Something strange must have come upon me, as I happily volunteered to be a parent representative and transporter for this years school camp. As part of their Australian History, it was decided that we would visit Winton and Longreach and the great wealth of history at our fingertips in the last week of Term Two.
To say that it was a very full week would be an understatement.
We departed bright and early on a very brisk Monday morning, very much loaded up with warm clothing and bedding. First stop was in Winton, for smoko at the musical fence and a visit the the "truck museum".
Husband would have been in seventh heaven at the Truck Museum, full of restored OLD stuff. And a backyard full of non restored, antiquated machinery which quite frankly resembled some that we still have in service at our place!
The kids were amazed at the really really old ones...Angus was very taken by the fire trucks.
Winton is also home to the Waltzing Matilda Centre. Here the group split, with some wanting to take advantage of the opportunity to see shearing in action at Miss Mac's parents place, and some not wanting the additional driving (an extra couple of hours) chose to do the Matilda Centre and then be in Longreach before dark. Me being the driver that really didn't relish those extra couple of hours of dirt roads chose the latter (even though the kids probably would have loved the shearing, but too bad kids).
Take head visitors to the Matilda Centre. Lots of reading is involved, and lots of time needed. We didn't do it justice I am afraid, its probably not all that interesting to primary aged kids (a tour guide or more interactive displays might be more suited to this age group).
Art exhibition was great (travelling or local artists, am not sure, but the theme seemed to be outback) - was very taken with this native flower watercolour. A large section of the centre devoted, naturally, to the origins of Waltzing Matilda and memorabilia surrounding it and the swagman etc.
Much historical station and household equipment is on display, as well as a large room devoted to old pastoral maps (love old maps) and records of the early days of settlement in the region.
Onwards and upwards, we travelled onto Longreach after lunch. Entering sheep country, seeing one very large mob of cattle heading south on the stock route and seeing some country getting very short on feed. Our destination and accomodation for the week being the Longreach School of Distance Education Quarters. Dormitory style bedding and full catering kitchen with plenty of space for all, wide verandahs, spacious gardens and great playground, this truly is a great facility.
Holy smokes, all that for just the first day...I think this will be a recap of many parts - or some better summarisation needs to happen!
Kids were all tucked in after a dinner of hotdogs...and holy cow wasn't that first night in Longreach COLD. A trip to the loo in the wee hours and a check on the kids found quite a few huddled up teeth chattering. Blankets were retrieved and wrapped around cold little souls and heaters turned on (in the dark, a true miracle I got it going!).
Anyhow, Tuesday was a day full of adventure, which I will share - hopefully much shorter - soon!