We had a very full week of activities planned for school camp in Longreach. Its clear to see that Longreach has embraced outback tourism and would be the epicentre of the tourism in the west. SO much to see and do there.
So it was a very brisk and cold morning that we started out first adventure with Kinnon and Co which take on the "olden days" aspect (in particular about Harry Redford). We were most excited to go on a stage coach ride - the whole school on two Cobb and Co coaches, one drawn by heavier Percherons and the other drawn by a Waler like breed. We were all loaded on , the last three of us getting to ride shotgun, literally, on the top back of one coach.
It certainly made us contemplate just how LONG it would have taken to get from A to B back in the old days. After our coach ride and fairly sedate gallop (Percherons not known for their speed) and being highly entertained by the red cattle dog that obviously loved his life as part of the Kinnon Family, we were treated to smoko. Scones with cream and jam and copious cups of tea which of course were annihilated by the kids. The old days theme continued with an old kids movie, and then onto a hilarious play. Featuring the same stage coaching driving smoko serving family/staff members an animals, and a great deal of ad lib-ing, it was very much enjoyed. By the time this was over, the kids were starving again, so back to the quarters for lunch, then to get ready for our evening out, by the river.
Kinnons also have a paddle steamer, so all aboard for a river cruise on the Thompson River, which given the season wasn't as mighty as usual. Very tranquil. And no child lost overboard. After the cruise, and getting bloody cold, we had a fireside dinner and some bush poetry, followed by a wonderful sound and light show about the Harry Redford story. Did I mention it was cold?
Moving on, the next day we had a Tour of the Longreach School of Distance Education, which I am sure the kids would have gotten more out of had there not been a zillion other grey nomads also doing the tour. Then we ducked down the the river to see if the fish were biting (they were not!). The afternoon for the kids was then spent visiting the big Qantas 737(?) plane and the Qantas Founders Museum. As chef for the night I elected to stay home. (Supersized mince and spag, and garlic bread whipped up by co-chef...was well received)
Thursday brought a nasty cold wind and a visit to the Stockmans Hall of Fame. Most of which was pretty much lost on the kids, the place was also crawling with the travelling tourists, AND must have had a lighting issue as was annoyingly dark inside. (a more guided tour for school groups might get more info across to the kids, instead of SO MUCH READING which is otherwise required here). The Stockmans Show however was well received and had the kids in fits of laughter. Nothing they really hadn't seen before, but entertainment is still entertainment!
And then, off to the Powerhouse museum for the kids (which seemed a bit yawny to me! which the kids confirmed) and that evening a dance off/show thing and PIZZA times lots for all.
Friday saw us packing up and then heading back home via the Age of Dinosaurs near Winton. Not having heard much about this, but knowing a bit about its beginnings, I was expecting to see a shed out the flat. Was I ever mistaken. What a first class facility!
Amazing building and architectural detail, and amazing view out the other side, the museum and laboratory are built up on top of one of the large outcrops/jump ups that are in the Winton area. The road up is an road building feat in itself. The kids got a great tour and explanation of the bones and the work they are doing on Banjo, Matilda and Clancy (the discoveries) and got to touch and see real bones, and help "process" some bones. Kids were all engaged and fascinated. There was also a great presentation and a viewing of the finished, exposed bones in their special room (something quite rare apparently). They have great plans for expansion and this indeed a special place to visit (just sitting having a coffee overlooking the edge of the jump up is something!)
And that was that! Home James after a quick pit stop in Winton, back in town in time to grab some groceries and home before dark. And home to find livestock numbers somewhat depleted, of course that would be the case on husbands watch. One dead chook (natural causes) and one dead duck (suspect foul play, or in actual fact, wild feline to be accurate!)
It was quite nice to visit our own back yard, and see what it has to offer. But so nice to be home, and on school holidays as well!