Trek 2004 – First Dispatch
Trekkers met at the Coolgardie Caravan Park and enjoyed a delightful meal provided by the Shire. Special thanks to the Shire and organisers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
A restful day for some, others did walking tours around the Sanctuary and some went stargazing at the local Observatory that night.
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.
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.
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.
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.