radio (channel 10) – our essential communication line. Some had the opportunity to see a plane wreck and to those who went it was just like going through the Simpson Desert again (our 2000 Trek). Happy birthday to Jim Cole (Dusty).

One trekker ended up with a singed jumper from their gas stove. Terry Bell clocked a camel doing 29kms up and down the sand dunes. Another couple of trekkers opened up their camper to what appeared to be black sludge lemonade and heat beads mixed together. Noreen Snook organised a Quiz night under freezing atmospheric conditions. A few guys repaired a broken spring on one of the trailers.

17 July

On the road again but not before we topped up the tanks. Between morning tea and lunch Les and Toni’s trailer failed with a broken spring – this time going from 4 to 2 wheels but with the assistance of the experts was ready for the track again. One of the true assets of our club is that everyone helps one another and the multi skills/talents of our members is wide ranging.


18 July

Another great day and camp out under millions of stars. Trekkers came across a trail of clothing, eggs, kitchenware, cd’s and various other items including dry cleaning with the owner’s name on to which they were totally oblivious that they had lost anything.

19 July

A community tea was organised where everyone was invited to bring along their special dish/es. The roaring fire gave much needed warmth to everyone. A few trekkers dressed up 70’s style along with guests Daffy Duck, Princess Fiona and Shrek. A fines session was organised and was time to dig deep into the pockets. Welcome to Joan and Garry – they travelled for 3 days on the track and didn’t sight another human being.

20 July

We awoke to freezing temperatures – about -4o. Most people had trouble packing up as there was ice on everything we touched. A couple of tractors didn’t want to start as it was just too cold for them however, after about an hour everyone was on the track heading for Coober Pedy. On our way we called into Ground Zero. Marion and Alan Pierce had a flat tyre on the front of their tractor, Carolyn and Steve were unlucky to open their camper and have all their gear tipped out everywhere again

21 July

Our sincere condolences go out to Hugh Campbell (Cumber) whose Dad passed away this morning. Hugh was one of the founders of our Club and past president.

Enroute we had to go around the dog proof fence. Alan Pierce ended up with another flat tyre, George Baldwin and his crew did a great job driving their single axle 5 tonne truck across the Ann Beadell Highway – a great achievement – only had to be towed once and that was on one of the final the cattle grids.

We arrived at Coober Pedy and the Police gave the Tractors a parade down the main street. We set up camp at the Caravan Park and enjoyed being in civilisation again, to do a bit of washing and have a good scrub up. Most trekkers headed out for dinner – some to underground restaurants.

22 July

A bus trip was organised and most people took advantage of the tour around the town which was a real insight into how people live in difference circumstances – mostly underground. Coober Pedy is a truly multicultural town with over 40 nationalities.

The local shop owners were only too pleased to help us out, especially the photo shop whose generosity to Trekkers and Royal Flying Doctor are truly appreciated. A special thanks to the Lions Club who arranged a delightful three course evening meal.

23 July

A photo shoot took place at the front of the Caravan Park. A pleasant day was spent exploring the shops and having repairs done to tractors as we got ready to head for William Creek.

Rumour has it that one of our female trekkers had fallen out the door of the local hotel, the trek nurse was close by and could do nothing but laugh at the poor woman (no name).

24 July

We sojourned to William Creek Caravan Park, a quiet, peaceful setting apart from the flies just to let us know that we were back in cattle country. The area boasts the largest cattle station in the world. The Hotel is a must see of all the memorabilia that people have left.

Today is a special day for our new teenager Paul Nunn. Birthdays wishes also to Carolyn Faulkner and Terry Bell and happy anniversary to Kim and Susan Henderson.

The Equine Association organised a BBQ under their new buildings (they had the best soup ever). Walking back to the caravan park in the dark Toni stepped over a small copperhead snake (her heart missed a few beats) and then the torches were brought out just in case others were looming.

25 July

Our very talented built in photographer Glen Bates together with Jeff Fordham went up in a small aeroplane from William Creek to get an overhead photo of the tractors all going down the road. Morning tea was at Bubbling Springs.

Our official spokesperson, John Henderson spoke to the local radio station and gave the listeners an insight into what we are doing and where we are going. John spoke very well and made easy listening.

We arrived at the Marree Oasis Caravan Park a day after Tom Kruse was in town to celebrate his return to town with his wife Val. Tom used to drive the mail truck to Birdsville and back. One of the nurses was taken for a ride on one of the local donkeys.

26 July

All trekkers were up bright and early again ready for another day of adventure to cover the 241kms to the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary which is the start of the Flinders Rangers. The hilly countryside was quite breathtaking in places. Most trekkers’ lined up for a four hour safari tour around the hills.

27 July

A restful day for some, others did walking tours around the Sanctuary and some went stargazing at the local Observatory that night.

28 July

Another pleasant drive was enjoyed by all as we said goodbye to Arkaroola and headed for Wilpena Pound via Blinman the highest town in South Australia. Trekkers were all looking for a bit of sun as they set their camps up. Some booked tours for the following two days to catch the magic of the Pound.

29 July

We all awoke to another minus 4 degrees and couldn’t wait for the sun to peak through the clouds. Trekkers were all invited to a seafood meal at the resort with the compliments of George Bass and Kailis Bros. Was a very interesting night as we were introduced to Nick Clachan who is wheelchair bound due to Motor Neurons Disease. Nick gave us an insight into what is like to be in his situation as he mingled among the Trekkers in his very special wheelchair. Susan Henderson soon had everyone up singing and dancing as she played the piano accompanied by Saint Peter singing, and then entertained us all with her hidden talent of shearing sheep. Saint Peter won a beautiful opal watch that had been donated in a raffle. The newlyweds won a picture, Carolyn a print and Nurse Carolyn won some opals.

30 July

George Baldwin awoke to his overalls frozen to the side of his truck decorated with arms, legs and a wig and a hat.

Rosco’s 9G was prepared to take Nick for a ride. The door was removed and various manoeuvres are put into place to make it possible for this to happen and in no time at all Nick was in the tractor and soon disappeared into the distance grinning from ear to ear.

31 July

Pack up time again as is time to move on to Quorn. We stopped in Hawker for morning tea and obtained a few items donated by the locals for us to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor (RFD) and Children’s Hospitals. We also visited Jeff Morgan’s Art Gallery. Along the track we stopped at the shearing shed ruins and fittingly had a memorial to Cumber’s Dad who was also a shearer. A photo shoot was taken in front of the Austral Inn Hotel. Dusty was spotted taking two females for a ride in his trust 9G.

Trek 2004 – Dispatch Two

1 August

Jeff and Darriel de Pledge, Jeff Fordham and Robert Webb return to WA. Before departing we visited the Quorn Art Gallery with raffle prizes going to Steve Frew, John Parkes and Ross Smith.

Trekkers were escorted by local farmer Jack and his two sons Fletcher and Fraser out of Quorn to Bruce enroute to Peterborough. Some trekkers took a sight seeing tour of the town which was very informative before a welcome and enjoyable meal provided by the Lions Club. Two members had their photo taken with the President by the local newspaper. Peter Nunn auctioned off his special cap.

2 August

Peter and Paul Nunn, Alex Wheeler, Peter Hardy, Wendy Fordham, Janice and Keith Doel, Kim and Susan Henderson, Stan and Noreen Snook all departed for varying reasons. Before departure trekkers visited the Train Museum and Leys Museum (Dolls) both were very interesting. Morning tea was at Terowie where some trekkers were lucky enough to find coffee and cake.

News came through that Nick McLachlan whom we met at Wilpena Pound, his wife and carer had been involved in a car accident and were admitted to Coober Pedy Hospital. Next stop Morgan Caravan Park which is situated on the Murray River. Julie and Margaret Nunn and Gary Snook joined the group. We were welcomed at the local hotel for a meal in the outdoor beer garden where a fun night was had by all. The local publican played the guitar and Garry and George auctioned off various items that had been donated for our fund raising for RFD and Children’s Hospitals. Birthday greetings to Carolyn Mitchell.

3 August

From Morgan we headed to Mannum Showgrounds. Firstly we had to cross the river and what a great sight it was with the 13 orange tractors loaded onto the ferry which created quite a lot of interest from the locals. The weather was bleak and the camping area was turned into a small stream so all moved to the Caravan Park which was dry. Scraggy found a new home while in Mannum and was taken care of by some locals who offered them B and B for the three nights overlooking Mannum from above.


4 August

Most trekkers visited the Horwood Bagshaw Works and found it very interesting.


5 August

A busload of Trekkers headed for Victor Harbour and surrounding districts for the day. The Football Club put on a very enjoyable evening meal.

6 August

From Mannum we moved onto the Mt Pleasant Showground/Caravan Park which was a bit sloppy around the edges but the Tractor Trekkers are pretty tough and managed to slot into some pretty cosy spots. The scenery from Mannum to Mt Pleasant was very picturesque up hill and down dale. Some trekkers made their way to the Monarto Zoo which was very different as the animals are out in paddocks.

7 August

The famous Birdwood Motor Museum was the highlight of the day. Some trekkers found the first car or their parents’ first car which added to the interest. One of the trekkers had the misfortune of falling over and breaking a bone in her wrist. We wish you a speedy recovery Jan.

8 August

Rest day for some. Hahndorf was on the top of the list for a visit for most, some a trip to Adelaide or the Gumeracha Toy Factory which has the largest rocking horse on display in the world. While in Adelaide a pair of orange tractors was spotted parked in the Adelaide Mall between two chocolate shops, a great achievement and a night spent at the Hyatt caused a real buss. Well done trekkers.

9 August

Time to move again and the next stop was Nuriootpa Barossa Caravan Park. We were welcomed with open arms by Kirsty and her friendly team with a lovely afternoon tea and a folder of brouchers of activities to do and see around the area.

10 August

A bus trip was organised to do the local wineries and visit the local tourist places. Brendon was our tour guide, come bus driver, and he was very interesting. Some trekkers went back to Waikerie to see some more tractors that had been restored.

11 August

No the wedding didn’t happen next time…

On the road again and our guide was Peter Faint, a local farmer, who took the group to Clare via the back tracks. Many thanks Peter for a great effort.

12 August

The green and orange tee shirts could be spotted up and down the main street of Clare, shopping and mixing with the locals. The Restoration display by Graham Good was well worth a visit. A BBQ was arranged by Graham Goode’s Club at the Farm Woolshed. A beautiful spread was enjoyed by trekkers and locals. Another auction was conducted by Gary and George and Cumber spoke about the history of the Chamberlain 9G Tractor Club of WA Inc.

13 August

Trekkers headed for Melrose calling into Heinrich’s shed followed by morning tea at Gladstone, lunch at Booleroo Steam Preservation Society. Here we found a fantastic arrangement of preserved old tractors and farming gear including windmills. Eric Dagger, tour guide showed Trekkers around the Melrose Museum giving all a good insight into what happened many years ago.

A sausage sizzle was held outside Mt Remarkable Hotel amongst the rain and the wind but did not seem to deter too many people as there was hardly any standing room. The evening meal was held in the hall, followed by Square Dancing which had a few trekkers trying to work out their right footwork. Instead of the usual rug up due to the cold weather we had experienced, we now found we were doing the reverse and stripping off!! Some trekkers were very lucky to be offered a night at a B and B for the night, others returned to their campers after a great night to find their camps in a bit of a mess due to the wind and rain. All was retrieved and campers were all happy again


14 August

We left Melrose and headed for Whyalla. Under very wet and overcast conditions, we wove our way down Horrocks Pass through Port Augusta without too many problems. A visit was made to Wilmington Toy Museum where some trekkers saw a few toys that they would have had spent many hours playing with in their younger days. Our tour leader was Biggles.

A special thanks to people who led us in and out of towns, up and down hills to places of interest and also to our tail end Charlie who had to round up the strays and head them in the right direction.

15 August

At meeting time we had the Salvation Army donating money to the RFD. A couple of trekkers shifted camp in the night due to a very noisy party on the other side of the fence. We left Whyalla after a tour around the town and a photo shoot at the Mainland Shopping Centre. Our next stop was Cowell Showground. Volunteers from the Cowell Museum provided a delightful three course meal. A fun night was enjoyed by all. Gary Snook gave the locals a Cowell an insight into what we are doing. Dusty and Glen put on a great skit. Derek Henderson was wished a happy birthday from us all. Scraggy crew were lucky to win a hat trick. Special thanks to Donald McLaughlin who kept us entertained playing his piano accordion.

16 August

Sincere condolences are offered to Glen who received some bad news in the night.

A special thanks to all those farmers who came to town and took the trekkers out for a tour of their farm and a history lesson on Cowell. Some trekkers had a tour of the Oyster Farm.

17 August

As we waved goodbye to Cowell we headed to Tumby Bay. Morning tea was at Cleve and we learnt that we had missed a very big Field Day. We moved onwards to Arno Bay and Port Neill and learnt points of interest from our local man and 9G member George. Thanks also to George for organising a very interesting tour around the Eyre Peninsular.

We arrived in beautiful Tumby and some trekkers went on a tour with a difference – a sunset ride in a horse and cart with Ross and his delightful Clydesdale.

18 August

All up bright and early and headed down to the foreshore for Remembrance Day for the Vietnam Veterans. Allan Faulkner and Charlie Garner delivered a fitting service as we remembered those who had gone before us. George Bass spoke about his and fellow trekkers tour of the Oyster Farm which was escorted by Tom from the local Cowell School.

Sights visited today were Koppio Smithy Museum (a real beauty and well worth the visit) and Todd Reserve (SA water supply).

19 August

About eleven trekkers were up bright and early to go out on a Tuna Boat to see how they harvest tuna. A big thank you to George Baldwin for organising the tour which was thoroughly enjoyed by all we ventured out.

A few tractors went down to the foreshore for a couple of hours at Port Lincoln and shook their tins and sold some merchandise, while others went to a sea horse farm which was very different.

The trek has provided a great deal of interest with the South Australian communities as people are ringing up to find out when we will be in their town. Donations are still coming in from very generous people and we are also receiving goods to be auctioned. Special thanks to John Henderson, our media spokesperson, who has given us good coverage over the radio.

20 August

We left Pt Lincoln for smoko at Coffin Bay, a delightful spot by the ocean. Aquaculture seems to be very popular with plenty of oyster sheds and oyster baskets sighted. Bridle Creeper is noticed for miles along the way.

Trekkers George Bass, Marion Pierce, Carolyn Mitchell, George Baldwin, Jim Cole, Vicki and Max Smith and Hugh Campbell were interviewed on the radio by Suzy Grosner on the ABC on the highlights of the trip. While trekkers are stopped for lunch in Cummins it was observed that Margaret McLaughlin was cooking a fish feast for Donald.

More donations were given to us to auction.

Allan Faulkner gave a special talk at the local primary school of Karkoo to about 30 children to let them know why we were driving around in orange tractors.

Crops are looking good through the area.

The local Community Club put on a tasty evening meal. The hospitality by the local country people has been overwhelming and we appreciate their time and efforts. George Baldwin had his turn on the microphone and explained to the people of Lock how he became involved in the trek.

21 August

Brenda, of the Lock Sporting Community Club was noticed up very early helping to get coffee, tea and orange juice organised for the tractor trekkers while the Apex men cooked bacon and egg toasted sandwiches – delectable. Football and netball semi finals were to take place after we departed Lock.

Ian brought his big CAT tractor out of the yard for a photo shoot with out 9G’s in the main street of Lock. Ian has had to use the RFD service five times and on one occasion had to get his wife to hospital to have twins who were four months prem. They are about three now and doing well.

28kms from Lock rock fences appear and the crops have disappeared. Some trekkers were lucky enough to see a wombat. Mt Wedge was spotted in the distance – not as high as Ullaru.

Smoko was at Elliston. Venus Bay was our next destination where we caught glimpses of whales in the bay as they floated just below the surface occasionally popping a small part of them above the water.

22 August

Overnight we camped on the edge of the ocean at the Streaky Bay Caravan Park. It rained again this morning.

One of the trekkers had the misfortune to have his tractor towed to Baldwin’s repair shop for a major operation.

Lunch was at the Smokey Bay Community Club and a fabulous spread was laid before us by he local community. All monies paid for lunch was donated back to the RFD. Special thank to everyone. Photos are taken at the front of the Community Club with tractors and members of the local community.

Dinner was at the Ceduna Football Club which is again a big success. We held a monster auction which went off very well. Thanks to our auctioneer Gary who had to remove his shirt from his back as a very keen bidder wanted it. A footy tipping competition was held Eagles v Dockers – Les won, Kerry 2nd and Ken 3rd.

Thanks to George for the use of his workshop and for his fantastic tour around South Australia and to his crew Glen, Dennis, and Robert who were also very knowledgeable.

Members departing tomorrow are: South Australian crew, Julie and Margaret Nunn, Les and Toni Hammer, Jim and Faye Cole and Woody.

Special thanks to Jim, Faye, Patsy and Ross, Max and Vicki who without them this trip would not have taken place, and to Ron and Kerry Bywaters for being forward scouts and directing us to Caravan Parks when we arrived in the towns and for the binders they provided (author’s Bible).