This morning I awoke to the sound of my phone. Text message received. This was quite novel as we didn’t often have phone reception on the other parts of our trip. It read ‘We are on our way, left right on time at 6am. Ring us when you’re up and about’. After a quick phone call to my folks, our morning plans changed and instead of driving straight to Sapphire, we headed to see ‘The Stockman’s Hall of Fame’. Thanks folks!
This morning was all about giving time to my partner to relax and enjoy her morning. I cooked her favourite breakfast of egg sangas! and made a pot of tea so she could sit there and enjoy the morning sunshine. The stars must have aligned cause WORLD LOOK OUT! I washed the dishes! It’s quite a rare occasion.
After packing up camp we headed over to ‘The Stockman’s Hall of Fame’ and spent a few hours learning about the different areas that we had just travelled through and how it has changed over the years. As we watched a short film about ‘The Stockman’, there was one part that really resonated with me. The guy mentioned that when you drive through the outback, you always give, and get a little waves as you pass someone. Even if it’s just a couple of fingers lifted up off the steering wheel. Then as you leave the outback and head towards the city, there seems to be a cut-off point that people stop waving. I personally experienced this yesterday as I drove into Longreach. All of a sudden people stopped waving back. I continued waving for a while occasionally getting one back, but it had pretty much dried up. My passenger said ‘You may as well stop waving, cause no one is waving back’. Fair call.
The highlight of the centre was ‘The Stockman’s Show’. It was a live show where we met a real stockman and his animals. He spoke about life as a stockman, how to work the land, train your horses and dogs, the different types of dogs used, and the roles played by the different horses to assist the stockman to do his work.
I also really loved the section devoted to the Royal Flying Doctors Service. We were able to listen to calls made into the RFDS from some of the homesteads, sit in the cockpit of the plane, and also look at what the inside of the plane looks like. We listened to each of the perspectives from the pilot, the nurses, the doctors, the psychologist and the CEO each telling their story. We learnt that because of the rather large ‘Grey Army’ within Australia, the services of the RFDS are often diverted to assist them whilst travelling to remote areas on their travels, rather than helping outback residents, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to get themselves to a doctor, dentist or hospital. There is a growing focus on broader issues of health now, including the mental health of people who often live in isolated areas of our country. We had a wonderful morning exploring the museum.
We hit the road and travelled to Sapphire, stopping to check out the view of the Drummond Range. Whilst we were stopped, in rode a couple of cyclists. One from Poland and one from America. I’m not quite sure what inspires or possess someone to get on a bike and ride from Melbourne to Katherine, even after talking to them.
Tonight we are living the life of luxury. We have booked a cabin to stay in while we are here in Sapphire. No tents for us! My folks arrived, we all sat down, had a good long natter and a delicious dinner. We planned our first day of digging and have packed up most things ready for a quick start on the day. Tomorrow we become true blue Sapphire Fossickers !!