Archive for March, 2012

244. Sunday 25th March 2012. One big day up in the mounatins and the cold weather begins…

25/03/2012

Monday 19th March

The CO-PILOT has another day off today so we tossed a coin as to which area we were to explore. The area around Tumbarumba won the toss.

WOW! What an interesting adventure filled day.

We drove along the Culcairn – Holbrook road to Holbrook, turned north onto the Hume Highway to Little Billabong Road which became the Tumbarumba Wagga Road and followed this through Carabost, Rosewood, Glenroy and stopped for lunch at Tumbarumba.

Along the way we stopped at Rosewood where a park claims to have views of Mt. Kosciuszko. We have to trust that the views we saw were of that particular mountain, the highest in Australia at 2228 metres. What was more puzzling was the whitish wispy stuff streaked across the top. Could it be an early dusting of snow?

What is that wispy white stuff up on the mountains. A local Tumba resident thought it was snow!

It would not be unusual as I have seen snow falling in the snowy mountains in December – the middle of summer. (I was in the Army, December 1966 on exercises in the mountains around Cooma. I had trouble sleeping as my feet were cold. On daybreak when I emerged from the open ended honcho used for a tent, I was surprised to see this white stuff floating down through the tree canopy and settling on the honchos surrounding a central fire. It was my first sight of snow)

Next stop was at Glenroy where we visited the Pioneer Woman’s Hut and had a coffee.

Pioneer Womens Hut and Museum near Glenroy.

It is a volunteer museum made up of several buildings, restored and moved to the site.

Another museum at the Pioneer Womens Hut.

The old farmhouse also has a working commercial kitchen and a full dining room large enough to accommodate a bus load of people. The coffee was free and we had to make it ourselves but the baked slices were $1.

A cute steel cutout silhouette of the man, with his dogs, mostly responsible for the museum.

After an hour wandering the grounds viewing the exhibits we drove to Jolly’s Berry’s and bought a kilo of fresh picked blueberries. The CO-PILOT was in heaven. The owner gave us a guided tour of the workings within the packing shed and how each piece of equipment connected to another. Berries are placed in a hopper at the top. They are shaken stirred and de-twigged washed and rolled onto a sorting table before being bagged and boxed to be sent to Sydney.

The drive in to Tumbarumba, hereinafter called Tumba because that’s what the locals call it, was down a steep hill across a bridge then back up a steep hill to the centre of town.

The Union Hotel, one of several in Tumba.

A solid timber door at the Art Gallery shop in Tumba.

The town looks prosperous and there seemed to be lots of tourists wandering around. Just like us. We found the Four Bears Café (a bit hard to miss actually) and had lunch

The 4 Bears Cafe at Tumbarumbah

Biggest Bear inside 4 Bears.

A Bear Wall. It would have been easier to paint it.

More Bear stuff. The front counter was almost hidden by bears.

. The CO-PILOT ordered fresh baked Rainbow Trout which was very good. A quick walk around town and a visit to the Information centre and we chose two attractions to visit.

Paddys River Falls, is about 18 klms out of town on the Tooma Road or Snowy Mountains Highway. Due to the recent rainfall, the hills were alive with the colour green. The falls did not disappoint. The volume of water thundering over the 60metre drop was a sight to behold.

When I say thundering, I mean just that. When we first arrived and as I was stepping out of TERIOS I heard a noise which sounded like strong winds blowing through the treetops. I commented that the wind must have picked up. Looking up I saw the trees only gently stirring in a breeze. Hmmm!  The noise was from the waterfall. The closer we got to the falls, the louder we had to speak until we were shouting to be heard.

Paddys River Falls from below.

A platform has been built out from the cliff face to give a terrific view of the falls and nearby area. As well a steep set of stairs with handrails (well some of the way) takes you to just above water level. The pathway ends at a railing

Donnis at Paddys River Falls

but thereafter there is a slippery muddy track to behind the falls themselves. The cave behind the falls indicates extreme age. I was able to scramble along the cliff face as far as I was comfortable but the rocks and mud were slippery from constant water, spray and drips from overhanging foliage.

Moving closer to the falls. That's me in the centre of the photo to the left of the falls.

In the large and commodious car-park, a couple were camped in their caravan. The man told me the sign at the top said not suitable for caravans but as he is a truckie with 40 years driving experience he ignored the sign.

The Bago Forest is a Pine plantation and timber is felled and cut here.

We followed the Snowy Mountains Highway back through Tumba and on to the Sugar Pine Walk in the Bago forest near the village of Laurel Hill.A section of Sugar Pines, planted in 1928 have been left in place due to their age and size. A track has been forged by cutting out a section of trees in a straight line.

The walk through a magestic stand of Sugar Pines.

Although only a short walk, the magical feeling when you enter the pine needle carpeted forest floor is almost haunting.

The area seems so, silent, with no noise as you walk on those soft pine needles. Midway through the walk it is evident that looking right and left into the surrounding forest it would be so easy to become disorientated and lost.

So easy to get disdoriented and lost.

From the Sugar Pines we drove on to the town of Batlow, famous for apples. We stopped at a roadside stall and bought a 5 Kg bag of…apples.

Although it was getting late in the afternoon the CO-PILOT suggested that as we had come this far we might as well continue on to Tumut. We had a quick look around at the town, the picnic park with the fast flowing, bitterly cold Tumut River passing through. It was a long but great day of touring so we stopped for a Chinese meal in Tumut before tackling the 2 hour drive back to Culcairn. The drive took us through the town of Adelong, as we followed the Snowy Mountains Highway until it joined the Hume Highway as night fell. We followed the Hume to Holbrook where we turned off to Culcairn, a hot shower and a good night sleep in our own bed.

We saw enough of Adelong and Tumut to whet our appetite for a return visit next month.

Tuesday 20th March.

What started out as a lay day to rest and recover, we ended up driving into Albury for me to have a healthy discussion with Centrelink. I did not get all my questions answered but hey, 50% strike rate is not bad.  The CO-PILOT went grocery shopping, we stopped at WOW to see if there were any bargains. None, zilch, nadda.  We arrived home in time for dinner.

Wednesday 21st March.

The CO-PILOT was at work and I did house duties.

This time last year was the 2nd last week of our stay at Traveston. The CO-PILOT arrived home from Canada, we both had chiropractic treatments as we both had hip and back pain.

This week in 2010 we were battling cyclone Ului which scored a direct hit on Airlie Beach. Looking back now I recall the tension of several days while we waited for the cyclone and when it finally hit us. Although we did not think so at the time, we now realise the tension we were experiencing. Much greater tension than we experienced when the floodwaters were threatening us two weeks ago.

This week in 2009 we were travelling the south coast of NSW on our way to Tasmania and catching up with my friends from when I lived here 20 or so years ago.

Thursday 22nd March

A home duties day today.

Friday 23rd March

A cold front from the Antartic moved in today, bringing overcast and very cool conditions although the predicted rain did not arrive. We did experience a few wind driven raindrops which were icy cold. I drove to Albury to purchase a few needed items arriving back in time for the CO-PILOT to leave for work.

Reader Geoff C sent an email to inform me about a free MS download called ICE. It automatically stitches together 2 or more photos to make a wide screen panoramic view. I did a little experimenting and a couple of examples are shown.

The CO-PILOT bought a can of Nut Meat earlier this week. It is a vegetarian alternative to meat being made from peanuts and wheat. The recipe calls for the mass (mess?) to be grated and other ingredients added. I followed the recipe faithlessly (I added too much cooked rice and forgot to allow the rice to cool before blending with the mixture) and made a dozen crumbling vegetarian patties. They taste OK but are considerably more work than using minced meat. In fact I will use minced meat next time.

Saturday 24th March.
Another cold day just like yesterday. The CO-PILOT turned on the heater this morning and I left it on all day, spending most of my day indoors playing (learning) on the computer.  Playing with ICE and looking back on a photographic journey took up most of my day.

Sunday 23rd March

Woke to a chilly 11°morning.

Another camper pulled out this morning, leaving for Queensland. He travels with his little dog and is looking for the warmer weather. Last year he had a lung removed due to his emphysema. He has trouble breathing in the cooler weather and along with his back problem he is limited in his activities. Another camper, John, has been here 3 years. He also lives alone with his little dog. Next to him is a man (no dog) who arrived 18 months ago and decided to replace the motor in his 4WD. The new motor is still sitting under a blanket waiting to be installed.

Next to us is the sheep shearer who only shows up on weekdays.

The campground is an option for people needing a pet friendly, cheap camp while they prepare to move on in their travels.

At the moment it is quiet with only three rigs tenanted, the rest of the park is empty. The lower section of the park only gets an occasional overnight camper as the cool shadows, needed during the summer, are much too cool for us to return.

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243. Sunday 18th March 2012. Up in the mountains, Culcairn and over 55…

18/03/2012

Monday 11th March

The CO-PILOT has two days off work so I planned a trip which would feel a bit like a holiday for her. Of course, as with all my best laid plans, something gets in the way and slows us down. The planned departure time of 8am became 10am. As our route passed through Albury we decided to drop in to visit Dick Smith Electronics. The remote control for the Personal Video Recorder I bought in December has stopped working. No, it was not the batteries.  The night before I had tried three new sets of batteries. I also tested the batteries in the device and all replacements. All had a full charge of 1.5 volts or greater. Long story short, DSE replaced the remote control and we were on our way.

After leaving Albury we passed over the Murray River into Wodonga, Victoria and turned on to the Murray Valley Highway, which is not the same valley through which the Murray River flows.

Go figure.

Nevertheless the valley is very pretty and has many historical sites and towns along the way. First stop was Tallangatta for lunch.

Tallangatta on Lake Tallangatta taken from a hillside lookout.

It was a public holiday in Victoria today, so many of the shops were closed. The pubs were open but their lunch prices were a bit extreme so we elected for a pie and salad at the bakery.

This is so cute. It is the first time I have seen a water fountain with a special bowl for dogs.

Lots of old motorcycles, mostly on the back of utes or trailers,

An old Indian Motorcycle on the back of a trailer. There were several trailers and utes carrying mostly old Indians and Harley Davidsons outside the Tallangatta Pub.

were arriving in town.

Another old Indian at Tallangatta.

Two old Indian motorcycles were ridden into town. There was a rally somewhere over Jindabyne or Khancoban way and the bikes were on their way home. Where better to meet up on the drive home than to call into the Tallangatta Pub.

We continued along the Murray Valley Highway, noticing the High Country Rail Trail mostly follows the same route as far as Cudgewa. We stopped to walk to an historic trestle bridge at the Lawson State Park between Darbyshire and Koetong.

Boggy Creek Trestle Bridge sign.

The bridge, although now in a state of near collapse is a fine example of the workmanship of almost 100 years ago.

Boggy Creek Trestle Bridge.

All the rail lines have been removed but the basic track bedding is kept in good condition for hikers, cyclists and horse riders. Following the track we noted an original timber road bridge, also in a state of near collapse, crosses over the cutting through which the original rail track ran.

Boggy Creek road bridge.

From the car-park to the trestle bridge is a well formed track joining the High Country Rail Trail. Along the way we happened upon a fresh wombat hole.

Fresh Wombat hole.

Arriving late in the afternoon at Corryong we decided to stay in a motel for the night and used the last few hours of the day looking around this historical old town.

Corryong Post Office.

It is reported the poet, Banjo Patterson, met a local bushman, Jack Riley and based his epic poem, The Man From Snowy River on his exploits and fine horsemanship.

Jack Riley commemorative statue.

Others dispute the claim but the locals believe it to be the truth and have capitalised upon the link. In late March each year Corryong has The man From Snowy River Bush Festival and the town was already geared up for the influx of participants and tourists. We took time to visit the cemetery

Corryong Cemetry

and the grave of Jack Riley.

Jack Riley grave at Corryong.

Corryong is in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains and views of the surrounding mountains are everywhere. It would be a wonderful sight in the winter when the snow arrives. Cold though!

Although at the last Census there were 1200 people living here it seems a far more prosperous and busy place than say Henty or Culcairn, towns with which we are familiar and of similar population. Most shops are occupied and those which are look in good condition and doing well. Today was a public holiday but nevertheless the two hotels and several motels were open for business as were three take away stores.

Dinner was at one of the hotels where we had roast lamb and veg.

Tuesday 13th March

Today we drove over the NSW border (Murray River) to Khancoban (last Census in 2006 had the population as 241) where the Alpine Way Highway commences then returned to home via the Murray River Highway in Victoria through Towong, Tintaldra, Walwa, and crossed the Murray again at Bellbridge back into NSW and home. The road pretty much faithfully follows the turns and contours of the river making it a longer trip than returning via the way we came.

It felt like we were driving in Tasmania again.

While in Khancoban we took a drive along what must be one of the shortest highways anywhere. It is the Alpine Way highway, 136 Klms from Khancoban to Jindabynne. It is a narrow steep and winding road through isolated and inhospitable bush.

Typical of the many warning signs we saw on the steep climb from Khancoban to Murray 1.

We only drove as far as the Murray Number 1 Power Station and looked at the history in the visitor centre.

Murray 1 Power Station.

The Snowy Mountains Scheme, now called Snowy Hydro, has seven hydro power stations which supplies power to the national grid.

Power from Murray 1 with moon overhead.

The water is used to turn the 10 turbines then runs into Swampy Plains River

Water from the turbines is released into Swampy Plains River.

and then into the Khancoban Dam which is then released into the Murray River. Guided tours, in fact any kind of tour, are no longer carried out in any of the power stations in the Snowy Mountains Scheme. It seems there are too many security and safety issues involved. Especially security and threats of terrorism issues.

Sign as we leave Murray 1.

Back in Khancoban we looked at the Dam

Khancoban Dam.

and I, being me, decided to climb through a loose wire fence on the creek bank in front of the dam. I wanted to get a clear photo of the turbulence stirred up by the dam water being released. I did not realise and there were no warning signs, the fence was electrified. I lifted the top strand and stepped through with one leg and whammo! I got a full electric shock on the umm err, you know the umm err, privates. I am sorry to report I let out a scream as I felt my parts burning. Well, not actually burning but that was the sensation. It was rather painful for the next 15 minutes and left me shaken and doubled over. The discomfort gradually eased enough for me to go in search of a sign. Found one, down the dirt track around a corner and nowhere near where I had my incident. I was back to normal a couple of hours later.
The local Khancoban airstrip is below the dam wall.

The Khancoban airstrip - below the dam wall.

Interesting.

I would love to visit here later in the year when the snow is all around.

Around this end of the Murray River (which is near the headwaters, located somewhere around a place called Tom Groggin) they refer to the area as “The Pure End of the Murray”. From what we saw of the clear sparkling rushing water we can agree with the comments.

Murray River near Khancoban.

Old Farmhouse tucked into hillside.
On the drive along the Victorian side of the Murray River we saw many interesting sights including the following.

Ruins of what once would have been a substantial farmhouse.

The ferry can hold about two cars. It is a free service. There is a push button at either side to summons the ferryman. There is a floating pontonnat each end. You drive onto the pontoon then onto the ferry. Regrettably we did not use the ferry on this occasion. It would have cut about 50 klms from the trip.

We use the Bethanga Bridge to cross Lake Hume from Victoria into NSW.

Wednesday 14th March

Not much happened around camp today except for the usual housekeeping duties. However an interesting conversation with neighbours is worth reporting. A couple arrived in a Winnebago Leisure Seeker of similar vintage as ours. So I walked over and said g’day. As you do. Our new neighbours are from Belgium. For the last 18 years they have been coming to Oz and travelling for 6 months of spring and summer then returning to Belgium for 6 months of spring and summer. They have travelled around Oz three times and have been criss crossing the nation each year. He is 80 years of age and does all the driving. I enjoyed talking with this happy travelling couple.

In the evening I spent some time with our neighbour Garry. He is a sheep shearer and his wife is a Qantas Airline pilot. They live at Tumbarumba in the mountains. He lives in the van next door during the week when he is shearing. Tonight he was cleaning and sharpening the combs and blades on his electric shears.

Cleaning, polishing and sharpening shearing blades and combs.

Thursday 15th March

Sometime during the night I was woken by something. A sixth sense working as I slept? Perhaps it was a noise?  It was still dark but I thought I heard the distant rumble of thunder then saw a little flash of light visible through the open roof hatch. I stepped out of bed and reached up to the hatch and saw another closer flash of lightning followed by a few splashes of raindrops. I closed the hatch and the bathroom hatch and as I climbed back into bed another stronger lightning flash and the rain started in earnest.

Whew! I started to imagine what the consequences would be had I slept through whatever warning sense woke me. Eventually I fell asleep to the sound of drumming rain.

I was woken sometime later when the CO-PILOT got out of bed to close the hatch screen to keep out the lightning flashes. With all our curtains and the hatch screen closed we were in our own darkened cocoon.

Friday 16th March

Woke to continual rain and a radio announcement we should be prepared for another flood.

Hmmm! What to do on a cool wet day when the CO-PILOT is at work?

On our way home on Tuesday we crossed a bridge over the Murray River near Khankoban. As we stopped to take photos, the CO-PILOT noticed a couple of apple trees growing behind the Armco barrier. We picked a bucket load of apples. Today I peeled, sliced and cooked up a batch of those apples. I also tossed in a large peach and a good handful of sultanas. I put some of the cooked apples into a couple of small pannikins, added a couple of walnuts each and mixed up a topping of flour, brown sugar, oats, coconut, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Once this mix was placed on top of the apples I baked them in the turbo oven. It was the best apple crumble I have eaten.

Apple Crumble.

Saturday 17th March

A quiet day apart from finding a Bogong Moth perched on a chair outside WWWGO.

Bogong Moth.

It seems their bodies hold 61% fat and were quite tasty to the local aboriginal tribes in the Snowy Mountains. The moths would gather in their thousands around caves where they were harvested for eating by the local tribes.

Sunday18th March

It was a day off work for the CO-PILOT so we visited several over 55 resorts around Albury. Over 55 resorts are totally different to a retirement resort. For a start there are no medical facilities in the resort. They are designed for healthy active people. NO, we are not looking at buying into a resort here but it was a good chance to visit, see the various types of resort, what facilities are included, price of housing and weekly fees and deferred management fees, if any. Armed with that information we now have an idea of what we are looking for when we finally decide to settle. We also took a visit to Lake Hume on the NSW side at a place called Table Top.

Lake Hume at Table Top.

Submerged fence at Table Top.

 

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242. Sunday 11th March 2011. Culcairn, floods and immigrants…

11/03/2012

Monday 5th March

Just because the flood peaked somewhere around Sunday midnight does not mean the floodwaters instantly drop.

No siree.

We watched TV for another hour to ensure the water was not continuing to rise.

The light-pole shone its eerie light, reflected red brown in the water all night which was helpful for our restless sleep. We would wake, look out the bedroom window and could see the water level by the reflected light then drop back into another light sleep.

On waking we now have water views out of each window. We also have the sounds of running water to soothe and relax us. The water is still only a few metres from our rear wheels.

At 7am road and rail traffic had not yet returned to normal. Further north at Wagga Wagga which is on the Murrumbidgee River, thousands fled the town according to the following

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8429691/thousands-flee-wagga-wagga-floodwaters

Tuesday 6th March

The water level dropped by a metre overnight.

We are so grateful the water did not inundate the town or the caravan park. We saw video footage of other towns in the lower half of NSW and the top half of Victoria where homes are underwater. How sad it must be to face the loss of just about everything and the clean-up which follows. Today 5,000 people in Wagga Wagga 72 klms to our north are being evacuated as the Murrumbidgee River is also in flood. Further to our west, the Billabong Creek drains into the Edward River which then drains into the Murray as does the Murrumbidgee. Forecasts are that people near the lower Murray will face flooding until the end of April, even if no rain falls in their area.

By nightfall the water level had dropped a further several metres.

We noticed the huge number of “money spiders” now inhabiting the area. Silken threads are hanging from almost every outside structure, trees and bushes. These tiny spiders about double the size of a match head are quick and can leap what seems enormous distances comparative to its size.  Thankfully we saw no snakes trying to escape the flood.

Wednesday 7th March

Billabong Creek is now almost back to its usual size. The peak reached 9.3m in around 12 hours but took near 60 hours to recede. Lots of undergrowth is flattened and the lower part of the park is not yet opened to campers. The electrical outlets and water pipes have to be tested before the all clear can be given. In the meantime we have become used to being sited on the high part of the park. We have one of the better sites and if the rain returns we will be drier here than beside the creek.

Thursday 8th March.

Today has been a day of contrasts and emotional swings.

The CO-PILOT had a lecture to attend in Albury.

In previous posts I have mentioned the old buildings in Albury. It is about time I shared some photos. This was the original Post Office in Albury.

I elected to drive her and spend some time exploring.

Which Bank is this?

During the drive I heard the flood reports from all over south western NSW and north western Victoria. Although the floods have passed some towns, other towns downstream are still waiting on the peak to reach them. Today I heard reports from people mopping up after the floods passed their town. Other reports were of towns in the middle of a flood crisis and still other towns who are waiting on the peak to reach them which could be days or even weeks away.

Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society. They dont make buildings like this anymore.

Albury Courthouse. Look at the date it was built.

The original town hall now used as an art gallery. Again they dont make em like this anymore. I quite like the flag tower.

After dropping the CO-PILOT in Albury I drove over the border to Wodonga in Victoria

The original Hume Highway ran across Gateway Island and into Wodonga. This little oasis, Byrne Lagoon, is on the island.

then a loop back into NSW via the Hume Highway and out to visit the Hume Dam

The Hume Dam on the Murray River.

which creates the Hume Lake on the Murray River.

Looking back over Lake Hume from the dam wall.

A short distance from the dam wall is the original quarry where much of the rock used in the wall was extracted.

The Bethanga Bridge as it crosses the Murray River to Bellbridge. At this point the Murray drains into Lake Hume.

Leaving the dam I again crossed the Murray into Victoria to the tiny settlement of Bonegilla (aboriginal for “meeting of the waters”) where the confluence of three rivers, Murray, Mitta Mitta and Kiewa meet. Also located here are the remnants of Block 19 of the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre,

Corrugated iron artwork at the entrance to Bonegilla Migrant Centre Experience, Block 19.

once part of a much larger 27 block establishment. Some parts of the original “blocks” across the road have been retained by the Army and are now upgraded and modernised and known as Latchford Barracks.

Bonegilla is pronounced Bone Gilla. Not Bonney Gilla or Bonna Gilla as some have pronounced it. I grew up believing it was pronounced Bonney Gilla.

Block 19 buildings.

I was interested to look at the migrant centre for three reasons;

1. When I was a teenager and early adult life I had visited people in other camps at Pagewood and Fairy Meadow so I had seen a part of what life was like for those migrants.

2. I had experienced a similar life when for 4 years my parents and us four children lived in a two bedroom section of an ex WWII US Army Barracks at Riverwood in NSW. We lived in these settlements along with thousands of other hopeful families waiting allocation of a rental or purchase property from the Housing Commission of NSW. The barracks were built of walls and roof of asbestos cement sheets. The walls and roof did not meet to allow ventilation. The walls and ceiling were not lined. The Bonegilla huts were similar design but made from corrugated iron. Our huts were hot in summer and very cold in winter. The Bonegilla experience was probably worse.

3. Finally I spent 2 years in the Army and experienced first-hand the same rough barrack conditions of corrugated iron “dongas” and a long walk to latrines, washhouse, laundry and mess hall. Sometimes the walk was in mud.

The migrants would have experienced further difficulties in the shape of being thousands of miles from their homeland in Europe, not knowing the language and being a long way from shops.  More information is available here    http://www.bonegilla.org.au/      and is also worth a visit to this Heritage Listed property. Some migrants only stayed at the camp a few days but often families stayed for several years. A recurring comment from previous dwellers was the complaint about food. Although plentiful and nobody went hungry, the taste and smell of mutton several times a week was more than some migrants could handle and still will not eat mutton or lamb for that matter. Although there was a great deal to be seen and I spent nearly two hours wandering around the eight buildings on display I took very few photographs.

Single Mens Quarters. Each room was about 4m x 4m which allowed for sparse furniture of an army bed, table, wardrobe and a chair. They were also supplied with pillows, towels, sheets, 3 blankets and cutlery and crockery.

In all, I crossed into Victoria and back into NSW three times during the day.

Friday 9th March

Lots of flooding in centres to the north and west of us.

Saturday 10th March.

Sadly, the WOW Sight & Sound group of stores has gone into receivership. They are having closing down sales at all their stores. Although sad as the situation is, I drove to Lavington, near Albury to grab a discounted purchase or two. The CO-PILOT has always wanted a pocket camera and we also needed another external hard drive to store our recorded movies and photographs. The current external drives are almost full as they are also used as backup of old files.

The prices have only been discounted by 10% but if I wait until the discount increases, the chances of stock availability reduces. That said, I bought a Sony Cyber Shot pocket camera. It is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and weighs only 43grams. It has a 5x zoom and 16.2 megapixel capture and includes a HD video and Dolby stereo. Of course I can go on and on about the specifications but suffice to say I am happy with the purchase. Now comes the reading of the manual and experimenting with still and video shooting.

Hmmm! The CO-PILOT said she thinks we need another computer. Something smaller but as functional as our current laptop… a Toshiba Satellite L500

Hmmm! I did notice a Toshiba Netbook N500 with 250 Gb and three USB ports. Perhaps the price will come down more if I wait another week….Under $300 would be good.

Sunday 11th March

The CO-PILOT went to work. The sun shone. All day reports of floodwaters moving westwards and inundating towns, continues.

Amazing that although they have not had rain, the floods which rushed through here last week are now rushing through somewhere else.

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241. Sunday 4th March 2012. The rain came as we returned to Culcairn and a new flood experience…

04/03/2012

Monday 27th February

Somehow the big storm missed us overnight. The huge lightning display went on for hours but there was no rain. That is not something I can say for other towns in a 100klm radius. Some got an absolute drenching, two months rain in 6 hours. We are pleased we moved during the night just to be on the safe side. The weather forecast is rain for the remainder of the week.

With rain all about and all grounds becoming wet and muddy we are better off back in the relative dry of the Culcairn Caravan Park. We passed through the town of Yarrawonga, the great wine producing area. Yarrawonga looks a new and wealthy town and worth a look around. Alas not today. Next was another wine town of Rutherglen but we turned off a few klms from the town to take the bridge over the Murray River into the NSW town of Corowa, The birthplace of Australian Federation.

http://www.murrayriver.com.au/corowa/

Once again this is an old town with many of the original buildings restored and still being used today. Although we felt like exploring we were limited by time and weather to have a drive around town before pointing WWWGO towards Culcairn again. First we crossed the historic, one lane, timber John Foord Bridge to the sister town of Wahgunyah on the Victorian side of the Murray River. We had lunch at a riverside park until it started to rain.

Sigh!

All the towns we passed through this morning are attractive both historically and architecturally and we would enjoy visiting them again. There are several festivals in the Murray Valley area over the next month so we may still have a chance to visit. Our location in Culcairn means we are no more than 2 hours from these towns by TERIOS.

On reflection it seems there are more towns and people squeezed into Victoria than say NSW where distances between towns becomes greater, especially the further north you travel. Compared to Queensland where distances between towns is huge and measured in hundreds of klms instead of 20 or 30klms.

We travelled through Howlong and followed the Murray River back into Albury then back onto the Hume Freeway before connecting with the Olympic Highway and 30 klms later we were back in Culcairn.

Our favourite spot beside the creek was already taken by other campers. One of them leaves in the morning so we parked temporarily overnight.

Tuesday 28th February

It started to rain overnight. Tentatively at first but getting heavier and heavier. By morning we found two leaks in our ceiling and outside, little rivulets of water moving past our door. The water was deeper than my shoes!

Yerk!

I have no idea where the leaks are starting from but I cannot do anything about them until it is dry by which time I cannot trace the leaks anyway.
Sigh!

Billabong Creek is a large system and carries lots of water long distances, following the Murray in some respects. Heavy rain in Holbrook, a town to the East, will cause local nuisance flooding but due to the rubbish in the creek will result in flooding here in Culcairn and further west if the rain persists. The weather forecast suggests the rain will be with us all week so we moved from our temporary spot by the creek to the level campsites on top of the hill. We also get a nice flat concrete slab to set up our outside furniture…when the rain stops and when we can put the awning out.

Today was our anniversary so in celebration we drove to Albury where we had an early Chinese meal then saw the movie, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Wednesday 29th February

The rain has persisted all day and at times became heavier. The leaks have not recurred during the day. However, our once perfect TV reception has deteriorated to NO SIGNAL. Tracing everything I found the antenna booster light is not umm err lit. According to the user manual it is caused by a short in the cable and power will be restored once the short is cleared.

Hmmm! The only place I think there could be a short is at the top of the antenna. Because the antenna is frequently raised and lowered, perhaps over time the connection has worn. There is only one way to know for sure. That is, to climb on the roof and check the masthead. That job will have to wait until tomorrow when there is daylight and a break in the rain.

Today the park manager asked the other two campers in the lower section beside the creek to move to higher ground as she had been told to expect the creek levels to rise in the next day or two.

Thursday 1st March

The creek rose during the night and the roof leak has returned.

The caravan park manager received a phone call from people at Holbrook 29 klms to the east. They had lots of rain overnight, some streets have nuisance flooding and all water is draining into Billabong Creek. We should see the creek rise a good deal further over the next 24 hours.

After climbing onto the roof, in wet weather gear, I could not find an obvious antenna fault but did notice the coaxial cable is cracked in a few places (from years in the sun. I covered those with black electricians tape but the tv reception is still almost nil. Another camper has mentioned his normally perfect reception has also deteriorated.

Hmmm!

Friday 2nd March

The creek rose another metre and a half during the morning but remained at that level for the remainder of the day. Although today has been rain free, the forecast is for heavy rain to return tomorrow. According to the news, 75% of NSW is in flood or under flood watch. We are dry and comfortable but on the news we saw, places we visited last week are already flooded. Wangaratta, Yarrawonga, Rutherglen, and surrounding areas.

Hmmm! Our little visit was well timed.

Saturday 3rd March

This time last year WWWGO was parked at Traveston and I visited beaches in brilliant sunshine along the Sunshine Coast. One place I visited was Inskip Point,

Fisherman with 4WD on sandspit at Inskip Point

a little north of Rainbow Beach. The CO-PILOT was in Canada.

This time 2010 I was in Airlie Beach and surprise, surprise, the CO-PILOT was in Canada. It was raining, much like today, with gradually heavier rain during the day.

In 2009 we were in Airlie Beach, the CO-PILOT was at home and we were cleaning our motorhome (the Coaster) in preparation for the trip to Tasmania. At the same time, cyclone Hamish was threatening the coast and it was raining. Like today, the rain got heavier and heavier.

Today the Billabong Creek rose about 2.5m and dropped a metre by late afternoon.

Then the rain started again. It rained and rained.

Sunday 4th March

Woke to constant rain and the leak in the roof continues to drip.

Billabong Creek started to rise about mid-morning. By mid-afternoon it had broken its bank and water was spreading out across the area we were camped in for the last few weeks.

Our original campsite beside Billabong Creek next to the picnic table.

Same campsite but now underwater.

 

The water level rose quickly and submerged the picnic table which was once beside WWWGO.

The picnic table soon to be 4m underwater.

By now it had stopped raining and the sun made a welcome appearance, driving the humidity level up to 70%.

Before long, the picnic table on the far side of the lower level campground was surrounded by brown muddy debris laden floodwater. Only the table top was showing. The SES depot on the other side of the railway line set off a number of alarms, calling volunteers to action. Soon lots of cars, utes and trucks were arriving for the SES assembly.

The childrens playground became an aquatic playground and great for skimboarders.

This no longer funny.

Our current campsite before the flood arrived.

The water level has come halfway up the hill behind us.

Our new campsite with floodwaters quickly approaching.

I am not sure, if we had to evacuate, where we could go. The road south to Albury is lower and has water across in several places. There are fewer cars and trucks coming from that direction. West to Walla Walla and Walbundrie is the same. Walla Walla is already cut off. North to Wagga Wagga and the road is cut at The Rock and Uranquinty and evacuations have already occurred in those towns. The road east to Holbrook has several low level bridges across the Billabong. Lockhart was evacuated early this morning.

Lightpole and meter box in the lower campsite. Soon the water will be halfway to the light.

We packed up ready to leave if necessary but there is really nowhere to go. The flood peaked at 9.3m at Morven and expected through here at midnight. No trains have passed through in the last two hours.

The same lightpole at 10pm shortly before the peak.

At midnight the peak was just a few metres from our wheels.

Whew! What a relief.

Well, we hope it was the peak. I’m off to bed.

 

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