Our house-sit at Maryborough took us from mid February to the beginning of July. It came at a very opportune time as we had spent quite a deal of our cash reserves having issues with the slide-out on Toad Hall resolved (finally!!) – many thanks to Crossroads RVs at Gympie. We also had some medical appointments to catch up on so we were able to establish ourselves in the one place and have an “address” for mail re-directions and a little bit of on-line retail therapy.
During our stay we took the opportunity to travel around the area a little. A day trip to Childers was extremely emotional. The Art Gallery is housed in the former Backpackers’ Hostel which was severely damaged by a horrendous fire in June 2000, which resulted in the deaths of 15 young people – some Australians but mostly international travellers. There is a monument to all of them at the rear of the Art Gallery, and out of respect for the deceased and their families photographs are not permitted. Childers is a heritage town and there are many fine examples of restored buildings and a wonderful sense of community. They also have the most delicious ice-creamery (no wonder watching my weight is becoming easier. Easier because there is more of it to see!).
During April, there was a “Show’n’Shine” at the Maryborough Showgrounds. What an amazing collection of vehicles! The Maryborough/Hervey Bay area is home to some real die-hards.
And of course shortly afterwards, came Anzac Day. The Maryborough RSL certainly put on a good show – both for the Dawn Service and the later morning march. And boy oh boy, didn’t the townsfolk support them! I’m not sure of the overall population of Maryborough (between 20,000 & 30,000) but the turnout was phenomenal! At least twice as large a crowd (for each march) as our home town which has a population for the LGA of 47,000+. Well done, Maryborough!! Gordon met Charles Mollison, from 6RAR, who was a mate of our very dear friend Tom back home. Also, as we entered the Club for lunch he bumped into another former army buddy, whom he hadn’t seen for over 30 years, by the name of Lex Macauley, who has in the interim published many books. They, too, had a wonderful catch-up which is just exactly what Anzac Day and similar commemoration days are all about for former military folk.
Earlier in April we also saw a ‘blood moon’ formed by what was the first total lunar eclipse for 2014.
Plus, there were many beautiful sunsets and we ‘shot’ some birds in and around Tinana.
Plus one early morning, there was a lovely mist. Well – maybe there were mists on more than one occasion, but I only ever saw the one.
And Mother Nature also put on a rainbow display – once again I only shot one, but there were many.
One of the joys of being in the Fraser Coast area, is that my youngest granddaughter (and her Mum, my youngest daughter) live just down the highway in Gympie so Grandma was able to enjoy some good times. Alas this is one (probably the only) of the downsides of travelling long term – missing out on family face-to-face time. Oh yes, there is always Skype or other forms of electronic communication, but you can’t cuddle a computer image!
Another Fraser Coast event we attended – and enjoyed immensely – was “Relish” an all day food and wine festival staged in the Port District of Maryborough. A wonderful day, good value and with a wide variety of options.
With Chef & TV personality Alistair McLeod
Little Miss enjoying her water from the complimentary ‘polycarbonate’ wine glass.
More tripping around – Biggenden & Paradise Dam. Unfortunately we couldn’t see much in Biggenden as there was a funeral in town (obviously someone prominent, as all flags were at half-mast & the majority of businesses were closed). Paradise Dam offers camping facilities, but NOT one where we would choose to stay. The sites are very uneven, with steep gutters to negotiate; ‘long-drop’ toilets, NO water (potable or otherwise), NO power (but generators are permitted) and for that they have the hide to charge $17 pvpn! And I thought camping was the ‘affordable’ holiday option?
But then again, the dam cost the then Labor Government a small fortune & they are endeavouring to recoup those costs from the poor travelling public.
Another trip took us to the Bundaberg area – but no we didn’t do the ubiquitous Distillery Tour (although I am assured it is well worth it). We visited one of the local Op Shops to replace a broken wine glass & lucked in by finding one bearing an inscribed date of 1994 – opportune as we were attending a Highway Wanderers 20th Anniversary Rally at Nambour in May. Hindsight told us we should have bought as many as we could, just to share around! We also visited Elliott Heads where the local beachside kiosk had painted the loos & fences with some bright & cheery colours. Then to Burnett Heads where there is a restored lighthouse which has been moved from its original site to a local park where it is accessible to all (although not open).
And yet another day we went to Hervey Bay (although we left the area well before the Whale Watching Season began – unfortunately) and spent a lovely afternoon strolling along the Esplanade from Scarness to Urangan. The local Council has created a walkway which is level and an easy walk.
There are many little villages up and down the coast – most of which have an outlook across the Strait to Fraser Island. Villages such as Poona, Maroom and Boolooroo. All within less than an hours drive from Maryborough, but the real estate prices seem quite low by comparison with similar areas which we have visited.
As mentioned earlier, we had a Rally get-together with fellow Highway Wanderers at Nambour (where the Chapter was originally formed) to celebrate their 20th Anniversary. It was simply WONDERFUL to catch up with our many friends from HW, even though we have only known them since May last year (2013) when we first volunteered for Blazeaid in Monto Q. The Anniversary Rally was extremely well organised, well run and well attended. And if anyone didn’t enjoy themselves – well I can only say it’s their own fault! As is usual with these types of gatherings, there was –OF COURSE – a Disc Bowls Competition. Neither Gordon nor I had ever played before, apart from a bit of a half-hearted attempt at Maroochydore SS over Christmas but there it was simply too hot and too humid to have a red hot go. Nevertheless, we (well I) put our names down to participate. Of course I neglected to tell Gordon until the morning of the competition which was due to start at 2 o’clock. Or so I thought – until Errol was sent to find us as we had been called for game 1. When I had read the programme, I had my left thumb over the start time and 2pm was actually the due finish time! At 10am we were still lazing over our morning cuppa! Well it must have been beginners luck – Gordon & his team were narrowly beaten for the Bronze Medal and b*ggar me – in my first ever ‘proper’ tournament I was fortunate enough to be placed in a team good enough to win GOLD! I think I should now retire – with a perfect record of 100% wins in all tournaments played.
Mike, Max & Me showing off!
There was also a top Talent night, with one of the best ABBA skits I have ever seen – among many other terrific entertainers. Poets Breakfast (catered by the Lions), garage sale, dinner/dance, raffle (for charity) and of course morning teas and happy hours made for some memorable moments. It is so hard to believe that some of these dear friends were totally unknown to us little more than a year ago.
Almost 100 Motorhomes at Nambour Showgrounds
Rita, Maureen, Barynne & Angie aka ABBA!
Apologies for the quality of that last photo, but the photographer was laughing so hard it was difficult to keep the camera steady.
So after 5 or 6 days at Nambour, it was back to ‘work’ – to finish our house-sit at Tinana (Maryborough). Although we were not overly taxed, I must admit that with a bit extra care & attention, bucketing all our grey water to newly pruned trees and shrubs, mulching with lawn-clippings and weeding around the bases of them all we were already seeing a vast improvement in the garden. Mother Nature helped with some rain, greening up the grass nicely.
All our medical appointments have now been finalised (for another six months at least), and our finances have recovered sufficiently to be able to ditch the portable dish and have an automatic satellite dish mounted on the roof of Toad Hall. No more fumbling, mumbling and bumbling just to be able to watch the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs! Thanks Alan from www.pinktronics.com.au for your install. We were pleased to be able to spend some time with fellow nomads Roy & Georgina (who introduced us to John & Marion who own the property). Roy & Georgie are die-hard Queensland supporters so it was a fun evening for the State of Origin – which we WON! First series win for many many years, but being New-South-Welshman in Queensland at this time was priceless!
So our time here has come to an end. Thanks to John & Marion, Emma & Jon, Bev & Col for welcoming us into your neighbourhood. We have enjoyed our stay, take with us happy memories & trust you all remember us with some fondness – as we do you all.
And remember – travel safely and
“Live the Life You Love”