We met at Southern Cross – Lorraine and Bill Bale, Maggie and John Henderson, Patsy and Rosco Smith, Helen and Bill Taylor, Bobby King, Tony Van Der Leer, Kenny Taylor, Charlie Gardner and Susan Ruby, Des Mahar and Chris Watson.

Wednesday, 11th March 2009

At the 8.30am meeting, Lorraine Bale welcomed the trek participants. A minutes silence in remembrance of Robbie’s friend, Jock (who has been remembered, by a star overlooking the Southern Cross).  We travelled to Marvel Loch where we stopped for morning tea. That evening we had a bush camp at Mount Holland corner where we took one of the tractors up a steep hill to the lookout, a hairy trip, but spectacular views.  One of the tractors went looking for Mick, and had a small incident with a tree, some minor damage to his van, very unfortunate. We had a small birthday cake for Maggie and Bobby.

Thursday, 12th March 2009

We left after the 8.30am meeting for McDermid Rock, along the way we had lunch at the Breakaways, an interesting show of rock formations. Good camping area with one toilet. We climbed the rock. Good views.

Friday, 13th March 2009

Left McDermid Rocks sightseeing along the way. The salt lakes of Mt Johnson are massive. We had morning tea at Disappointment rock, only to find one tractor trailer had a puncture, this was quickly changed with many hands helping and lots of advice. Some of us climbed this rock as well.  Next stop the gem fields for lunch and fossicking. No luck with finding our fortune. The lookout over Lake Cowan was steep, a huge area of salt lakes. Arrived at the Norseman Caravan Park where showers and washing was enjoyed by all. The Lions Club put on a dinner for us that evening, unfortunately they only have a few members, so a lot of work for them.

Saturday, 14th March 2009

The tractors were on display in the town. The Lions club put on a sausage sizzle. The same people also put on the evening dinner for us and Mat’s grandmother supplied the entertainment. A most enjoyable time was had and we raised approx $480.00 to $500.00.

Sunday, 15th March 2009

Left Norseman via the Old Coach Road to Dundas Rocks, exploring the rich history and heritage of the original Dundas Goldfields track, established in 1892. We travelled past the Norseman race track, the old Cumberland and Kirkpatrick mines, the Lady Mary mine and old town site and a lonely goldfields grave.  The Iron Duke decline, the Break O’Day mine and the cricket pitch, which we did not see, as there was not enough room for the tractors and supports.  Entering the Brockway Timber Reserve we saw the old East-West telegraph line, Mawson’s Reward and the Mary Bell mine, we also read about bush tucker/bush medicine and the Old Dundas Dam, many, many rocks were used to build this dam.  We then travelled to Bromus Dam. Good parking area excellent spot for prospecting, huge dam with lots of water.  We had lunch here with lots of watermelon supplied by Harry who had joined us in Norseman the day before. We then travelled on via Lake King Rd to Moir’s  Rock (which we didn’t find) and then on to Kumarl Lake King Rd for our bush camp at Kumarl. We were all very tired by then.

Monday, 16th March 2009

Left Kumarl for Salmon Gums visiting the school. They had only 19 students, who all came to view the tractors; they were all very enthusiastic about blowing the horns and having a look. There faces were a joy to see, and I am very glad we were able to be there.  Morning tea was held at the RSL Memorial Park, where play group, for approx 12 children was in progress.  Very nice cup of tea was enjoyed with cakes and muffins provided by the local C.W.A., then on to Grass Patch. Lunch was served to us at the tavern, where there was enough food for our tea as well, so no cooking on this day. Then on to Mt Ridley for the night, small camping area with a large rock with excellent views for the one’s willing to climb.  A lot of fly’s and ants and one toilet, we enjoyed another of Harry’ watermelon’s. We had left markers out for Stan and Noreen, but they were unable to join us.

Tuesday, 17th March 2009

Left Mt Ridley for Scadden travelling along gravel roads to visit the school, morning tea was supplied at the school and boy what a feast!  Sadly Rosco broke the handle of there prize water jug, it came adrift in his strong hand.  Harry donated a watermelon.  We saw Billy and Helen Hijack a child in there tractor with Mum in hot pursuit.  Helen was from this area and also Lorraine, Bill, Maggie and John. On to Pioneer Park and viewing the murals on the gazebo and toilets, most amazing art work of the pioneering era. This has been put together by Lorraine and friends dedicated to the pioneering families from 1910. Stan and Noreen joined us here, after camping in a gravel pit over night and finding a flat tyre in the morning.Then we travelled west visiting the old school site of Scadden where Lorraine went to school. We passed farming areas owned by the Henderson’s and the Grigg[Bale] family on to Lorraine’s nieces farm Sue and Pete Smithson, where we celebrated St Patrick’s Day with a pig on a spit, vegies and Pavlova and many laughs were to be had on a fines night.  $400.00 was raised towards a M.R.I scanner for the Esperance Hospital.

Wednesday, 18th March 2009

We had a tour of the farm in four vehicles, which was very interesting.  On to Gibson’s Soak where we had a tour of the water factory and the owner Wayne has a vintage collection 1909 truck and a Ford A Model. We had lunch in the tavern where an old Mortain Bay Fig tree branches extending out over the tavern, they were promoting Taylor’s wine. Then on to John and Maggie Henderson’s place in Esperance, where there hospitality was enjoyed by everyone and we enjoyed there museum collection.

Thursday, 19th March 2009

We had a rest day and caught up on washing and shopping and general cleaning. Had a game or two of rummikub.

Friday, 20th March 2009

Charlie and Susan rejoined the trek. Helen, Bill, Patsy and Rosco left for Albany and to their homes. We went on to Condingup for the community fair. In the afternoon we went out to Orleans Bay for a drive. This was a very nice area, good for fishing and a good caravan park.  We were joined by Alan Faulkner.

Saturday, 21st March 2009

The fair started about 10am, and I think we all had a great day especially with the excitement of the tractor pull, which unfortunately we did not win.  The locals partied on all night.  There was a lot of interest in the tractors and also people enjoyed the dog jumping.

Sunday, 22nd March 2009

Left Condingup after the tractors had a photo shoot outside the tavern.  On the road to Noël Willings farm, this is the last farm to the east. Some of the fellows went for a ride in his plane checking on the cattle.  A South African has purchased the property and his son Ryan Willings manages the farm. A camp fire was held with Ryan bringing in loads of mallee roots and some had a barbecue.  Lorraine’s son Trevor and his wife Tammy joined us.  Early to bed this evening for an early start the next day.

Monday, 23rd March 2009

We left the farm early a.m. travelling east heading for  Israelite Bay, with some of the tractors dragging the track, Tony, Kenny and Mick pulling the drag, an engineering fete designed by Trevor Bale.  It worked well to level the track and take out the corrugations.  Trevor and Tammy showed us around and told us the history of the old Telegraph station and the grave sites and the swimming and fishing spots.  Some of us had a swim.  The drive home seemed long and dusty; driving into the sun was not pleasant.

Tuesday, 24th March 2009

Left Noel Willings farm via Merrivale Rd to Thomas River; this was a brilliant beach we drove onto to the beach for a photo shoot.  Very nice fishing and camping area will be back there for a good look around sometime soon.  Then on to Esperance via Bandi Creek, it’s the local fishing boat harbour, this was dumped with sand after the creak flooded and is still being dredged.  Then on to Crokers Caravan Park where we are staying for a week.

Wednesday, 25th March 2009

Trip on the boat to Woody Island, we were joined by Pete and Sue Smithson from the farm and also Frank and Jan Antanoli.  We saw dolphins and seals and some of us went on the glass bottom boat seeing lots of fish and coral and sea grasses.  Back to Esperance for lunch and shopping.

Thursday, 26th March 2009

Some of us had our car washed and cleaned. Some carried out minor repairs to their tractors.  A most enjoyable meal was had at the beach front café followed by a drive up to the lookout. Most spectacular night views were seen from the lookout although it was difficult to find your way up the stairs as the lights were not working. Some of the boys went to the pub for the Miss Hammerdown competition.

Friday, 27th March 2009

Lazy day was had before going to the speedway in the afternoon. It was a Hammerdown race meeting featuring Super Sedan Division with visiting cars from the eastern states.  Ryan Willings did very well with his racing getting a 4th, 3rd, 2nd and then a 1st. The power went out for 20 minutes on two occasions so this delayed the meeting somewhat.  The tractors went out on the race track and did some laps at intermission and the crowd enjoyed the show the boys put on.  A very big crowd, the biggest event of the season.  They got home about 1am.

Saturday, 28th March 2009

John and Maggie Henderson and Lorraine and Bill Bale picked up the tractor drivers at 9am to take them back to the speedway to pick up there tractors, which had been locked up for the night.  After that, Frank Antanoli picked us up in a bus and we went on a tour of the town and the wharf and showed us the old home and explained the history.  We went out around Pink Lake Road and the beaches passing the wind farms, stopping in town for a pie, back to the caravan about 2pm, had a rest and then had drinks with Bobby, Harry, Mick, Kenny, Zandra, Tony, Des and myself.

Kenny and Zandra informed us they were leaving in the morning as Zandra had a cracked tooth and was in a lot of pain.  Tony decided he would leave on the Monday morning to visit his Mother and his son and grandchildren in Albany. Our party is dwindling down.

Sunday, 29th March 2009

Esperance Mechanical Restoration Group had an open day with the tractors on display with other machinery and vintage cars trucks and motor bikes plus many other machines and photo’s and memorabilia.  We had a sausage sizzle and donuts plus raffles and an auction, Mick won $100.00 in the raffle.  Dinner at night was supplied by the restoration group heaps of food once again.

Monday, 30th March 2009

A lazy day, with some shopping.  Pumpkin soup was made by Mick, Bobby, Harry and Alan and enjoyed by all in the barbecue area we were joined by family and some other campers.  Many thanks to Trevor Bale who donated the pumpkin. Thanks to Lorraine’s granddaughters for making the cheese cakes and Alan for the Pavlova.  A good night once again. Tony left us this morning.  We are now down to two tractors.

Tuesday, 31st March 2009

We left Esperance after a late start by us as we had to pick up our gift to Lorraine.  We missed morning tea at Dalyup but caught up before going into John and Louise Grays sheep stud, Wandara at Coomalbridgeup. It was to wet for the sheep to be brought in so they gave us a talk anyway, it was very interesting, and we had lunch here and on to Munglinup school for afternoon tea.  Then to the sports ground for dinner and overnight use of power, shower and toilets.  Dinner was supplied by the P & C, with a big turnout for this.

Wednesday, 1st April 2009

Left the hall for Jerdacuttup School via gravel roads, after rain the drive was a bit messy, we had morning tea at the school and the children enjoyed the tractors, this school also has chickens and a veggie garden about 19 students and none in grade 7.

On more gravel roads to Starvation Bay for a look very calm in here, toilet no water, two tractors were in here launching the boats.  The rabbit proof fence started here to Carnarvon [State Barrier Fence].  Then on to Mason Bay for lunch.  Hopetoun by 2pm. We went to the school first then out to the groin for a photo shoot.  The school had 180 students, but after the holidays will be down to 80.  At Hopetoun we were met by Sue Leighton and Colin Hughes and they joined us for the photo shoot, and then Sue took us on a tour of the town, out to Fitzgerald National Park through Culhan Estuary.  The park road was closed so could not drive to Mt Barron.  Several sheds were visited with heaps of machinery and tractors on display, most of them in working condition.

Stayed in the caravan park, what a rabbit warren, just ask John Henderson about this. Dinner was at the bowling club supplied by Sue and friends, a curry night with several different curries made by the ladies from Hopetoun followed by sweets and tea and coffee, some entertainment was supplied by a local, a great time was had by all.

Thursday, 2nd April 2009

We found our way out of the caravan park onto the groin where we met Sue, and then we all followed her to her home at the suburb of Blue Vista, where they have a property where they are building a home which was purchased for $10.00.  It was built in Ravensthorpe and then rebuilt in Hopetoun and now moved to their property to be renovated with wonderful views of Mt. Barron.

Driving on to Ravensthorpe we saw kangaroos, old mine diggings, scenic drive arriving at the school at 10.30am, the children enjoyed viewing the tractors.  We had a bit of a look around the town and had lunch.  It was a long drive on to Ongerup via Jerrimungup, where we all had an ice-cream.  Alan and Harry had gone on ahead to pick up Alan’s tractor from his farm.  We arrived in Ongerup approx 4pm, visited the Mallee Fowl centre and had a look around, no mallee fowl in residence at this time as there enclosure was under repair. On to the caravan park for our last meeting.

Dinner this evening was at the Mallee Fowl centre, this was very nice with roast lamb and chicken followed by fruit and ice-cream.  We had a lot of fun afterwards and entertained the locals with a fines night, with Bobby as the judge dressed in a purple wig and wearing rather a risqué apron and bikini top.  Harry was his assistant, sporting a colourful hair do. All monies raised were donated to the Onga Mallee Fowl Centre. We then said goodbye to our new and old friends as this was the end of the trek.

Friday, 3rd April 2009

Three tractors visited the school at Ongerup.  We then went to view the mallee fowl at a property to the north and saw two of there mounds in there natural habitat.  Then on to Alan’s farm where there is and aboriginal water hole.  We said goodbye here to Alan, Bobby and Harry and drove back to Ongerup to pick up our caravan and for us this was the end of the trek.  We left here for a week’s fishing and resting at Cape Rich in the south.