The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere


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Queensland Heritage Park, Biloela

Biloela MapHow come I’m here in Biloela? I was meant to go to Calliope! Ooops, wrong turn again! This meant that I crept into Biloela (Billo-weelah) on the smell of an oily rag because there certainly wasn’t much petrol left in the tank after doing 100kms more than I expected! Anyhow, Brutus didn’t let me down and he saved me the embarrassment of calling the RACQ for emergency fuel…. thank you, Brutus.

I filled up with fuel and made my way to the Queensland Heritage Park where you can stop over for 48hrs for $15 a night on power – hence the mad rush to blog! While checking in the friendly lady in the Info Centre asked my name for registration to camp. Surname – Robinson, First Name – Rosemary. “Oh”, she said, “my name is Rosemary too! You’re the 2nd Rosemary I’ve come across today. I was just reading a newsletter and there was a Rosemary that ran a rally for Solos recently. Her name was Rosemary Robinson. Wait a minute …. it’s you!” Sometimes you are just meant to take that wrong turn!

Today I explored the Heritage Park. What a wonderful display of machinery and historical memorabilia exhibited on behalf of the Callide Dawson Machinery Preservation Club.

Cindy, who manages the facility, also manages the Annual Old Wheels in Motion Rally & Swap Meet for Machinery Preservation buffs. The next one is coming up at the end of July and they usually get about 5000 people visiting. When the National Rally was held here they had around 10,000 visitors! Click on the link above to find out more about it and the program of events at the rally, such as the vintage tractor pull and the tractor balancing competition.

The camp ground is pretty basic but with good ensuite style showers and toilets, potable water and that wonderful luxury (for me) of plugging into power.

Info CentreNow here’s a bit of trivia for you! The silo shaped building that houses the Information Centre was originally displayed at Expo 88 in Brisbane and used to showcase Australia’s rich primary industries. Today it also has a coffee shop, souvenirs and a gift shop with some colourful ceramic tiles – thank goodness they won’t fit in Brutus!

 

I have a saying that I’m never lost, I’ve just taken a different route. I was fortunate this one took me to Biloela and the Queensland Heritage Park.

 

 


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The Unique Egg

What an amazing find this is! Tucked into his son’s sportsgood store in outback St George in Queensland is the most incredible display of carved emu eggs. When I left the Nindigully Pub I travelled about 50 kms north west to St George to find out what all the buzz was about these eggs…. I wasn’t disappointed!

The Outback, an R.M. Williams magazine, tells it exactly how it is upon arrival.

Story By Kerryn Suttor

“I’m going to tell you somethin’ that nobody else in the world knows,” Stavros Margaritis says with a conviction that makes you listen. “It will cost you three dollars … and if you’re not happy, well … then I give you back six,” he says, eyes twinkling.
Steve (Stavros) Margaritis is St George’s own ‘unique man’, an emu-egg carver who has an extraordinary collection of more than 150 hand-carved emu eggs tucked away at the back of his guns and ammunition shop, The Balonne Sports Store, in the main street in St George in south-western Queensland.

IMG_7654Unique Egg Gallery, St GeorgeSteve, the emu egg carver, welcomes you to his display which is like a potted history of Australian and world events over the last 60 years. A short video fills you in on Steve’s life and decision to come to Australia from his native Greece. Can you buy his eggs? No! This is not a ‘come on’ to part with your dollars, for how could you put a price on the hours of work that goes into each of his creations.

The video explains the many layers of an emu egg and how, as you carve through each layer you reveal different colours. Steve has one on display to demonstrate this.

IMG_7669Unique Egg Gallery, St George

Imagine the perseverance and imagination to create these works of art that are lit internally with LED lights and positioned in a mirrored box so all facets can be seen.

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This place hadn’t even been on my bucket list until the day before I arrived here! What better reason could there be to visit St George in outback Queensland?


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The Nindigully Pub

On my way back to Queensland a few weeks ago I turned left instead of right when I left Moree and visited the Nindigully Pub, a well known stopover for travellers. It offers free camping in the grounds or down along the river with a donation tin on the bar for charity.

Nindigully map

The pub is 160 kilometres west of Goondiwindi, 45 kilometres east of St George and approximately 70 kilometres north of the Queensland/New South Wales border. It is situated on the banks of the Moonie River.

IMG_7625Nindigully Pub

It looks like many other outback pubs in Australia but has a fantastic atmosphere, friendly staff and is “must do” destination for travellers like myself.

 

Not long after I arrived I met a couple of other solo travellers from a group I belong to called Rolling Solos. Bev and Judy gave me the lay of the land and mentioned they were being visited by another Roller, Ruth, the next day. Well, I had to stay on for another night to catch up with Ruth, who I had met when I stayed at Ariah Park a few weeks earlier!  We were off to the pub for lunch!

Nindigully Pub

Bev, Ruth and Judy in the beer garden.

The Nindigully Pub is well known for a good meal and we all enjoyed our lunch. I had a burger but NOT the one they are famous for! It’s called the Road Hog, costs $60 and feeds about 6 hungry people. The little one was still too much for me!

 

There was a nice walk along the banks of the Moonie River and this very dilapidated bridge that tempted a couple of fishermen when I was there – I took notice of the Warning Sign though and stayed well clear!

There was a heck of a racket going on one day – I thought someone was letting off fireworks. It turned out to be an army exercise and soldiers wandered past our vans looking for snipers….. not too many of them to be found among the grey nomads!

Well, that’s another experience ticked off the bucket list! Funny how it never gets shorter though …. I meet someone else who tells me of another place to see so more goes on the list than comes off it. Bev and Judy told me about an emu egg carver in St George so I’m going to detour yet again!


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Tassie Solos Rally 2017

This rally is the main reason I have been so slack doing my blog since ….  forever! (October last year, actually). I was the Rally Manager and all my energies and efforts were channeled towards creating a fantastic experience for our CMCA Solos Network members when we met in Campbell Town, Tasmania from 28th February to 6th March this year.

For those of you who follow my blog I’d like to explain that our Solos group are motorhomers that travel by themselves – it is not a singles club in that most of us are quite happy travelling solo and not looking for a partner. It provides a safe group of travellers that we can link up with as we journey around our beautiful country.

IMG_7341CT Rally 2017 web

Thanks to George Gatenby, Show Society member, who took this photo with his drone

It was a wonderful experience for me and I loved every minute of the planning, preparation, putting together a week long program and then seeing it come to fruition with the help of my Rally Team, some of the local residents and businesses and of course my sister, Marion who lives nearby.

We had 205 motorhomes of all shapes and sizes in attendance and about 225 people (some couples joined us as they’d heard how much fun we have at our rallies!)

The Campbell Town Showground was a great venue with big buildings and plenty of room for us all to park. It was ‘rustic’ – our main building was a 75 metre long sheep pavilion – and the smell of the sheep never really left it even with all the doors open. Here’s how I first saw it when I arrived in Tasmania in June 2016 and the Campbell Town Show was on.

Not long before our rally started the Show Society held a working bee, so this is what the pavilion looked like without the sheep!

And then we filled it up with happy Solos ready to party!

IMG_7346CT Rally 2017 web

The theme of the rally was Life is Magic so we had witches and wizards, fairies and fortune tellers dressed up for our night of Magic and Mystery.

A spit roast dinner was provided and the night kicked off with our very own witches dance that our members had learned and practised with our member/instructor Karin Kirk.

This was just one of the many things on our program. Here’s an overview of what we got up to during the week…. Programxls – At a Glance

One afternoon we had an Op Shop Fashion Parade where members unwanted clothes plus those from the local Op Shop were ‘modelled’ by some of our group. What a funny day! So much laughter even the townspeople were talking about it!

Our Skit Night showcased our talented members – or those who thought they were talented – and it was another night of laughter and friendship. Here’s our Line Dancers and our First Timers performing.

Before the main crowd arrived on the Monday we had a special dinner to thank our Volunteers and welcome our First Timers. You can’t keep a Solo seated for long when there’s dance music playing.

The local Solos Chapter, The Tassie Shearwaters, organised a great Fun Day for us.  Some of the activities were quite challenging but I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

 

Info Elaine

 

There’s a huge age range among our members and 2 of them celebrated their 80th birthdays at Campbell Town – Nev, our chief bus driver and Miss Information (or was that misinformation?), Elaine. We even found a special booth for her.

 

The local towns people were delighted with the boost to their businesses while we were in Campbell Town. Our mini bus ferried us back and forth daily to the supermarket and coffee shops and we totalled up our shopper dockets at the end of the rally and we had spent over $65,000 in town during the rally. This is a huge amount for the economy of a small town of only 700 people.

 

You can see it was full on and wouldn’t have been at all possible without our hard working volunteers and everyone who came along to have a good time. You made it happen!

Acknowledgements: Thank you to the many members who posted some of these photos on our Facebook page and I have ‘borrowed’ them to illustrate this blog. Contributors include Rosanna Grifone, Jenny McLelland, Fay Byrnes and Shannon Lightfoot.

 

Murals in Sheffield, Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Sheffield

I have been to Sheffield, the town of murals, before but this time I was enticed to go by the Medieval Festival being held there.

sheffield-map

I wandered my way there via Latrobe, where the Axeman’s Hall of Fame is…

img_7078latrobe

…. and Railton, town of topiary ….

This part of Tasmania had suffered severe damage from floods a few weeks ago, the roads were still very chopped up and there were piles of debris along the banks of the Mersey River. The Latrobe Caravan Park had been evacuated and was undergoing repair, and now  I hear on the news tonight that the latest downpour has damaged it once again.

The free camp in Sheffield is at the Recreation Ground and the Medieval Festival was happening right next door so I was looking forward to a great weekend……until it rained!  It was just too wet to enjoy the festival, dodging the showers and trudging through the mud, so I only spent a couple of hours there and decided not to stay another night in the hope the weather would improve.

Many of those who attended got into the mood with period costume, and I couldn’t help thinking, as they dragged the hems of their gowns through the mud, that it was probably exactly like that in Medieval England, without the benefit of washing machines!

The market stalls sold all things Medieval … anyone need a new visor? battleaxe?

And then I was off to find my knight in shining armour – except the mud took the shine off most things, including the jousting knights.

When the Medieval Festival isn’t happening in Sheffield, the town is famous for it’s murals that adorn the walls of the buildings and also panels in a ‘mural’park behind the Information Centre. Some of these are so realistic you feel you could step right into them.

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Happy Campers:
As I mentioned before there is a free camp at the Recreation Ground for fully self-contained vehicles. No grey water to be let onto the ground. It is beside the leash free area for your fur babies. It is a little way from the centre of town – too far to walk in the rain when I was there.

I can’t leave Sheffield without sharing the fabulous sign at the front of the Info Centre – and yes, the arrows are pointing to real places nearby.

sheffield

 

 

 

Meander River, Deloraine Tas


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Delightful Deloraine

I loved Deloraine the last time I visited in 2014 and this time around I think I love it even more.

deloraine-map

It has a real arty vibe to it with Galleries, Art Shops,  Coffee Shops and Op Shops lining the steep main road that curls around bends on its way uphill from the Meander River as you approach from the East.

Cross the river, cross the railway line and wend your way through the town. So many quirky little shops invite you to explore …..

Here’s one of my favourites. It’s called Elf on the Shelf. I’m pretty sure I know how to speak Zombie – give me a couple of drinks and I can demonstrate it for you, but if you want to study it yourself you can buy the book here.

The Information Centre is at the top of the hill and it’s a MUST SEE visit if you are in Deloraine. In the forecourt is the statue of a famous race horse, Malua, who won Adelaide Cup (1884),Newmarket Handicap (1884), Melbourne Stakes (1884) Oakleigh Plate (1884), Melbourne Cup (1884), Australian Cup (1886) and then went on to win the Grand National Hurdle (1889). What a champion!

But it’s when you step inside that you will discover the amazing Art in Silk exhibition, with a movie that tells you how it was developed as a community initiative and the stunning panels they created. It truly is spectacular. It does cost to view it but it is something you won’t want to miss! These photos were taken when I last visited. It’s a wonder they are not worn out I have shown them to so many people 🙂

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Drive around the back streets and you’ll discover lovely old homes like The Manse, with outstanding views over the surrounding countryside.

Happy Campers: There is a Free Camp for self contained vehicles as you travel into Deloraine from the East. Turn right at the Police Station and follow the road around. The camp is well signed. It’s only a short walk into town.

Deloraine is a short detour off the Bass Highway that links Devonport to Launceston. It’s about 55 kms from Devonport and only 50 kms to Launceston. If you are looking for somewhere to stop when you get off the ferry (or you’re on the way there) this little town is well worth a visit!

 

Legerwood Tasmania


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A Tourist in Tasmania – Legerwood

On the way from Scottsdale to St Helens you pass the turn off to Legerwood. Don’t drive past, turn off the main road and visit this little town famous for it’s carved tree sculptures with a very special story.

At the end of World War 1,  nine trees were planted in memory of the seven local soldiers that were killed in the war plus one tree for Gallipoli and one for the Anzacs.

By 2001 the trees were declared a safety hazard, but the local community looked for ways to retain their memorial and Eddie Freeman, the chainsaw artist was enlisted to bring the soldiers back to life in sculpture. With much research and photos, the fallen soldiers have been re-created and each tree tells their story, and of those left behind.

I found the following information about these local heroes on the North East Tasmania Tourism site…..

Private Alan Robert Andrews

 

 

Private Alan Robert Andrews – died in France on July 25th, 1916 aged 19 years: Alan Andrews was the first soldier born and raised in the area to give his life.  A farmhand on his family’s farm, Private Andrews is depicted with his dog, hat in hand, seemingly waving goodbye to his loved ones.

 

 

 

Legerwood TasmaniaPrivate Thomas Edward Edwards – died on February 19th, 1918 and was buried in Belgium: At the highest point of what remains of a giant American Sequoia, Thomas Edwards stands with his wife in their final embrace before he sets off to war.  Surrounding them are the harrowing scenes of battle mixed with the joy of family welcoming home returned servicemen.
On one limb sits a man with bandaged eyes, suffering from the effects of mustard gas while next to him lies a soldier with a mirror box looking out over the trenches.
Further around the tree a little boy waves farewell as a smiling daughter sits on her grandfather’s shoulders, welcoming her father home.

 

 

 

Legerwood Tasmania

 

 

Private William Henry Hyde – died aged 27 years. In France on July 7th, 1916: Shouldering his lumber, sawmill hand William Hyde stands next to a saw blade representing an industry that was – and still is – part of the life-blood of the community.

 

 

 

 

Private Robert James Jenkins – aged 28 years and  killed near Flers (Somme) July 1st, 1917: The story of Robert “Bobby” Jenkins is perhaps the most poignant of the seven men. Private Jenkins migrated to Ringarooma from England at the start of the 20th century and made his living touring local halls as a tenor.  It was in his new found home that he met young Amy (Trippy) Forsyth, and the two were engaged shortly before he went to war.
Private Jenkins fell at the Somme in 1917 and a heartbroken Trippy never married.  She kept a photo of Private Jenkins, together with his engagement ring, beside her bed until she died at the age of 76.  The photo was used to carve his likeness in the tree, looking across at his fiancé on an opposite limb.

 

Private George Peddle – aged 25 years and killed at Passchendaele on October 13th, 1917: Private Peddle was the son of George Peddle Snr, famous for his wooden chairs which have now become sought after collectables. Before he enlisted Private Peddle was the Manager of his father’s sawmill, a bushman and a bullock driver.

 

Legerwood Tasmania

 

Private John Henry Gregg McDougall – aged 19 years. Died at Passchendaele on October 13th, 1917: Private McDougall was a porter at the Railway Station, which once stood directly behind the memorial reserve.  His statue now stands holding signal flags directing traffic through the town.

 

It is ironic that Privates McDougall and Peddle both fell on the same day in the same battle at Passchendaele; this would have been very little comfort for their families in such a tight-knit town.

I challenge you to visit this amazing memorial and not get a tear in your eye. It is a truly remarkable tribute by a community to their heroes of the past, particularly as they salvaged the original memorial in such a unique way.