Bungaree Stations 175th Anniversary

Bungaree Station, one of South Australia’s oldest family businesses celebrated it’s 175th year from 3-6th October.

We visited on the Friday to see the demonstrations  from blacksmiths, stone masonry, wool spinning & knitting. Vintage equipment, tools & vehicles were also on show. A guided tour of the station by Sally Hawker in the morning or self guided in the afternoon was on offer.

Two vintage cars ferried visitors from the Station Store to the Shearing Shed during the week. Friends of ours had a display of what they had found on the property (detecting) which was very interesting, with some items being unknown.

We enjoyed watching the 175th annual shearing (in the shed built in 1842) making it one of the oldest working woolsheds. The station was established by George Hawker in 1841, and remains the home of the 4th, 5th & 6th generations of the Hawker family.

On the Sunday we were invited to attend the Blessing of the Fleece held in the shearing shed. The 50th occasion, it was a semi formal service followed by BBQ lunch at the shearers quarters. Many family, friends & people associated in any way with Bungaree attended. It topped off a busy week of celebrations for the Hawker Family.

If you are visiting the Clare Valley it is definitely worth visiting Bungaree Station to find out some of the history of this area and how important they were to the wool industry. We are able to attest that the Hawkers are an interesting & hard working family with amazing history that contributes to ‘Australia’s Story’.

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Springtime in the Valley :)

The weather has warmed up and the flowers are blooming! Finally!!

Springtime in the Clare Valley is beautiful. The canola fields have just lost their yellow tinge, the buds on the trees are all out, the succulents & cactus flowers are blooming – it’s the best time of year!

We finished the reno on the Mintaro cottage and have returned to a friends farm north of Clare to organise a few things before moving on. We’ve been back in the Clare Valley since end of April this year.  Now we have lived through the full four seasons! Yes, and this winter in Mintaro had to be the coldest we’ve experienced living in the van. Autumn & Spring the best.

I have posted some photos of the blooms around the farm area, the day out at the local Clare Show & general farm stuff! We also enjoyed Celebrating the 175th for Bungaree Station a couple of weeks ago (next post).

Blatant Promo!!

BLATANT PROMO!! Yes, I’m going to recommend a retailer!!

I recently needed to replace our very old and worn out Coleman 5 position camp chairs. They have served us well over many years but finally are ‘capoot’!!

So after much Mr Google searching I found Snowy’s, based in Adelaide. They are quick replying to emails and their prices were the best I found, PLUS FREE DELIVERY. WooHoo!!! Within 4 days I had two new Coleman chairs (in stylish black this time).
No fault of theirs, but a part  of one chair broke & within 4 days I had a replacement, no charge. Fantastic!

So Nomads, if you are in need of any camping or hiking equipment give Snowy’s a look @ http://www.snowys.com.au

Coleman 5 Position Camp Chair

 

 

Spring has Sprung!?

First day of spring according to the calendar….the calendar can’t read as it’s windy and cold here in Mintaro today!! 😦

We are nearing the completion of the renovation of the cottage here with only a small number of jobs left to do, but we are leaving the biggest till last….stripping, sanding & oiling a huge deck…as long as the rain stays away!

We are still enjoying frosty mornings but earlier this week we had sunny, windless days so busy building a bay window! As I write this it has started raining!

In between I am restoring some dining chairs I bought on a local buy & sell site. Love them, I think they are quite old as taking a lot of work to remove the old varnish!

Bungaree Station ‘Of Sheep and Vines Barrow Relay’

We had time off last weekend to witness the festivities of Bungaree Station and the Hawker Family. One of the events to help commemorate Bungaree’s 175th Anniversary  later this year was the Barrow Relay of the Vines from Sevenhill Cellars to Bungaree Station, a 25 km walk. Families whose histories are entwined with Bungaree re-enact the Jesuit Brother’s journey (in reverse).

They started at 7:30am at Sevenhill Cellars then had morning tea along the Riesling Trail Sheep Sculptures in Clare, a Billy Tea & Damper. A local produce tasting at Barinia Siding and on to “Calcannia” for a light lunch of Saltbush Lamb sausage baguettes & local wine tasting (Jim Barry Wines) in front of a roaring paddock bonfire.

George & Sally Hawker

The last leg of the walk was to Bungaree Station where the planting & blessing of the vines took place. In the late afternoon celebratory canapes and drinks with speeches took place in the shearers quarters with fires pits for warmth. Bungaree owners George & Sally Hawker were the hosts with assistance from family members.

It was a lovely day and the weather held out (no rain) to make the walk more enjoyable. B & I didn’t do the walk as we were busy in the morning but enjoyed the lunch & evening with the Hawkers and we thank them very much for including us.

We joined our friends again the next day for another bonfire in the paddock with home-grown baa baa snags to finish off a lovely weekend.

Quoted from Bungaree website: Early October Bungaree Station will be open to the public with daily guided tours, demonstrations of artisan trades and special displays along with it’s woolshed being central to further celebrations with the 175th annual shearing of the property’s famed sheep flock.

Still Winter…Still Cold…Must be crazy!!

Yes, we must be crazy!! Who in their right mind would voluntarily stay in this cold country through winter?? Really!!? Yep, that would be us! 😛

We are into Week 7 of our work here in Mintaro….I reckon the days are wetter, windier and colder than we ever experienced in all our days on the road. A local recently told us “wait till the winds come”…Newsflash: they’re here!!!

Anyway, we are progressing slowly with this reno. The sanding down & oiling of every door, screen door, window, sill is taking a long time. We have both learnt at least one thing: NO wood framed doors/windows in any future abode! The kitchen is in along with dishwasher plumbed in by B, the fiddly bits n’ pieces are done throughout, now the big job of laying a slab for foundation of extension & moving some doors….when the rain & wind stops, that is!!

I managed to get B to have a morning off and we drove to the nearby Saddleworth Country Marketplace. The weather was shocking (really??!) but the market went on. I purchased a lovely platter made from wine barrels by a couple from the Barossa – perfectly useless when you live in a caravan, but whatever. We also enjoyed a lovely morning tea put on by the local CWA. Good value hand made goods and friendly local people. What else would you rather do on a cold, wet & windy winters day?

The forecast for the next couple of days is partly cloudy with little to no rain! Yep, heard that before!!! 🙂

Historic Mintaro, SA

We are now camped up on a property in Mintaro, 1/2 hr south-east of Clare. For anyone interested in history, just an exert from local website http://www.mintaro.sa.au/:

“Mintaro’s historic character was shaped by two important mining industries in nineteenth century South Australia. In the 1840’s and 1850’s it became an early staging point for transporting copper from the Burra mines to Port Wakefield and from the 1860’s onwards, it was South Australia’s leading producer of high quality slate.

The surrounding farming districts of the fertile Gilbert Valley were able to reap the rewards of excellent wheat and wool prices during South Australia’s rural boom of the 1870’s and early 1880’s. This wealth was reflected in two large pastoral properties near Mintaro. Both Martindale Hall, built in 1879-80 by Edmund Bowman, and Kadlunga homestead, purchased in 1881 by Sir Samuel Way, the Chief Justice, reflected a way of life akin to that of the English gentry. Mintaro, like rural village counterparts in England, provided these properties with a ready source of local labour. 

Archive Photo: Kadlunga Homestead 1901
Archive Photo: Building Kadlunga Homestead
Archive Photo: the men who built Kadlunga

The Mintaro quarry is one of the oldest continuously producing quarries in Australia. As you stroll around the town, you can see slate buildings, chimneys, tanks, wash troughs and paving. They show how widely slate has been used as a construction material and give a special character to Mintaro.”

We are doing some work on an old stone cottage on acreage. The faithful grapevine & word of mouth is how we found ourselves here. It’s been freezing cold, windy & frosty. At first we weren’t impressed, but then some days are beautiful (as long as you can make it through the nights!).

B has been turning his hand at stone work (he was lackie to a local stonemason recently so that has helped). Pulling out an old Metters Wood Stove to clean up the fireplace, render and get a slate hearth ready for a new combustion heater. A bit of a learning curve for North Queenslanders!!! This week we’re installing a new kitchen!

I’m B’s lackie! General dogsbody (hold this, sweep that) whilst he’s organising quotes for building jobs, orders for materials and doing the ‘manual labour’ etc. He’s looking a bit weary but I secretly think he revels in it! It’s been over 12 years since he’s had to make so many decisions!! 🙂

I’m on local buy & sell & Gumtree sites trying to move the leftover equipment & furniture in the house. It’s slowly looking good. It should be beautiful when complete – nothing like the old Queenslanders we know. Have put a few pics of Mintaro and what we do when we aren’t ‘gallivanting around Australia’.

Images of Australia on our Nomadic Journey