Friday Five Newsletter 2018.11.23
Westprint Friday Five – Friday November 23rd 2018
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
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Friday Five Books
- The Binns Track - Savannah to Simpson. $20.00. The Binns Track, named after Bill Binns, is an amalgam of roads and tracks linking Mt Dare, on the edge of the Simpson Desert, with Timber Creek in the Northern Territory’s Top End. It includes Gregory National Park, the Devils Marbles, Tennant Creek, the Davenport Ranges National Park, Arltunga Historic Goldfields, Alice Springs and Old Andado while covering some of the Northern Territory’s best 4-wheel drive tracks. The Binns Track is full of interest – from the tropics of the north to the deserts of the south; the beauty of the East MacDonnell ranges, gorges and rivers; and the waterholes and rocky terrain protected by the Davenport Ranges National Park. There are historical features along the track such as the telegraph stations of the Old Telegraph Line, the goldfields of Arltunga in the East MacDonnell ranges and the pioneering style of Old Andado. All this and more can be found in this DVD, which includes a crossing of the Simpson Desert and has a running time of 115 minutes.
- Tasmanian Devil - A unique and threatened animal. David Owen and David Pemberton. $25.00. The story of the Tasmanian Devil is a remarkable one - surprising, controversial, funny and tragic. Nor has it been told before. Few mammals have been so negatively named, but this book casts the Tasmanian Devil in a strikingly new light. Far from being a scavenging, ferocious oddity, it is a treasured and valuable wildlife species, and one that faces the threat of extinction. This is the first book published on the animal that has the distinction of being the world's largest marsupial carnivore, and it is packed with information that has either never been published or has only been found in scientific publications. First published 2005, this edition 2011
- The Best Australian Bush Stories Jim Haynes. $30.00. Stories that take us from the Mallee to the back of Bourke and beyond ... an indispensable collection about the enduring appeal of the Australian bush. Australia's national character and spirit have always been defined, rightly or wrongly, by 'the bush'. This entertaining, thought-provoking, humorous, nostalgic and, above all, highly readable collection of stories for the modern reader shows why the romance endures. From Jim Haynes, one of our most successful and prolific Australiana authors, comes a collection of classic and iconic stories from the remote outback, cattle station, wheat farm and rural town. The bush is where our iconic characters are found living in, taking refuge or exploring, whether an Aborigine, explorer, squatter, bushranger or stockman. First published 2013.
- Australian Frontier Wars 1788-1838. $39.95. Author: John Connor. First published: 2002, Reprinted: 2005. Paperback 175 pages. From the Swan River to the Hawkesbury, and from the sticky Arnhem Land mangrove to the soft green hills of Tasmania, this book describes the major conflicts fought on the Australian frontier to 1838. Based on extensive research and featuring a new introduction commenting on the Windschuttle debate, The Australian Frontier Wars 1788 - 1838 will change our view of Australian history forever. The Australian Frontier Wars 1788 – 1838 is the first book-length military history of frontier conflict in Australia. Covering the first fifty years of British occupation in Australia, this book examines in detail the weapons and tactics Aborigines, soldiers and settlers used to fight each other on the frontier. Aborigines developed a new form of warfare that differed from their traditional methods. Raiding parties took goods and foodstuffs when they were useful and destroyed them when they were not. The British army arrived in Australia with experience of frontier warfare in other parts of the Empire, but initially found it difficult to operate in the bush. However, once the British began using horses, they were able to track and attack Aboriginal groups, and gained the advantage that would bring them victory.
- Walker in the Wilderness. $32.00. An edition limited to 500 copies. Soft Cover, 196pp illustrated. "We built no heroes, but we left no bones." This remark, said by a colleague, sums up the meticulous planning and execution of the expeditions led by Richard John Anketell. In Walker in the Wilderness the exploits of this engineer/surveyor are traced as he opened up large tracts of Australia. He is one of a band of intrepid public servants who lived and worked in inhospitable country beyond the bounds of civilisation. His efforts, and those of other public servants engaged in similar pioneering work, have been undeservedly overlooked. Whether looking for water for survival or negotiating with settlers for politicians his skills were tested and were all part of the job. A true pioneer, he lived and worked in inhospitable country. His life work is an important part of Western Australian history and in the broader context, of the nation's history. Walker in the Wilderness brings to life the dangers, harshness and fascination of the lonely Nullarbor, the Sandy Desert and the Tasmanian wilderness as it traces the exploits and humanity of this intrepid surveyor/explorer and the men and animals under his command. The outback, with its dangers, harshness and fascination, comes to life as Anketell relates the commitment and humanity of a pioneer explorer and the working life of the men and animals under his command.
Notes From the office.
All going well Graeme and I are still in rainy, cold London. We will be back at work by next Friday. Carolyn and John are holding the fort at Westprint. Please ring ahead to make sure we are open. Jo
The Value of a HF Radio
Recently my partner Hazel and I left Rockhampton to embark on a 9000 km trip; to Boulia across the Plenty highway to Alice Springs and then on to Halls Creek in WA through the Tanami Desert via the Tanami Track from Halls Creek we travelled down the iconic Canning stock route almost 1900 Kms of sand hills and corrugations to Wiluna.
After an overnight stop at Wiluna, we headed East across the notorious Gun Barrel highway, the Great Central Road, to Warburton and then Giles which is the most remote weather station on the Australian mainland. We crossed back into the NT on the great Central road heading for the Olgas and Ayers Rock, 50 kms East of Docker River we came upon a family broken down we were unable to help them but using our HF Radio I rang Docker River store to send out help and we continued on to Alice Springs.
After leaving Alice Springs we traveled South through Santa Theresa Community Old Andado station, Mt Dare and Dalhousie Springs before heading across the Simpson Desert on the French Line. The Simpson is the largest sand desert in the world with 1200 sand hills to cross.
We were 275 kms West of Birdsville and 240 Kms East of Mt Dare when we came across a family of 6 broken down two adults, twins aged five, a twelve and 14-year-old all boys. We stayed with the family for five days coordinating a rescue using the HF Radio with relays from other HF Radio Club members situated in Adelaide, Wagga Wagga and the Hunter Valley. We recently visited the family at their Ipswich home for an emotional reunion. Rick 3097
HF Radio Club.
Cruiserkhana - Jo Blogs
Graeme and I took a weekend off to go the Toyota Landcruiser Club (TLC) Cruiserkhana event a few weeks ago. I don’t actually remember the last time we had a weekend at home. I guess the flip side is that our 4WD has been in a semi-packed state since August and we just need to keep topping up the fuel, food and clean clothes.
It is a long drive from Nhill to Yarck, north east of Yea and just on the edge of the high country in Victoria. We stopped in Elmore for a welcome cup of tea and a chance to catch up with Graeme’s mum before heading off again, arriving at the TLC property just out of Yarck at 6pm. We were allocated a campsite called Parrot’s Perch, a single campsite up above the rest of the campsites at the Yarck Hilton.
One of the optional events for the weekend was a night safari and, never having been on one before we are not sure what to expect. It turned out to be a pleasant night time tagalong drive using one’s powers of observation. We thought we had done pretty well with 25 entries on our score sheet. We later discovered that the winning car had found 30. The evening was warm and back at our camp I divided my time between sitting watching the stars and gloating on social media about our perfect campsite.
Sure enough, when you gloat about things like that, it will come back to bite you. During the night it started to rain. The morning was cold and drizzly but the bacon and egg rolls for breakfast made up for it.
I had been quietly worried all night. We have been sponsoring this event for a long time, but this is the first year we have been competitors. Our first event is a navigation challenge. I am dyslexic and I have trouble with left and right, so I’ve taped a note to the glovebox with left and right arrows showing which way to go.
To add to my woes, this year Westprint is donating the prizes for the person in each event; who ‘tried hard’, came last or completely mucked up. I’m worried that we will win our own prize.
After the driver’s briefing and compulsory breathaliser test (for both driver and navigator) we made our way to the first challenge. None of the challenges are timed and the idea of this one is to make your way around a set of witches’ hats using the map given to the navigator. The driver is not allowed to look at the map but must follow the directions from the navigator. To add an unexpected level of difficulty, a UHF radio is put inside the vehicle with the mike taped open.
I am handed a map that looks like this
The only thing coming from our car is laughing because Graeme knows how bad this is for me. We finally end up at the finish line, completely facing the wrong way. As some consolation I am told not to worry, someone has already finished at the start line. I’m not consoled; I’ll bet they didn’t have a map business.
From Navigation we moved to the Flag Slalom. Simply drive around a fairly tight Figure 8 course, collect flags from drums then put them all back in the same order. By this time the rain has settled in. Not heavy but slanting in sideways with a freezing wind so I very happy that we are in the car and not standing outside like all the marshals.
Flag Slalom sounds easy and it should be. Graeme has a very good idea of the dimensions of our vehicle, but a turning circle of the Queen Mary does present a few problems (loss of points if you need to reverse). The really difficult thing about this exercise is that the passenger must keep their seatbelt on and no part of the flag or body can be outside the vehicle until it is at a complete stop. We complete this course with only a few minor penalties.
The next activity was the Cross-Country Challenge. While waiting we were able to watch the other competitors – if you were prepared to stand in the freezing rain that is. This event has a bit of a hill climb. For me as a flat-lander this seemed very steep, but I guess to the high country folk it was just a gentle rise. However, the rain is giving this a level of difficulty I am not comfortable with. I head off to discuss with Graeme withdrawing from the event. Some competitors are in vehicles that are designed for events like this and getting them home if they are damaged will just be a matter of putting it on a trailer for a couple of hours, we have to drive home and front up for work. Fortunately, before I am called a sissy for not wanting to compete, the event is postponed as it is too wet, slippery and dangerous for marshals and vehicles alike.
An early lunch was had by all, huddled under gazebos that were probably intended for shade.
The marshals have rearranged the format of the day to make the best under the inclement circumstances. Some challenges such as the balance beam and sand trap will be fine in the rain – albeit unpleasant for spectators and marshals.
First up for the afternoon is the wet lap. I’m a little puzzled about how they are going to have a wet lap if the other events have been deemed too dangerous (of course, I haven’t looked at the rules of the event yet). Then someone sticks their head in the window and tells me I will need a towel and a plastic bag. I quickly find a towel and large garbage bag and set about reading the rules.
If ever there was an event designed as some sort of compensation for my poor performance in the navigation, then this must surely be it. The wet lap does not in fact refer to a lap of any track or course. It refers to the navigator’s lap! A shallow bowl is filled with water, weighed and then handed to me through the window with barely concealed mirth. Graeme then has to drive down a steepish slope that has been cut with offset steps. The first step sees water splash all over the glove box and dash. So far so good…. until we hit the next step and the water splashes the other way. So much for the plastic bag and towel. The water has hit me mid-belly and is now quickly making its way through all my clothes and through to the seat covers. It is freezing. I don’t really want water all over the dash and centre console and so have no option but to angle the bowl towards my person.
At the bottom of the steps I gladly hand the bowl to the scrutineer for weighing again. I get out to clean up some of the water and notice that all the other navigators look as wet as I do. Small comfort.
After the wet lap come the sand trap and balance beam. Both of these events are relatively straight forward. Seemingly impossible but straightforward nonetheless. The sand trap is a sand track with slalom flags. So far so good, we can do sand. But then all the helpers step in and shovel out huge trenches. Now I understand why I have seen piles of sand on vehicle bullbars. We can’t help but hit a number of flags but at least we don’t get stuck and eventually come third in this event.
The balance beam seems like an impossible challenge. It is pretty much as it sounds. Drive onto a beam placed like a seesaw; time starts the instant the rear of the bar leaves the ground and finishes when the front of the beam hits the ground. We could only manage between one and two seconds. The winner managed more than 7 seconds.
By now in typical spring fashion the weather had turned from bleak and cold to warm and sunny and the remainder of the tracks and events were deemed to be safe enough to continue.
The Timber Challenge was a tough uphill climb over timber steps, offset of course. Then through hanging poles without touching – still while navigating the timber steps. Graeme opted to not only touch but push one pole out of the way so that he didn’t incur a penalty for touching both. Once we had bounced our way to the top of the staircase, I had to open a farmer’s gate and work out how to close it again. I’ve been the gate-opener too many times for gates to worry me too much.
The cross country was just that, a narrow winding track up the side of a mountain, or so it seemed to me, a couple of tight turns that we had no hope of getting around. A track for a very short wheel based 4WD or at least one that will turn a whole lot sharper than ours. Still it was a lot of fun and now time to head to the mud track. This track is kept watered from the nearby dam and includes many, many tyres that must be avoided while navigating a narrow track. There was a coded system whereby you lost x number of points for hitting a tyre with green paint, more for a yellow and even more for a red. Not that it made any difference to us, we had an impressive collection of each colour by the time we had finished.
One of the optional challenges during the day was a winch challenge where drivers had to keep a winch line off the ground while approaching it, and navigating a bumpy track. Observing for a while we decided that it was definitely a challenge for cars with auto transmissions.
And by now it was the end of the day where everyone goes back to camp…in my case to find some dry clothes before heading to the Hilton for a superbly cooked roast meal, presentations and fellowship around the fire.
My relief at not winning our own ‘you don’t have to come first to be a winner’ prize in the navigation challenge was palpable.
Sunday morning started with more egg and bacon sandwiches from the hard-working cooks in the Yarck Kiosk. The day dawned bright and sunny and so the remainder of the optional events were held. The reversing challenge was down a steep hill and around a couple of corners. While I would back Graeme to reverse any trailer or caravan or vehicle into any space, that Queen Mary turning circle was against us, but we gave it a good shot.
We declined the rock climb and the water playground, going with the safer option of still being able to drive the many hours home. In the rock climb, competitors have 2 minutes in which to use a pile of rocks to shore up a rocky unstable sloping track. At the end of the two minutes they must drive the track keeping as straight a line as possible. Very entertaining to watch all the different makes and models and all the different approaches.
From there the action moved to the water playground. After all the runoff from yesterday’s rain, the water playground was a little deeper than usual. We are not sure our 20-year-old 4WD is that waterproof around the doors and so again we opted to just watch.
The day finished with tent erecting and packing up, an event at which I was soundly beaten by every teenager, but it was a lot of fun.
The official part of the weekend was now over and all that was left was a scenic drive around the property. We had to be in Ballarat for a meeting and so couldn’t join this tagalong trip. Like the competition, there’s always next year.
In conclusion: Although run by the Toyota Landcruiser Club of Victoria this is not just an event for members, or even for Toyotas. In fact, the group that cleaned up most of the prizes was the Land Rover Club of Victoria. Cruiserkhana is open to all 4WDers and the organising team has worked hard to make sure challenges do not favour competition-type vehicles.
As their website states:
Cruiserkhana is an exciting technical program made up of 8 challenges & extra optional events. Each event is carefully designed to test your skill without using speed and damage to your 4WD. Each vehicle requires a driver & a navigator, with each person in the 4WD having their own responsibilities to ensure you earn high points for each event.
With over $10K of sponsors prizes available for participants to win, much rivalry is shown as individual & team participants challenge for an award and notoriety.
Whether spectating or competing, this is a great weekend for all.
Here are a few funnies from Phil.
A sixteen-year-old boy came home with a Porsche and when his parents began to yell "Where did you get that car? He calmly told them, "I bought it today."
"With what money?" they demanded "We know what a Porsche costs."
"Well," said the boy, "this one cost me fifteen dollars."
The parents began to yell even louder. "Who would sell a car like that for fifteen dollars?" they said.
"It was the lady up the street," said the boy. "I don't know her name; they just moved in. She saw me ride past on my bike and asked me if I wanted to buy a Porsche for fifteen dollars."
"Oh no," moaned the mother, "she must be a child abuser. Who knows what she will do next? John, you go right up there and see what's going on."
The boy's father walked up to the house where she lived and demanded to know why she had sold a Porsche for fifteen dollars to his son.
"Well," she said, "this morning I got a phone call from my husband. I thought he was on a business trip but learned from a friend he has run off to Hawaii with his secretary and doesn't intend to come back. He claimed he was stranded and asked me to sell his new Porsche and send him the money. So, I did."
A Texan walks into a pub in Irelandand clears his voice to the crowd of drinkers. He says, "I hear you Irish are a bunch of hard drinkers. I'll give $500 American dollars to anybody in here who can drink 10 pints of Guinness back-to-back." The room is quiet, and no one takes up the Texan's offer.
One man even leaves. Thirty minutes later the same gentleman who left shows back up and taps the Texan on the shoulder. "Is your bet still good?" asks the Irishman.
The Texan says yes and asks the bartender to line up 10 pints of Guinness. Immediately the Irishman tears into all 10 of the pint glasses, drinking them all back-to-back.
The other pub patrons cheer as the Texan sits in amazement. The Texan gives the Irishman the $500 and says, "If ya don't mind me askin', where did you go for those 30 minutes you were gone?"
The Irishman replies, "Oh... I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first."
From Mark. 25 Thoughts to get you through almost any crisis.
1 - Indecision is the key to flexibility
2 - You cannot tell which way the train went by looking at the track
3 - There is absolutely no substitute for a genuine lack of preparation
4 - Happiness is merely the remission of pain
5 - Nostalgia isn't what it used to be
6 - Sometimes too much drink is not enough
7 - The facts, although interesting, are irrelevant
8 - The careful application of terror is also a form of communication
9 - Someone who thinks logically is a nice contrast to the real world
10 - Things are more like they are today than they ever have been before
11 - Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for
12 - Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler
13 - Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate
14 - I have seen the truth and it makes no sense
16 - All things being equal, fat people use more soap
17 - If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame
18 - One-seventh of your life is spent on Monday
19 - By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends
20 - Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious
21 - The more you run over a dead cat, the flatter it gets
22 - There is always one more imbecile than you counted on
23 - This is as bad as it can get, but don't bet on it
24 - Never wrestle with a pig: You both get dirty, and the pig likes it
25 - The trouble with life is, you're halfway through it before you realize that it's a 'do it yourself' thing
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