Burleigh Heads Beach, Queensland

Monday, August 20, 2018

SUNSET IN THE OUTBACK

After our tour of the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame we had a short rest and then we were off to Camden Park Station (ranch). The station has been in the Walker family for generations. Two sons and their families have taken over running the station now and they have made a big effort to keep the place viable during the seven year drought by diversifying. Whereas, the station was running cattle and sheep for wool, it now does something different.
 The homestead, which was where many social functions were held during the good times. Royalty has also stayed.
photo borrowed from the www
Now one of the paddocks is the home of 55,000 solar panels. Although the panels have to be washed it is still less work than looking after cows and just as profitable.

 The boys have swapped wool sheep for meat sheep. The restaurants in the big cities are demanding more lamb for their patrons. These sheep from South Africa can tolerate the hot dry weather and less labour intensive than sheep that need shearing.

 Tourism is also another form of income for the drought stricken farms. We were taken on a tour of the 100 year old shearing shed and told all about how it used to work.

 It was like a museum of past days of sheep farming. When it rains and feed grows they will start again.

In the shed there was a new born goat who had fallen asleep but awoke with a fright when we arrived. Our guides caught it and returned it to its mother who had also run away in fright with a second kid.

 Mother nanny goat was way up in the top of the paddock.(Out of sight)

 We were driven up to the top of the hill???? what hill?? It was called Two Tree Hill. Mother goat was found and we were given wine and snacks while we watched the amazing sunset.



Saturday, August 18, 2018

EXPLORING LONGREACH

A few weeks ago we went on a tour of Longreach and Winton in the outback of Queensland. After checking out the little township the next day we went by coach to visit  Strathmore Station (ranch) where we had morning tea and then we went to the 'Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame" where we had lunch.
There has been a drought in Western Queensland for seven years. The country is looking bleak. There is no food for the cattle and sheep. Farmers have had to destock and diversify. They are doing it tough, no money coming in but still bills to pay. Farmers are the salt of the earth. They are getting some help from the government, volunteers and donations from city people.

 At Strathmore Station we were given a talk and tour from Maree the owner. She explained how they have had to let all their employees go and she and her husband are doing all the work themselves except in school holidays when their children come home from boarding school and university and help with the big jobs.
 This type of pastureland is called self mulching because when the rain finally comes it washes all the seeds and vegetation into the cracks and then they close up. With the next lot of rain the seeds grow but that is not happening now.

 So some farmers are trying to earn extra by encouraging tourism. After our tour and talk we were given a delicious home cooked morning tea in the beautiful homestead.

 The grain silos could be empty unless they have bought in extra feed for the cattle.

 The cattle yards are empty at the moment. Strathmore is famous for its Santa Gertrudis breed. Some farmers have other stations in southern states where there is more rain and they transport their stock there. 
 After morning tea we were taken to the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame where we took in a show and had lunch. This stockman told us the history of the stockmen and what their jobs entailed. He was a comedian too and did a lot of tricks with his well trained horse.
 He demonstrated how the working dogs rounded up the sheep.

 Then we went into the main museum building.

 It is big and beautiful inside, with loads of interesting out back history to learn about including the stories of famous stockmen and pioneers.

 Inside a pioneer hut.

We stopped in the cafe for coffee where there was this statue of a shearer. Then it was back to the motel for a brief rest before we were taken to another station for wine and nibbles while watching the sunset.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

TRIP TO THE OUTBACK TO SEE DINOSAURS

On my bucket list for a long time was Winton and the Dinosaurs. Finally, we made the trip. We were supposed to travel with friends, Kathy and Rob but Kathy got a chest infection  just before we were to leave so she had to stay home. However, Rob did come with us.
 Winton is 1357k way out in Western Queensland. We caught a little regional plane to Longreach stopping at Blackall on the way.
After more than 3 hours, we finally spotted the town of Longreach where we were joining an 'Aussie Outback Tour', which would take us on a 6 day coach tour of the outback including Winton and the dinosaurs. (Bill kept reminding me that the dinosaurs were no longer alive.' Western Queensland has been in drought for seven years. We saw first hand how the cattle and sheep farmers are suffering and how they are diversifying.

 After we settled in our motel in Longreach, Rob and I walked into town while Bill had a rest and tested the internet access.

The walk was very pleasant through a 2.5k linear botanic garden showcasing plants that can tolerate a dry, hot climate.

Soon we arrived in the main street of Longreach, it was a typical country town.

Rob is checking out the old farm vehicle together with a bull on board. It was parked outside the Cob and Co. museum.

 We passed the Information Centre, which used to be QANTAS headquarters in 1921. Our national airline QANTAS was started in Winton in 1920 but the HQ moved to Longreach in 1921. The airline was started by two war pilots, Fysh and MacGinness, who felt that airplanes were the way for people in the outback to travel and receive mail and goods. So they started Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services. It will be 100 years old in 2020.
 A typical country Post Office

I found myself a new man, a stockman (cowboy).

 We had a cool drink and then started our walk back to the motel for a 'meet and greet' dinner.

Everywhere was dusty and dry. The temperatures were mild in the day and cold at night.
(to be continued)

Monday, August 6, 2018

BIRTHDAY BEAR'S BELATED BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

It is two months since my birthday but our calendar was so full that we couldn't find a day when we were all free to celebrate. So on the last day of July instead of at the end of June we finally all got together at Club Southside to have lunch together. Birthday Bear was there to greet me when I arrived dressed ready for Zumba. Someone found out that I have started Zumba lessons at the village. So now Bear can come with me and have fun getting fit.

 Mary did such a great job at dressing Bear in a Zumba outfit plus a list of all the benefits, book of instructions, CD and boom box, dumbbells, drink bottle and sweat towel.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

WINTER ON THE GOLD COAST

During the school holidays, Sonya and the boys flew from cold Melbourne and we spent a week on the Gold Coast in an apartment at Burleigh Heads Beach. 
 Sonya loved the apartment and the view of the beautiful beach across the road.

 We unpacked and took the boys for a walk along the boardwalk and onto the beach. It was getting late and a bit cooler.

 The next day they were keen to play on the beach.

 Banjo even went into the water.

 I enjoyed watching the clouds

 and takng arty farty shots but its not easy getting up again at my age.

The Melbourne family enjoying the Queensland sun.

 One day we went to the river. After that I returned home but Sonya had a voucher for a free night at the Star Casino Hotel, so I dropped her there before going home. That morning she had a call from husband, Bernie, saying that he was back from USA and he would fly to Brisbane to spend the weekend with his family. Bernie had been given the voucher together with many other rewards because the TV series he stars in (Wentworth) won 3 Logi awards.
Needless to say, Sonya and the boys were very happy to see him. A few days later they flew back to cold Melbourne.
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