Thursday 8th June.
This morning on the way to Tom’s shed, I dropped into the bakery to place the second part of my order. I was assistant to Sparky Dave as we ran cables from a new set of power points at one end of the shed to the other end of the shed and down in a wall cavity to the electrical switchboard. Morning tea was again served in the shed, as I was running low on bread (which I had brought up with me), I visited the bakery to purchase a sandwich loaf. I began clearing sand and some rocks out of two rooms in the old Police station, Deja vu, as I had done this last year, but wind and shifting sand indicated that it will be a regular clearing job.
I understand that the trailer in the photo below belonged to a school and was the camp kitchen before Tom acquired it for the Farina Restoration Group. I remember it from my previous trips, as being a dry storage van for the bakery. This year the old and flaking paint was removed and it was given several coats of spray paint and a good clean out. It is to be used as a laundry equipment storage area, and not as some wag’s paper sign says, a “Mobile Angel’s Rest”.
On my way back to my caravan, I collected my bakery order and fitted it into the fridge - I now have to create more space in the fridge for another bakery order.
After the formalities of the campfire session were over, (who’s doing what tomorrow, notification that a coach load of tourists will arrive for morning tea etc.), Peter Cramm read the last of a trilogy of poems about “Woody the Cattle Dog” and Laurie told a couple of jokes (as he has been doing all along). As always, both entertainers drew a big round of applause.
Friday 9th June.
My first job (self imposed) was to remove more sand from the rooms of the old Police station. Morning smoko also coincided with the arrival of some of the week 3 & 4 volunteers, and so I met a few new people and some from previous trips. The morning also involved talking to visitors as I was asked to do visitor information until lunch time.
After lunch, Professor Bob and I, again tried to get the EFTPOS machine working, this time calling the manufacturer’s tech line. By doing several tests, they concluded that the signal path had too many links and distance for it to work successfully. A couple of wifi links here, up to a satellite, down to earth in WA, then optical fibre cable to Melbourne, and back again. Sadly the unit has been packed away.
Tonight was Hot Dog night, Laurie the baker has been busy making hot dog rolls as well as his usual fare (and some extra) as morning tea for a bus load of tourists. Lex and Di organised the sliced onion and sausages for cooking. I'm beginning to accumulate pasties, sausage rolls and lamingtons for the trip home and will stock up on more until my allocated budget is reached.
A camp sing along took place, with Peter Cramm, who also sang a couple of songs he wrote, read another poem, we were each asked to recite a saying, e.g. “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.
Dinner was served and we then spent time around the two fires yarning until - we individually or in pairs departed to go to bed, or in my case, write a bit more to this.
One of the photos below is of a drover’s hut. Last year in week 3 and 4, it was a pile of iron sheeting, lying where it had collapsed. In the remainder of that year’s “season” it was rebuilt. It was a hut used by Sidney Kidman’s drovers once they had driven the mobs of cattle down the Birdsville Stock Route and were awaiting the arrival of the train to take them down to market in Adelaide, (or even Melbourne.)
The telegraph insulators on the posts indicate a walking trail or different coloured insulators indicate the two railway lines, the old 3’6” Narrow Gauge and the wider 4' 8.5” Standard Gauge. Which actually cross each other in our railway precinct, one of the few places in Australia where this occurs. There are also triangles of rail (this was once the rail head), the train passes the triangle – reverses into it, the points are reset and when the train drives out the engine is at the front, ready to haul the train back from whence it came. To the left of the hut is one of our pergolas, erected to protect the information boards from weather damage.
Saturday 10th June.
Visit the bakery to place another order, to Tom’s shed briefly, then to a couple of sites to take GPS co-ordinates to compare with the Google Earth co-ordinates. The generator spare fuel has been transferred to the vehicle tank, and the vehicle air cleaner has had dust removed from the element and catch cup in preparation for driving home.
I’d been packing away some of the stuff I brought up over in the shed, then I collected my bakery order. Packing it in the fridge is like doing a 3D jigsaw puzzle, but dinner tonight will make a bit more room. The afternoon saw me doing some vehicle rearranging of packing and using Gaffa tape to hold the surviving part of the rear view mirror which broke on the way up into the frame. Looks like a few stops on the way south to see if I can buy a replacement mirror head before hitting the big smoke.
The campfire tonight was a mix of out-going crew and the next crew, until the old crew, or many of them headed to Lyndhurst for dinner. A lady, Corrine, from my last two years gave me a fridge magnet on a slice of Mulga wood, the photo was of Martin MacLennan and me standing in front of the Scotch oven in the underground bakery. A treasured gift, as photos of me are a rarity.
The nights have been cold, so I’m sleeping in two sleeping bags, wearing socks, mittens, a beanie and tracksuit.
The characterture of me is by Len Beadell (1984), same tracksuit, beard now grey. Incidentally, the same Chinese made boots are still in use, not spit and polished, but still very comfortable to wear.
Tomorrow (Sunday), I will be leaving in the morning to drive part way home, so when in good communication range this last episode will be sent to Rob (the Webmaster). An overnight stay on the way, then home on Monday afternoon for the exciting job of re stowing equipment, cleaning out the caravan and vehicle, and resuming a conventional suburban life.
The wooden spoon photographs (below):
Front and back views of the roving microphone “repair”, the tie clip had broken, so the silver clamp was substituted and the wooden spoon attached to the radio transmitter to make a hand held microphone – the nearest Jaycar distributor is 350km away in Port Augusta. It has worked well at our campfire sessions!
Personal writings supplied by Michael Witcher. These are his own memories and may not reflect the current Farina Restoration Group status.