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Hay Hay it’s Saturday

Hay

The Tasmanian convoy is currently situated in Hay, on the very flat Hay plains. Driving around the streets of Hay a friendly competition ensues about using the town’s name in a pun, eg ‘Let’s make Hay while the sun shines’, ‘Hay (Hay) you (you) get offa my cloud’ with the eventual winner being ‘Hay Hay it’s Saturday’ (because it is actually a saturday).

We drove to Hay from Deniliquin across some remarkably unremarkable landscape, apart from the odd interruption from free range cows wandering across the road. There was however, the occasional sign advertising viewing platforms for ‘The Long Paddock’. Thinking this was some kind of exciting tourist attraction we speculated about what this wondrous ‘Long Paddock’ could be- eventually deducing that it was indeed just one, very long paddock.

We have noticed since crossing the border that the caravan park clientele in NSW are decidedly well dressed, not letting restricted access to showers and laundry facilities dampen their style. We have called them the ‘Park Glitterati’, identifiable by their gold jewellery and pastel attire.

The best op shop purchase from the last couple of days comes in the form of a one piece jumpsuit in fuchsia and aqua and the most disturbing culinary discovery in the form of a Red Bull and fruit smoothie. The current soundtrack in our car is stirring renditions of classic rock/pop power duets including ‘Under Pressure’ with alternating Bowie/Mercury lead vocals, George Michael versus Elton John in ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me’ and the Kenny/Dolly tour-de-force ‘Islands in the Stream’.

Our site in Hay is on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River. While pretty to look at, the banks of the river prove treacherous. One member of the convoy is nearly sucked deep into the soft mud on the riverside, with ankle and a good stretch of lower leg consumed by the thick green-brown goo. It feels wonderfully cool and refreshing before drying to a crackly grey crust like elephant skin.

There has also been a nightly tradition of storytelling around the fire or BBQ. Themes have included The Murray River, Swimming and tonight’s theme- Fire. We are slowly learning about each other and these tidbits help, as memories, anecdotes and shy revelations are offered forth to the circle. We are having a nice time.

Border Crossing

Murray

 

 

Thursday October tenth sees our fair caravaners depart Castlemaine and head inland to Echuca. Our night in Castlemaine passed fairly uneventfully with quiet activities such as caravan decorating, reading and writing. Though the peacefulness was interrupted somewhat by a large scary sounding animal we eventually deduced was a irate possum, not some sort of man-eating, bush-dwelling monster as was first suspected.

The cafe stop over in Bendigo yields coffee and cupcakes and the op shop in Rochester bestows us with a somewhat impractical banana holder modelled on a very specifically shaped banana.

As we drive into Echuca we realise if you say Echuca repeatedly but without the ‘E’ it sounds like a train noise ie. ‘chuca-chuca. ‘chuca-chuca, ‘chuca-chuca’ and so on. We spend a good ten minutes making this noise without any diminished amusement at our clever discovery.

The sing-along soundtrack in our car today comprises of Paul Simon, Paul Kelly and The Police. There are less flamboyant dance moves and more introspective folk moments but the vibe is still tight as we roll past the flattening landscape towards the border.

When we get to Echuca we go off road and find a spot by the Mighty Murray to camp for the night. There is no electricity or running water or nearby toilets… but the excellent views more than make up for any lack of modern conveniences.

A very pleasant night is passed by the campfire as tales are shared, red wine is passed and the sun sets over the river.

Betwixt and Between

 

 

Somewhere between the west and south

 

Somewhere in between time zones

 

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Between getting somewhere and being nowhere

 

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Between total strangers, travel acquaintances and friends

Between grids, roadhouses, servos, lookouts and one street towns

Kilometres pass, questionable meals are eaten, Phil Collins CDs and endless ice creams and postcards are purchased, road trains are overtaken, mate waves are reciprocated

 

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But betwixt and between time and space passing

Nothing much happens

 

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Other than the road bending, the sun setting and the wind picking up again

 

-Elspeth, in Ceduna, after the Nullarbor.

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The Victorian convoy arrives in Castlemaine

long weekend 2

 

 

Wednesday October ninth sees our intrepid caravaners depart Melbourne on a blustery spring morning. Venturing forth from the suburban depths of Coburg and out onto the Calder freeway we speed towards the green bush and yellow hills of the Macedon ranges.

The sing-along soundtrack in our car comprises of Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner and The Kinks and the van wobbles occasionally as hands depart the steering wheel to execute sweet synchronised dance moves. There are three vans in our convoy thus far, The Fossicker, The Crusader and Rebecca. We cause quite a stir with the locals as we pull into Kyneton for mid-morning refreshments and the purchasing of kitchen implements.

After a slight mechanical hitch is solved (one of the vans wheels wasn’t quite attached properly) it’s onto the leafy hamlet of Castlemaine, which will be our resting place for the night. Several members of the team quickly and efficiently obliterate the town’s op shops, moving with military-like precision amongst the 2 dollar bargain bins. One caravaner emerges with a bizarre relic of kitsch 80’s Australiana, involving a well known pink ostrich puppet from a well known weekend centric variety show. Said ostrich is depicted in a compromising and slightly disturbing pose on the front of what can only be described a children’s night gown. Needless to say it is snapped up immediately.

We set up camp and get ready for an afternoon tea and viewing session for local caravan enthusiasts, catered by the excellent and formidable ladies of the CWA. We promptly stuff ourselves with scones, jam and cream and chat to the lovely people who came to see the vans, hearing stories of long ago holidays and current caravan dwelling. One lady lived in a vintage van as her granny flat was being built, much to the consternation and horror of her grown up children. Another tells a tale of being five years old and travelling to the beach, only to discover an entire jar of honey had spilt all over the caravan on the interim journey.

As we struggle to consume the mountain of orange cake and egg and lettuce sandwiches the CWA ladies have come armed with, the light fades on our pond-side picnic. It is the first properly balmy evening of the year and locals and travellers alike drift away to enjoy the dwindling strains of rosy twilight.

TASMANIANS ARE GO!

The Spirit of Tasmania is pulling out of port as I type! And the Tasmanaian convoy is on the way….!

Warwick Lee’s Crusader in the boat:

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The send-off party at The Bluff in Devonport:

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The Fossickers bangin’ new black feature panels pre-departure in Wynyard:

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Last minute washing drying:
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Beth in the swish Spirit Cabin:

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Andrew in the cabin. He got the A bed and I got B (for Beth):

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Van line-ups on deck G3:

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Sun sets on tassie:
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Tropical Convoy heads south

MOTLW Cairns Departure 24 Sept 13 50s

Today’s the day! This morning our first convoy of caravans left Cairns, in far north Queensland, on the long drive south to Canberra.

Cairns Indy Media was there to capture the moment as some icons of mid-century Aussie holidays rolled out of town.

MOTLW Sunliner Van leaves Cairns

Tonight our vanners stop at Kurramine Beach, then Townsville 26th/27th Sept, Home Hill 27th/28th Sept, Mackay 28th/29th Sept & Rockhampton 29th/30th Sept.

Catch up with them for a cuppa and a chat along the way

MOTLW Cuppa Tea Cairns

REAL WORK

OK caravanners, you’ll be pleased to know that things are all making sense for me now that I’ve finally started some ‘real work’ on an early 60’s Sunliner down in Tasmania. I thought I was just swanning in to make some art inside but oh no no. There’s a whole lot of sanding to be done, retro light fittings to be sourced, paint to be matched, shelves rebuilt, wiring to be done etcetera! Wynyard local Chris Symonds, who’ll also be joining us in Canberra has done a stellar job so far and I’m happy to be able to help out on the interior stuff. Skills acquired in my days as part of an all-woman gang of house painters in Melbourne are going to come in handy.

fossicker-better

You can read more about my burgeoning love affair with The Fossicker on my website here but on to some exciting updates about Museum of the Long Weekend!

We’re welcoming a few more people to the creative team. Firstly Robyn Marais and Tyson Mowarin up in Ieramugadu (Roebourne) in the Pilbara who are teaming up with Big hART’s Elspeth Blunt in a collaboration with the Ieramugadu community. Their work will take tales of travel, holiday food and family recipes from Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi families as precious cargo and collect stories from the west coast along the way. These stories will be shared in Perth, Kalgoorlie and finally at MOTLW in Canberra as a multimedia installation inside the caravan.

Secondly film-maker Ewan McLeod who’s based up in Townsville is going to be traveling with the convoy from Cairns down the coast to Home Hill and then skipping on to Brisbane to work with Lisa Mora from Vintage Caravan Magazine and some caravan park residents to make a film piece about their experiences to show in Canberra in Lisa’s van.

I encourage everyone to check out the ‘creative team’ page on this site to familiarize themselves with the diverse range of artists who are involved on the project and who will be in Canberra as part of MOTLW.

Big hART director Scott Rankin and I have been talking about creating boards/collection points for written stories, perhaps akin to supermarket notice boards when people can contribute snippets of holiday/leisure-time related memories in four categories: ‘Lost n Found’ (descriptions of objects lost and found on holiday), ‘Missing Persons’ (…eg someone never seen again since summer of ’92), ‘True Heroes’ (the time that Dad rescued Lilly from the killer geese…) and ‘The Museum of the Unsaid Thing’. So get your thinking caps on about these as we’d love to hear what you have to offer in Canberra.

We’ve been casting nets far n wide for people interested in organizing small local events for the convoys as they pass through regional towns an cities en route to Canberra. So far there will be events taking place in the following locations: Home Hill, Castlemaine, Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cowra, Townsville, Maryborough and Devonport. Activities under a broad umbrella of ‘a cuppa with the convoy’ include: Fruit Salad under trees by a river, a tea-party in the middle of town, sausage sizzle at the caravan park and a welcome to country in the local botanical gardens. If you know people in places who would be interested in helping organize a little something please tell them to get in touch beth@bighart.org

It’s getting closer! The first convoys depart from Carins/Roebourne in less than a month!

Looking forward to seeing you there. Beth.

CONVOY DETAILS

Hey team, some of this info has been sent out in e-mails but I just wanted to share a bit of updated info here about where things are up to in the production department, and some exciting plans taking shape for events along the way for our three convoys…
Jody has been working hard to make sure the most reasonable and discounted (where possible) accommodation offers are available to you, as detailed in the e-mails. We’ve allocated spots for the convoys in a range of quality parks and locations along the way.
A reminder that there will be power and toilets and showers at the site in Canberra!
Jody and I have begun contacting local councils/galleries/clubs etc to arrange mini-events and cup of tea/story swapping picnics in the locations that the convoys pass through. More info coming soon. Free to send us a list of ideas of places to contact if you have some local information.
We will be documenting the convoys with all the caravanners collaboration and blogging it online with a twitter hashtag etc so people can follow the journey prior to arrival in canberra. We like to think that the journey is as much a part of the project as the destination. We can also create something with materias and documentation collected along the way to display in Canberra.
To clarify – during the event in Canberra the focus is on the vans who’ve had artists working with them but all are welcome to open their vans to the public and be around for casual conversations with the public about holidays/caravanning etc PLUS all will be, in their own ways a part of the evening events at Grevillia Park.
We will be arranging promotional materials to accompany the convoys and there will be an artist or Big hART person (more and more the closer we get to Canberra) on each convoy to help with this side of things, plus liaising with local groups etc.
Hope this is all clear! Any questions please get in contact beth@bighart.org
Beth

Protection

Found by Reg Lynch and his partner Narissa somewhere in Roswell….

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