2010 National Gathering Report

Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010 at 16:20

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

The ExplorOz Members National Gathering 2010 was held in Wiluna over 3 days, from 29th June - 1st July.

A wonderful turnout of in excess of 120 people made this a wonderful gathering on the grounds of the Gunbarrel Laager & Travellers Rest operated by Mal and Gill Marchant. I'm sure all who visited would share the desire to extend our most sincere thanks to this hard-working, generous couple who couldn't have been more helpful or accommodating to our group. Nothing was too hard for them and they did it all with smiles and genuine interest for the well being of everyone that attended. We also recommend anyone travelling in the region to stop in a stay a few days at the Laager. It's rough, its basic... but you won't regret the experience. Oh, and don't forget to go and get yourself a "pick your own" box of mandarins from their orchard - they are the absolutely best we've ever tried. Our whole family has gone off mandarins and consider them a disliked fruit - however after trying these we are now mandarin addicts and consumed a 7kg box within a few days of leaving Wiluna. We bought another box 2 weeks later in Bindoon near Perth that didn't cut the grade, so its not just the season, its the soil!

The weather remain dry and sunny the whole time, but bitterly cold at night despite large campfires and plenty of firewood supplied by the Gunbarrel Laager.

The Wiluna Shire were exceptionally supportive of our gathering and put on an incredible dinner for us at the shire offices (old hospital building). An amazing array of top quality fresh salads, and a range of barbeque meats, chicken kebabs, rissoles, hot coffee, tea, soft drinks, and masses of decadent cakes for desert was most appreciated. Both the Shire CEO and the Shire President addressed our gathering, welcoming us to Wiluna and the region, and by invitation we enjoyed mixing with local pastoralists, miners, and community families and their kids around the campfires and sit down dinner. Link to live blog sent via iphone

Each Members also received a Gift Bag prepared jointly by the Wiluna Shire team and ExplorOz containing a commemorative 100 year CSR "number plate", Canning stubby holder, CSR commemorative Postcard, ExplorOz Trivia CD, regional touring brochures and information plus gift vouchers and other bits and pieces from supporting companies.

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors (Business Members) who donated items we ran 5 raffles and collected a total of $745 for charity.

Raffled items were:

Cape York Connections 4x4 Tag along Tour of the CSR 2011, worth $2,250
Terrain Tamer Series 3 Air Compressor, worth $320
ThermoGuard EGT Gauge (Pyrometer) Kit, worth $303
4x4 Equip Shower & Light Pole, worth $89.95
Battery Value 12V Battery Spy, worth $19

And winners were:

Flynnie (who won twice! picking up the 12v battery spy & the EGT guage)
Paul & Jan - Ups & Downs (who won the CSR tour)
Rhonda Zanich (who won the Shower & Light Pole)
Ed & Jan C (who won the air compressor for her father Kevin)

The 10th anniversary ExplorOz Memorabillia Photo Canvas Print was bought at auction by Ed C for $405. He now owns both editions, having also picked last year's at the National Gathering in St George, Qld.

A total of $1570 was raised during the Gathering, which I.T. Beyond Pty Ltd will donate to the RFDS. The breakdown of fundraising was as follows:

Raffle - $745
Auction - $405
Fines - $320
Bob Cooper donation $100

Note: you can view the letter of receipt for this donation from the RFDS as an attachment at the bottom of this blog. Please note that this does not account for the funds donated via the auction as we asked for this donation to be receipted directly to Ed C. for his own take deductable benefit.

Special thanks to Bob Cooper and Janet who presented two excellent sessions on day 1 - Outback Survival (out at Well 1) and the nighttime snake awareness and handling session. Link to related blog sent live from iphone

Thanks also to Greg Laurer, the Hema Navigator product manager who tirelessly and patiently ran an in-depth navigation tutorial on Day 2 to a huge turnout of keen navigators! Link to live blog sent via iphone

And, last but not least, thanks to Paul and Wendy from the RFDS who came and showed us the work they do through the On the Road outback health program. I think we all learned a lot, laughed a lot, but most importantly we take home some important tips to think about.

A few of us visited Gill's granddaughter home also on the 3rd day and watched her "School of the Air" lesson conducted over the internet. It was very kind of her mother Coraline to let us into her home to see their "school room" - it was a treasured rare experience.

Many of you were ever so helpful in lending a hand to help David and I with general organisational bits and pieces, which was most appreciated. Marcus T and Adrian C both gave talks on topics of interest - sharing knowledge and information.

We had a fantastic farewell party on the last night around the campfire with over 50 spot prizes, lots of fines by our ruthless (but gorgeous) Sheriff Anneke, the reading of the "ExplorOz Gathering Bush Poem" - to be posted here tomorrow by Adrian C (and his excellent bush poetry reading from the little RED book that kept a few late owls entertained).

It's wonderful to see some of you writing blogs about your ongoing travels and some of you we have already met up with along the track as we continued our family journey after the Gathering.

We celebrated birthdays of Matt (WA) and Rob (Navigator 1) and thanks to all that wrote in our big birthday card celebrating the 10th Anniversary of ExplorOz.com What a fabulous party it was. So a huge thanks to all that attended. It was a truely superb experience for David and I to met you all. We look forward to continuing the friendships we've made and hope you'll continue to find ExplorOz Membership useful and fun.


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David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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