No – I didn’t spend the night in jail, but I did spend the night at the Avon Downs Police Station. (More about being in the nick later). I went to Avon Downs with some volunteers who fund raise for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), and we were cooking and manning the bar for the crowd that had gathered for the annual cricket match between the Queensland and Northern Territory Police. Avon Downs is about 300kms from Mt Isa and about 75kms over the border in the Northern Territory – my first time in the NT!
The border is not far from Camooweal and the drive is through the Barkly Tablelands – grasslands.
Camooweal has the longest main street in the world – about 200kms – and it goes from Mt Isa to Camooweal. Apart from that the roadhouse there makes a decent coffee, which was very welcome after our 6am start.
The Avon Downs police host the annual cricket match between the Territory and Queensland and there were players from Cloncurry, Mt Isa, Camooweal, Tennant Creek and Avon Downs. A lot of the local ringers, girls and guys, from stations in the area also came along for the day – and night.
We opened the bar about midday and provided much needed refreshments for the cricket teams on this hot day. Part of the fun was the dress-ups – the NT cops really got into it while the Qld team had their maroon jerseys on.
It got pretty hot out on the pitch so a couple of the guys stripped down to these wonderful duct tape g-strings – well, they thought it was a good idea until they had to rip it off!
It was thirsty work and the beer and bundy flowed until late into the night. We packed up at the ‘cricket ground’ and went over to the Police Station where we set up the bar again and started to cook a barbeque dinner. Everyone was having a great time. A charity auction was held and the bidders were really generous as so many of them had used the services of the RFDS. The crowd was fined throughout the day, too. Fined if they didn’t have an Avon Downs stubby cooler, fined if they hit the cricket ball, fined if they didn’t – they just kept throwing money into the kitty every time they walked past knowing they were going to be fined for something.
Between midday on Saturday when we opened the bar and 10am Sunday after we’d served breakfast, and including the result of the auction, about $5000 was raised – a fantastic effort! And a lot of fun…
In the nick! Well, not me, but I didn’t close the bar until this game was over. It was a game of strip volleyball and it was over when all the players, guys and girls, were naked. By this time no-one was feeling any pain and certainly not the chilly night air. I was exhausted, as were the other 3 volunteers I was with and we knew we had to up to cook breakfast the next day. A few sore heads but a happy crowd and our time at Avon Downs Police Station was over.
Travellers – there is a free camp opposite the Avon Downs Police Station but if you are looking for a little luxury for the night you can stay at the Police Station accommodation – like a motel suite – for $15 a night for the room. There is a fully equipped kitchen, good hot showers and a washing machine.
It must have been this cuddle that did it – Dave has asked me to help out at a car rally in a couple of weeks – catering for about 300 people. I should have recovered from Avon Downs by then!