The Camel Races at Boulia

We had meant to go to the Boulia Camel races in 2012. We arrived in Winton but over the next few days it rained rather heavily. The road is only a single strip of bitumen, so when meeting oncoming traffic (especially road trains) one vehicle is required to leave the road . This is not recommended when the dirt of each side of the bitumen is wet. So we stayed in Winton for their camel races. We did hear later that some of the racing was cancelled and many vehicles got towed out of the mud.

Fast forward to 2013. We had finished our stint at Cannington Station and with good weather in the offing we headed to Boulia after a shopping stop in Mt Isa.

Boulia-Camel-Races We arrived at the racecourse onTuesday, plenty of time to get settled and chose a nice camp spot. For $50 each we had camping until a week after the races as well as entry to all three days. The bonus is that there are hot showers and toilets. Our chosen site was close to the amenities block.

Friendly neighbours and campfires were the highlight of the pre race period. According to some who had been here in previous years,camping numbers were down. This however did not dampen the enthusiasm during the weekend.

The Friday evening started with DJ Richo and JoJo Magician wandering around the tables doing various magic tricks. The kids followed him around like the Pied Pipe. He had shows during the weekend as well as wandering through the crowd.

flying-home

 

Racing started in earnest on Saturday, 4 heats of 400m and 4 heats of 1000m. In order to get to the finals a camel needed to finish in the top 3. We had a punt on each race, but did not make our fortune.

camel-stop

 

Camels can be unpredictable and this one just simply stopped  about 20 metres short of the finish line. Courtney,the jockey, had a hard time in getting him up.

 

There was an upset during in the 1000m races. The winner of last year’s cup, Chief, was eliminated. This was the first time a defending champion was not in the Cup. Our money was on Chief, a camel owned and trained by Glenda Sutton, a Victorian. There are articles about her on the ABC  and also this video made several years ago by Public Radio International.

The on track announcer made a big deal about Glenda but he should remember that there are other owners involved in the sport with credentials just as impressive .

For the locals a high point was the form of local camel Uncle Bob. He flew home in his heat  with the fastest time of the day.

After the races we were treated to a camel barrel race.

barrel-raceAt the various rodeos we have attended this is an exciting horse riding event. But camels are not really known for there agility. There was a time limit of 5 minutes to complete the course. Glenda Sutton showed how it could be done in a time of just over 30 seconds. One or two of the other camels took much longer and gave the crowd plenty to laugh about as they refused to go in the right direction.

fireworks

 

That night the was a spectacular fireworks display , followed by Guitarist Laurence Sorbello, entertaining the crowd with a mix of country music and rock’n roll. This capped off a great day

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday and it was back to the serious stuff of Camel Racing. A couple of consolation races for camels of involved in the cups and two finals ( 400m Flyer and the 1500m cup). The course announcer got very excited when he described Boulia event as the Melbourne Cup for camels. 1500m would certainly test out the ten runners. Our money was on Ace (a Glenda Sutton camel). Unhappily for us Ace was not up to the task. It was the local camel ,Uncle Bob , that saluted the judges in a canter.

That was the end of the racing, sort of. There was still some novelty donkey racing and the serious business of gems of 5 pulling a Prime Mover over a measured distance. The winning time was a group of grey nomads lead by one of our neighbours. Each member of the time winning $20.

Before leaving the course and going back to our camp, we decided that it was our turn to have a camel ride. The ride itself was like rocking in a hammock. The hard part was when the camel stood up and went down to the kneeling position. You really did need to hold on.hanslinda-on-a-camel

North to Numurkah?

I know that it does not have the same ring as the song title ( North to Alaska) suggests, but it was good to get back on the road. In our case we were going to follow the sun , North.
If you has been following our Facebook page, you would know that we have been waiting patiently for a new water tank. We wanted to double our capacity to 200 litres, a must when travelling through the Outback.

On the Friday before Mother’s Day the tank was finally fitted and we were off. The Friday night saw us get about 100km out of Melbourne along the Hume Highway. There is a good rest area called Grass Tree. It is well off the highway and you cannot hear much road noise. Around 10pm it started to rain. We do like the sound of rain on the roof, but if made for a restless night sleeping.

Saturday morning over breakfast we decided on a route north. We would go through Shepparton, cross the NSW border at Tocumwal, through Finley and Hay, follow the Cobb Highway to Hay and then to Hillston and up to Cobar. This would lead us to the western area of Queensland. The exact routing to Julia Creek could wait until later.

I digress from the reason of writing this post. In the many years I have cycled throughout Victoria I have obviously seen water wheels that pump water through the irrigation channels. Not once have I known their actual name. Today in the centre of Numurkah I found out.

20140510-160651.jpg

The Dethridge Water Wheel was invented in 1910 by Mr J S Dethridge- Commissioner of the then State Rivers & Water Commission. The wheel is the standard means of measuring water deliveries to irrigated farms throughout Australia and to 1700 irrigated farms in the Murray Valley irrigation area.

The water supply for the district is stored in the Hume Dam – capacity 3,038,000 megalitres and the Dartmouth Dam – capacity 4,056,000 megalitres. The water is delivered via the Mulwala Lat at Yarrawonga.

The Murray Valley irrigation area, consisting of 120,000 hectares was proclaimed on October 17, 1938 and the first water from the weir at Yarrawonga flowed into the main channel on October 3,1939. This channel now delivers 365,000 megalitres through 3218 Dethridge water wheels via 1000 kilometres of open Channel.

The irrigation water used on these farms produces a wide range of dairy products, irrigated grain,sunflowers, soya beans, maize, lucerne, wine, stone and citrus fruits, vegetables, prime cattle and lambs. The annual value of this production is in excess of $150,000,000.

Here as elsewhere throughout this country WATER IS LIQUID GOLD.

North to Numurkah?

I know that it does not have the same ring as the song title ( North to Alaska) suggests, but it was good to get back on the road. In our case we were going to follow the sun , North.
If you has been following our Facebook page, you would know that we have been waiting patiently for a new water tank. We wanted to double our capacity to 200 litres, a must when travelling through the Outback.

On the Friday before Mother’s Day the tank was finally fitted and we were off. The Friday night saw us get about 100km out of Melbourne along the Hume Highway. There is a good rest area called Grass Tree. It is well off the highway and you cannot hear much road noise. Around 10pm it started to rain. We do like the sound of rain on the roof, but if made for a restless night sleeping.

Saturday morning over breakfast we decided on a route north. We would go through Shepparton, cross the NSW border at Tocumwal, through Finley and Hay, follow the Cobb Highway to Hay and then to Hillston and up to Cobar. This would lead us to the western area of Queensland. The exact routing to Julia Creek could wait until later.

I digress from the reason of writing this post. In the many years I have cycled throughout Victoria I have obviously seen water wheels that pump water through the irrigation channels. Not once have I known their actual name. Today in the centre of Numurkah I found out.

20140510-160651.jpg

The Dethridge Water Wheel was invented in 1910 by Mr J S Dethridge- Commissioner of the then State Rivers & Water Commission. The wheel is the standard means of measuring water deliveries to irrigated farms throughout Australia and to 1700 irrigated farms in the Murray Valley irrigation area.

The water supply for the district is stored in the Hume Dam – capacity 3,038,000 megalitres and the Dartmouth Dam – capacity 4,056,000 megalitres. The water is delivered via the Mulwala Lat at Yarrawonga.

The Murray Valley irrigation area, consisting of 120,000 hectares was proclaimed on October 17, 1938 and the first water from the weir at Yarrawonga flowed into the main channel on October 3,1939. This channel now delivers 365,000 megalitres through 3218 Dethridge water wheels via 1000 kilometres of open Channel.

The irrigation water used on these farms produces a wide range of dairy products, irrigated grain,sunflowers, soya beans, maize, lucerne, wine, stone and citrus fruits, vegetables, prime cattle and lambs. The annual value of this production is in excess of $150,000,000.

Here as elsewhere throughout this country WATER IS LIQUID GOLD.

Stone the Crows -Voices of Gallopoli

Jim Haynes, one of the Chief Crows, is an extraordinary entertainer. When you read his biography you discover that he started out as a teacher and academic. He has written several books about facets of Australian life.

In 2004 he wrote a book entitled Cobbers – Stories of Gallipoli 1915, which was a series of first hand accounts, stories and verse written by the soldiers who were at Anzac Cove.

As Jim pointed out tonight some of the stories appeared in The Anzac Book, but there were many more stories not made public that can only be found in the archives of the Australian War Memorial.

Voices of Gallipoli is a one hour dramatic presentation consisting of music, songs and dialogue that explains what went of during the eight month campaign that shaped the Australian national character.

The script for this presentation is still in progress. Tonight’s presentation was a first public reading. Three actors from the local university with Jim Haynes and Katelyn O’Donoghue gave a marvellous reading. The audience of grey nomads gave them a standing ovation. This augurs well as it moves to a final version, becoming a CD and stage play in the twelve months leading to the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli.

The Adventure Continues

It has been quite a while since we last updated our blog and I should bring you up to date. Mind you if you have been following us on Facebook you will have some idea of what we have been doing or not doing.

After living full time in a Motorhome for the last two years we had come with a list of things that we would like. Similar to living in a new house,you soon decide that this power point should be in a different location and that the TV point should be In the other corner, or the bathroom should be closer to the back door, you understand what I mean.

We had come to the conclusion that we need a little more room, the engine needed a bit more grunt and the shower and toilet need to be separated. Well iMotorhome ran a review of the Winnebago Esperence. Needless to say it seemed to tick all the boxes.

We were on our return from up north when in early November we decided to call into Roberts Winnebago to have a look. Several hours later we walked out with a contract to purchase. Delivery was to be February/March. We also had the option to sell our current vehicle rather than trade in. All was good.

During December and January we spent some time in Maryborough (Victoria) as well as a couple of weeks in Bright. In between trips we parked in the front yard of each of the four children. We appreciate that they put up with us.

I had put the Dreamtime up for sale on GumTree as well as the Motorhomers Forum and iMotorhome. Unfortunately these adverts resulted in several scam approaches. I refused to sell without actually meeting the purchaser. These people were too busy to inspect and the vehicle would be picked up by a shipping agent to be sent overseas. They were happy to pay the price, but something was very fishy. In the end spoke to Sydney RV. Norman had sold us the Dreamtime in the first place 4 years earlier when he was with Kea. He was very quick to make an offer which we accepted as it was better than the trade in price. He was also happy to wait until the end of February (our expected delivery date).

Everything was in place. We checked in mid January to ensure everything was on track. Being assured it was, we booked a hotel in Sydney and a train ticket to Melbourne for the Friday before the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras. It was a holiday , three days drive to Sydney, dinner with friends , a day sightseeing in Sydney and a train trip back.

Just before we left we double checked again our delivery date. Bad news. Delivery was delayed. We were homeless. Fortunately two grandsons were happy to give up their bedroom so we did not need to sleep in the street. We are grateful to Hanna and Colin for letting us stay. Our delivery date turned out to be 1 April .

Delivery date, we paid the final payment and rolled up to Roberts. There were a few formalities and a handover. Various aspects of the vehicle were thoroughly explained and several minor issues were sorted. We hitched up Terry and were ready to roll.

Straight down Sydney Road , left turn at the site of the former Pentridge Prison and to onto the freeway to Wheelers Hill. At Pentridge the “check engine light ” came on. 7 km on the clock and problems. We rang and were advised that as long as there was no loss of power we could continue to drive her home.

Roberts had arranged to come to Wheelers Hill to fit a few items that had not been completed satisfactorily on the following Monday so when speaking to Iveco we made arrangements to drive to Dandenong to have the engine light checked and repaired.

After a few hours we were given the keys and drove back along the freeway via the service station to fill up with fuel. Damn, engine light back on. A phone call with the service department and an arrangement to deliver the vehicle back to Dandenong the following day.
After a four hour wait, it was suggested that I should leave the vehicle overnight , while they tried to ascertain the problem. No choice really and the grandsons once more gave up their bedroom to Opa and Oma.

About midday I rang as was advised that a part would arrive about an hour later and they would ring. Success they replaced the “lambda” sensor. We drove her home and decided that we needed to finish packing up and be on the western side of town for Monday morning as we had booked the vehicle in at Roberts to have work done, the list of issues was getting longer. There was nothing major, but they were irritants and needed to be addressed sooner rather than later.

As I write this we are sitting in the lounge as they work on the vehicle. If the work is not completed today, we will stay overnight in our vehicle in their yard.