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Robe, Mount Gambier Then Back To Adelaide.

Robe, South Australia

We had hitched up the caravan the day before we left Victor Harbor in preparation for an early start. I had spent hours washing and leathering the wretched thing, so of course it rained much of the way to Robe. The 340 kilometre trip was uneventful, the only part worthy of note being a ferry crossing over the Murray River. It was an extremely efficient ferry with only a five minute wait before boarding; a few short minutes later we were driving off again on the opposite bank. The ferry runs twenty four hours a day and it's free. Yes, free.

Had Mrs Bucket been true to her television counterpart, she would have insisted on phoning the Bureau of Meteorology for a shipping forecast before boarding.

Inn

On arrival at Robe we set up camp as usual and checked out the park's facilities. No soap was supplied in the ablution blocks and the toilet paper was so thin you could read a page of text through three layers of it; every visit to the loo became an exercise in origami! Do they really save anything with this penny-pinching meanness? Other than those minor irritations, the park was fine and we then went off to explore the town. One of the first things that caught our eye was the Caledonian Inn, ...

... a quaint (and rather blurred)
hostelry with ivy covered walls.

We just had to stop and investigate further. The interior of the Inn was certainly not a disappointment; low ceilings, dark wooden beams, subdued lighting and ... an aur.

We bought our 'customary' and had a look around as we savoured both the wine and the atmosphere. This place was different ... there was something about it. The Inn was built in 1859 and has many early historic associations. Some of the Inn's timbers and doors came from the wrecks of two Dutch ships, the Koning Willem De Tweede and the Phaeton. Those doors, to this very day, still hang in the attics and upstairs rooms. Both ships had been wrecked in 1857 just off the coast of Port Robe (as it was then known). The demise of the Koning Willem had resulted in heavy loss of life. But there was a further maritime connection; four years later a ball was held at the Caledonian Inn for the men of the ships Alma and Livingstone, both of which were at Port Robe to load wool. That night a terrible storm blew up and drove both ships ashore, the Alma breaking up completely and the Livingstone practically a total loss.

We didn't know any of this history when we walked through the door, yet we immediately sensed 'something'. Was the Inn haunted? Yes, said Jo, the barmaid. The ghost has been seen by few but sensed by many. She - for all agree it is a woman - is thought to be the spectre of Elspeth McQueen who was probably the wife of Peter McQueen, the builder of the Inn. Elspeth held the licence between 1869 and 1881.

Or could the ghost be that of Maggie Park? Maggie, a housemaid at the Caledonian Inn in those times, nursed renowned bush poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon, who recuperated at the Inn after a bad fall from his horse. Adam and Maggie later married and had a daughter, Annie. Perhaps the soul of Maggie Park lingers on in a place where she found brief happiness, for tragedy quickly followed. Adam suffered from deep depression, baby Annie died before her first birthday, Adam's English inheritance dried up and he began to lose his sight. In 1870, at the age of thirty seven and after only eight years of marriage, Adam Lindsay Gordon shot himself.

The present licensee, however, believes the ghost is that of Elspeth. He told us that she appears in the vicinity of table eight in the restaurant, particularly after there has been a dramatic change affecting the Inn.

That afternoon I walked through to the deserted restaurant and stood by table eight. Silently I called to Elspeth in my mind. I'd love to be able to tell you that she appeared to me, or that something else inexplicable occurred, but . . . nothing did. However, I experienced a most unsettling tingle up and down my spine. It must have been the chill in the room.

Table 8

Table Eight is over by the window.

We had already booked a table in one of the restaurant's booths for the following Saturday evening to celebrate a special anniversary. We asked the licensee if we could change to table eight and he reserved it for us.

In the meanwhile we continued exploring Robe and its environs. The little town is situated on the shores of Guichen Bay which was discovered by the French explorer, Captain Nicholas Baudin. He named the bay Ance des Albatross (Cove of the Albatrosses) but the French government, in their usual tactful way, saw fit to change it to Guichen Bay after their Admiral de Guichen who fought the English in the 1780s and 1790s. Hands up all those in favour of changing it again from Guichen Bay (which nobody can pronounce anyway) to 'Nelson Bay' to remind our French friends of an admiral who gave them a sound thrashing?

Harbour

The Boat Haven at Robe with Guichen Bay beyond.

When Nicholas Baudin discovered the bay in 1802 he was travelling clockwise around the continent. He had yet to bump into Matthew Flinders who was coming the other way.

Some time after their meeting, when Matt Flinders arrived at the bay, he respected the name given to it by Captain Baudin. That surely indicates the high regard in which he held the French explorer - you know what our Matt was like for dishing out names! He even christened a small island in the bay Baudin Rock. Sadly it is improbable that Captain Baudin ever learned of this gesture. He died of tuberculosis in 1803, the year after his historical meeting with Matthew Flinders.

Anyway, enough of Matt for now. Back to our ghost story. When Saturday evening came around we duly presented ourselves at the Caledonian Inn and sat at table eight, not sure what to expect. The meal was fine. There was no ethereal apparition, no sudden chill in the air, no eerie wailing sounds, the lights didn't flicker and nothing brushed against us in the gloom. However, a closed door behind Pam's chair kept rattling for no apparent reason. What was behind that door? Perhaps a dark passage leading to a flight of stone steps down into a dark, dank cellar. Or possibly a dusty staircase leading up to a deserted attic full of cobwebs. Brave Pam finally opened the door a crack and peered through - into a brightly lit liquor store doing a brisk Saturday evening trade. Ah, well.

There was, however, one strange incident. Possibly it was just pure coincidence - you must decide.
Just a series of coincidences . . . or was Elspeth up to something? Either way, we all met up for dinner and drinks at the Inn again the following evening, our last evening in Robe, and had a most enjoyable time. Just the five of us.

The next morning we packed up and left Robe, travelling south to Mount Gambier.
Mount Gambier

They call the Mount Gambier region The Limestone Coast because a limestone substrate was laid down by seas which covered the area a very long time ago - even before I was born. To say that the limestone has had a considerable effect on the development of the city of Mount Gambier is an understatement. It supplies the drinking water for the city. It accepts and disposes of two hundred and forty million litres of storm water every year. It provides building materials for the city. It provides fascinating tourist attractions. In fact, the whole character of Mount Gambier is shaped by the rock on which it is built.

The city is situated on the slopes a volcano, for that is what Mount Gambier is - a volcano! An extinct one, we hoped, though it was active only 28,000 years ago which is almost yesterday in geological terms. The Blue Lake Caravan Park, where we stayed, is situated among several volcanic craters which would be enough to make anyone a teensie bit nervous. However, most of the nocturnal rumblings were traced back to Mrs B's stomach. Because the substrate is limestone, the place is riddled with sinks, caves and craters. Yes, and we parked our caravan there!

Blue Lake

The picture on the left was taken from above the Blue Lake, looking back towards the caravan park which is somewhere in the trees beyond the water. (Well, I think it is.) The lake is in a volcanic crater. The water was remarkably blue even when the sky was overcast. It is also remarkably deep (76 metres) and remarkably cold (10º Centigrade). This is the lake that supplies the city's drinking water. It contains thirty six billion litres of pure fresh water, filtered through limestone. The limestone layer replenishes whatever water is pumped out.

As winter approaches, the colour of the water will suddenly change to grey, reverting back to blue around November. This happens every year and theories to explain the cause are constantly changing. Current thinking is as follows - now pay attention:

The colour change is due to the removal of humic substances from the upper part of the lake by calcite precipitation. But I expect you'd already guessed that. When the lake warms in summer and the limestone precipitates out of the water, humic substances are chemically attracted to the calcite crystals and co-precipitate with the calcite. The calcite, with humic substances attached, falls to the floor of the lake. Well, that wasn't so difficult, was it?

The pictures below lend emphasis to the difference in the colour of Blue Lake (left) and Valley Lake (right). Both pictures we taken at about the same time on the same day under overcast skies. And, cynical reader, neither picture has been doctored by me!

Lake Comparison

I just knew you'd ask this one - I can't get anything past you, can I?

Why do two adjacent lakes, both in limestone volcano craters and both subject to the same environmental conditions, differ in colour? Why should one turn blue in summer and the other not?

That's a really good question and - I have to admit - until you asked, I didn't know the answer! Well, the explanation is twofold.
But, I still wasn't prepared to accept that pure water is blue in colour. It's colourless, isn't it, just like pure air? Come on, support me on this one. Pure water, like pure air, is colourless. Just look at the sky on a clear day ...

One day we visited the very beautiful Umpherston Garden which had been developed from one of the limestone sinks - a crater-like hole in the ground. The bottom of it used to be under water but the water table has since fallen. The garden has curtains of hanging ivy and . . . but, why describe it when I have a picture?

Sunken Garden

Actually, the photo doesn't illustrate the scale of the garden very well - the sheer size. Perhaps you can see the bench seats on the far side of the lawn - you might even see Pam sitting on one of them. They offer some perspective. Because the 'crater' is circular, a camera can only capture one segment. Below the camera's position, beneath the limestone cliffs, there is a cascading water feature and there are barbecues. Oh, and those curtains of ivy were just spectacular!

Naturally there were warning signs at the entrance to the garden. To paraphrase, If the cliff falls on your head, it's not our fault. Let me tell you, if those cliffs fell on you, you wouldn't be blaming anybody, ever! They wouldn't pick you up, or even scrape you up. They might mop you up. But, hey, look on the bright side - you wouldn't care by then, so what the hell! Gotta go sometime.

We also visited Engelbrecht Caves. Created by rainwater dissolving the limestone, this cave system runs right under the highways and houses of Mount Gambier. In the bad old days the residents used the cave's entrance hole to dispose of all their garbage. So, too, did the local butcher - can you imagine the smell? Most of the rubbish, however, came from the potato distillery of a Mr. Engelbrecht (long dead) who owned the land. That's the reason the caves carry his name.

Eventually it was realised that these caves offered an opportunity to make a buck out of tourists, so volunteers spent every weekend for six years with a big bucket and a crane, taking all the garbage - a hundred tonnes of it - out of the hole again.

Much of the cave system is under water but it has been thoroughly explored by demented maniacs in wetsuits. Tell me: Who, in their right mind, would go deep below the surface of the earth, in freezing water and total darkness, squeezing through cracks and crannies with only enough air to get back if nothing goes wrong? Well, sure, we all gotta die sometime. But not that way, not for me. Not jammed between two rocks watching the air run out as the torch battery slowly fails ... And Mrs B concurs. Absolutely.

Bones

The character in the picture on the left was a tourist. He'd had a drink too many and forgot to laugh at the tour guide's jokes. After that, Pam and I laughed very loudly whenever we thought he'd said something funny.

The following day we visited Caves Garden, another sinkhole, this time right in the centre of Mount Gambier city. It came into being when the roof of a large cavern in the limestone collapsed. How many more caverns are there under this city just waiting to collapse? You can't help wondering.

Two hundred and forty million litres of storm water from the city centre have been directed into the sinkhole shown below every year since the late 1800s. It all runs into a cave which disappears under the street in the direction of the Commonwealth Bank. Which Bank? The residents of Mount Gambier may wake up and ask that very question one fine morning. (Sorry, non-Aussies. A joke based on the Bank's advertising.)


The picture on the right doesn't do justice to the way this sinkhole has been landscaped but that wasn't the intention. It's aim was to dispel any suggestion that I exaggerated when I said 240 million litres of storm water per year disappears under the Commonwealth Bank.

Here's a thought: If these huge caverns are formed by rainwater dissolving the limestone, and that amount of rainwater has been pouring through the limestone under the bank for over a century ... Well, would you want to work there?

Silting problems in the cave necessitated the installation of a large filter which, since 2001, has removed around 15 tonnes of refuse from the storm water every year before it enters the cave. (These statistics were taken from a plaque at the park entrance.) The limestone is extremely porous and capable of absorbing vast quantities of water which slowly migrates to the Southern Ocean at a speed of about one kilometre every hundred years.

One day we went on a tour of the Blue Lake pumping station which involved descending down a well shaft in a glass-panelled lift, then walking through a tunnel in the rock. The guide was very knowledgeable and had a great deal to impart to us in the forty five minutes that the tour lasted. Absorbing it was difficult enough but half of our group consisted of a family of foreign extraction. They saw fit to bring their baby. Their baby saw fit to scream the whole time. Descending in the little lift, packed in like sardines, we particularly enjoyed the little fellow's rendition. Our tour guide continued his commentary, apparently unphased - we could tell he was still talking, his mouth was moving. The acoustics in the tunnel were particularly suited to a baby's bellowing. It was a very interesting tour. I'm sure it was.

After we left the pumping station we went for a drive to a coastal town called Port MacDonnell. Curiously, there seems to be some confusion - amongst sign writers, at least - as to whether 'MacDonnell' is one word or two. We saw it written both ways and, best of all, one sign writer left a half space after the 'c' so he could claim it was correct either way. On the drive to Port MacDonnell we diverted to climb another volcano, Mount Schank.

Mount Schank

The rim of Mount Schank's crater gave spectacular 360º views over the surrounding plain and to the ocean.

There were ten million steps up to the rim of Mount Schank, some of them quite deep. Mrs B only has short legs and though she sometimes struggled, no way would she give up. Until we reached the top, that is, where the wind blew hard and cold, and the rock fell away steeply on either side.

You walk round it, I'll wait here for you, she said, settling comfortably on a bench.

I looked round the circumference of the rim, felt the bite in the wind and decided it would not be chivalrous to abandon her just for my own gratification. So we set off down again.

I can sense you asking who named Mounts Gambier and Schank. Well, you're wrong, it wasn't Matthew Flinders or Nicholas Baudin. It was, in fact, Lieutenant James Grant, captain of the brig H.M.S. Lady Nelson on 3rd December, 1800. He initially thought they were two islands as he could only see the tops from his position at se. As he got closer he realised they were mountains on the Australian mainland. He got to name them because he scraped in two years ahead of Flinders and Baudin. Captain Jim originally christened the volcano Gambier's Mountain after Lord Gambier, R.N. There seems to have been a fair amount of sucking up done by these explorers in the naming of places, doesn't there? Good career move, perhaps.

A full size replica of the brig was built in 1985 under a Commonwealth Employment Program. (Is that public service jargon for 'Work for the Dole'?) Anyway, they seem to have made a fair job of it. At night it's lit up in it's prominent position outside the Lady Nelson Visitor and Discovery Centre. I took a stab at a night picture with my faithful Fujifilm FinePix that won't focus in the dark. This time I used a tripod after the blurred mess I made of the Caledonian Inn at the top of this page. What do you think, a bit better? Even the moon came to the party.

Lady Nelson

The full size replica of H.M.S. Lady Nelson

Isn't it tiny for a ship that sailed across the world on a discovery voyage? Apparently it had a three-piece retractable keel that could be lowered for additional stability in rough seas, or raised to enable the Lady Nelson to enter shallow water.

But, as usual, I've digressed. We were on our way to Port MacDonnell and had stopped off to climb a volcano. Well, when we'd climbed it we had lunch before setting off again. (Knew you'd want to know that.) Port MacDonnell was like a hundred other coastal villages we've seen. A beautiful coastline and nice beaches but little else to stir the imagination . . . except Dingley Dell.

Previously I've mentioned the poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon, in connection with his wife, Maggie, who had been a housemaid at the Caledonian Inn at Robe. Adam seems to have been a most remarkable man and is well remembered in this part of the world, though he was neither born nor died here. He was born in the Azores on 19th of October in 1833. However, when he arrived in South Australia at the age of twenty it was from England. For two years he served in the Mounted Police Force in Mount Gambier but resigned to concentrate on his poetry, with which I have to admit I am not familiar. It must be good though, it earned him a place in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, London.

Adam loved horses and was as renowned for his skill as a horseman as for his poetry. Not only did he break horses, he raced them too. Legend has it that one night in 1864 he leapt his horse over the parapet above the Blue Lake, landing on a narrow ledge. His friends thought he was gone forever, the drop to the water far below being very steep. However, Adam turned his horse on the ledge and jumped back again. The spot is known as Gordon's Leap and there is a monument to him erected there. I doubt, however, that Maggie Park, to whom he had then been married for two years, was overly impressed. Can you imagine the scene when he arrived home? Maggie, hands on hips:

Just what did you think you were doing? That's the last time you go out with those so-called friends of yours! Drinking, were you? Come here and let me smell your breath. I thought as much! What was the point in me nursing you back to health at the Caledonian? If I'd known you were going to carry on like this I wouldn't have bothered. You're a married man, Adam. When are you going to start acting like one?

And on and on and on. As they do.

Dingley Dell

In 1865 Adam was elected to State Parliament but he resigned the following year. In 1867 a daughter, Annie, was born to the couple. Unfortunately baby Annie only lived for ten months. By 1870 Adam's inheritance from England had dried up and his eyesight was failing. Frequently misunderstood and a victim of severe depression, Adam shot himself. He was thirty seven.

But what has all this to do with Dingley Dell at Port MacDonnell? It was the name of a house in which Adam and Maggie lived for three years.

Dingley Dell, for three years the home of Adam Lindsay Gordon and Maggie Park.

We weren't able to see inside the house which was closed contrary to the hours advertised on the sign outside. Still, that $12 is better in our pockets than theirs.

One Saturday evening we decided to go to the Borderline Speedway. Several things remained in my mind from that evening: The cost of admission, the numbing cold and the number of horrendously fast crashes where cars somersaulted, rolled and/or became horribly tangled after an impact. Miraculously every driver walked away.

Before leaving Mount Gambier we visited Nelson, a small village on the Glenelg River estuary, just over the state border in Victori. It rained.

On the way back we called at a sink known as Hell Hole. Pam has given a lengthy account of what we saw in her journal for 27th March. Briefly, Hell Hole is a circular 'crater' with perpendicular sides and a viewing platform constructed at the top so people can peer down into the black water a hundred feet below.

On this occasion some unfit divers had lowered themselves down into the water but later lacked the strength to climb back up the rope. Fortunately they were accompanied by an experienced and well-equipped guide. He rigged a pulley on the end of the viewing platform and passed one end of a long rope down to the men in the water. His aim was to attach the other end of the rope to a car which would then pull each man up. However, the area was dense bush and there was no track leading directly away from the viewing platform to enable a straight pull, so a second pulley was attached to a parked car. With the rope changing direction by 90º around the second pulley, it was possible, with a lot of shouted instructions, for a car on the track to pull the men up.

Hell Hole

Left: Hell Hole from the viewing platform, looking 100' down into the black water. 
Right: The guide drags the last man back from the edge.


So, goodbye to Mount Gambier, a small but busy city in very pretty surroundings. We loved it.
From Mount Gambier Back To Adelaide

Our next three days were spent travelling back to Adelaide via an inland route. We decided to try and save a bit of money by staying away from caravan parks, so each night we hid away where, we hoped, 'authority' wouldn't bother us. The first night we parked up on the wide verge of a little back road behind a vineyard. It was very peaceful until a convoy of tractors, trucks and grape picking thingies roared, rattled and clattered past at the end of the shift. After that it settled down. The next morning we moved on to Tailem Bend, built on a bend in the mighty Murray River. It seems that Tailem is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning . . . 'bend'. So, what's a bit of redundancy?

Train

Three roaring diesel locos haul containers north. The lead loco is about to hit the points. Our caravan was next to the trees on the left.

It was getting late when we arrived and we thought Tailem Bend a nice enough little place so we camped alongside the railway track. So many railway tracks are all but disused these days. This one was not!

At intervals throughout the night we were woken as the warning gong at a nearby level crossing heralded the approach of a freight train. And not just any freight train - these trains were hauled by two, three or - in one case - four diesel locomotives. They were about a kilometre and a half long (roughly a mile). The railway was single track until it reached some points near our caravan where a loop had been built so trains travelling in opposite directions could pass. Consequently, no sooner had one monster cleared the points than another came through the other way. Could anyone ask for more?

Mrs Bucket was less than impressed, especially when I jumped up and opened the curtains each time the crossing gong clanged during the night. 'Spose you just can't please everybody.

Murray at Tailem

We strolled down to the Muddy - sorry, Murray - River the next morning. Oops, Freudian slip! There was a car ferry operating and we watched it until our caffeine dependency drew us back into the centre of town.

We were just finishing our coffee when a contingent of West Australian police walked in. Not your average middle-aged traffic cops with bellies hanging over their belts and chips on their shoulders. Far from it! These were lean, fit young blokes, very smart in blue overalls with peaked caps, and friendly too. Turned out they were Water Police on training with the South Australian force. They were due to descend into Hell Hole at Mount Gambier the following day . . . poor devils. (Pun not intended.)

The Murray River at Tailem Bend.

Later that day we moved from Tailem Bend, further up the river to Murray Bridge where we had lunch on the river bank and watched the boats. Tiring of that we called at the Information Centre to see what was of interest in Murray Bridge. However, since our mobility was somewhat restricted by having a large caravan hanging off the back of the car every time we moved, we eventually decided to give the sight-seeing a miss. Caravan parks were starting to seem more attractive!

We moved on from Murray Bridge to the bustling, vibrant town of Mount Barker where we arrived in the late afternoon. Almost immediately we found a large, empty parking area next to a leafy park. The parking area was actually reserved for buses but we decided we took priority and stopped there for a relatively quiet night. By now dear old Mrs B. had had enough of this gypsy lifestyle and was yearning for a civilised caravan park with mains electricity, nice showers and neighbours. And, quite honestly, so was I. So we set off for Adelaide, crossing the metro area with the morning rush hour traffic.
Adelaide Again

We were soon ensconced at the Adelaide Shores Caravan Resort, the nicest caravan park we'd seen so far, and certainly the biggest. Situated on the coast, just to the west of the city, the beach was a short walk through the dunes. The park's roads were bitumen with concrete kerbs and each caravan sat on a concrete pad surrounded by grass and trees. There were free electric barbecues, a games room with a computer for emails, two swimming pools, a shop and a restaurant. Everything your heart could desire, except ... peace and quiet.

The place was swarming with ankle-biters and our 'van was parked close to the two swimming pools and a playground. Why weren't the little brats in school? This begs the question: Are kids really necessary? Their screaming and yelling was only drowned (wonder why the word 'drowned' sprang to mind?) by the frequent big jets arriving or departing nearby Adelaide Airport. But in the wee small hours of the morning the brats were all asleep and a curfew was imposed on aircraft movements at the airport. Just a perfect time for the aircraft maintenance crews to run prolonged engine tests!

The reason we had to be back in Adelaide was for the Hahndorf Doll and Teddy Bear Show. Yes, I know, I spoil the woman. I just hope she appreciates it. Oh, and there just happened to be a couple of aviation shows the same week. Coincidence, really.

Dolls

Just a few of the million dolls at the Hahndorf Doll and Teddy Bear Show.
See that odd one, centre top? Quite life-like!

The next evening the Adelaide Aviation Museum held an engine run-up at their Port Adelaide premises. Mrs B was so excited! There were eight or nine old aircraft engines on stands and all but one actually started. The best would have had to be the twelve cylinder Merlin but personally I found the rotary engine absolutely fascinating.

Used around the time of the first world war, the crankshaft of a rotary engine remained stationary and the whole of the rest of the engine, with propeller attached, spun round! It was one rather drastic solution to providing the cylinders with sufficient cooling air. It tended, however, to make the rest of the aircraft roll very enthusiastically in the opposite direction.

The engines illustrated below are conventional radial engines except for the one silhouetted against the smoke in the right hand picture; that's a rotary. The pilots of rotary-engined aircraft had no throttle to control the engine power, they had to switch the ignition off and on! It's true, I swear it. I reckon the designer was a practical joker but nobody realised until it was too late.

Engines

           Will it start?                                             Hell, it did!                                      One smoked. And how!

Actually, Pam didn't go to the engine run-up. We met up with friends Lyndon and Ann again and the 'girls' went off to do their own thing which, it transpired, had a lot to do with drinking red wine. We all met up later for a dinner at a hotel.

The Adelaide Shores Caravan Resort is just a stone's throw from the trendy beach-front suburb of Glenelg. A tram service runs from the Adelaide city centre to Glenelg (spelt backwards, Glenelg). If you want your teeth loosening, ride the tram!

We visited Glenelg several times and discovered a great internet café of which we made good use to catch up with our emails and to update this web site. Jetty Road, the main shopping street, terminates at the beach. At that end of the road almost every establishment is a café or restaurant.

Tram

There are some lovely old buildings in the area, as the picture (right) shows. At the weekend you can hardly move along the footpaths for al fresco diners, street performers and multitudes of people.

On our final Sunday in Adelaide, at Mrs B's insistence, we visited another aviation show. We met up with Lyndon and Ann again to attend a fly-in at the Jet Fighter Museum at Parafield Airport. It was not an air display per se and the weather did its best to spoil the day. However, there was plenty to see with a number of old aircraft, both parked for inspection and in the air. The North American T-28 Trojan that we'd seen at Goolwa was there. It sustained some very expensive damage to the leading edge of its right wing when it collided with a hawk on final approach. The hawk was said to be pretty upset too. The star of the show was another ‘war bird’, a North American Mustang, which flew often and made several low, fast passes over the crowd. Great sound! Rumour has it that a joy flight in the Mustang would set you back $1,600. Not this boy!

Needless to say, Mrs B. didn't last the course. She and Ann disappeared early in the piece and had made substantial inroads into some red wine by the time we caught up with them. That woman! The evening ended with a good meal and a drop of wine in a local hostelry. But I suppose you'd already guessed that.

The time had come to depart Adelaide as autumn was well advanced and we still had the Riverland to visit before migrating north for the winter. The trouble is that there's just so much to see and do everywhere we go.

We'll continue at Blanchetown on the Murray on Page 6.

Footnote: This re-working of Page 5 was completed on 23 February 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level3.