Prior to leaving Victoria in the year of our lord 1974 AD, Rodney, little Damian, Melanie and myself, ventured forth to see the Snowy Mountain Scheme and travel down, alongside the Great Snowy River and into Gippsland in Victoria. Soon after, we loaded up the volkswagon and set off for Port Pirie, South Australia where we entrained (volksie) and all, onto the "Indian Pacific" and continued on to Perth, traversing the longest straight stretch of railway in the world. This journey took about 4 days and the children enjoyed the experience of sleeping on a train.
Due to Rodney working for the Railways and being entitled to a heavily reduced fare we were to make this journey often over the years to come.
After a few years in Western Australia we bought a Volkswagon Campmobile and headed back across the Nullarbor to visit family and friends in Adelaide and Victoria, as by now we were a little homesick and missing old familiar faces. Also we wanted to experience the magnificent splendour of the cliffs across the Great Australian Bite. This trip was approx 11,000 kms by the time we arrived back home in Northam.
Prior to the Whaling station in Albany W.A. being closed down due to protests. We wanted to witness what the whaling operations were about. We found the coastline around that area quite magnificent as were the creatures (the Whales) which would soon be able to pass by that area safe from the whalers torpedos and razor sharp flensing knives.
In 1980 Melanie and LesIa had the opportunity to travel to Penang where my brother Lindsay was serving at Butterworth Airforce Base. This country was a vast contrast in many ways to Australia. We also visited Singapore en-route back to Perth.
The National Folk Festival for 1987 was being staged in Alice Springs so this was our cue to head for the "Red Centre". Upon arrival our camp site was situated at Ted Egans' place, S.T.D. (Sink a Tinny Downs), on the outskirts of "The Alice".
Featured at this festival were such names as Ernie Dingo, Ted Egan, Prof Manning Clarke, Eric Bogle, Mangrove Jack Band, and various other artists from Australia and overseas. Apart from enjoying a great festival we had the opportunity to see Alice Springs and surrounds and also to visit the mighty "Ularu" (Ayers Rock) and the Olgas. Rodney climbed to the top of the rock but recommends this not be undertaken with a full stomach.
We then travelled from Alice Springs to Adelaide on "The Ghan" then to Victoria on "The Overland" to once again do the "Relie Run" before returning to Perth on the" Indian Pacific".
This rail journey encompassed approximately 10,000kms.
Desperately in need of a break in early 1993 we again took advantage of our railway employee discount (perk) and by using motorail facilities on the "Indian Pacific", we took our car across the country with us to Melbourne to attend The Port Fairy Folk Festival in Victoria.
After the festival we spent some time with relatives then headed to Canberra where we took in sites including the magnificent War Memorial, the Tidbinbilla Space Tracking Facility, a tour of the Supreme Court of Australia and the National Art Gallery also Parliament House on the hill and a really interesting drive around to see embassies of different countries. After 3 days in Canberra we proceeded to Sydney and spent time touring and visiting with Aunt Pearl and Uncle Bob also my brother Lindsay and his family. Next we set off north to Ballina where we spent 3 glorious, restful days with a friend Jack, from here we went to visit the indescribable and colourful Nimbin. The next two days were spent travelling down the Henry Lawson Hwy, through Parkes, where we had a look at the Deep Space Tracking Station. Then on to Gundegie where The Dog Sits On The Tuckerbox. We visited Rele's in Euroa, Ned Kelly Country, and the famous Ettamoogah Pub. From here we went to visit friends in Maffra in Gippsland.
Before leaving for home we slotted in a 21st birthday party held in Buckrabanyule for Rodneys' nephew Jamey. On our return to Perth we had been away for 60 days.
In 1994 the impetuous to again ride the rails, was provided by a friend Annabelle who was about to give birth to her third child, Dominic. Her plea for support at this time was heeded and we arrived in Lismore in New South Wales on 1st March, having travelled across the country by "Indian Pacific" and "XPT" trains. Dominic was also due at this time but did not arrive. To my great delight he made his grand entrance into the world on my birthday, 5th March.
We spent several weeks with the family and checking out the area including Byron Bay, one of my favourite places in Australia. Then we rejoined the "XPT" and continued on to Brisbane where we caught the "Sunlander" and headed north through Queensland and many, many cane fields to Cairns, where we had a wonderful holiday with Rodneys' Aunt Jean and Uncle Jack Fraser.
We returned via Brisbane and spent time with another aunt near Tweed Heads. From here we went to Lismore again to see how baby Dominic was progressing, then caught the "XPT" on to Sydney, catching up with my brother Lindsay, also Aunt Pearl and Uncle Bob. We then proceeded to Adelaide where we spent time with friends, rejoined the "Indian Pacific", and back home to Perth and arrived 52 days after we had left.
The 1999 National Folk Festival in Canberra in April had Western Australia as the feature state, thus the lure was too great to resist.
Work commenced rebuilding the motor in a clapped out old Kombi Camper late in "98 as the one we had when the children were small had been sold long since.
By mid March we were prepared to hit the road and venture once again across the Nullaboring Plain. As we had several weeks up our sleeve when we reached "The East", we had to decide whether to head north or south. One of the factors taken into consideration to head south into Victoria was the ill health of a favourite Aunt and I felt drawn to visit her. So yet again we were on the "Rele' Run".
This time upon leaving Victoria we went around the East coast and took in such lovely places as Mallacoota and Eden, then we made our way over the "Great Dividing Range" to Canberra to camp for a week and experience the most awesome Folk Festival I have ever attended.
In the wake of the euphoria of this festival, we pointed the Kombi in a westerly direction and drove. Upon reaching Port Augusta, in South Australia, we headed North for approx 600kms to Coober Pedy where our good friend Beverly made us at home in her dug-out (modern cave). This desolate, cosmopolitan, opal mining community, with its' moonscape vista, was the most unique place we have encountered on our journeys.
We arrived back in Perth on 16th April having travelled 12,000 kms. The Kombi sighed and died about 80kms short of home--however we were not ready to let her go as there are still places to go and people to see.
In May this year, just as the winter chills were setting in, we headed north from Perth to Exmouth, a quick 1200km trip.
The Kombi was "On the Road again". We headed straight for Coral Bay and the beautiful "Ningaloo Reef". We did not, on this occasion, view the reef as we intend to return here in the future. From Coral Bay we went to Exmouth where much damage was still evident as the result of a cyclone which had preceded us by 3 months.
The Pub was still shut!!! Fishing was a high priority along with visiting many small inlet coves along the coast as far as the flood-damaged road would allow.
We spent a week in this area, on the last day viewing some magnificent gorges before heading south for that four letter word WORK, and to save up for our next adventure.
Fairbridge Festival bought a performing artist from CanadaMose Scarlett. to stay with us for a month. We had a delightful time keeping Mose entertained and giving him a taste of what Perth and the evirons had to offer. A trip to the Pinnacles with ourselves and an old friend Greg Hastings, was a wonderful day for us all. A family of kangaroos posed for Mose; "In the wild shots were his forte, flora and fauna being of great interest for his first visit to Aus".
The result of his first trip down under has given him a great desire to re-visit Australia again.
2005. Produced 4 trips to Victoria this time all by plane 1 for pleasure, 1 for an illness and 2 deaths in the family.
We also managed to fit in a long anticipated trip to Darwin which was, by no means a disappointment, although we only stayed 3 days.
2006. Lesla & I embarked on a well earned overseas holiday, our first port of call was Dubai, which was very impressive and interesting although over 40oC and 98% humidity was a little hard to take. We then flew to New York which we both loved and found a buzz. Some of the highlights were seeing the Ground Zero site, walking through Greenwich Village, Guggenheim museum and the Carlyle Hotel to see Woody Allen with his jazz band. also SOHO, little Italy, Times Square were some the many many sights to be seen in New York. We then proceeded to the Amish Village of Intercourse, for a brief but delightful taste amongst Amish folk and observed there way of life and the beautiful Patchwork Quilts.
Niagara Falls was next for a few days with Dave and Roberta (our personal tour guides) and saw everything Niagara has to offer as well as having a delightful visit with them. Toronto was an ideal opportunity to surprise our great friend Mose and to give him a wonderful birthday surprise. Here we enjoyed the hospitality of Albert and Sylvia with many congenial hours in their back yard. Then a visit to Kingston was and opportunity to catch up with Rodney's 32nd cousin Jan and her husband Gerry. We were very fortunate to be taken to Montréal where we both fell in love with the old port district. From there it was back to more friendship in Toronto before flying off to Las Vegas. The highlight here was Cirque du soleil O at the Bellagio complex the slot machines were crap other-wise the sight were mind boggling and over whelming. The plane ride over the Grand Canyon left a live impression of Grandeur. A day in Los Angeles included a bus tour around the homes of the "Stars" and Rodeo Drive etc. From LA we flew "Business Class" over night to Fiji where we veggied for the final leg home. We arrived back on Australian soil in Sydney and spent a rewarding three days catching up with relatives then we arrived home in Perth after five weeks with many happy memories.
2009. This was our first major trip for a while so we decieded to go an check out Lake Eyre as we had been told it had water in it. Unforunately, we were late so we deceided to stay with friends in Coober Pedy. Time to check out dug out lifestyle.
Rodney was invited to play a game of golf at the Coober Pedy Golf Course. This is some thing that any golfer will finds a challenge, no grass here except the peice you carry with you for your fairway shots.
On the way back we stopped for an hour and a half at Woomera. Unaware of the role this area played in development of many of the missiles used today. If ever you get the chance drop in for a look it well worth it.
2012. Off again, we had the opportunity to access a time share apartment in Las Vegas with Damian and our defacto daughter-in-law Julie, luxury at an affordable price. Being in Vegas we decided to check out our favorite show with Terry Fater which was preceded by a great southern meal at the BB King restaurant.
We also visited the Titanic exhibition which is turly amazing particularly the walk on the Promenade deck. After a week and visiting several casinos it was time to leave but not before view the water display at the Bellargio.
Heading off to Niagara via Atlania Georgia we experianced our first parallel runway landing. It was a little concerning to see another plane landing at the same time as your plane. It was great getting to back to Canada. Crossing the US - Canada border was a lttle concerning when Lesla was asked, "where we were going?" I don't think "Canada" was the answer the security guard was expecting. It was great to catch up with Dave and Roberta. Over looking "The Falls" at breakfast time is a great experiance while watching and listening to the water.
We catch up with Mose in Toronto then of to see cousins Jan and Jerry, visiting Perth and seeing Chrissy's house in Ottawa. Returning home via Las Vegas, Sydney and back to Perth.
Our first trip this year was to Brisbane and catch up with Maxine and then down to Coolangatta to catch up with Aunty Ev who had just celebrated her 99th birthday. We went to lunch at Banora Club and a little play on the "pokies".
Our maiden trip in our new (secondhand) mobile home. We set out to go via Meekatharra, Cue and Mt. Magnet, but we decided to change our minds and go via the coast to Onslow, stopping at Shark Bay, Monkey Mia before heading onto Onslow. We spent two days chilling out before heading back to Nanutarra then on to Karijini National Park.
While we were in Shark Bay we caught up with Lesla's friend Rayma from Gisborne. Rayma and her friend had come to Shark Bay via Darwin and Broome. It was Rayma's first caravanning adventure and first big trip out of Victoria.
Meanwhile back in Onslow and following the very unseasonal wet weather with local flooding clearing we headed of to Tom Price via Parardoo. We stay in Tom Price and managed to visit Karijini. Due to the poor road conditions we only managed to see the East End of the Park. After three days in Tom Price we heading back home. During the drive back we recieved a phone call from my brother Peter and wife Robyn, who had also travelled via Darwin. We were able to link up with them in Perth. After doing the tourist guide to Kings Park Fremantle and then New Norica. It was really great to see them in the West. They have headed of South before heading back home to Victoria.
Our Christmas adventure took us across the Nullarbor to spend Christmas with cousins Micheal, Christine and Elizabeth and their families. Christmas day hottest and most humid Christmas Day in Melbourne for many years.
Our first port o' call was cousin Glenyis in Gisborne where we experianced a frosty morning (lucky we took our doona).
Prior to heading Melbourne we visited Rodney's newphew's in Charlton, they were in the middle of the best harvest on record going back over 60 years.
It was also great to catch up with friends Glenda and Wayne while in Charlton who are manageing the Travellers Rest caravan park. The caravan park is a credit to the local community members who built the park. Glenda and Wayne do a magnificent job in keeping the park in 'tip top' shape. It was great to relax there after the drive from Perth.
This year was the 25th Anniversary of this great Music Festival. Lesla and travelled down to Fairbridge Festival on Thursday to set up camp. I deceided to do some voluntary work for the festival a total of 9 hours over the weekend. My reward for working in the Instrument Lock-up, was the reinbursment of my ticket.
The week end provided some great music memories, beautiful days with lots of sunshine, Unfortunately, it did get a bit dusty towards the end of the weekend.
The Lap of 2017
On the 4th of September 2017 we set off to travel to Tasmaina via Darwin. This trip covered some 20,000 Kilometres (12,427 miles).
After catching up with friends in Geraldton it on to Northampton for our first of man free camps. On ward and up ward to Kunnanurra stopping at Turkey Creek for a magnificent helicopter ride over the Bungle Bungles although it was costly it was well worth it. Seeing the tectonic plates and the different formations within the Bungle Bungles.
Then onto Tennant Creek where we parked up in the Caravan Park. It was here that Lesla noticed in a brouchure a picture of Albert Chalmers Borella awarded VC in the First World War. After we contacted the Museum and tell about how Albert was a relation they suggested we come and see the museum. There is three rooms about Albert who although born in Victoria has been adopted by the Northen Terriorty as their own. Albert was working in the "territory" as their own. So keen was Albert to join the war he walked 90 miles then "borrowed" a horse where he went on to Darwin, from there to Brisbane by ship to enlist. Tennant Creek in 2016 had a Albert Borella ride in memory of his achievement. Albert also went to WWII and retired in N.S.W.The Borella Ride
Then it was time to head off into Queensland which has the worst roads in Australia until you get close to the larger cities. Emerald is a beautiful town and well worth a stop over.
We deceided that we would go to warmer "clims" for a few weeks to get away from the Perth "Chill". We had no plans no time frame, and where we had to be. Our first stop was a free camp just south of Dongara, thanks to Lesla preparing heaps of frozen food filling the fridge and its freezer. We travelled as far north to Exmouth spending a few days in Shark Bay a World Heritage Area,one of Lesla's favourite places.