This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2003 Travels May 22


I was on tents, John on campground and amenities.

There had been such a spate of broken-down vehicles. Every set of wheels belonging to the place, including the boss’ 4WD, had something go wrong – most in the past week or so. Little Suzi, canoe rattler, water truck, rubbish truck,  Coaster, even the bobcat. It was like they were all just waiting for mechanic D to arrive! There had been considerable hilarity at his expense.

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Even the old bike the men used around the campground needed repairs……

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2003 Travels May 21


Our day off. Just lazed about the place. That bloody generator was still a major annoyance. We have made a case to the boss to move down to the Grove, when cook leaves. He was considering the request. There would be more staff coming in later, but we reckon it is our turn!

Mail plane day. I received my newspaper and a parcel of extra wool that I’d asked daughter to send, so I could finish the cot blanket.

There was a letter from my friend M, who planned to come and visit us in July – a really exciting prospect, to show this place off to a friend. My letter to her about this had crossed in the mail, so at night I phoned her to clarify some points.

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Lawn Hill Creek offered ever-changing outlooks

The truck came in mid-afternoon. Nup – not going to go help unload. It was our time off!

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2003 Travels May 17 – May 20


Four days of work as usual, alternating jobs: twice on tents/amenities, twice on shop/reception.

Cook and daughter decided that they would leave, next weekend. They said they were finding it too “lonely” here, as single women. Contrary to the impression that some people seem to have, the outback is not full of single, eligible men! I suspected that it had also become clear that the cooking job was becoming more demanding, as the numbers slowly built.

H would become the cook. It would be interesting to see how that worked out – she seemed to be a person of quite firm opinions about how things should be done.

John’s daughter phoned him, one night. Staff were allowed to make – and receive – calls, after about 7.30pm at night, within reason, on the fax-phone in the office.

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2003 Travels May 16


I was on shop, which meant the late finish, just in time for tea.

The evening meal was livened up, somewhat, when a rather large olive python appeared in the breezeway that runs from the front steps to the dining deck. It slithered down the passage and looked as if it might join us. Boss R picked it up to see if he could persuade it to depart, but as soon as it was put down again, continued the way it had been going. Very single minded. It was determined to go where its dinner was!

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Olive python determined to keep coming our way

It proceeded to stretch out along the edge of the deck – where it could gobble up the insects that were zapped by the lights above and fell down. Clearly, it had been here before.

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This was where the python wanted to be – easy tucker!

After seeing that it was very settled there, we resumed our meal.

R said that it was the same olive python that lived in the old tin workshop, last year. It still lived there. He said that, coiled up just inside the door, it appeared to be a deterrent to those campers who wanted to “borrow” tools without permission.

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Python back home again. Would you venture in here to borrow gear?

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2003 Travels May 15


I was on shop.

B and husband went to Mt Isa with the departing tour group. They have to go home to NSW for a bit, to take care of some business.

With two people now out for a while, that paved the way for H and D to start work, I presumed.

The road crew had moved on, to a new camp set up further north.

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F relaxing after work, in the staff compound

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2003 Travels May 14


I was on shop and kitchen hand duties – routine today.

Mail plane came in mid morning. There was a bag of mail for us from home – nothing of note. My Weekend Australian was in the mail – along with the one from the week before!

Truck came in and provided the usual hour or so of flurry while it was unloaded and everything checked off.

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2003 Travels May 13


Back to work. I was on tents/amenities. There were only four tents to do.

As well as the sheets and towels from the tents, there was always a heap of tea towels to wash, used in the kitchen through the day. These were soaked in a bucket overnight and washed the next day. Whoever was on the tents collected the bucket of tea towels in the morning and brought them to the laundry. When dry, they were folded and taken back.

I did the boss’ washing too.

Checked the tents that were needed for the company tour group coming in this afternoon.

John was on grounds. He helped B mend more tents.

It was easiest to do these repairs at the actual tent site. B set up her sewing machine there, with a very long power cord run from a point at the laundry.

It was going to be hard to get some of the tents to last out the season. They were originally fairly cheap and flimsy ones, not really suited to the hard use they got at the old camp, and then here. The curved zips frequently broke, to the point where there was no solution but to sew in new ones – a fiddly job. The peg tabs often tore away from the tent bases – they got stapled back on. Some of the bed frames used in the tents had sharp corners that tore the tents if guests pushed them too close to the walls.

As well as the DBB tents, there were another half a dozen pitched in amongst the trees across the track from Reception. These were set up for overnight hire, just providing beds, table and chairs and fire pit – for guests who would cater for themselves. There was yet another long drop toilet over there, that had to be cleaned each day.

Tent upkeep was going to be a major job through the season.

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Some of the DBB tents. Main building in background.

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2003 Travels May 12


A new couple that the boss had mentioned that she was expecting, arrived today. There was some element of surprise in this, because not all those who say they will come to work for a while, actually arrive. And this pair was not expected quite yet, anyway.

The boss explained to them that she did not want them to start work just yet, though. We were not busy enough – and she watched the financial outlay very carefully.

H and D seemed happy enough with that. Said they would just settle in and hang about until needed. They set up their camper trailer down in the Grove – we were so envious! But they pitched on the other side of the access track to the other staff rigs down there, so they were not hooked up to the much-guarded power source.

D was a mechanic and used to drive tour buses – so he would be a great asset. He could work on vehicle repair – Adels’ and campers’. He could also learn to do the Riversleigh tour and thus relieve the boss of that at times.

H could cook – she used to do the cooking on the tour buses. That made boss extremely happy  – it reduces the bargaining power of the current cook, who was making noises about better pay and conditions, and was becoming increasingly unreliable.

The couple had been here before, with bus tour groups, and really fell in love with what they saw of the place. So, when they decided to retire and travel, and do some work, they really wanted to come here. Our gain. I thought.

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Water lilies on Lawn Hill Creek at Adels Grove

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2003 Travels May 11


We were rostered for two consecutive days off. Very nice! The boss’ latest policy is to give staff two consecutive days off, each month. Whilst this is great to have, it does not mean that we get an extra day off a month, just that we work longer than a week between times off – still only get 4 days off in every 28.

We did not enjoy the time off as much as we might have. Sitting outside under the van awning gave a prime view of the long drop toilet and the back of the workshop. The nearby main generator was noisy, so there was no chance of sleeping in past 8am, when it was started. The fumes from it gave me a headache if I sat outside for any length of time.

So we really couldn’t sit outside to relax. It was really a pretty poor way to treat staff, even though I understood the reason for it.

We stayed in the van for much of the time. John messed about on the laptop. I did much crochet on the cot blanket. Even so, I had a really bad headache by the end of the day.

We went for a walk around the grounds each day. There was always something new to see, or something to really examine, that we had not looked closely at, before. I was not sure that the tourists, who usually stayed only a night or three, explored Adels sufficiently to really appreciate its beauty. They focused on the National Park.

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Cluster fig fruit

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Large cluster fig tree by the creek

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2003 Travels May 10


On shop/reception again. Third day straight on this – I liked that. It would be interesting to see if I was still quite so enamoured when we really got busy. Apparently, at the real peak time, there would be two of us assigned to the shop.

Every day I was learning more – prices, register codes, unfamiliar icy pole names (not something I normally ate and therefore knew).

The campground fee was $8 per person, per night. Basic dinner, bed and breakfast was $105, but the premium tents cost more. These were the half dozen or so tents that fronted onto the creek and thus had great water outlooks from the area in front of each. In the case of the three that were up the laundry end of the row, they had the view of the little set of rapids, and the burbling noise from those all through the night. Idyllic. We staff called those tents the “Hiltons”.

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Some of the Hiltons

It appeared that there had been a permanent change to the time of the evening meal, now to be served at 6.30pm, compared to the 5.30 of last year. This was a much more civilized time, I thought, which gave guests time to enjoy their activities at the National Park, or wherever, in the daylight, and still get back in time for a shower and drink before dinner.

With the big, deep, industrial sinks in the new kitchen, and a number of staff working at it, the washing up could still be completed in reasonable time for staff – usually by 8-8.30.

Despite that expected time for dinner, its actual delivery was becoming increasingly hit or miss, both in time and quality. Cook was clearly torn between spending time enjoying happy hour on the deck,  and retiring to the kitchen! This was really beginning to worry me, as the only other employee with kitchen experience. I’d come here this year on the basis of “no more cooking”, but……..