Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 00:56


Hi all,

well we are back in sunny Wiluna at the Laager after leaving our camper here and doing an 8 day loop through Lorna Glen and Granite Peak Stations onto the CSR up to well 6 and back to Wiluna.
It was nice to get back and have a hot shower and as luck would have it, the Chamberlin Tractors rolled in last night so it was great to meet some interesting people and Lee even got a ride which we are told is a very rare occurrence!.
But that's another story....... onto the gathering !

We arrived in Wiluna early, on the 25th, keen to get a good spot and it paid off as we set up on the West boundary and had epic sunsets just about every night, good mobile and internet reception, but still no power. The trench had been dug, the cable laid but the sparky was nowhere to be found! Needless to say, it didn’t bother us as there was plenty of sunshine for the solar panels. That’s after the ice had melted off them in the morning due to the -1 to -3 degree nights. Brrrrrrrr…!!!!

We met Mal the proprietor, who is one of the friendliest blokes you’ll ever meet! He was a bit stressed, as his wife Jill had left for Kalgoorlie to attend a funeral and he was under the pump to get things ready! But we offered a hand when needed, and in the end no one went without!

So, we were all set up, next to our new neighbors Hans and Anneka, a.k.a the Sherriff, and all we could do was sit back, enjoy the warm days and wait for the rest of the EO mob to arrive!

The first 2 days were spent exploring the grounds of the Gunbarrel Laager, which if you’re a 4yr old, your in exploration heaven.
Lee went collecting firewood in the 4 wheeler, a drive in a dozer and then helped hitch up the trailers of a Mack Truck road Train and a cruise out on the road courtesy of Mals son in law who runs his trucking business out of the property.
If he wasn’t climbing piles of dirt, rummaging through the many scrap heaps or riding his bike, he was feeding horses or the resident goat that lives in the pool enclosure. Oh, I forgot to mention picking mandarins, the trees where bursting with them and they actually tasted quite good, better than any ones I’ve ever got in Perth anyway!

By day 3, I was treacherously close to running out of beer, and with a hint of fear in my back pocket, journeyed into town to get some takeaways from the Paradise Club Hotel.
First stop, the boys in blue, for a license check, form filling and the assurance that I was an upstanding citizen. Then it was off to the pub with permission slip in had.

The beer was now obtained, and after a quick stop at the grocery store for some bananas for Lee and a stop off at the Shire office to pick up our ExplorOz goody bag, it was back to the Laager for some cold beers and sunset gazing and meeting up with the newly arriving EO members that were now steadily rolling in.

The next day saw the arrival of David and Michelle and it was great to finally meet the both of them, as they came past and had a good long chat! Like Mal, Michelle was pretty stressed with the organizing of the event. More so that all the goodies and prizes had not arrived yet and she was nervously awaiting the arrival of Navigator 1 in their new green beast ( HUGO 1 ) to deliver the goods!

So it was all hands on deck to give David and Michelle a hand to set everything up before the 4pm meet and great the EO horde out on the grass! Mal gave a welcome intro, then Michelle discussed the events planed for the days ahead whilst we all sipped on cold bevy’s thinking what the days ahead had installed for us! We also met Bob Cooper and he discussed what he had planned for his survival course the next morning. Needless to say, Navigator 1 rolled in right on queue with all the name tags so we could at least call each other by name!

We were up early the next morn, shook off the cobwebs with a coffee and some porridge then bundled into the cruiser and we were off to Well 1 on the CSR for Bob Coopers survival course. Set amongst the trees, it was a bit chilly out of the sun, but Bob’s course was full of interesting info and some great yarns of Bobs past experiences and the chill was soon forgotten. I am still amazed at the amount off stuff he fits into their survival kit. I am to scared to open mine, as I know I won’t fit it all back in!

After some photos around Well 1, we had a bight to eat on the back of the cruiser, had a mag to some new found EO members and before we knew it, it was beer o’clock, and time think about what we were going to put in the camp oven for dinner.

The usual sunset beers, followed by Ren’s ace damper and a hearty camp oven feed were proceeded by yarns and laughter around the various camp fires that were set up and I found myself milling between ours shared by Dono and family, Craig and Dale, Matt and Danica and the raging fire set up in front of Red Tail Blacks caravan with another mob of EOer’s .

The next day was to be a trip out to Lorna Glen Station with the Hema bloke, but majority ruled and he was to stay at camp and give an info session on the use of the new navigator. So with our GPS’s downloaded from Mr Hema, Dono and family, Craig and Dale, Matt and Danica and ourselves headed out to Lorna Glen for our own little adventure.
The Gunnbarrell and Granite Peak roads were an easy 95/100 km/h drive out and it wasn’t until we hit the station road that we had to curb the speed limit. We hadn’t even hit the homestead before we saw Emu’s, Eagles and plentiful bird species around.
On arrival we were warmly greeted by Bruce and Kay, the station managers who were full of information about the area and only to happy to share there knowledge. Ren was especially excited as the DEC scientists were working on the station and as she is a conservation Biologist, she was soon down to deep conversation with the head Biologist. It is amazing how they have transported the various mammals from Borrow Island and are repopulating them out there, all be it with the electric fence surrounding them which Bruce assured us the fence was cranked up good enough to fry an egg and make a camel think twice about giving it a nudge a second time. Its main purpose to keep out the mongrel cats and foxes!
After a barbi lunch and a game of footy on the homestead lawn, and a fossic around the junk yard, the major attraction being a set of dozer tracks off a Len Beadelle dozer, Ren and I decided we would be back after the gathering as Bruce had shown us a great little camp spot and promised to show us how to get to some neat little areas on the property that we could explore.

So we all piled back into our fourby’s, powered up the GPS’s and headed for the return trek out the back of the property. Driving south along the Eastern boundary, a camel decided to race side by side next to Dono’s cruiser then abruptly make a right turn in front of him, trip over himself, land on his backside, get up and tumble on back into the bush ! They really are a bundle of 4 left legs!
A bit further on, we came across a heard of about 30 camels. We stopped, took a few photos and although it was great for Lee to see, these animals are so destructive to the native wildlife and amazingly, Bruce had told us earlier that they were breeding faster than they could shoot them so they were fighting a losing battle!

The trip back to Gunbarrell Laager went smoothly, and we were back just in time to have a quick freshen up, and head into town for a feed at the Shire Office grounds. After a big day of excitement for Lee, we pretty much enjoyed a fabulous BBQ feed compliments of Wiluna Shire and the surrounding mines and Lee went into delirious melt down mode so it was back to the Laager, and with Lee safely stuffed in his bed, he was asleep before I had zipped up the camper. ( We missed the EO picture auction, but Ren wouldn’t have let me bid anyway! ) Others arrived back, the fires were stoked and it was back on the bevy’s and yarns a plenty for the remainder of the evening!

The next day was a bit of a lay day for us, mooching around, exploring with Lee and catching up on a few chores! Lee and I scooted into town for an ice cream and beer run whilst mum had a nana nap which scored me plenty of brownie points! Mat installed an Anderson plug on our bulbar and then headed out with Hans to the mudflats for a sail but I was in lazy mode and regretfully declined, though I now wish I went as it sounded like they had a heap of fun even though they would have preferred more wind !

The EO wind up was to begin around 7pm so we hatched a plan to have dinner done before it all started. The decision was made that we would all make a different dish and share the wealth ! It was a feed fit for kings, fish curry, chicken curry, chicken and pumpkin pasta bake and stir fry chili beef along with one of Dono’s famous you beaut gourmet dampers. Bugga ya fancy city restaurants, that feed beat em hands down!

With our bellies full and a coldy in each jacket pocket, we meandered over to the grassed area for the prize giveaway and gathering wind up. Plenty of laughs, thanks to all who came from near and far, great raffle, (onya Paul, spose you’ll be doing the CSR next year!) and of course the sheriff who managed to raise a wopping $300+ the gathering ended up raising a pretty hefty sum for the RFDS who were extremely appreciative.

Although we never met each and every one who was there, there was always a friendly hello as you passed by.
Of the people we met, it was great to put faces to names and have a yarn with folks who quite simply have one similarity in common. We love to Explore OZ ………

See ya all in Silverton !


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