Page 96: Even More From In And around tamworth

The First Fleet Memorial at Wallabadah with some of the many headstones and the shade sails designed
to resemble a sailing ship. Check the shadows of the sails in the background.







Sometimes life can be s-o-o-o-o confusing.

  Lake Chaffey reservoir from the dam wall.  
  Lake Chaffey supplies Tamworth's water as well as the needs of downstream irrigators. Unusually, this dam does not have a conventional spillway to cater for overflow situations, instead it has the "Morning Glory" spillway which can be seen in the picture. It appears that the water in the lake cannot rise further but there must be a mechanism to regulate the "Morning Glory" flow as the dam height is well above present water level and has recently been raised another two metres.  
  The view from the back of the dam showing some of the water being returned to the Peel River.  
  Tamworth, situated as it is in the Peel Valley, is subject to flooding during heavy rain as water flows down from the hills on either side of the town as well as from upstream via the Peel River. Thanks to the Chaffey Dam, much of the upstream torrent can be tamed and released in a controlled manner.  
  Pam (centre) with our good friends Joanne and Gavin from Renmark in South Australia.  
  We have met so many lovely people during our time 'on the road'. Jo and Gav made a very large detour to spend a few wonderful days with us. Winery profits must have risen sharply during their stay.  
  The sad end of Dakota VH-ANK, "Lutana".  
  Okay, let's have a show of hands. How many of you were alive in 1948? Quite a few. And doubtless there'll be some whose parents and even grandparents weren't born in '48.

Well, on 2nd September 1948 (when I was six), a Douglas DC-3 Dakota of Australian National Airlines took off from Brisbane to fly a scheduled passenger service to Sydney. She was carrying ten passengers and three crew. By the time they were two hours into their three hour flight, the Dakota was about one hundred miles off course to the west. The pilot would have believed he was following the coast, but in fact he was heading for Square Peak Mountain near Quirindi in New South Wales. Square Peak tops out at 4,600 feet and was covered by cloud. Since the Dakota was below 4,600 feet, the outcome was no contest. Mountain 1 - Dakota 0. All aboard died.

Below is a photograph of one of the two propellers recovered from the site and mounted above a memorial plaque in Nundle, near Tamworth. The damage is not consistent with a plane that flew into a mountain. Two of the blades are bent forwards so unless the Dakota slewed around after impact it must have reversed into Square Peak. Okay, not funny. There are other possible explanations.
  One of two propellers from A.N.A. Dakota, VH-ANK, on display at Nundle near Tamworth.
Below: A rare photograph of VH-ANK on the ground at Brisbane.
  The history of VH-ANK might interest you - but probably won't. She was built in 1943 when World War II was still raging. She was a military Douglas C-47A-50-DL built for the U.S.A.F. She was flown to South East Asia and handed over to the R.A.A.F. as A65-17. She was later used by Guinea Airlines before being 'civilianised' as a DC-3 for Australian National Airlines in 1946. Two years later she met her end on Square Peak. Between 1945 and 1987 five other aircraft met a similar fate in the same region. The wreckage of one wasn't found for eight years. Another, a Cessna 210, crashed in 1981 and the wreckage has still not been located.  

A C-47 (military version) Dakota still in flying condition. It is one of two owned by the fabulous Historical Aircraft Restoration Society. The 'Dak' was the workhorse of the skies in the years following World War II. In total, over 16,000 were built and in 2009 a few Dakotas are flying with an extended fuselage and turboprop engines fitted. One Internet site claims a Dakota with its engines removed is being flown as a glider in Canada!

  Thanks to the web site owners for all the above information. (If I copy from one site it's called plagiarism. If I copy from several it's called research.)  
  Changing the subject entirely . . .  
  Will the driver of the next train to Tamworth please bring the grass cutter?  
  Peter and Eileen  
  On July 27th of 2008 we received an email from Eileen Walton of Sunningdale, Berkshire in England. She and her husband, Peter, had a son in Perth whom they had recently visited. While in Australia they had decided to do a round-Australia caravan trip the following year. They spent three days at Perth's Caravan and Camping Show researching caravans before settling on a 22' Nova which they ordered then and there. They then purchased a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee before flying off back to the English summer.

Eileen had been following this web site and decided to contact us for advice as, in her own words, "We are complete ‘rookies’ and would welcome any useful tips". Between then and now (September 2009) we kept in constant communication. In March of this year Eileen and Peter returned to Australia and after some of the usual trials and tribulations associated with purchasing a caravan, left Perth with their new caravan to circumnavigate the continent.

Finally came the day when they arrived in Tamworth and we met them for the first time.
  Here we are, all together at last. Left to right: Myself, my lovely wife, Eileen and Peter.  
  We've said it before and we'll say it again, we meet some truely lovely people in this lifestyle and Peter and Eileen rate amongst the best . . . and to hell with their blushes. They also have a website and if you'd like to visit it, just click here:

Peter and Eileen will be with us for a too-brief three days, far too short for us to teach them our bad habits. Perhaps it's as well, if too many people start drinking red wine the price will go up!
  Does your caravan roof leak?  
  Ours has from time to time. My amateur repairs have met with varied success. On one occasion I used the wrong sealer. Some time later I found it had hardened and subsequently cracked. A lesson learned. I am in the process of re-sealing both sides of our roof and one or two other places. Climbing on to the roof is fraught with dangers; it is possible to correct one leak but cause two more while up there. I believe I'm just about 'full bottle' in this process now and able to offer advice to anyone who cares to read it. Click here.  
  That's it for page 96, folks. You know what to do.