No. 37 – (Week 3 and 4) reported July 22, 2014

Thanks firstly to Bron and Barrie for holding the fort when the arrival of Michael and Bob was delayed, and also for the systems they had put in place to ensure the camp and bakery operations ran smoothly, and make it easy for us to step into their shoes.

This was also helped by good humoured cooperation between a good mix of old friends and new recruits throughout our two weeks.

The bakery continued to do great business, although operations were disrupted for a few days by the failure of the gas oven in the new caravan. While this somewhat limited the range of products, the bakers were able to satisfy customer demands using only the 19th century technology of the wood oven.

A new unit was eventually trucked to Leigh Creek, picked up by two of our volunteers, and manhandled at near midnight into the caravan in time for preparation of the gourmet pies served on the cricket day.

In addition to cleaning and “woodman” duties and provision of morning teas, camp activities included very popular camp oven roasts on the two Wednesday nights. Happy hours were also popular, and while we were unable to unearth any musical talent, we were treated to a nightly joke from “Captain Kangaroo”.

We suspect that the groans following some of his punch lines could have been clearly heard by Kevin and Anne at the homestead!

With a kick start from Sid Hulland before his departure, a dedicated crew of skilled people made great progress on renovation of the cattle truck which had been delivered during week 2. This included removal of rust and old paint, removal of the old roof, manufacture and installation of a new roof, repairs to a damaged door, and a good start on repainting of the unit.

Peter and Ron continued work on stabilising the third Police Station, supported by a number of volunteers who tried their hand at pointing. With help from Kevin and his front-end loader the stone fence shown in an old photo of the station was salvaged and rebuilt, and the stone building at the back was partly excavated to floor level.

A number of artefacts were found, including bottles and cattle tags. Finishing touches were put on the new information boards at the bakery and at the first Police Station on the Northern side of the creek. Repairs were carried out on the sheep ramp, and re-flooring which had commenced last year on the sheep truck was almost completed, limited by the supply of suitable timber.

Sump oiling of the narrow gauge loading platform was also finished.

The old skip which was originally used to feed coal to the pumps at the railway reservoirs a few kilometres up the line, and which had been restored by one of our volunteers in Adelaide, was delivered and installed in the railway precinct.

Efforts put into mowing, “de-stoning”, and filling in of rabbit holes at the cricket ground seemed as though they may have been wasted when heavy rain fell during the afternoon and night prior to the match.

The next day dawned bright and sunny however, and the ground and surrounds dried out sufficiently to allow play to commence close to the scheduled time. While Farina ran out victors in a hard fought match, their celebrations were delayed by a fine rear guard action from the opposition’s last pair.

Finally, thanks to Kevin and Anne for their hospitality, and their unstinting support for all our activities throughout the fortnight.

Marie Harding, Michael Pinyon, Bob Moffatt