FRIDAY 20 AUGUST BIRDSVILLE
This was basically to be a relax day, and time to have a look around Birdsville, and just not drive – after ten days of constant driving.
It was quite hot, to the point where the air conditioning in the town library/information centre was most welcome.
After breakfast, I did the washing. There was quite a lot of that, as none had been done since leaving Alice Springs. Then I went for a wander around town and took photos, while John tried to fix the catch/lock on the Truck back door. It does not like sand and dust.
I spent some time looking at the ruined Royal Hotel building. This was Birdsville’s second hotel, built in the 1880’s. At one time there were three hotels. In the 1920’s this became the site of the hospital, run by the Australian Inland Mission.
After lunch, we both walked to the information centre, where we spent some time talking with a staff person about aspects of tourism to Birdsville. She seemed to think that we represented a significant sample of their clientele – and a growing one – even though we don’t regard ourselves as totally typical of the demographic.
We went to the Working Museum and found it fascinating. I am not usually very keen on such places, but this was excellent. However, too much of what it contained was familiar from my youth – does that make ME a museum piece? That was a scary thought. I saw a horse driven chaff cutter, and thought that my dad would have worked on that sort of thing. There was a very friendly mule in the yard outside. The milk separator machines were too familiar – wonder how many of those revolting yukky separator cups I washed, over my teenage years?
The Museum was excellent value for $6 each.
We walked back to the pub and bought a cold beer each. We still don’t have any refrigeration at camp, of course.
Bought John a Birdsville 4WD polo shirt – a good quality one. They had run out of my size, unfortunately. But I did buy some magnets and postcards.
Tea was tinned soup. John had sausages, bought locally, and potato. I did not have any appetite for sausages, so just had some of the mashed potato.
We were both surprisingly tired – probably due to the heat, and maybe to some sort of let down after the desert crossing. Although it was really enjoyable, there was always a little underlying tension over whether all would go as planned, and maybe that has taken a bit of a toll. Anyway, slept well.