Weeks 5 & 6 leaders: Steve and Pat Harding
The new group started to arrive for a wonderful fortnight ahead.
The weather though was very changeable, we immediately had just over 3mm of rain on the Sunday evening, and the ground was already sodden from the previous rains.
This led to camp maintenance team getting bogged rather badly near the shearer’s quarters, having set out on an errand that would not take very long at all, however Phil & Dawn, after about an hour were starting to be missed!!!. By coincidence Alan & Steve heard their engine roar, which led to a full recovery.
One of our visitors to the camp site was left stranded, the camper trailer suspension almost collapsed after hitting a large pot hole on the track, thank goodness for the new shed, as we were able to find a steel spacer for him, patched it up and away they went after leaving a “donation” in the tin. (See photo 1 below)
The bad weather continued and the road from Lyndhurst was then finally closed, the campgrounds were almost deserted as campers disappeared as soon as more rain was mentioned. We closed the bakery in the afternoon and prayed for the road to open in the morning.
We had the first of our "happy hours" early in the shed. During the 2 weeks we also made our own entertainment with a few unmissable jokes from Johnno and some very good poetry from Julie & Allan.
Monday and the roads were still closed but we were ready. Within an hour of the roads opening in the afternoon we were already in the bakery with beautiful products for our visitors and the last 2 hours were very busy, a great end to a slow start to the day. Our 4 bakers and many of the café/retail staff did a fantastic job of always being available to meet the challenges of the day, be it running out of food input products or queues of hungry visitors 5 deep waiting for service. Great job!
Our project works however continued unabated with preparation underway for the start to the Fettlers Cottage planned for the following morning and the future “A Team” led by Doug commenced painting the new rooms inside Tom's shed.
The Wimmera 4 X 4 club members led by Johnno & Wendy were "all joined at the trowel" in the Fettlers cottage. New brick work to replace missing quoins, and repairs to sills and doorframes were underway, and the group of about 8 made happy work during what were a cold & miserable couple of days. All of the lower cement render placed in the 60’s was removed as rising damp was doing lots of damage to the stonework behind. And Oh what wonderful stonework was uncovered! Exposed now, are beautifully laid stone courses equal to any building of this era anywhere in Australia. (See photos 2, 3 and 4 below)
We also received some very unexpected help from Yacinta (Belgium) and Ethan (Israel), both visitors touring the outback, who very graciously stayed with us to help out where necessary for about 4 days, before commencing the trip further North. (See photo 5 below)
Unfortunately we had to say farewell to Johno’s team after their first week, but work continued with a very enthusiastic “Stonies” team until it was completed.
Monday was also Dawn Morrison’s birthday, what an evening of fun and birthday cake we had.
From a pile of torn and bent corrugated iron, the shepherds hut started to rise from the “ashes” led by Drover Jack and team. This used to be where the shepherds lived. They used to corral the cattle and sheep brought down from “Anna Creek, & Farina stations” and in from surrounding pastoralists, before being loaded via the sheep & cattle ramps onto the train for transport to Adelaide. This was just a simple structure and life would have been tough in the day.
Many thanks to Kevin & Ann Dawes for providing some of the many corrugated sheets required to finalise the Drovers hut, removed from one of Kevin’s sheds. .(with his permission of course).
(See photos 6 and 7 below)
By the middle of the first week roads started to dry out and visitor numbers increased, the bakery started to make a full recovery from the wet days. New projects commenced with vigour, the old police station was under attack by David & Helen who very selectively removed tonnes of sand & rubble. Oh what great surprises as the buildings structure started to see the light of day.
Jimmy & Nick started the fabrication of the new roof design for the story board pergolas having enough material to make 4 units. One was later erected adjacent the Anglican church for the official blessing during week 7.
(See photos 8, 9, 10 and 11 below)
The “Mulga” wood run, was undertaken by a very enthusiastic team who quickly collected a trailer and ute load of fence posts, and cut them all to a suitable oven size by knock off time that day.
(See photo 12 below)
Ron (the baker) and Doug (from the A team) left during the middle of the week and on the way home, kindly, delivered some of our fantastic bakery products to Hawker & Quorn café owners who graciously provide Farina tourist information.
Many thanks to Mick Hunt who managed to bring a ute load of “redgum” wood all the way from Horsham to supply the oven and keep the coals hot.
We had a minor glitch with the proving oven, when one of the heating elements packed it in. One of our resilient bakers again made do until we could get a new replacement, luckily David was on hand to fault find and re-install the element.
By the end of the first week visitor numbers were increasing as the “Big Red Jimmy Barnes” concert drew many thousands to Birdsville. The café and shop went onto overdrive and the main street became a parking lot, full of caravans and four wheel drives.
A team we later called the “Oilers” stated work on the sheep ramps. This required using old engine oil mixed with a bit of turps, being painted over the entire wooden structure. The oilers led by Julie claimed this job as their crowning glory!! I couldn’t prize them away.
(See photo 13 below)
We were having the usual happy hour one evening and a very disenchanted motorcyclist walked into camp. Sam (a philosophy student) was trying to ride to Witchelina but in the very soft roads became bogged and burnt the motorcycles clutch out. Stranded he sought our help, once again our FRG recovery team (David) jumped into action and drove out with a large trailer and picked the bike up. It took a few days to arrange transport out, Sam meanwhile helped out around the stonies and café, we soon got him on his way back to Adelaide, and eventually home to Melbourne with his father.
By the middle of the second week projects were coming to fruition and we were very fortunate to receive a visit from ABC’s Ginny Stein 7.30 program. Ginny was a one journo band doing all of the interviews and camera work on her own.
The program went to air and you may still see it on iView if you missed it.
See http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2016/s4505979.htm for our 6 minutes of Farina fame!
By Friday we were very busy again with the patrons of the Jimmy Barnes concert stopping for bread, cakes and pies on their way home, traffic to and from the “Camel” races at Marree and of course the school holidays. The camp grounds were absolutely overflowing.
Our last weekend saw a few of our very highly praised volunteers depart for home. Although very busy, what a great fortnight, we all had. My thanks to ALL who participated and supported bringing life back to Farina and assisting Pat and myself work through our first leader fortnight and all the normal demands and day to day activities and many, many, visitors.