Tag: Moree

612. Sunday 8th December 2019. Walking, smoke haze, no dancing and meet old friends…

Monday 2nd December

Weather forecast all week will be HOT! No relief until a Southerly comes through on the weekend with a possibility of rain next week.

Not sleeping much does have a limited benefit. It means I can go to The Broadwater early and walk to exercise my back. Three Klms from Labrador Lagoon to Lands End and return. The back protests somewhat and I am off all meds except Panadol when I feel I need them.

I like walking here. Lots of people doing the same. Many interesting people but we all focus on what we are doing. Nobody stops for a chat. Neither do I. I carry my keys in my pocket and phone in my hand. They both annoy me.

After lunch I went to the pool for a walk in the water. Forwards, backwards, sideways. Have to be careful on the sideways to the right but I survived. Swimming freestyle with kicking the legs is out of the question. The back does not like the kicking even supported in the water.

Once again I thought of going to Brisbane on the train and spending the day riding the Brisbane Ferries. Carrying a backpack with the camera concerns me at the moment. The camera, camera bag, spare battery and spare memory cards weighs 1.1 Kg. I am sure carrying the pack plus water for three days contributed to my back problems. I wonder if carrying a backpack lower, say around my buttocks is more suitable. I must ask the Osteopath. The army backpacks were like that. Even carrying my shoulder slung man bag is uncomfortable at the moment.

I had an appointment with my Superannuation consultant just after midday and that ruins any opportunity to go anywhere.

On this day in 2010 I was in Coonabarrabran NSW. It was still raining in bucketloads and the Castlereagh River was in flood. The town is isolated and trucks cannot get in or out. The crucial wheat harvest has come to a grinding halt. The crop, normally worth some M$350 will only be worth about M$100 if harvesting is delayed much longer.


Tuesday 3rd December

Up early again today a walk along The Broadwater. It is another brilliant sunny morning along with all the other people doing the same thing. I am still wearing the brace but I wonder if maybe on these longer walks I should try without it. It does get uncomfortable about halfway through the walk.

Today I had an appointment with My Aged Care. (Gee I hate the way that is worded – My AGED Care. Couldn’t it be shortened to just MY CARE?) I am unable to vacuum, sweep, mop, lift, pull, push, carry etc. According to the interviewer I am eligible although there is a waiting list for cleaning. Want a companion to drive you to shopping? You got it? Want some spring cleaning done? Clean fans, air con filter and clean venetians? You got it. Need a gardener? You got it. Need someone to come and just be a companion for a couple of hours? You got it. Need a cleaner? You have to wait. My Aged Care is an initiative of the Federal Government to keep older Australians in their home rather than going into a nursing home.

I do need a plumber to fix a leaky toilet. I could probably do that myself but a plumber has all the tools, plus the knowledge and the easy way to do things. All I pay for are the parts. Hey presto. A plumber is coming in the morning.

Another swim umm err I mean walk in the pool after lunch. I was very brave and did a gentle breast stroke which includes a frog kick and it does not cause pain.

On this day in 2010 we are still in Coonabarrabran. Mostly the day was overcast and the river level started to drop. Once darkness arrived, the rain arrived with it, a sort of sneak attack. The roads are closed again.

coonabarrabran clock
Coonabarrabran Clock Tower Roundabout.

Wednesday 4th December

071219 broadwater dawn3
Smoke haze over The Broadwater

Today I did the walk with the brace and a bum bag. The phone and keys are in the bum bag. I also have a set of earphones and listed to my music while I walk. Once again the brace became a bit uncomfortable.

The plumber arrived after breakfast and replaced an entire fitting in the cistern. Parts cost $50 which I thought was OK. When I bought the same part for a toilet in Airlie Beach about 12 years ago the part cost $70.

Line dancing was fine but it all depends on the movement. If there is any sort of twisting movement I have to stop. That may severely limit me at Rock n Roll on Saturday night but I can still enjoy the music.

After lunch I had another swim…walk. Today while walking backwards I slammed into the end of the pool. My back protested at that. More walking and more breast strokes.

On this day in 2010 we were still in Coonabarrabran. It was still raining heavily. Luckily we were camped on my cousin Bob’s place a bit out of town. There was a big family gathering for an early Christmas and we were part of it.

Thursday 5th December071219 broadwater dawn2

Another walk along The Broadwater. Today I turned south. I did not wear the brace, just the bum bag. Once again about halfway through the walk my back started to protest.

Another day of walking up and down in the pool. It is not quite heatwave conditions but 32 degrees with a sea breeze is not too bad.

On this day in 2010 we were still in Coonabarrabran. The rain has eased with more dry periods throughout the day. All the family members are planning to leave tomorrow. We will leave too and head north with Moree as our target

Friday 6th December071219 broadwater dawn1

Looking back over this week it might have been easier to say, “went for a walk along the Broadwater then exercised in the pool every day”, because that is what I did.

Today was no different. Instead of having the pool to myself other heat effected people arrived so it ended up being a social gathering of about 8 people just floating around and chatting.

On this day in 2010, the rain eased so we left Coonabarrabran but stopped at the Crystal Kingdom for what I thought would be a 5 minute quick scan of the items on sale. I did not realise there was a Geological Museum, most of the items were from local sources around the Warrumbungle Ranges and the volcanic plugs making an interesting geological feature. Next stop was a caravan park in Moree with 5 Thermal Spring pools.

Saturday 7th December071219 broadwater dawn

The walk along The Broadwater this morning was different. Filled the smoke haze it was still no less beautiful. The smell of smoke is quite strong. You cannot help but feel for all those people who have lost their everything and for the efforts of the Rural Fire Fighters.

No walk in the pool this afternoon as I simply want to rest and not have any unexpected back problems at Rock n Roll.

There was a big turnup at Woongoolbah Public Hall for the year end dance. Us visitors sure outnumbered the locals by about three to one. It was a disappointing night for several reasons. The band did not play their usual rock and roll therfore the night had less oomph. I did manage to do a few line dances and the back only protested a couple of times. The ladies must have been given prior warning of my back problems as they stayed away. The pocket rocket, Marcia, my favourite dancer did talk to me and wanted to dance a bit later. Unfortunately I was driver and Wencke was in pain herself. So I agreed to drive her, Graham and Lynda home. I asked Marcia if I can have a dance next time. Then I found out as I was saying goodnight, Marcia, Kaye, Margaret, Shelley and Averil all were reluctant to ask me to dance as they had heard my back was a problem.

Averil did get me up to do a little step, step, step nothing dance with Lynda and another guy who also was sporting an injury. I now understand why she was being so umm err, gentle.

I really missed my opportunity to dance with Marcia.

130419 dance3 framed
Marcia Dancing with Frank. No not this Frank. The other Frank. Notice he is lacking a share of hair.


In bed just after midnight.

On this day in 2010 we arrived in Goondiwindi Qld. This is a nice tidy town with all the best looking houses all along the main street. We could not find anywhere to free camp as all the rain has turned all the free places into a sea of deep mud. We decided late in the day to push on to Millmerin for a free camp arriving late in the evening when the rain began again.

Sunday 8th December

Up at the crazy time of 5am again and down to The Broadwater. The smell of smoke is strong in the air. It was cooler this morning as the promised southerly has begun to roll in. The normally glass like water was ruffled by the southerly breeze.

Most of the day I spent playing with photos and posting them on various Facebook photo sites.

Tonight I went to dinner with Wayne and Narelle at the Southport Surf Life Saving Club. I have known them for more than 40 years, I met Wayne when he was a junior where I worked and I attended their wedding. They still live in Wollongong and they brought me up to date with their activities.

Wayne has established a charitable organisation where clients can buy a bag of groceries for $30 and are presented with a second bag of fresh vegetables and or fruit or other packages of food. He has now established 4 outlets and that keeps him active 4 days a week. He is also on the board of the Illawarra Hawks Basketball team and they were here to watch them play on Saturday night. They played the Brisbane Bullets who had a slim margin win. The bullets have been struggling and the Hawks were expected to cruise to a win. Wayne was disappointed. He is also on several other boards, one is for a retirement village. He has amazing stamina and a mathematically gifted mind.

It was wonderful catching up with them again as it has been a couple of years since we last visited. When I do the planned road trip in January I will try to keep one day clear to visit him and Narelle.

On this day in 2010 we set up camp in the Crows Nest National Park which is north of Toowoomba. It has been raining on and off all day. Little did we know then but the rain will continue for several weeks culminating in the disastrous floods experienced in Brisbane in 2011. A major flood also occurring in the Toowoomba CBD. However that is still a few weeks away and we wanted was somewhere to stay the night on level, dryish ground. By dark, there was nobody left in the park. Even the Rangers had packed up and gone.



507. Sunday 28th August 2016. Where we spend time at home (planning a new trip) and a look at old homes…

Well, here’s another week where we did not go anywhere new, or explore or see something out of the ordinary. We still did our usual things which seem to take up our time. Things such as doctors appointments, Full body bone scan, a CPR course for Donnis, swimming, table tennis, Tai Chi, line dancing, lawn bowls, bingo, making Norri Rolls and the return of my Samsung A3 phone all fixed. I have not had a chance to fully test it but so far so good. Oh, by the way, the Samsung man told me about a new software release by Hyundai called Android Auto ( similar to Apple Car). The new upgrade allows things such as music, several Apps and Google Maps to be sent from the phone to cars fitted with Audio Display Screen. The Samsung man told me he uses the Google Maps as his GPS by sending via Bluetooth to the audio screen. I called Hyundai and they said the software is not released in Australia yet. What the!!! It seems there is quite a demand for the software and although Hyundai have been saying since November 2015 it will be released “next month” they issue a new notice saying the release is “close”. Grrr! The technology has been in use in Hyundai US and Canada since early 2015.

Because we had no other interesting things to share with you this week I thought it was time to have a look at some “old houses” we have seen in our travels.

001 ariah park nsw

Way back in October 2012 when I travelled slowly from Mt Beauty Victoria to Guyra NSW, one of the towns I stayed was Ariah Park (Pronounced Area Park) for a few days. The town which is basically in a period of decline is trying to attract people to town. One initiative is a camping area at the local sports park. For $10 there is somewhere level to park, power, toilets, laundry and showers. Admittedly there is only one shower and it shares with the laundry. So, if you want a shower you need to lock the door to keep laundry users out. For $10 nobody complains. In my exploration of Ariah Park and Temora,  I saw many old, abandoned or remains of houses after a fire or other disaster. This house just seems to have been abandoned. Not surprising really as many of the shops in town are also vacant and everything inside covered in a thin layer of dust. Prosperity went somewhere else and took people along with it. The railway line was closed some years ago so could be one of the reasons why the town is in decline. Population in 2011 was 264 and the district is dependent on wool and wheat, both of which requires only seasonal labour.

002 avondale nsw

While house sitting at Dapto NSW in July 2012 we took the opportunity to explore much of the foothills and lower escarpment to the west. Avondale area, was and to a certain extent, still is, dairy farming country. Some of it, on the flatland and low undulating hills, has been sold off in various large plots and turned into housing development . In the foothills some has been turned into 5 acre hobby farm lots while the remainder is simply pasture. As the foothills steepen into the sheer escarpment face, some of the old coal mines are still intact. Some are closed but kept maintained for some future project while others are simply closed until somebody figures out how to use kilometres of empty tunnels. The building in the photo was once part of a dairy but has long been abandoned like the mothballed Huntley Colliery across the road.

003 bee creek qld

In July/August of 2011 I was involved with the Census and my area was the difficult Eungella/Dalrymple Ranges area over the escarpment west of Mackay Qld. The area is an old dairy farming community but these days only a half dozen viable dairy farms still exist. Much of the rest of the town lives off welfare and is a good place to hide from the law and creditors. The area abounds with old homesteads long abandoned. Even temporary housing such as this shepherds caravan deep in a valley beside Bee Creek has long ago started to return to nature.

004 ben lomond nsw

Ben Lomond is located in the Northern Tablelands of the New England District of NSW. The village at the 2011 Census is reported as having 436 persons living there. The village has no shops, no Post Office and most of the houses, if not already abandoned are in the early stages of being taken over by moss, lichen and mould. The town survives only as a place for sheep and cattle farming and perhaps a little grain. The town is cold most of the year being at 1370 metres elevation. The two nearby peaks, known as The Brothers are at 1508 metres. Snow often falls even as late as October and November each year. Even December can produce a light sprinkling of snow. No wonder people have left the area. The railway line which ran through town was closed twenty years ago. The town was muted as an ideal place for a wind farm but financial difficulties put an end to that project in 2008. The local school has 12 students, down from 30 in the 2006 Census.

005 braidwood nsw

This house which is close to the town centre was the scene of a fire and the house was destroyed. This is all that is left. The house is in the small town of Braidwood on which sits about midway between the coastal town of Batemans Bay in NSW and Canberra, Capital of Australia in the ACT. The town is on the Kings Highway and is a busy road taking public servants and other residents of Canberra to the coast. The multitude of coastal towns is the holiday playground for the ACT and nearby Queanbeyan in NSW. Braidwood and the several old, destroyed or abandoned houses are on a windy plateau blasted by the cold westerly winds in winter and cold southerly winds blowing up and over the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range from the from the coast.

006 collarenebri 1 nsw

This old house at Collarenebri NSW is neither a burnt out shell or abandoned. People are still living here. From the time I spent here it was apparent the town was in decline but holding on to something of its former glory mainly due to the local district hospital. The town was once the centre of sheep farming, shearing, wheat and cotton crops and whatever else can be thrown in to earn a dollar. The local pub and the Bowling Club are the busiest locations in town. Even the hospital comes in at third place.( Other reasonably well equipped hospitals are about 2 hours distant from here…Lightning Ridge, Moree, and Walgett) The small number of shops and local garage usually only open restricted hours because 1. The population is not large enough to support full time stores and 2, the heat at midday in the summer can be in the high 40’s. Only mad dogs and Englishmen go outside in the midday sun.

007 eungella qld


Here we are at Eungella once again and here you can see an abandoned house preparing to go back to nature. The ravages of time, mould, white ants, heat, wind and rain are taking their toll. The dreams of a dairy farmer once started…and ended here.

008 finch hatton qld

This old house sits beside the Pioneer Valley Highway at Finch Hatton Qld which lies in the shadow of the Great Dividing Range and Eungella, thirty Klms to the west. Look closely and you can see the damage mould can do in tropical regions. This house was probably once part of cane cutters accommodation back in the glory days when can was cut by hand. You can see sugar cane still grows in the background. The local sugar mill at Finch Hatton closed back in the early 90’s and as a result many people moved away. Further aiding the demise was the removal of the railway line at about the same time. Cane is cut and taken to the nearest mill at Marian about 40 Klms by road but most cane is transported via a myriad of cane railway lines snaking their way through hundreds of Klms of cane farms spread throughout the valley. It is not unusual to see a small cane locomotive pulling 200 or more cane bins on the way to the sugar mill.

009 guyra nsw

This old sheep herders overnight cottage is no longer in use. These types of huts can be seen in the hills around Guyra and Ben Lomond in NSW. Even here mould, lichen and moss are growing throughout the house, wearing it down to become one with nature.

010 hillgrove nsw

This house, leaning away from the prevailing wind is one of several in the NSW gold mining town of Hillgrove near Armidale. There are a few small villages sitting above a steep valley with Bakers Creek at the bottom, snaking its way along where the only industry was gold mining. Those glory days of pulling the gold out of them thar hills has gone. So have the residents. Gold is still extracted by one mine as well as a substance called antimony. The new high tech mine employs most of the 95 residents of the town in one capacity or another. The other nearby villages still struggle to keep people in their houses. Maintenance is no longer an option and soon even those houses will be no more. None of the half dozen villages in this area, dependant on gold, have any form of shop, post office, hotel or medical surgery.