South Australia ~ January 2005
Saturday 1st January 2005
Tumby Bay. Quiet day all round today. Every now and then you need time out, time out from the rest of the world. And what better way is there to start a new year than taking time out? Time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going in life. In other words we both drank too much and had hangovers! Peter of course far worse than me, at least I did get up and have breakfast. Peter surfaced around lunchtime. Our next door neighbours were still chuckling at Peter’s loss of legs the night before.
Sunday 2nd January 2005
Housework day today, inside and out. Later we went out for dinner with our neighbours, Ann, Lyndon, Ryan and Alex. These four people are really nice and we got on so well with them. Today was Lyndon’s birthday hence the dinner out, to celebrate Lyndon and Peter’s birthdays. We had a really good night at the pub. The food was good and the red wine . . . . well!! We finished off the night back at the caravan where Ann produced a birthday cake for the two men. Very enjoyable time. We have arranged to meet up with them when we get to Adelaide.
Monday 3rd January 2005
Off to Port Augusta today, an early 8.50am start for us . For most of the way we had a side wind which not only rocked the van from side to side but also sand blasted us with the topsoil from the paddocks. We arrived at Port Augusta in good time and set up camp in a howling gale which was as hot as hell. After a quick tour of the town we retreated to the van to bask in the luxury of the air-conditioner.
We soon realised we had some of ‘Dot’s natives’ staying here. They do not seem to be much trouble, the police have already visited them. There is a sign in the laundry advising us when travelling around Australia not to leave the caravan door unlocked even whilst visiting the shower block, plus other good advice. We haven’t seen a notice like this in any other of the caravan parks we have stayed in. The worse thing about staying here is we cannot receive ABC television. Now how am I going to know what happens to Rose and Maloney and Cracker?? I guess I will survive and do a lot more knitting.
Tuesday 4th January 2005
The police came again this morning. After that we did not see any more natives. I baled up the cleaning lady and asked discreetly why the police were appearing at certain intervals.
Oh, the Aborigine children were making a lot of noise in the pool so the police were called. Yeah, right.
We went into the town centre today and had a walk around looking at the heritage buildings, parks, etc. The natives were hanging around in little groups and it is so true what Bill Bryson writes in his book, Down Under. The whites totally ignore the blacks and vice versa. It's as though the other does not exist.
We visited the usual places, the tourist centre which was as useful as a chocolate fire guard, the library where the young lady was very helpful, and the coffee shop. We used the library’s internet facilities and managed to download our recent emails and reply to a couple, but as we only had half an hour it was rushed. We then headed off into the Flinders Ranges as far as a town called Quorn. The scenery, which was absolutely beautiful, reminded us of Wales with the roads winding through the ranges. We intend to go further next trip.
Back to base and dinner. The weather is suitable for cooking and eating outside which enables us to chat to our neighbours and watch the bird life as well. We are finding it fascinating, finding all these different types of birds. One thing we often find is that we see a bird, look it up in the book, only to discover we have the same variety in W.A. But we have to travel across the Nullarbor to see them!
Wednesday 5th January 2005
Blood test today, no problems yet again. Whenever I go for blood test the nurses ask me where are we going, where have been, etc. Today’s nurse ask my opinion, as a tourist, of whether a business of cooking kangaroo tails on her property would appeal to ‘us tourists’. She couldn’t have asked a person less enthusiastic about it than me. My advice, being an experienced tourist, was to aim at the overseas market. What puzzled Peter and I was what she was going to do with the rest of the 'roo.
We then went off to the computer place where a nice young man let us use his internet connection for no charge at all. He is trying to get his business of computer repairs and an internet centre up and running. If he keeps giving away free use he will never make a million!
Shopping was next on the agenda as we needed a fuel voucher to fill up with diesel.
On our way into Woolworth’s, two native women started fighting, everyone stopped and watched. We thought the funniest part was when the security guard separated them and tried to chase one of them away. He was so overweight he could hardly walk.
Thursday 6th January 2005
We travelled into the Flinders Ranges today after having a taste of it the other day. We went to Wilpena Pound which we really liked. We stopped at various places of interest on the way there. One place we stopped was a solar power station which was very interesting. Unfortunately some idiot had ripped a sheet off one of the information panels. At Wilpena Pound we asked for and received an information sheet explaining it all.
On the way out to Wilpena Pound, Peter discovered that we had left the digital camera behind. He was not best pleased - I could tell by the *?~!# words coming out of his mouth. We did have my old fashioned camera with a film in it, so we had to make do with that. We knew the photos wouldn’t be as good as they are with the digital camera but it was better than nothing. We really like the Flinders Ranges - it is more ‘our thing’ than the beaches.
Friday 7th January 2005
Went to collect the mail, do a bit of shopping and take the film into Kodak for them to put it on to a CD. The mail hadn’t arrived, the lady in the Post Office was amused that we expected our mail from Perth in a few days; it takes about a week and half to get to us. So now we have to plan a little ahead so that NP can send the mail to where we will be in two weeks time. The photos we had taken yesterday were okay and Peter has selected one or two for the web page.
Saturday 8th January 2005
We went into the Flinders Ranges again today, this time to a different area. We travelled through Wilmington on to Melrose. What a splendid little town Melrose is, and we stumbled across a gem of a coffee shop which used to be the blacksmith's. The people there were very nice and friendly and because we took such an interest in the place, which had been restored to look like the original building, they let us wander through everywhere.
After that we went to a lookout where we ate our lunch overlooking the town of Melrose. From there we travelled a little out of our way to look at a forest recommend to us by the coffee shop man. It isn’t a patch on Pemberton so it was a little disappointing and Peter didn’t moan too much about getting Billy dirty for that!
We then travelled on to the Germein Gorge. The scenery there was quite spectacular. Our last port of call was Port Germein – nothing to write home about. We then headed for the car wash. Yes, I did say car wash as Billy was very dirty, not just from today but previous days as well.
On the way home we called at the wine shop and bumped into a couple we had met in Tumby Bay. They were staying at the same caravan park as us (they actually recommend this park to us when we were in Tumby Bay). They came over early evening and had a drink with us. A very nice couple, Jo and Gavin; we hope to meet up with them again when we travel through the Riverlands where they live.
Three and a half years later: I am reworking this page. We are still very friendly with Gav and Jo and have 'caught up' with them a few times. Peter.
We had our dinner and it was getting late, so we were just thinking about going inside and getting ready for bed when our next door neighbour came over for a chat. Lovely to see him but we were tired and he stayed and stayed and stayed.
Sunday 9th January 2005
Nothing much happened today, just jobs around the caravan, shopping and getting the car ready for our next journey tomorrow. The caravan park is very quiet. Not many ‘campers’ here.
Monday 10th January 2005
Off to Port Pirie today. We had a reasonably early start for us, and as it took only about an hour and half, we arrived in plenty of time. Boy oh boy, was it hot! The official temperature was 42ºC but we reckoned by our gauge it was hotter. We set up camp and then had a look around the place, checking out one or two things, then it was back to the caravan and the air-conditioning for the rest of the night.
Tuesday 11th January 2005
Another very hot day and we had to take Billy for his service. That meant finding something to do in the town, preferably in air conditioning. After booking Billy in, the first stop was the hardware shop. Two days ago we had a disaster in the Ranson caravan - the coffee percolator started misbehaving. Anyone who knows Peter knows how much he luurrvves instant coffee. Not! Anyway, after much research e.g. pulling the percolator to pieces, the verdict was that gunge in the water over here had blocked a nozzle. So we bought a water filter for the van, because if it was doing that to the coffee percolator, what was it doing to the water heater etc? We also bought some de-scaler for the coffee percolator. Really interesting this, isn’t it?
Next we went to the internet centre and updated the web page and sent some emails. We'd found a really good book exchange shop so we exchanged our books and and had some lunch, during which we received a call to say the car was ready.
We went to collect Billy, everything fine there. Just across the road was a very good museum that used to be a railway station. The tracks used to run down the centre of the road. As usual, some very good stuff but also some rubbish. It did have an excellent section on the history of Port Pirie. Many years ago they had a tidal wave that wiped out buildings and two children lost their lives. Quite a current topic at the moment with all the news being centred around the tidal wave in Indonesia and other places.
Back to base for the ‘master of fixing things’ to fix the coffee percolator. Did I mention Peter is still as grumpy as ever? Some days the whole world is wrong except him. I always thought he was grumpy because of work, then because were delayed in leaving for our trip. Now - after some deliberation - I have worked out that the common denominator is ME!! Anyway, today it was the coffee percolator’s turn. Eventually he got it to work again, thank goodness.
We have heard the dreadful news that the Eyre Peninsula has massive raging fires, lives have been lost and a lot of people are without homes. We were quite shocked as we had only just been there and were familiar with the places affected by the fire.
Wednesday 12th January 2005
We got away reasonably early and headed for the Yorke Peninsula. We are staying at Port Victoria, using this as a base to explore the whole of the Peninsula. On the way there we had a couple of text messages and a phone call from friends worrying where we were. It is nice to know we have caring friends. NP already knew we had left the Eyre Peninsula.
We arrived at the caravan park in good time, set up camp and went for a short walk. There were two reasons it was only a short walk, the first being that Port Victoria is small, very small, and the second being that we had to pass the pub. Say no more.
The caravan park is fine but a little cramped; Peter did a marvellous job reversing the van into a very tight spot. The people here are again nice and friendly. We meet so many nice people to chat to.
Thursday 13th January 2005
We decided to explore the foot of the Peninsula today. (If you look at a map of the Yorke Peninsula it looks like a leg with a foot.) We enjoyed it but the small towns were all very similar. The first stop was at a town called Minlaton where they have a 1916 British monoplane that was owned by pioneer aviator, Captain Harry Butler, who amongst other great feats did the very first airmail run in Australia. We then crossed to Yorketown and the east side of the peninsula. We really liked Port Vincent, it had a bit more life in it, a lot of young people having a good time in the water and on the beach. But . . . don’t ever try to buy a cauliflower in Stansbury (or any other vegetable) because you will be sorely disappointed.
We called in at some grain silos to see if they were doing any tours - the tourist guide book said they would - but they wouldn’t. On the way back to camp I phoned the Wallaroo silo as they also do tours. We are booked in for tomorrow.
Friday 14th January 2005
We were up and away very early for us - 8.45am - as we did not want to be late for the grand tour. We arrived early which is an accomplishment on its own! Our guide, Graham, took as all around the site, inside and outside these huge silos, explaining how it all works. As Peter has put a lot of details and pictures on the website I won’t go into it further other than to say it was very interesting and more involved than I imagined.
After the tour we went into the town of Wallaroo for a coffee and a look around. The only coffee available was instant and the 'look around' took five minutes. We then set off for Moonta. Moonta is known as the Australian Cornish Town. The reason for this was that in 1860’s a lot of miners came here from Cornwall to mine the copper first discovered in 1861. We did the tourist walk around the town then stopped for lunch. Afterwards we had this strange idea that we would walk to the museum that was situated outside of town. That silly idea didn’t last long. Well, we did have to walk back to the car for our hats, and as we were at the car it seemed silly to leave it and walk. Well, what a museum! (Incidentally it was quite a way of town). This museum covered the copper mining industry extensively, the all the wars Australia has been involved in including Vietnam (you don’t often see references to Vietnam), pioneers, various lodges, water irrigation and finally death and the Cornish people. Apparently there used to be great rituals when someone died. A few things were of particular interest:
If a woman’s husband was killed in a mining accident, the owners of the mine would lend her a laundry press so she could take in washing and earn a living, at 2 pence a time – now that is some compensation, don’t you think!
The story of Elizabeth Woolcock, who murdered her cruel and abusive husband by poisoning him, appealed to me after reading her story and the account of her trial. By my reckoning she deserved a medal. Instead they hanged her. She was the only woman to have been hanged in South Australia. Some claim to fame, I'm sure she appreciated it! A couple of years ago they did a re-enactment of the trial and she was found not guilty.
The whole museum illustrated how hard life had been for these people whether they were pioneers, miners or fought in the wars. However, one of the saddest things was that so many children died of typhoid and measles. It must have been heartbreaking.
We then returned home for tea. After tea we decide it was time to revisit the pub. Well you have to, don’t you?
Saturday 15th January 2005
Last night we had looked at the map and decided to go to Ardrossan today, as the brochure told us how wonderful it is. The biggest town on the eastern seaboard of the Yorke Peninsula.
Great, I thought,
When we arrive I can deposit Peter in a hardware shop then have a wander around the shops at my leisure. I would have reclaimed him later – honestly!
Disappointment time loomed large as we drove very slowly down the main street. The usual supermarket, two pubs, a bakery . . . Yes, you get the picture, not much here at all. Anyway we did get our groceries, hardware and fuel then went for some lunch (which was very nice) then headed off home. Never mind, there is always the pub tonight!
Sunday 16th January 2005
We enjoyed a very nice meal at the pub with some really friendly people. One thing I have noticed here is that there’s no ‘native’ problem. The whites and the Aborigines stand side by side at the bar having a drink and interact with each other. It is really great to see. Everyone seems to know everyone else (black and white). Makes a big change from places like Port Augusta.
In the cool light of morning I worked out we had been overcharged for our meal so at lunchtime we returned to the ‘scene of the crime’ for a refund. A very apologetic young lady gave us a refund without any problem. I should think so, $34.50 can buy a lot of red! Apart from this little jaunt we spent the rest of the day cleaning, washing and all that sort of stuff.
Monday 17th January 2005
We set off for Clare in good time, it wasn’t too far to travel. We stopped for coffee at a place called Snowtown. We had a good laugh here. Peter has already put the details on the web page, so I won’t repeat it here. You should have seen Peter’s face though, a picture. I should have captured that on camera for the web page.
We arrived at Clare in time for lunch. Our first impression, as we drove through the town, was we liked Clare. After lunch we went into the town to have a look around and to collect our mail that has been following us about. We ended up in the pub, as you have to sit down to open the mail, don’t you?
Tuesday 18th January 2005
We went into the town again today to do some shopping, check out the email facilities and have a proper look around – no visit to the pub this time. We really like Clare, in some ways it reminds us of Margaret River. The whole town is surrounded by vineyards. In the afternoon we went for a drive to find a town called Stockport, as we used to live in Stockport in the UK.
You couldn't call it a town, it didn’t even have a pub! We met some really nice, friendly people there. One lady was from Stockport in the U.K! I wondered if she lived in Stockport, Australia by design or accident. We chased around trying to find out the history of the place without success. We headed home via a ‘picturesque town, steeped in history’ according to the brochure. There should be a hand book with these brochures, explaining what they really mean. It is a bit like the real estate industry when they describe a house - you have to read between the lines. Anyway, we saw a nice little pub so we thought we would give it a try. The locals were very unfriendly and the drinks were very expensive. So much for attracting the tourist.
Wednesday 19th January 2005
Today we went to Burra, a very nice little town. We drove through it to a mine site to have a look around. There was a museum there but it was closing ten minutes after we arrived.
“Not enough time to look around,” the lady said. She made us feel as though we were committing a crime turning up at 1:50 pm. We weren’t impressed by her attitude or the fact that a tourist attraction should close at 2:00 pm and in the school holidays too.
We headed back into town and called in at the tourist centre. What a difference here, couldn’t be more helpful. The man in charge even made a lady open up her little museum especially for us to look around - all free of charge too. A very nice and interesting lady she was, too.
Thursday 20th January 2005
We decided today that we would go back to Riverton and see if the historian could give us the run down on Stockport. After searching up and down the street, we actually found the Family History Centre by accident whilst looking for the toilet. We were so disappointed when we saw a sign on the door stating that the centre was closed until January 27th. We were not happy little vegemites.
Just as we were turning to leave, a lady came round the corner and, would you believe, it is was Rosemary the historian that ran the place. She had just come in to catch up on some work. She very kindly invited us in and asked how she could help. Well, she was a mine of information and knew a lot about Stockport without looking it up. She got books out for us to browse through and gave us photocopies from the history book.
By this time she had been joined by a fellow worker named Ron who was from Manchester but had worked in Stockport (England). Small world we thought. Before we left we were just chatting generally and I mentioned we had stayed at Port Victoria on the York Peninsula, and commented that the whites and the Aborigines got on so well. Of course, Rosemary knew the reason why. Many years ago there was a ruckus in the pub and a white man (Rosemary thinks he was the local constable) shot an Aborigine. As a result of this - after the initial uproar - the two races made peace and now get along very well.
After taking up two hours of these kind people’s time we headed off for Kapunda. Peter then decided he had this great urge to revisit Stockport, so we diverted to Stockport which wasn’t that far out of the way. After we had both taken photos we again headed for Kapunda. We arrived too late to look through the museum but we called in at the Tourist Information Centre to see what was on offer.
We met a very nice lady named Kathy who gave us heaps of information and invited us to look around in their basement, which housed placards and videos explaining the history of the region. When we alighted from the lift she was waiting to chat. It then emerged that she was married to an Englishman who went to the same primary school as Peter. Not only that, but his brother was in the same class and Peter remembered him. Now that is a small world. Sadly Richard (the brother) died in a mining accident in W.A. Kathy took our names and phone number to see if she could arrange a meeting between her husband (Bob) and ourselves.
Leaving Kathy we went to have a look around the town but decided we would save that for another day and headed off into the Sir Sidney Kidman Hotel. No, not just for the red wine but to learn a little more history, of course. And we did too. The barmaid explained to us Sid Kidman used to hold horse sales out the back. I think she thought Peter was mad when he asked her if she had ever met Sir Sid. The barmaid looked about 18 years old and Sir Sid died about the same time as the dinosaurs!!! We then headed home a little tired but having had an excellent day.
Friday 21st January 2005
We went to visit a winery owned by the Jesuits; according to the brochures the buildings were worth visiting. They were good, especially the church, but not exceptional. I think I was expecting buildings similar to New Norcia in WA where the Benedictine monks built the town.
After that we did some shopping in Clare and headed home again.
Saturday 22nd January 2005
Today we headed off to the Barossa Valley. We are staying at a place called Nuriootpa and we liked what we saw as we drove in, so after setting up went into the town to explore. We also had a walk around the caravan park which is quite a large one. It is very nice here, we like it very much.
Sunday 23rd January 2005
We were just about to have breakfast when the phone rang. It was Kathy from Kapunda asking if we were going to Kapunda today. We were, so we arranged to meet up outside the museum at 4.00pm. Our first port of call was to an aviation museum. The museum's gift shop was interesting but the rest was planes, I ask you! Anyway I stayed in the gift shop browsing and talking to the owner of the museum, then sat and read until Peter had finished drooling all over these planes.
We then decided to find somewhere to eat our lunch. Just by chance we parked in a picnic area with this huge - and I mean huge - statue of a miner. It was called Map Kernow which means Son of Cornwall in Cornish.
After lunch we headed off to the museum in Kapunda to have a look around. Time flies when you are enjoying yourself and before we knew it, it was 4.00pm and we hadn’t managed to look around the Miner’s Museum next door to the main museum. We will have to save that for another day. Kathy met us and took us back to their house, making us very welcome and giving us afternoon tea. A short time later Bob arrived home from work and then the wine came out. Very nice too. We really liked Bob and Kathy and hope to meet up with them again some time. They both made us feel very welcome and Peter and Bob chatted a little about their schooldays, but mainly about planes and gliders as Bob is also a glider pilot (as well as a power pilot).
Kathy and I both have an interest in history and family trees so it was good to chat with her. We didn’t leave until nearly 7.00pm when I made a move as I didn’t want to outstay our welcome. I think Peter would have stayed all night!!
Monday 24th January 2005
Rest day today, shopping and jobs around the place. Peter decided he couldn’t stand the state of Billy any more so he gave him a good wash.
Tuesday 25th January 2005
First thing today we went to the computer shop to update our web page and send our emails. They let us connect the laptop to their system. It is proving difficult to find places that will let us do this. After that was all done we had a drive to the hospital at Tanunda to get my blood test done. That out of the way we visited a winery and had a coffee. Yes, a coffee! We are on a strict diet. We then had a drive around the area, found a lookout with sculptures. Sculptures that did not really appeal to us. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Wednesday 26th January 2005
Australia Day! What better way to celebrate Australia Day than to watch the Aussies play tennis. We felt so sorry for Alicia Molik when she lost to Lindsay Davenport. The wish I had for Lleyton Hewitt was that he would hurry up and win so we could go to bed.
Thursday 27th January 2005
Walked into the town for a haircut, very warm already. In the afternoon we went for a drive to the Whispering Wall. It is a dam wall where one of you stands at one end of the curved wall and the other one stands at the other end - quite a distance away - and you can hear each other speak. There is one in Kings Park in Perth as well (but this one is much, much bigger).
We then had a drive around and ended up in Gawler, a large town, but nothing special. Coffee was good though.
Friday 28th January 2005
We decided to go to Peterborough today but didn’t realise how far it was. Two and a half hours later we arrived. I said I hope this town is worth all this effort. It was.
Peterborough is a steam engine and train town. It used to be a very busy railway centre but the government has sadly closed a lot of things down, so they decided to make ‘trains’ a tourist attraction and they have done very well.
We went to the museum where a very nice chap named Bill showed us around. He explained everything to us. He called Peter “Pete mate” and me “Love”.
I have to interject again here. After visiting that museum I became 'Pete Mate' in Pam's Journal. As I write this, in May 2008, she still refers to me that way. So if you get puzzled by the name, here is where it originated.
A lot of what Bill and Peter chatted about, I didn’t understand. You know, bits of engines, cylinders and stuff. I can’t even remember what they called all these dirty smelly bits of train, but you get the general idea.
The good bits were the carriages they had renovated. They were really good - Orient Express stuff.
After that we hurried round to the local caravan park as the chap there does a tour of Peterborough in his mini bus. We were so lucky as he had delayed the tour for half an hour so we made it (we were fifteen minutes late). The tour was very interesting. How he remembers all the facts and figures I do not know. By the end of the tour it was almost 6 p.m. and we had a two and half hour journey home so we set off.
We were travelling along nicely, not a lot of traffic on the road, when all of a sudden there was a deafening bang, more like a crack. An oncoming truck had thrown up a rock which hit Billy’s bonnet and bounced into our windscreen directly in front of my face. Luckily the windscreen did not break or we would have been in serious trouble. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Peter has since complained bitterly about the dent in the bonnet but I keep telling him to remember how lucky we are. Doesn’t help much - he is still as grumpy as ever!
Saturday 29th January 2005
Just a relaxing day, shopping and watching the tennis. Poor Lindsay Davenport, I really wanted her to win.
Sunday 30th January 2005
We went back to the aircraft museum as Peter wanted to take some photos. Lincoln very kindly allowed him to walk through and take what he wanted.
We then headed off to Kapunda to have another look. We spotted the high school that used to be the home of Sir Sidney Kidman. Not expecting anyone to be there on a Sunday I was going just to have a look around the outside. Again we had good luck as a teacher was there preparing for tomorrow. She gave us a whistle stop tour and was very generous with her time.
Monday 31st January 2005
Just a general day of getting ready to leave tomorrow. Updating the web and emails. We really liked Nuriootpa and intend to go back sometime. Had a final drink in the pub. We liked that pub!