033. 25th April 2008. Revisiting an emotional Anzac Day and proudly wearing a medal…

Donnis was still very much tied up with study and work commitments so could not join me on this trip.

I planned to re-visit the scene of my emotional Anzac Day from a couple of years ago. I now had a Service Medal and felt I was entitled to march.

This time around the Tropical Coast Wanderers (TCW) had decided to camp at Balgal Beach for the Dawn Ceremony then de-camp to Rollingstone (Bushy Parker Park) and set up in time to then take part in the mid morning march and Remembrance Ceremony.

The afternoon before Anzac Day I arrived to find most camp- sites already taken so arrivals after me had to be squeezed in as best we could. It was decided to have fish and chips for dinner from the take-away across the road on the banks of Rollingstone Creek. I had eaten there previously and found the fish to be excellent. So we all lined up to place our orders then stand around waiting for our number to be called. We also used the wait time to bring our knives forks and wine into a picnic shelter.

Then the big moment, Ta Da. Your dinner is ready.

Carrying my hot parcel back to the picnic shelter I was hungry with anticipation for my piece of Barra. The size and weight of the package suggested a big fillet. Opening the parcel I found a good slice of lemon, lots of chips and a huge fillet of crumbed fish. I cut a piece. Hmmm! Just the end! Fried crumbs.

Another cut. More crumbs.

I decided to peel back the layer of crumbs. The layer on one side was almost a centimetre thick and the same on the other side. The piece of fish in the middle was tiny. It was stuck inside a monstrous crust and although tasty was a bitter disappointment to my expectations. The huge weighty crust was discarded.

I should have taken notice of my warning bells while in the line up. It seems the previously successful owners grew tired of 7 days a week cooking fish and chips and put the business on the market. The purchasers were the same amateur fishing club they bought their fish from. The fishing club members had a roster to work in the store but as is usually the case in clubs some work while others bask in the glory of being a part of it. Oh and of course drinking. So, while in the line we witnessed the people behind the counter at first asking the drinking mates to come and help. Then pleadings, then getting abusive and getting abuse back. That is when I should have left the line and opened a can of baked beans!

After an on and off night of sleep, suddenly it was dawn and people are moving about. I dressed and drifted over to the Cenotaph site


Dawn Service at The Cenotaph, Balgal Beach.

Dawn Service at The Cenotaph, Balgal Beach.

 and watched as the crowds grew. It is amazing this little beachside village has such an impressive Cenotaph and can attract good representation of the armed services to the Dawn Service. Equally, the numbers of people attending was considerable.

This time although bolted to the ground, as I was, the raw wave of emotion did not wash over me. I suppose I felt humbled standing beside BJ who had such a chest of medals he listed to port while I, with my singular service medal was just as conspicuous.

Of course we all lined up to get a bit of bacon and egg on bread, a cup of instant coffee and after finding a place to park the food, a slug of rum and milk. Now that is something I could only tolerate once, once a year.

Gee even straight rum is nicer.

Next we de-camped to BPP,


Camped at Rollingstone behind "TIGGEDY BOO" who are Sugarloafers and just happened to be camped there.

set up then walked the half K or so to the parade start and marched the half K back to the Rollingstone War Memorial site where pretty much the same speeches and prayers were uttered except for the school presentations. After enduring almost an hour in the sunlight we could disperse and head back to the shade of the rigs. One schoolboy fainted and was caught and lowered to the ground by an alert old digger standing behind him.

Pineapple Farm with mountain backdrp near Rollingstone campsite.

Pineapple Farm with mountain backdrop near Rollingstone campsite.

That night we had the tables set up under the stars in the picnic area, BYO was the order of the day. During dinner we talked about Geo-Caching. I am a member but must admit to only looking around Airlie Beach. Tomorrow we would do a bit of a search for about three caches in the area. The first was nearby and with three GPS giving three different readings we still managed to find it. The second took us into a delight bush lined creek and despite much scrambling up and down rocks we could not find the cache.

Shelley (my daughter) arrived with husband Dywanne and the three kids, Reece, Georgia and Jack for a picnic and swim in the creek. After lunch Shelley invited me to join her and the kids on their season pass to see the Cowboys play ???. I was excited about the prospect, as it has been some years since I have been to a live game.

The Cowboys lost, the on ground food was as bad as I remember and the three kids were well behaved. Hmmm. Maybe I prefer to watch it on TV or hear it on the radio!

The only live game I can really appreciate was a Sydney Swan’s game many years ago. We won a pass to the private box owned by Alan Bond. It had an outside section in comfortable padded chairs well above the crowds. Behind that was glass panelling and inside was all air conditioned with leather lounge chairs, a well stocked bar and kitchen with waiters calling around every 15 minutes with food. I have no idea who won but gee the food was good.

I parked up on the footpath outside their Townsville home and after a great usual breakfast plus bacon and eggs I was on my way home again.

I am looking forward to your comment. Any questions.

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