Category Archives: Events

Birdsville Races September 2018

Yes I am aware it’s now November!! I have been a tad busy of late but finally got some photos together of our Birdsville Races trip this year. We had been to the Big Red Bash in July, did a bolt over to the coast for a couple of weeks then a bolt back to Birdsville!! Note to self: it’s a bit of a distance – don’t do that again!!!

We met up with some ‘mates on the road’ friends we hadn’t seen in years and set up camp in the same spot we camped back in 2014! Near a tap about half way to racetrack & town.  In case anyone wants to know: there are 10 taps along the town common to the river.

We watched the common and town grow from a few hundred to around 7000! We aren’t into racing, but it’s really the atmosphere at the Hotel, the vendors and entertainment that contributes to make it a special event. Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe, The Old Hospital puts on a Pancake Palace, Salty the Blacksmith, the RFDS Fun Run, Riversands Wines from St George have a stall and all the food vendors including wood fired pizzas, chinese, RFDS food tent, Donuts, Kebabs etc plus a Western Outfitters – it’s all here!

Every couple of weeks the Fruit & Vege truck makes a visit and the locals and visitors can top up on fresh produce at reasonable prices.

The races are held over two days, but they have things happening the week prior. A bus service runs for these two days from the town, out along the common to the racetrack and back for a RFDS donation. Brilliant. Alcohol tickets are purchased at the Birdsville Hotel before going to the racetrack.

Surprisingly I had a win!!! Broke even (plus a bit) on a hunch.

We spent a few more days after the races watching the almost immediate evacuation of Birdsville! By then the roads were clear but a bit rugged due to so much traffic (as they were after the Big Red Bash). The town and occupants of Birdsville do a marvelous job in all respects: from the council services, the accommodations, the fuel and food services to cater for so many people. They should be proud of their community.

My advice to anyone heading to the BRB or Races in Birdsville: arrive early and leave later. Take everything you need (fuel up BEFORE Windorah, Birdsville or Marree) but support the locals as best you can. Most importantly: enjoy the Outback Hospitality!

Birdsville Hotel
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The Big Red Bash, Birdsville – July 2018

It’s taken me awhile but I’ve finally sorted all my photos from our trip, including the Big Red Bash at Birdsville.

We arrived nearly a week early (avoiding the rush). B had volunteered already, and I applied once we got there. He was on setup and pack down duties (3 shifts) and I was allocated a early Road Marshall shift and two Toilet ‘Angel’ shifts. My tip is to get in early for applying for volunteer roles as the good ones go early!! You save yourself the price of a ticket, yes, but you feel like you are more involved with the whole experience by meeting all the event co-ordinators and management of the event plus you meet some great people along the way.

Because B’s first shift was the Friday before the Bash concert days (Tues, Wed & Thurs) we headed out early Friday, so we were able to choose our camp spot easily after 4pm that day – we were in the Dog Section closest to the dunes. We spent 8 days out at Bashville all up, so it’s important to have enough food & water – there are food vendors and composting toilets but no water.

Our campsite in large Dog Section nearest to Big Red dunes

The whole experience was fantastic (even my toilet duties!) The concerts were great, the daytime activities kept kids & adults busy. They had the RFDS Drag Races, the Nutbush Guinness Book of Records attempt (which we achieved!) kids shows with the Crackup Sisters and Amber Lawrence, Mal Leyland was there to introduce his 1966 movie “Wheels across the Wilderness” and they also held the Air Guitar Championships.  There is ample information on the official website www.bigredbash.com.au as well as the Facebook site ‘Travelling to the Big Red Bash’. If you are a volunteer you also get access to the Volunteers Facebook site.

The artists were all brilliant. First night featured Adam Brand & Busby Marau. Second night: Amber Lawrence, Travis Collins, The Wolfe Brothers, Russell Morris, The Angels & Hoodoo Gurus. Third night: Black Sorrows, Kate, Jon, Darryl Braithwaite & John Farnham.

Another small tip: allow time rolling in and rolling out. Don’t be in a rush. People were lined up to leave Friday morning for hours. We left after lunch and had a clear run. We stayed on the Birdsville Common before and after the Bash, you are best to be self contained as no facilities out there. Best of all, there are 12 water taps all the way from town boundary to the Diamantina River on the east side of the road.

If anyone would like to know more about our experience in case you too are contemplating attending the Bash please send me a message or email. Next years artists will be announced in October and dates for applications for volunteering should be soon after.

Winter on Da Block

Well, it’s well and truly winter time in the Clare Valley!! No frost just yet but plenty of cold icy winds and some rain. The newborn lambs are bleating around the district which is a lovely sight. The paddocks are all green, the weeds/grasses profuse and the workload still constant!

B has been busy weekdays with some casual work so weekends are all go getting things done around Da Block. We are heading off to the Big Red Bash near Birdsville in a weeks time so the countdown is on! Looking forward to this outback concert – another Bucket List item nearly ticked!

We have put in another rainwater tank to take advantage of the winter rainfall. We’ve had a few bonfires, watched things in the garden flower, mulched the rock garden and watched grass grow madly through it!! 😦 And given our caravan diesel heater a work out on these cold nights (and some days!)

This will be my last post for a while whilst we are ‘on the road’ – heading to Western & Central Queensland then might get the tinny wet on the east coast?! Till next time…..

Big Red Bash – Birdsville July 2018

In my last post I mentioned we were heading to Birdsville end of June for the Big Red Bash in mid July 10-12th.  I thought I’d do another ‘promo‘ for anyone who might be interested in attending but haven’t yet bought a ticket.

There is a Facebook site called Travelling to the Big Red Bash that has lots of information for Bash newbies (like us) and people show how they’re decking out their rigs for the trip. It’s a long way for most people and it’s a highlight holiday for families too (it’s in school holidays).  The Diamantina Region www.thediamantina.com.au has so much to offer whilst you are there, just see the Info Centre for brochures. In 2014 we spent 3-4 weeks there on the Common and volunteered at the Race Club before the races and loved it.

The main website has most information too along with the Oztix ticketing. www.bigredbash.com.au I have bought my ticket (B is volunteering) and some merchandise (car decal, sticker & cloth badge). B will be TERRIBLY impressed when I declare a sticker is going on the truck!!!

Starting to organise meals so I can cook in advance and cryovac (saving me precious time when there). So any Grey Nomad mates (or not so grey) who want to join us & thousands of others for the concert in the desert (fantastic lineup) get to it and order those tickets!!

…Autumn on Da Block

From a hot & sweaty summertime we have graduated to a cooler and a bit windier autumn. The trees are turning bronze & gold letting us know the cool weather will be on it’s way! Exactly what I love! The vineyards look beautiful now vintage has finished, autumn colours abound.

Excavations on Da Block went well: the new septic is in, heaps of plumbing trenches, installed two cattle grids, digging some tree holes, solar panels installed and much more. We were able to setup a rock garden on a long bank with beautiful huge Bluestones and the Yuccas & Agaves I’ve been nursing and cuttings from friends. Unfortunately the pumpkins & rock melons I grew from seed didn’t survive – I’ll have to watch more ‘Gardening Australia’!!

I’d like to give a plug (for any local’s reading this) to Terra-Firma Earthworks & Contracting based in Clare, SA – brilliant job and attention to detail.

B painted up the inside of a container to be his ‘tool shed’. It’s taken time but we are seeing progress week to week. We moved the van for the 3rd time to the container pad (better for when the rain comes). We’ve just had a couple of dust storms when it was really hot which was a new experience.

Today I have the heater on!

Looking forward to a break. Heading north to the Big Red Bash (www.bigredbash.com.au) in July as B volunteering setup/pack up. We are able to take Jeda to the concert in the desert as dogs are allowed. John Farnham is headlining with Hoodoo Gurus, The Angels, Daryl Braithwaite, Jon Stevens, Kate Ceberano, Russell Morris, The Black Sorrows and more…..

Western Queensland here we come!!!

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’.

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.