A reasonably early start from Goondiwindi. The country was relatively flat all the way and the remark was made that if there was any flooding it would spread over an extended area in a very short time because of the terrain. Travel was via Toobeah, close to Bungunya, Talwood, Weengallon and a diversion to Nindygully for cleansing ale at the oldest hotel in Queensland. (Established in 1864.) This was an interesting location on the Moonie River. Have a look at the photo gallery for some of the interesting memorabilia that was on display. The barmaid was an English lass from Bristol who saw an advertisement in Brisbane for a job for 6 weeks and has now been there for 9 weeks. She is on a backpacking holiday and has a 12 months visa. She plans to return to Brisbane and then to Surfers Paradise, Byron Bay, Sydney, Melbourne, via Great Ocean Road to Adelaide and then on the Indian Pacific Railway to Perth. (Oh to be young and adventurous again.) Along the road to St George there were lots of very large areas of Cotton awaiting picking, Sunflower awaiting harvesting, and large areas awaiting planting. Upon arrival at St George population 3,000, (home to Senator Barnaby Joyce – National Party Senator in the Federal Parliament) we settled into the Kamarooka Tourist Park and then went to explore the area. During the tours we ventured to the Riversands Winery for a brief wine tasting.
On our way into St George we noticed some equipment working in the cotton growing area. This provided a project for the next day, i.e. go and find out what was going on. The inveterate travellers headed back towards Goondiwindi and wandered about until the operating equipment was found. This was on “Bloomfield” owned by James Thomas and the Thomas Cotton Co.. We observed the cotton pickers in action, followed by the unloading of the picked cotton into a bole buggy before being transported to a module maker (a cotton compactor). An extended period was spent asking lots of questions about the industry. Particularly questions were asked about the water usage and recycling of the unused water. This was a particularly interesting stop. That evening Rolly and Jan did a makeup at The Rotary Club of St George.
A long time friend, Bruce Petfield and his wife June passed through St George on the Wednesday morning and we had the opportunity to have coffee with them before they departed to Bourke enroute to Adelaide where they were going to put their Nissan Patrol on the Indian Pacific train to Perth. They would also travel on the train to Perth where the 4X4 would be put in storage until they return in mid July. After having coffee with them the inveterate travellers then travelled 71 km to visit with David and Gay Petfield at a property called “Altonvale.” David is Bruce’s brother and also went t Scots College. After lunch they gave a conducted tour of the 18,000 acre property. There were excessive numbers of kangaroos creating damage to the property.
In the evening the caravan park residents organised a dinner for all those that wanted to attend. (per person cost was $3.50 each. It was a most enjoyable evening with everyone sitting around a campfire and enjoying each other’s company. It rained early the next morning (3.5mm). This was enough to play havoc with some of the farming activities in the area because of the red soil. That morning the travel included a visit to Balonne Sports Store where there was a display of Carved Emu Eggs. A most interesting display. The next point of interest was the St George Heritage centre, a former police station and goal. Then it was westward bound to Rosehill Aviaries (64 km form St George, of which 14 km was on corrugated red soil road.) As we approached the first grid across the road (500 metres from the highway) we suddenly found ourselves sideways across the road with a brief period of panic. On the way to the Stanhill Aviaries we came across our first Emu in the wild. There was an incredible display of Parrots in many varieties. Upon return to St George we travelled to the E J Beardmore Dam to the east of town. This dam provides the water supply for the cotton irrigation scheme in the St George area.