Stone the Crows – Thursday April 2, 2015

We survived the first full day at the festival.

I had an early start at the Morning Show where Jim Haynes, Grant Luhrs and the O’Donoghue family (Katelyn, Liam and Kasey) started the morning off with Aussie Humour, Verse and song. They were ably supported by Irvine. We saw Vinnie as he is now known at the first Stone the Crows, reciting his own brand of bush poetry. His verse about the Check up is extremely funny, and brings tears to your eyes, especially if you are a male.

Then there were seminars, and information sessions. We chose to learn a bit more about diabetes and blood sugar levels. This was followed by a talk on Family History. Not how to trace a family tree but what we can do now to help our great grandchildren create stories about our time now. The interesting thing to note was that records need to be kept in a media that will last the test of time. Paper has been around for thousands of years and is still the most reliable way to preserve history. Of course you need to store it properly.

The afternoon was taken up by catching up on some  reading , but there was a good session talking about Preprogrammed digital camera settings.

Has the day finished yet. This retirement is getting tiring. No there was the evening entertainment. This variety concert showcased Jim, Grant and Katelyn  but the absolute stand out was Jamie Way as  The Great Pizzarotti. Jamie had entertained us yesterday and agreed to come back tonight.   Just think this guy sang Elvis and other rock songs yesterday and tonight opera ( with a touch of comedy). When it was announced that the full Great Pizzarotti  show will be included in next years festival the assembled flock cheered and clapped wildly.

Jamie was greeted with a standing ovation at the end of his segment. Here is a YouTube video of this talented performer.



A good night’s sleep and we will be ready for another day. At this rate we will need a holiday to recover.

Stone the Crows Festival, Wagga Wagga- Easter 2015

It has been some time since I sat down and made a serious effort to record our adventures on the road. I must admit to be shamed in to resuming this activity at a recent seminar at the Chapter rally in Numurkah.

For the last couple of years we have spent Easter in Wagga Wagga at the Stone the Crows Festival or the Stone the Crows website.Basically a celebration of Grey Nomads. You need to be at least 50 to attend. Linda and I just qualify 😉

We arrived at the the festival grounds on Wednesday April 1. It was after 12 noon so no pranks could be perpetrated. The line if vehicle was long and it took us just on an hour to enter the grounds and set up at our allocated spot.

The afternoon was spent in setting up and getting our registration package, entering the disc bowls tournament and just catching up with friends. We also ended up on a trivia team made up of people we had played with at Numurkah.

The entertainment at this festival is top class. I will tell you about this as it happens. ( Well that is one one to stay on top of the blog posts). Happy Hour came and before you knew it it was time for dinner. The Charities for this Festival are The Wagga Wagga Men’s Shed and Wagga Wagga Breast Cancer Support Group. The Men’s shed cooked up sausages and steak.

The entertainment for the night was provided by Jamie Way. He is a performer, writer, photographer and student based in Wagga Wagga. He won the Elvis sound alike competition in Parkes in 2007. He was selected to play in a movie ,a story about a boy you sounds like Elvis Presley. He is entered into the Parkes competition and wins it. The only way that the movie could be convincing is by actually entering Jamie into the contest. He won. A story of life imitating art.Jamie did readily admit that 7 years and 30 kilos was not conducive to wearing the Elvis costume. His voice was amazing. He entertained us with a mixture of Elvis and the favourites from the 60s and 70s.

I have attached 2 short video clips of his performance so you can judge for yourselves whether he sounds like Elvis or not.





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.

Wagga Wagga

We stayed an extra night at the Festival Grounds, aiming to utilise the onsite laundry. Our best laid plans went awry and the day was spent relaxing and mixing with new friends.

On the Wednesday we packed up our gear for the long haul to Wilks Park, just outside Wagga Wagga. ( a grand distance of 10km). We had stopped there before but never explored the city or the surrounds.

Wagga Wagga is one of many cities and towns that have repeating names. Other that come to mind are Gol Gol, Gin Gin and Bet Bet. Jim Haynes , one of the organisers and performer at the recent festival actually wrote and recorded “You don’t call Wagga Wagga Wagga ” about 20 years ago. This was a national hit. At the festival this song was sung more than once.

The Wiradjuri
The original people of this area are the Wiradjuri, one of the many Traditional Nations of Australia. The Wiradjuri lived and many of their descendants continue to live in a large central western and southern section of New South Wales.. The Wiradjuri people have been custodians of this part of the country for at least 40,000 years,nurturing it, using language, law, lore, stories, music and dance whilst passing on knowledge and living in a spiritual relationship with Baiami, the

The Naming of Wagga Wagga
The name Wagga Wagga derives from a modification of the Wiradjuri word “Waagan”, meaning Crow or Australian Raven. The doubling of the word Wagga indicates the plural or give emphasis. Thus Wagga Wagga signifies simply a place notable for flocks of these birds, or a place where the assemble in large numbers.

The Best family ,the fist Europeans who established a squatting run near Flowerdale Lagoon in 1832 named their place Wagga Wagga after contact with the indigenous population.

Wagga Wagga today is the largest inland city in New South Wales and is regarded as the capital of the Riverina.

In 1864 Wagga Wagga received international attention when a man arrived claiming to Berger Tichborne, a baronet who was believed drowned when his ship disappeared off South America. While Tichborne’s mother believed him, the trustees of the estate were not sure. What followed is believed to bethe longest court case in England’s history. The man was found to be Arthur or ton,a butcher, and sentenced to 14 years for perjury. The author Mark Twain found this story so fascinating that he insisted in visiting Wagga Wagga when he visited in the 1890s.

Wagga Wagga has also produced many sports stars, among them AFL footballers Wayne Carey and Paul Kelly, cricketer captain Mark Taylor and his opening partner Michael Slater. Women’s hockey co-captain Melanie Twit was also a Wagga Wagga product. We will remember that because it was a question we got wrong at the Stone the Crows trivia night. Notable Rugby League players Peter Sterling and the three Mortimer brothers were also born here.

Stone the Crows

Late last year we had seen an advertisement for a Grey Nomad rally in Wagga Wagga. Neither of us had been to a Motorhome rally before and this seemed a good opportunity to have a new experience.

Just before Easter we headed up the Hume Highway. Destination Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. Wagga Wagga loosely means ‘home of the crows’. Just remember that fact for later.

It is possible to drive this in one day but we took our time. Tuesday night we spent on the banks of the Murray River at Police Paddocks, about fifteen kilometres from Rutherglen.

This was a great spot to camp. It was just a pity that I drove a little to fast from the bitumen onto the corrugated dirt road. Shook the crap out of the van and Linda’s bed just about hit the floor. No damage, we just need to rearrange things back.

The following night we arrived in Wagga Wagga. There is a great free camp just outside the city. We were no due to arrive at the festival site until Thursday morning, so we used the afternoon to do some grocery shopping in town.

The Australian slang “stone the crows” is an expression of surprise. Well “stone the crows” there were more Motorhomes, Caravans and Fifth-wheelers than we had ever seen in one place. Remember that Wagga Wagga also means home of the crows and you can appreciate that the Festival was well named.


This festival was different from other rallies we had see advertised. This was designed as a celebration for all Grey Nomads no matter what form of transport. The most important thing is that we all enjoy our travels in this wonderful country.

For the inaugural festival, this was just fantastic. Every night there was top class entertainment. 2013 Australian Country Music Roll of Renown inductee Wayne Horsbrugh, entertained us for over an hour on Saturday night. The first half of the program features Jim Haynes , Grant Luhrs and a fantastic fifteen year old singer form far North Queensland – Katelyn O’Donoghue. The bush poetry was performed by Peter Mace and the limping poet Neil Smith. The laughs kept coming. Aussie bush poetry at its best.

The talent quest was something to behold. Usually you would expect to cringe at the odd act, but every one was fantastic ,we did not envy the judges one little bit.

The days were filled with seminars and pétanque and disc bowls competitions. There was also the interesting game of ladder golf. You are given two golf balls joined together by a piece of rope. The aim is to throw this unit so that it loops around the rungs of what looks like a short ladder.

The final night was fantastic, winners of the various sports were rewarded with GreyVee awards and the winners of the talent quest once again showed off their talent.

All in all we had a great time, we met new friends and learnt much from those you had been on the road for longer than us.

Will we do it again. Absolutely. We have already pencilled in next Easter for the next Stone the Crows Festival at Wagga Wagga