A 14,000ft drop and loved every second:

Chris and I finally got 11 days off after 3 months without a break. We headed back to Brisbane for a few nights and then on to the sunshine coast.

This is what I had been waiting for, my birthday present, a 14,000ft tandem skydive. Whoopee!!

David and little Chris were jumping with me. Both had jumped 2 yrs. before for David’s birthday but this was my first jump.

It was something I had wanted to do since living at Wurtulla.

I used to watch people skydive over the house and land on Currimundi beach.

Due to the weather our appointed day was cancelled so we tried again the next day. We were lucky, a heavy rain cloud passed and there was sunshine behind the cloud, so off we went.

The boys wanted to see me jump so I got to sit next to the door which they leave open.

The view was great.

As there was only the three of us jumping another skydiver came with us. He was testing out a new flag that they were jumping with in the afternoon for the Maleny Show.

One second he was there and then he was gone, falling at 120km. I was up next.

With my feet hanging over the edge I did stop and ask myself, “Am I nervous? Is my heart racing?” The answer surprised me. NO I was loving every second of this.

Clear blue sky and here I come.

Clear blue sky and here I come.

Now, concentrate Kerrie, stop looking around, what did the instructor tell you. Oh yeah, cross your arms, arch your back towards him and curl your feet back to his.

Ready, set,  go

Ready, set, go


There goes a perfectly good plane.

There goes a perfectly good plane.

We’re free falling and the view is spectacular. Now everybody knows the G force on your face is not the most photogenic.

So here I am trying to keep my mouth shut (which is pretty hard to do) and still do the thumbs up and OK sign for the photos. Well some turned out OK but others, well…anyone know a good plastic surgeon?

See what happens when you open your mouth

See what happens when you open your mouth

Anyone know a good plastic surgeon?

Anyone know a good plastic surgeon?

Now after a few seconds you start to feel the cold on your face, I mean it’s freezing.

They said it was -3 deg. I know, I’m a wusse. But I was glad when he pulled the rip cord because I wanted the jump to go for ever.

Chris and David free fell for longer and I got to see them passing me by.

This was probably the most amazing part. When you are on level ground (so to speak) it really hits home how fast they are falling. As I watched David and Chris fall, a sigh of relief came over me as one by one the colourful chutes that we had seen so many times before while living at Wurtulla, opened.

Watching the boys speed past me as they free falled.

Watching the boys speed past me as they free falled.

Now the scenery is to die for. The ocean with all the container ships. the houses, the Glass House mountains. The whole experience went way too fast.

The little yellow dot over the water is David's parachute.

The little yellow dot over the water is David’s parachute.

It was thrilling and I would recommend it to anybody. Now if I could just get Chris to do it, hmmmm…

Chris landing.

Chris landing.

David coming in to land

David coming in to land

Knees up.

Knees up.

Smiles all round. A great 52nd Birthday present.

Smiles all round. A great 52nd Birthday present.

Elliana Rose Freudenberg 7th January 2013

Meet our new grand daughter.

A proud Nanna and Elliana.

A proud Nanna and Elliana.

Elliana was born at Buderim private hospital weighing in at 7lb 10oz.

Chris and I had been down that week end so I stayed on to get to know her. David and Lacey are the proud parents and have entered the wondrous world of parenthood with flying colours.

David, Lacey and Elliana Freudenberg

David, Lacey and Elliana Freudenberg

It still amazes me looking at David holding Elli and think that he was once that small also. The scary part is it doesn’t seem that long ago! Where do the years go?

Had to believe David use to be that small.

Hard to believe David was once that small.

The “Old Girl” resurfaces

What a wonderful surprise it was to read this comment on one of the blog posts.

12 months since deciding to live “on the road”

It’s been 12 months since we made our “Big Decision” to stay on the road and to upgrade the caravan from the Old Girl to the Aussie Wide.

We can honestly say we’ve never once regretted that decision.

We do however often think about the happiness and contentment of our life in the “Old Home”.

The Old Girl

The Old Girl

There’s a multitude of precious memories that feature the old 71 Viscount, many of which we’ve tried to share on this blog, but most are day to day ones that are locked inside of us for our own fond recalling.

The “Old Girl” has new owners

When we made our decision to upgrade to the Aussie Wide we gave the Old Girl to a lovely young couple in Melbourne who have used it regularly since.

Wayne and Karen have now acquired her.

They were researching 1971 Viscount Caravans on the internet when (imagine their surprise) a photo of the Old Girl popped up leading them to this blog!

The twists and turns of life, aint they marvellous?

Wayne and Karen comment on the blog.

Wayne and Karen subsequently made a comment on one of our blog posts letting us know how they found the blog and how excited they are to have acquired the Old Girl.

The comment made us very happy to know that once again this amazing caravan has found its way into the lives of people who will receive untold enjoyment from her.

I can imagine the joy that this story would have bought to Perc and Gwen, Kerrie’s parents.

Encouragement to keep the blog going.

The comment was also quite timely as I was contemplating stopping the blog.

It sometimes seems a bit of a waste of time to put so much work into something that is of interest to such a very few people.

The thing is though, even if the readership is small it consists of people we love and care a lot about.

We also get enjoyment out of rummaging back through old posts and the flood of memories that result.

Its’ been two years on the road

Wayne & Karen’s blog was also timely as it coincides with the end of our second year living on the road.

When we first “shoved off” we intended that this adventure would have an 18 month lifespan.

So, at the end of two years is it time to rethink?

Is it time to get back into “normal” life?

Do we want to do get a house in the city somewhere and “settle down”? What does that even mean?

Honestly? We couldn’t imagine doing that at this stage.

We adore life in the Aussie Wide, the freedom of living simply and the excitement of moving to different locations.

We love the release from the pile of material bits and pieces that we once thought were so valuable, but that at the end of our lives would be dumped or sold for pennies.

No, we’re not stopping anytime soon!

A year since we swapped homes

It seems a long time ago that we had the Old Home and the New Home parked side by side at a van park in Melbourne while we transferred our stuff.

The Old Home and the New Home in Melbourne

The Old Home and the New Home in Melbourne

I’ll never forget the strange feeling of going back into the Old Girl after she was cleaned out ready for her new owners.

It was like saying goodbye to an old living, human friend while at the same time knowing that ultimately it was just a collection of bolts and nuts, timber and sheet metal. She had kept us safe and comfortable across thousands of kilometres and I couldn’t stop myself feeling a sense of sadness.

This feeling was tempered by the excitement of the New Home.

I’ll also never forget the pleasure of our first night in the Aussie Wide and I can honestly say that the same pleasure is repeated every night when I go to bed. I know that Kerrie feels exactly the same.

Our hope for the next segment

We hope we’ll one day spot Wayne & Karen and the Old Girl on the road somewhere. It’ll be a wonderful thing!

In the meantime we’re happy to be at Koramba Cotton Farm until the run down to the Ayr Peninsular in February which we’re really looking forward to.

I need to be in Brisbane on the 5th of December for some surgery on some rather big skin cancers. I’ve just had a “burn off” of about 20 of them on the last Brisbane visit.

I’ve promised Kerrie that I won’t be so slack on applying the Black Salve to them in the future. She’s forbidden me from getting sick, having an accident or dying until the programmes are finished.

The last word goes to a wonderful woman

I never stop being thankful for the amazing woman God has teamed me up with!

As I work in my air conditioned office I’m looking out over the garden. There she is – crouching down in the hot sun, fly net over her face, weeding and digging.

She’s already cleaned the kitchen, tidied the Aussie Wide, written up the time sheets and meal sheets and probably fifty other things that I don’t even know about.

She’s a total giver; always fussing about making sure I have everything I need as well as trying to ensure the farm hands are happy.

The lads have now got a new saying – “Far Out”.

Philip, who is a master at voice impersonation, has taken to mimicking Kerrie’s often expressed phrase of “Far Out” and this is spreading to be a common place substitute for the more profound expression starting with “F”.

I am fully aware that the healthy level of high morale in the camp is due almost entirely to her; it’s nothing I’ve done. Sure, I cook a reasonable meal, but it’s her that interacts with the people and manages the camp.

Her attention to detail fascinates me as does her desire to mother the farm hands, young and old alike.

Her concern for me and my health goes far beyond what could be expected from a relationship but this is the hallmark of this woman; beyond expectation.

I love her more each day!

The “Old Girl” update:

Remember the original 1971 Viscount caravan we started our trip in?
We gave it away to a lovely couple, Greg and Nicole from Melbourne.

The "Old Girl" at Stanley, Tasmania

The “Old Girl” at Stanley, Tasmania

Greg and Nicole keep us updated on what they’ve done to the “Old Girl” and some of their holiday destinations. I thought I’d share some of these with you.

They moved the PVC pipe from the back of the van (which we used to store the annex poles) and placed it on the front of the van which has tidied it up a lot. The addition of mag wheels makes for a very smart look.

The desk was removed and the double bed went back in, this time with storage underneath.
They eat outside at their picnic table.
New blinds were added but they’ve kept the curtains Nola made for us.
New fly screens have been installed and the van is again giving endless enjoyment to a new generation.

The double bed back in.

The double bed back in.

Storage under the bed.

Storage under the bed.

Plenty of storage space.

Plenty of storage space.

A radio with speakers has been added

A radio with speakers has been added.

I think the boys would have appreciated this when we went on holidays.

I think the boys would have appreciated this when we went on holidays.

The mags look great on the old girl.

The mags look great on the old girl.

Camping at National parks is no problem for the solid built Viscount.

Camping at National parks is no problem for the solid built Viscount.

Camping at Venus Bay, Victoria

Camping at Venus Bay, Victoria

I think Mum and Dad would have been happy with our decision to give it to someone who appreciates it so much and that it’s not just sitting in a paddock somewhere rotting away.

Our most dangerous place

After 18 months on the road we’ve discovered what we believe is our most dangerous place!

We’ve travelled many roads, climbed, swam, fished, trekked, worked, played, stayed in secluded places and met all kinds of people and not once did we feel we were in danger.

You see, our most dangerous place isn’t a physical, geographical location yet it’s a place that’s always just around the corner from wherever we are. Even though this terrible place can’t be visited physically it’s a place as dangerous as any war zone, any pirate ridden
coastline or the narrow goats track on the side of a sheer mountain cliff.

It’s a destroyer of all that makes life exciting and worthwhile, a robber of creativity and a killer of imagination.

It forces us to become old long before the years have worn us out. For some people it causes them to become old while still very young in years.

To enter this dangerous place is to walk through a door that can close tightly on dreams, hopes and desires.

It has a deceptive front garden. Pretty and attractive the garden invites and beckons entry but the real danger lies within the walls.
Once inside a lullaby begins to play calming our free spirited approach to life and leading us into a sense of safety and security. Unless recognised and forced to cease, this hypnotic rhythm overpowers our desire to explore the possibilities of life and to reach for that which is out of the reach of the majority. It causes us to look at every reason why we should NOT live an unconventional but exciting life outside of what most of society regards as “normal”.

This place has a name. It’s called – THE RUT!

It’s very easy for us to start to walk up The Rut’s luring garden path toward that door from which we know is so hard to come back through after entering.

All it takes is a short time of regular routine and a “settling in” at wherever we are.

The Rut knows no particular location. We’ve almost walked into it at Armidale, The Sunshine Coast, Koramba, Brisbane, Melbourne, Horsham and a number of other places.
The longer we stay in the same place the more we find ourselves edging little by little up The Rut’s pathway.

Another name The Rut goes by is “The Comfort Zone”.

For us The Rut and The Comfort Zone are one and the same place.

Thank The Lord that we’ve learned to recognise the lure of the lullaby of this place and we now know the signs that indicate when we are about to walk through that door.

You see, the moment we turn our back on The Rut a new dimension of life unfolds.

It’s a dimension that refuses to accept society’s pre written script for life. It’s recognition that the ability to dream, to invent, to learn, to
experience the non ordinary and to explore is a great and precious gift. It’s a gift to be guarded lest we be fooled into tossing it aside and regarding it as worthless and as a result living a life that’s mundane and ordinary, never reaching for anything outside the bounds of safety and comfort. We become fearful of the new and the different.

The Rut’s main danger for us is not in its lack of contentment, there IS a degree of contentment and satisfaction in it. That’s what makes its danger so subtle. For us, there’s a certain relaxation in just existing each day without “driving” life to where we want it to go.

The Rut

“The Rut” is very aptly named because just like the road condition of the same name, once the wheels of life are in the rut it’s a fight to get them out – the deeper the rut, the harder the fight. We just need to drive and the rut will navigate us on its own course – except it won’t be a course with a destination of OUR choosing. We can just place life on automatic pilot. We don’t need to DO or to THINK much at all, just go through each day in a sort of anaesthesia induced, cruise controlled daze.

We’re fooled into thinking that we just need to maintain the status quo, just do what we’ve always done. Trouble is maintaining the status quo is simply not enough for us. It’s like a salmon swimming up a rapidly flowing stream. Exerting just enough effort to maintain it in the same spot
will ensure it eventually gets washed back down the stream. It must constantly exert effort into going forward or it will go backwards.

In The Rut we stop thinking things out to deeper levels. We accept the mainstream point of view or just about any point of view because we
become too lazy or disinterested to look deeper ourselves. We become almost Zombified in a place where we don’t need to stretch our mind or our bodys.

We lose Simplicity. We get so busy with many minor distractions like learning to work the latest technological thing or the distractions of modern shopping centres or what passes today for entertainment, or the many other complexities that seem to call for our attention. We’re constantly flitting here and flitting there.

Yes, The Rut is a busy place, almost as if its designed to keep us so busy with inconsequential stuff that we never have time to concentrate on the things that are meaningful and fulfilling. We lose the ability to recognise the days flying by inexorably toward life’s end while we fiddle with insignificant tripe.

Media doesn’t help. We’re bombarded with advertising from every angle and most of it tells us we need to relax, slow down, and live like the people, places and situations that the ads portray. In one of its most dangerous forms the advertising relentlessly hammers the personal safety theme. It drives us to believe that our safety is someone else’s responsibility. “Don’t think about our own safety because the Government or the employer or someone else will take care of it for us”.

Likewise the future is touted as being someone else’s responsibility. Don’t think about the future because some superannuation fund or government body has that all under control for us. No need to complicate our life by thinking about it ourselves. And don’t ever think about our lives eventually ending and the wasted opportunities that we failed to take advantage of becasue of fear of the unknown. Understanding our mortality and the fleeting breath of time that we’re in this earthly realm forces us to turn our backs on the safe and comfortable and stops us becoming what the world wants us to be – A CONSUMER that behaves according to a pre prescribed lifestyle until the day we die.

In The Rut we begin to add a “What if” into everything we do. “Better not do this because what if that happens”! “We couldn’t possibly do that because this might happen”! We forget the old saying;

 “I’m an old man and have had many worries, most of which have never happened”!

The Rut causes us to enter into the awful state of laziness.
It’s not a physical laziness that prevents the doing of life’s basic tasks well, like looking after our living environment, shopping etc., but a laziness that craves for the comfort of not being required to think or do any more than just what’s needed to exist. It’s a mental, spiritual laziness.

“A person is lazy because he wants serenity and quiet.
Comfort-seeking is the root of laziness. But realize that although the lazy way might at first appear to give comfort, in the long run, a person who is lazy will lose greatness. Why? His life will be one of mediocrity!”

~Rabbi Pliskin

For us the greatest of all the Rut’s dangers, the thing that causes us to reject it with everything inside of us is that it’s a place where we don’t need God!

In The Rut He’s not required to fill in the gap between our own ability and the higher mark of our achievement because there IS no higher achievement. We can do The Rut comfortably by ourselves. There’s no supernatural intervention required. We don’t need to test our Faith; we are comfortably satisfied in knowing that each day will bring pretty much the same as the day before.

But here’s the thing; we lose the wondrous, unmatchable thrill of seeing His hand work in our lives.

When we’re in a place where we know that there’s no way out in our own strength, when we are in a situation that is waaaay beyond our own ability to sort out, we watch Him at work and we are constantly astounded at the results of His guidance.

We never, ever want to lose the sheer pleasure and thrill of living life beyond the mundane routine of The Rut. We must, at all costs, never allow ourselves to waste what few fleeting years we have left on mediocrity and ordinariness.

As we wander Australia and marvel at the colours, the space, the ever changing landscape and the ever visible evidence of the pioneering thinkers and doers who carved great things out of the unforgiving bush, we are so very thankful that we can now recognise and circumvent the alluring melody of the ever beckoning RUT.

Riley Royce Jones: Our new grandchild

Ashley and Lish are the new parents to Riley . Born Saturday 10.34am at the Royal Mothers Brisbane. Weighing in at 7lbs 12oz.

Riley Royce Jones

Riley Royce Jones

Chris drove the 6hr trip to spend the night with Ashley on Sunday and then had the pleasure of meeting his new grandchild for his first bath.


Ashley was so gentle.

Ashley was so gentle.


Doting parents.

Doting parents.

Riley didn't think much of his first bath.

Riley didn’t think much of his first bath.


Both of them asking questions and learning together.

Both of them asking questions and learning together.


I think this one will make a great 21st Photo.

I think this one will make a great 21st Photo.

Ahh thats better.

Ahh thats better.

Proud Poppy

Proud Grandad


Proud Dad.

Proud Dad.

3 generations of Jones's

3 generations of Jones’s

He also met Margarette, Lish’s mother.

Chris and Margarette with Riley.

Chris and Margarette with Riley.

He's gorgeous.

He’s gorgeous.


Congratulations to both of you.

To Speak or Not to Speak!

In the fortnight that we’ve been waiting in Goondiwindi for the Cotton Farm job to start the company that originally hired us has pulled out of the contract and a new company has taken over the farm’s labour management. The change over will take effect from the day we start work there.

The new company is a small, one man operation run by a pleasant straight shooting ex sheep shearing contractor.

We met him on Friday and we both liked him immediately.

He seemed genuinely pleased that we were going to be out on the farm for the next seven weeks during the takeover. He even offered us an extra 5 hours work per day which further boosts our earn for the time out there.

Now the new contractor is extremely efficient and experienced when it comes to managing the hundreds of farm jobs that he supplies labour for, but he has little or no experience with catering.

After explaining to us how the new contract worked and how he was paid for the management we felt uneasy.

I ran all the costs that would be associated with managing the catering out there through our Catering Management programme and we could easily see the potential for our new boss to lose a large amount of money.

What to do?

I’m completely ashamed to have to admit that for a few minutes I contemplated saying nothing!

“After all”, I thought, “We’re only there for six weeks. Just do the best job you can, get paid and drive off and forget it”.

Kerrie, of course, never had a moment of doubt. “We’ve got to tell him”, was her only reaction.

Man, the trouble Speaking out has got me into in the past!

I’ve always spoken up when I’ve believed a wrong decision was made or I’ve discovered anomalies in an operation. I just can’t seem to keep it to myself and carry on as if all is ok.

Then I bought it down to a personal level. The new boss is a real person. He’s a hard working, honest man trying to make it the best way he can. He’s also in a realm that we have not had much association with for many years – a small operation.

The only small business we’ve operated in for many years has been our own, just Kerrie an’ me.

It’s almost impossible to make a difference for the better in large, complex organisations these days. The larger the outfit the more difficult it is. There’s usually nobody who’s willing to make a decision for change. Fear of retribution for a wrong decision or an unwillingness to cause waves, coupled with a passing of the buck up an increasingly long ladder of command makes the large organisation a frustrating and mind numbing environment to stay positive and contented in.

Many large organisations, especially the ones on life support from the public purse, have long ago lost all motivation and desire to impliment the efficiencies in their operations that ensure they pay their way. This affects the attitudes and the state of mind of every participant in the chain and they’re not even aware of it.

With a small operation all this changes.

Here you find decision makers, go-getters, positive and vibrant thinkers that have everything they own at stake. They know their decisions will make or break them unlike the cotton wool wrapped environments of large units where job protection, unionisation and comfort zones eradicate the need to take responsibility for anything much.

Realising that at the foundation of the business that will manage the catering at the cotton farm there is a man with a family and that everything he owns relies on the success of his business made the decision to speak up a very easy one.

I met with him early Sunday morning and showed him the costings and the many other reports that I’d prepared, and I lay out my beliefs about how much this could end up costing him.

Totally contrary to the trouble and flak received in past similar circumstances the reception I got was one of gratefulness. Our new boss saw what I was saying so quickly and easily. Within half an hour we had Defined the situation truthfully and honestly and nutted out a number of possible solutions.

What a thoroughly refreshing change!

It gave me the highest possible level of respect for our new boss.

We’ll do everything in our power to ensure that the next seven weeks, (one week prep and six weeks working), will be of lasting value to him.

We’ve been playin’ with the Blog again!

We’ve added a couple of extra touches to the Blog that we’ve wanted to include for a while.

We’ve added a new header which allows us to use 7 separate header images and have them rotate each time the site is opened. To see the headers just click the refresh button on your browser and as the Blog refreshes a new header will display.

The selection is random so you may have to refresh more than 7 times to see all images but each time you visit there will be a different one. We’ll periodically replace these 7 with new ones to keep the whole thing fresh.

We’ve also placed a “Featured Video” on the right side and this will preview some of the videos we include in the Blog.

Kerrie’s comment was, “Now Barry’ll make us do extra videos as well!”

We’ve even added a new icon to the browser tab and the site address in the browser’s address bar.

Also when you click the button on a heading for any of the posts, and you are taken to the page where the full post appears, a different header will display and this header will be one that’s relevant to the post.

Yet another addition is the “Tags” section to the right of the page.

Also remember the “Archives” section on the right side. When you select a month from the drop down list here a page will open showing all posts for that month.

This is a collection of the tags we use on each post and by clicking on them a page will open that will group all posts with that tag. The larger the text in this tag section the more posts there are relating to it.

The "Tags" section to the right of the page. Click on a tag to see all posts with that tag.

The “Tags” section to the right of the page. Click on a tag to see all posts with that tag.

Further to all this Kerrie has added many more photos to the Image Gallery and she’ll keep doing that. This is a big job since just on the Coober Pedy leg of the adventure she took over 600 photos. Each one has to be examined, resized, named and captioned and uploaded so it’s a real task. She also absolutely loves looking at the photos and it’s lovely to see her smiling to herself as she remembers the experiences related to each one. This also adds to the time it takes.

Kerrie seems to spend each waking minute smiling lately. She seems to be so happy and contented. She’s always remembering places and situations as well as looking forward to the next phase. Even a nagging recurring back pain doesn’t seem to interfere with her contentment, though I believe it’s her courage, determination and faith that simply won’t allow it to.

We hope you all like the new features and don’t forget you can comment on the blog by registering. You must register to comment. We did this because we were getting 50 or so spam comments per day.

These are people, mostly Asian, who comment dribble on a site’s comment section. Within the dribble is a web site link included with the hope that the blog’s readers will click on the link, buy something and then they’ll get a commission. The links are usually to sites that sell something useless, or Viagra, or porn sites.

We wouldn’t mind if they were making genuine comments and their sites had something worthwhile to offer but, like most spam, this is never the case.

By the way we’ve updated the Events Calendar to include the timeline for the Alice Springs Job with Gerry and Corinne of Sandrifter.

Catching up with Family

Funerals are a time for reflection, but they also seem to be the only time to catch up with long lost relatives or friends.

Fran Warburton died too young from lymphoma cancer. She was the mother of my school friend Sandy Phillips. Sandy and I met on the first day of grade one in 1967 and we’ve been friends ever since. It’s one of those friendships that span a whole lifetime,  one where even if you haven’t seen each other for a year or two it seems that you can start the conversation as if you only saw them yesterday.

I use to live at the Warburton’s as much as I lived at home. School through the week, play on the weekends, phone conversations every night and all the sleepovers. This was from a time when the only rule was “be home for dinner”. Oh how I remember racing the push bike flat strap down Bungama St at 4.59pm to make it home by 5 o’clock.

Do 2km in less than 1 min. Wish I could do it now.

Do 2km in less than 1 min. Wish I could do it now.

While Sandy and I were friends at Sandgate primary, Lee Martin (nee Metcraft) and Helen McLean were friends from Bracken Ridge primary. These two friendships combined at the start of high school to form a very strong bond.

The sad fact is now we only meet up at funerals. Lee’s dad, then my Mum & Dad and now at  Fran’s funeral.

After the funeral it didn’t take long for the years to roll away and we were 16 again, laughing at the silly times, trying to remember names of people we knew. Ross, Sandy’s older brother had some of his mates there and we were trying to figure out who they were. When we did, there were howls of laughter as new stories were told of pinching Ross and Barnsey’s row boat and rowing up and down Cabbage Tree Creek. We all agree the boys have aged a lot more than us. Well if you take your glasses off when you look in the mirror you can be any age you want.

The time went too quickly and as we all parted we promised the next time we catch up it won’t be at a funeral.

The rest of the weekend was spent catching up with family. Chris helped Ashley exchange his motor in his car. Then dinner with Jennie and Emily, lunch with Ben, Alecia, David and Lacey at the Bridge seafood and little Chris coming up to David’s to visit.

We also called into ACU as Ron had asked Chris to look at something. There was a morning tea for the staff so we got to catch up with a lot of people there, with the usual question “Are you back?”

We stayed at Christine and Barry’s on Monday night so the boys had a good chin wag. And they complain women talk, Christine and I ended up going to bed while the boys continued their conversation.

Tuesday had us back on the road again, looking forward to getting back to our little “home on wheels”. We had both brought up the idea of “moving back home” wondering how the other felt. We love David and Lacey’s home, we feel a part of it, but did we miss our own bathroom, kitchen laundry and having the space to sit around in the lounge room??….

The answer is NO!

Both of us expressed the feelings that just sitting in one place, at this time in our lives, would send us crazy. We love our bathroom, laundry and kitchen on wheels. The best thing is our lounge room can be anywhere we want to park our home. And now with the chance to work everywhere, there is so much to learn and see, like we have never been on a cotton farm before. We are truly blessed and loving this life and as we found out, not too far from family.

Going back in time.

We left our very quiet spot by Lake Albacutya and headed into Yaapeet.

I would have been treading water last time I was here.

I would have been treading water last time I was here.

Yaapeet was were Dad’s sister Lorna and her husband Charlie lived on their family wheat and sheep farm. Its 20km out of Rainbow and is where we would go on holidays after Dad’s mum (Nanna or Carrie Wood) had passed away. The last time I visited Rainbow was for Gayle (Aunty Lorna’s youngest daughter) and Andrew’s wedding in Feb 1981. By this time Uncle Charlie and Aunty Lorna were living in Rainbow and their eldest son Stuart and his wife Joyleen had taken over the farm.

Unfortunately Stuart and Joyleen had sold the farm awhile back and the home is now looking the worse for wear.

The front lawn use to be manicured. But nature takes back what you don't look after.

The front lawn use to be manicured. But nature takes back what you don’t look after.

The side view.

The side view.

It was once an immaculatly maintained home with soft grass out the front and gardens out the back. There are many family photos from as far back as when my brother and sister (Morris and Nola) were children with Nanna and Mum on this lawn that now, sadly, is returning back to the Mallee scrub land it would have been before the farm was carved out of the bush.

We found out later that many farmers are now buying or leasing existing  farm land to increase crop sizes. Appareantly its necessary to become larger to remain profitable in a very tough market where grain prices don’t make a sufficient return on the input costs of chemicals, fuel, machinery and time unless larger quantities are grown.

As the old farmers decide to retire and sell, or their farms become too much work for the return, other existing farmers take over who don’t need or want the old homesteads. They are surplus to requirements.  It’s the paddocks that are important. This was apparent as we past house after house left abandoned to the unforgiving scrub but with the surrounding paddocks still growing grain.

After a quick look around Yaapeet we headed back to Rainbow. With Mum’s map in hand we saw where Uncle Perc lived.

Great Uncle Perc's place.

Great Uncle Perc’s place.

This was Dad’s uncle who took over the partnership of Rainbow Motors when Dad’s father Tom died – “a victim of the influenza epidemic raging through the country at that time”.

You will have to enlarge the photo’s to read about Great Uncle Perc. To do this, click on the photo and then, when it comes up again click on to the photo once more.

Thanks to the Rainbow Historical Society for these. We happened to be able to talk to the local historians.

Dad's father's brother and his wife.

Dad’s father’s brother and his wife.


Second part of the story.

Second part of the story.

Dad did his apprenticeship at this garage which has long since ceased to be the busy motor workshop it was back then. It is now a private residence.

Rainbow motors. Not sure what year.

Rainbow motors. Not sure what year.


The garage still stands but is a residence now.

The garage still stands but is a residence now.

Nanna’s original house at 25 Cust St has been altered radically over the years but still has relatives living in it. (Nina’s Clugston’s family Nola).

It has changed a lot over the years. But the fruit trees are amazing. Wonder if they were the original trees?

It has changed a lot over the years. But the fruit trees are amazing. Wonder if they were the original trees?

The house that Mum and Dad owned, which Nanna later purchased after they decided to move back to Brisbane, is now badly in need of repair. My earliest childhood memory is of Nanna and I walking down the road and feeding the horse that was in the paddock next to the Uniting church beside the house. Mum told me that I would have been about 2yrs old as Nanna died in 1966.

Mum use to tell us how hard they worked to get this house into shape.

Mum use to tell us how hard they worked to get this house into shape.


Mum & Dad's house, then the Uniting church and then the paddock that held the horse.

Mum & Dad’s house, then the Uniting church and then the paddock that held the horse.

The shops in town once closed at lunch time and everybody would eat their lunch in the center park. That, like a lot of wonderful old traditions, doesn’t happen any longer of course.

Strauss's was the shop that had everything. Well now it's just the IGA store. The park area in the middle of the street was a great place to have lunch.

Strauss’s was the shop that had everything. Well now it’s just the IGA store. The park area in the middle of the street was a great place to have lunch.


Me outside the post office.

Me outside the post office.

They have 1 butcher, 1 bakery, and now even have a doctor. They haven't had one of those for a while.

They have 1 butcher, 1 bakery, and now even have a doctor. They haven’t had one of those for a while.

We visited  “Yurunga Homestead” at the end of Cust St. You can read about this impressive home here. Scroll down the page on the web site to find out about this homestead.

A facinating story behind this homestead in the middle of Rainbow.

A facinating story behind this homestead in the middle of Rainbow.

We then visited with Marie Clugston, a cousin. She is a true treasure and we caught up on all that’s happening around Rainbow.

Marie had a stroke 2 years ago but is in great health now. She really is annoyed they took her driving licence away and made her give up her chooks. Not really sure who “made her”, don’t know if it was the authorities or her children? We did have a look at her veggie garden which, even in the 36 degree heat and hot wind, was still thriving and healthy.

A cuppa tea, homemade shortbread bicuits and a good chin wag with a wonderful woman.

A cuppa tea, homemade shortbread bicuits and a good chin wag with a wonderful woman.

After saying goodbye to Rainbow, (maybe for the last time?) we headed towards Horsham where we’ll stay for 2 nights while we visit my Aunty Lorna before heading off to Melbourne.