187. Sunday 1st May 2011. Finch Hatton, North Mackay, Anzac Day, breakdown, horses and jobs…

Monday 25th April 2011

Anzac Day.

I should be reporting that I was at a Dawn Ceremony or at least a local street march. I did neither of those things. Out here on the farm we do feel a little isolated from world events except when we watch the news at night. When I woke this morning –early- it did not occur to me that today is Anzac Day. I do feel I should have commemorated the day in some way and over the last few years I have urged others to do the same.

Sorry. I let the side down this year.

I watched the news tonight with reports of services around Oz and in various places around the world. Those that touched me emotionally were the dawn services at Gallipoli, Turkey and Frommelles, France. Perhaps one year I can make the pilgrimage to Gallipoli. Sure hope so.

Apart from the daily things which must be done here at Pioneer Park we took time to drive to Pinevale and check out the camp site for the Sugarloafers meeting in June. We had heard the Pioneer River in flood had diverted its course and has left a build-up of sand to the turn near the campsite. The sand could make it difficult for some rigs to get in and out. As well, the site now has lots of long, mostly couch grass. In the past a local farmer has kept the grass cut and his horses and cattle grazed to always keep it a nice lawn length. There were perhaps a dozen tents but I noticed they were accompanied by 4WD. The river was running at a much higher level than I have seen it and one bank where the river begins to change direction has been washed away, leaving a steep cliff where once a gentle slope had been. We had no difficulty navigating the soft sand in 2WD but unless the sand is carted away I believe many of the Sugarloafers would have trouble driving their heavy rigs through the area.

A strong wind warning had been issued yesterday and the wind was quite strong even this far from the coast. By the afternoon the wind had died, there was a clear cloudless sky, promising a beautiful night and sunny tomorrow.

Our little weather station in WWWGO said otherwise. At dusk the sky was still clear and the Southern Cross stood out as the most visible stars. Shortly after dinner, a Massaman Curry made with fish and extra chillies, it started to rain and I had to dash outside to close roof hatches and the door. The temperature dropped and by bedtime I had put a doona on the bed.

Tuesday 26th April

Melissa and Steve arrived home today to great commotion by all the horses and dogs running beside their F250 and Fifth Wheeler/Horse Trailer.

When Melissa n Steve with their three horse in the Fifth Wheeler arrived home, all the other horses on the property went crazy, galloping to a point near the driveway and neighing and whinneying to voice their welcome.

We had planned to leave by 1pm to go to North Mackay and I could babysit the grandkids Shelby-Rose and Anakin tomorrow and Donnis does the first of her three shifts this week. I turned the ignition key at 2pm and the motor sounded terribly noisy, sounding like loose tappets (which diesel motors do not have). A warning light appeared on the dashboard screen and the instruction book merely mentioned an ECD injection system failure but no other information, such as, is it safe to drive and if so, for how long. I took a chance and decided to drive. Good thing we had decided not to tow the Terios on this trip as power was down by about 25%. We got away from the farm by 3pm. Just as we were pulling up near a set of lights in Mackay, Donnis called to say she received a call from my cousin, Bobby and his wife Dianne. They were in Mackay at KFC and would meet her there while I continued on to a fuel stop as a low fuel warning light had been annoying me for the last 10 klms or so. They all met me at Averyl’s house then B&D left to find a motel room and arrange somewhere to eat out tonight. Reading about Iveco EDC on the Internet tells me I should not move WWWGO until I speak with the local workshop.

Wednesday 27th April.

First call this morning was to the local Iveco workshop who said not to drive, they would send a technician this morning. True to their word he showed up before 11am and pulled out his computer and got to work. Good news is the engine starts albeit somewhat noisy and it is not blowing smoke. He traced the fault back to a Camshaft Timing Sensor which of course he does not carry nor do they keep them in stock. It has to come from Brisbane. In the meantime he traced all wiring circuits to ensure there are no faults anywhere else. When he left this afternoon he still did not have a definite fault. The CTS is shown by the EDC to be the culprit. On the other hand the CTS checks out OK but refers the fault back to the EDC. It looks like we stay at least another day waiting for the part but still may need a full replacement EDC.

Donnis finished the first of her three shifts this week and announced she has 5 day shifts for next week and the week after. She was not expecting more than a couple of shifts a week so that has given her a lift.

Thursday 28th April

Grrrr!. Spent a day waiting for the technician to arrive or at least call. I phoned Iveco at 3pm to be told the part did not arrive but could be in a later delivery, expected any minute.  Nothing heard from Iveco for the rest of the day.

Friday 29th April.

Saw my doctor from 15 years ago, Chris A. He agrees with me that as well as my back problem I have bursitis of the left hip. He has given me stronger pain relief for nights. The pain from the back has masked the pain from the bursitis.  Lots of walking and swimming will help strengthen the back muscles. Lots of walking and swimming will aggravate the bursitis.


Otherwise it is just waiting on time to heal it but to rest. No strenuous exercise. He suggested ultrasound via a physiotherapist might be beneficial.

I waited all day for Iveco. In fact, I called them three times. They called me around 4.30. The part has not arrived and they cannot contact Melbourne – huh! I THOUGHT THE PART WAS IN Brisbane -to get a con note number to track where the part is, as Melbourne are not answering their phones.

Hmmm! Could it be a May Day Long Weekend and they have all taken off a little early???


The earliest I can now expect any repairs is Tuesday.

Paul, the grandchildren and I went to the Mackay Harbour for a walk. Afterwards Averyl arrived home from work and we had a barbecue for dinner and watched the wedding of Wills and Kate on the TV.

After that I watched the rugby league game between the Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Bulldogs. The Broncos won.

Saturday 30th April.

Woke at 5am and noticed there was no power to WWWGO. In fact there were no street lights and none of the houses had lights visible. Shelby-Rose in particular sleeps with a light on and her room is in darkness. Looks like a major power failure somewhere as there was no loom of light in the distance over North Mackay or Mackay.

The laptop was down to 79% batteries so the power was probably off for a couple of hours so I switched the fridge to gas.

Paul was not keen on the idea of me emptying our black water cassette in their toilet as it involves carrying it through the house. At first light I loaded the cassette into Terios and took it to West Mackay to empty and clean at the CMCA sponsored public dump point.

We received an email to advise I have the position of survey person with a start date of Tuesday 3rd May for training and work begins the day after.

Hmmm! That’s good. However… Hopefully Iveco fixes WWWGO on Tuesday but both Donnis n I will be at work.

We were planning that WWWGO will be ready on Tuesday and we will move to Bucasia Beach Caravan Park. That is going to be a bit of a tight timeframe and we may have to move to Bucasia after dark when we have both finished work.

Later in the morning we drove out to Finch Hatton to help Melissa and Steve conduct their Endurance Ride. Some background on these endurance rides is in order. Usually the horses are specially bred Arabians. Before a ride, a vet checks the horse for temperature, pulse, heartbeat, a physical check of the body including shoes and a short run around a triangulated area to determine if there is any lameness or other physical disability.

Running the horse during the vet check.

After the ride or between sections the same vet checks are carried out. If the horse checks do not fall within a certain range, the horse is “vetted out” and can take no further place in the ride. The vet must be a qualified vet as well as a licensed endurance vet. The rides are in natural terrain including creeks,

Oooh! It's cold!

hills, mountains, rainforest, thick scrub, desert and including all natural obstacles. After a ride, the vet checks are carried out again and the vital readings must fall within certain ranges. Rides can be as little as 20klms and as much as 400klms and can be ridden at night or even over three or four days.

Smile for the camera man.

I was given the job of checkpoint at a creek crossing and radioed to control base as each horse and rider crossed Cattle Creek.

Endurance Rider on the creek crossing.

I enjoyed sitting beside the creek for the afternoon.

In a quiet moment beside the creek and the sugar cane in the background.

Sunday 1st May. Yay.

I spent the morning beside Cattle Creek on radio checkpoint duty again.

We were packed and ready to leave by 3pm when Steve phoned in to say he had run the Hilux ute into a washout

How did ya get in there?

beside canefields when he went to take down all the endurance direction signs.

All efforts to drive out failed.

We picked him up and returned to the farm where he collected the tractor to tow out the Hilux.

The tractor drags out the ute. I steered the ute but could not put it in gear as there was only a metre of towing strap between the tractor and the ute. Once on ground clear of washouts I was able to drive through the canefields to the road.

I went with him to drive the ute out of the ditch and back to the farm. Wow! He was lucky not to have gone further into the washout and roll the Hilux.

We arrived back at North Mackay about 6.30.

It has been a long and interesting weekend.

One Response to “187. Sunday 1st May 2011. Finch Hatton, North Mackay, Anzac Day, breakdown, horses and jobs…”

  1. Merewyn Wright Says:

    Re: “Baby Boomers” etc, I read somewhere just in the last couple of days, that the generation before baby boomers is also known as “The Builders”. Same article says that the next generation (after ‘Z’), starting those born 2010, has been dubbed “Alpha” generation.


    PS Last Monday’s holiday was Queen’s Birthday Holiday. We don’t get a holiday for Queensland Day (6 June) unfortunately!


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