Tambo and Tambo Teddies

To Tambo

On Day three I travelled from Bungeworgorai  to Tambo, arriving in the afternoon.  Tambo is an interesting little town, neat and tidy, with a range of historic buildings and a Teddy shop.  I went into the Info Centre, which is also the town library, and watched as 2 well behaved young boys (around 10/11 years) arranged to borrow some books.  There was an issue as one of them appeared not to have his Library Card.  I was impressed with the boy’s very nice manners.

The Tambo Post Office

In the Teddies shop

I was seeking information about a Free Camp – in my info, it was near the lake near the town, but apparently, the council had changed the rules.  It was behind the lake on the banks of the very dry Barcoo River.

Tambo Teddies

The old buildings were interesting, so I took a walk down the main street taking photos of the historic buildings and came across the Tambo Teddy Shop.  I had heard about this shop some time ago, and decided to go in and see if I could write a piece for Weekend Notes.  One of the owners works for the council at the Art Gallery, so I went over to see her.  She introduced me to an exhibition that was on there – two sisters had created a wonderful exhibition – one had written a story and the other had created the rooms and other material, to support the material.  It was almost closing time so we made arrangements to meet at 7.30 am at the Teddy Shop.

The Old Barcoo

With a little trepidation, I set off to see if the Free Camp was suitable.  It was a dry spot, with no water in the Barcoo at the spot where several vans had already set up for the night.  I joined them.  A lovely couple were close by and invited me to join them for a chat.  They were from NSW and were draught horse people – taking their well trained horses around the state to show how these magnificent horses did their work.

The Barcoo River

The van fitted into a spot near them, after a chat I went back to the van to get my dinner and settle down.  It was quite cold and I had to fill the hot water bottle.  Luckily it kept me warm as toast.

Sheepskin put to use as Teddies

In the morning I was at the Teddy Shop, and the lady as promised arrived to show me around. She told me the story of the creation of the Teddies out of sheepskin.  It was something created at a time when Tambo was suffering a downturn.  Several owners have run the business since its inception, and they have quite a staff and business.  (You’ll have to read the article when it is posted on WN.)

After I had taken the photos etc I had a coffee and toast at the little café beside the Teddy Shop, before setting off on my journey.

Posted in History, Travel | Leave a comment

Day Two


Roma was to be my next stop but I went beyond and found a Free Camp at Bungeworgorai Creek.  There were other campers there – about 8 I think, and I felt safe.  Met some great folk, including a guy also driving a Toyota Coaster, who offered me some tips on the Coaster.

There was so much to learn about this type of living.  I’d not known much about Free Camps.  They are places with little or no facilities, where self-contained campers can stay for free.  It is surprising to see so many people using them.  Usually couples (grey nomads) but single folk do and often groups of young men.


Budgie What?  I don’t know how to pronounce it, but that is the name of the area too.

In the morning, I repacked my van – always seem to be doing that, and set off for my next stop.  I had my plans written down – where I was to stay etc, but in the end, I kept thinking about getting to Mt Isa as soon as possible for my SBS commitment so if I felt comfortable, I’d drive further.

Most of the country is very dry – good to see some water!

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Chaos – Oh, please stop.


Oh, it has been a lot of Chaos.  If only my plans all worked out as I had imagined.  Still, it has been exciting.

I have had trouble with phones and internet access.  Optus and Telstra. Long conversations from the outback have been marginally fruitless, but I am coping.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by SBS to participate in a program on Homeless Women, so had to re organise my life.  I had to re organise my life and head off to Mt Isa earlier than originally planned.  I would not be with the groups that I had planned to be with.

Between Kynuna and McKinlay

So I set off on Tuesday afternoon after a Society of Women Writers meeting, and full of fear, set off up the ranges through Toowoomba and had my first night at Dalby.  I made it.  Not used to driving the Coaster – big, manual.  Eeek.  But I did it.

To Sydney and SBS.

Fast forward (and I will detail my stops later) I made it to Mt Isa, in a Caravan Park.  On the Tuesday, (August 15th) I was up early and on a plane to Sydney (via Brisbane), arriving around 4.15 pm with less than half an hour to get ready to go to the SBS Studio.

At the studio I had my makeup done and quickly into the studio to commence the Insight program.  It was freaky.  But I did it.  I freaked too because they showed some filming of me and Murtle back in Brisbane.  Filming done the day before I left Brisbane.

The program was filmed for around 3 hours, before we were taken to have a glass of wine and then taken back to the hotel.  There were 5 of us at the hotel and we had breakfast together before departing.  Another long day in planes from Sydney to Brisbane to Mt Isa. I was knackered.

I’m back on the road again.  There’s a lot of “chatter” about the show – but I can’t find anything online.





Posted in Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Day One of the Adventure

It’s now over a week since I set off on my epic journey in Murtle the Turtle, the Toyota Coaster that is now my home.  I had a meeting to attend on Tuesday morning (8th August), returned home by midday, and after a few last minute tasks I set off. Both fuel tanks full and heading for Dalby.  Around 210 kms.

Brisbane to Dalby

Not having driven Murtle for some time – apart from to the Servo and down the street for filming for SBS, I was a bit tense about the drive.  But all turned out well – though my first minor drama was near Helidon when the visor on the bus started rattling and with a bang, pulled off and flipped onto the side of the road.  I saw it hit the road – and luckily not hit any following vehicles.  I could not stop, and I could not go back.

Dalby Tourist Park

I must say it was a relief to get to Dalby. Apart from the incident near Helidon it was an uneventful trip, though a few challenges going up the range, and having to change gears in heavy afternoon Toowoomba traffic was stressful. But I made it!!

Beside the Tourist Park

It is the first time I have stayed in a Caravan Park. I chose an unpowered site and set up. All pretty easy somehow. I was though very relieved and slept well!!

Good Morning Myall Creek

In the morning I went for a walk along the beautiful Myall Creek which borders the Caravan Park, and took a few photos.  It’s a pretty spot and there are moor hens and ducks galore that clearly like those walking on the path to feed them.  Two ducks were very optimistic when they approached me, but I didn’t have anything to give them.

After a short wander around the creek I returned and a tidied up of the van, I set off again.  This time planning to stop at Roma.

How do you say it?  Bungeworgorai Creek?








Posted in Travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Book Reviews – How They Help Your Writing

I confess I don’t do regular Book Reviews.  I do know that I should do more, but it is a time factor with me.

Not a lot of reviews are done with some of the books I read.  Often when I am looking at buying a book online I will check on the reviews.  Some have an even split around 50/50 of readers who hate or love the book.  Their comments are worth reading, and should one choose to read/buy the book, it is interesting to read the reviews, and check them against your opinions.

Biographies or History

I am not a great reader of fiction – tending to read more biographical or historical stories. I was interested that yesterday a writing friend was adamant that I should be an editor. We laughed as often I am referred to as the “Word Police”.  I often see spelling errors before others do – as if the incorrectly spelt word jumps out at me.

Today in my news feed I received information on writing reviews, so I am going to take some time to see what has been advised in the article.

Book Reviews

Books by Anne Splatt (Unsplash.com)

Interesting too, that Neuroplasticity supporters promote the idea of reviewing books and movies as a way of “retraining” your brain and helping your memory.  It’s good to discuss a book with someone else who has read it – which is why Book Clubs are so valuable.

Perhaps read a book after you have read a review, and then take time (without re-looking at the reviews again to write your own review.  Then you might take the time to compare what you have written to the other reviews.  Every reader has different things that impress or not when reading a book.


Why not experiment and test your views against others?  If you are a writer you may find the exercise of value in creating your own words.

Why not leave a book review here in comments?

Posted in Writing. | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Obits – The Stories of Life

Some years ago I “discovered” obituaries or obits as some folk in the industry like to say.   As a lover of life stories, biographies, memoir etc, it fits right into my major interest.  I’d much rather read this genre than fiction!!

I have a collection of books about Obituary – one by Australian academic Dr Nigel Starck, from Adelaide South Australia (my home state).

In America, there is the Society of Professional Obituary Writers, which I have been a member of, despite the fact that I am not a professional.   I read their many articles and dream of one day going to one of their Conferences.

The history of obituaries is very interesting

Australia’s Obituary Expert

Obituaries Q&A with Dr Nigel Starck from Dan Masoliver on Vimeo.

Life After Death by Dr Nigel Starck is a most interesting read, especially about the history of Obituaries.

There are a number of interesting articles on the topic.

The Obituary.

Writing Obituaries

Advanced Obituaries

I like the idea of “Advanced Obituaries” – specifically writing your own.  You can have a bit of fun with it.  Will it be used in the event of your demise?  Does it matter?

My children know very little about my early life – so I have documented it.  They might use it at my final farewell, or not.  It doesn’t matter.

Death is inevitable, and I don’t mind talking about it.  Sadly many folk cannot bring themselves to talk with their families.  I heard that some 50% of Australians do not have a current will.They’ve not bothered to ensure that their families are protected, not have they bothered to save them the trauma that they will face when they have to sort out their loved one’s possessions.

They’ve not bothered to ensure that their families are protected, not have they bothered to save them the trauma that they will face when they have to sort out their loved one’s possessions.

I found it difficult to speak with my parents about it – and my children have not discussed my demise with me either, but I suspect I am more organised than most people.


Posted in History, Writing. | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Editor, Editor. Please Check My Work.

Another friend has published a book – a story of her life.  I have read it.  It is a memoir of a very interesting life, but sadly there are many errors in it.

Who needs an Editor?

One of the challenges for writers, especially those who self-publish or publish through a “vanity press” organisation, is the editing and proofreading of their work.

It is very expensive to use the services of a quality editor – it could cost between $1000 and $2000.  Some writers find that difficult and rely on friends or family to “edit”.

Story One

A number of years ago, our writers’ group asked a lady who had written a crime fiction book to present at an afternoon tea event.  The book was given to me and I read it.  It was the first ever book that I took to with a pencil, marking out the errors I found. One of the characters, a doctor, had his name spelt three different ways, and there was a strange explanation of a skeleton that had a muscle spasm.  It turns out that this lady had paid an editor.  Sadly not a good one.

Story Two

A lady known to me published her story as an e-book.  I bought it and read it on my Kindle. I was shocked at the number of errors in it.  She invited me to coffee one morning and we talked about her book and the errors.  She took me to her computer and I looked over the manuscript.  I asked if she had even done a spell check.  Apparently, she did, but perhaps did not save it.  She was horrified when she saw the errors when I turned on “spell check”.  I don’t know what she did about the book.  We have not met up since.

I like to tell everyone about Grammarly, which I have used for over 2 years.  It is a free program (you can pay to upgrade to more services), but the free program is incredibly helpful.

It doesn’t matter if I write an email, a Word document, or a blog post – Grammarly checks everything and puts a line under what it considers to be errors.  I can choose to accept Grammarly’s advice.  Sometimes I do not accept Grammarly’s recommendation – if I am determined to do it “my way”.

I trust you, dear reader, will not find any errors as Grammarly has done its work for me.

Try it for FREE.

Grammarly works with computers – not handwriting.





Posted in Writing. | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Few More Preparations Done

My Barina was overdue for a service so I made a trip to Brisbane to get it done, which allowed me some time to continue with the preparations on the Coaster.

The Van Today

The new duvet has a cover now, and I have managed to find “homes” for a few more items.  I will be sleeping in the van from Wednesday night, and either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning I will head to Beachmere to get the vehicle checked by my favourite mechanic.

Maybe back to Brisbane on Friday or Saturday, and on Monday I complete my final packing etc, ready to leave on Tuesday afternoon.   I aim to get to Dalby late on Tuesday afternoon and stay overnight, heading off in the morning for my next stop.

I need to get to Mt Isa by 14th of August.  Luckily I have driven most of the route before, but I will be stopping occasionally to take photos and research stories for Weekend Notes. 

It is some weeks since I have driven the Coaster.  I put the key in the ignition today and it started.  Whoo Hoo!!!  My preparations include driving the Coaster.  It is manual and I am more comfortable with automatic vehicles.

The Plan

I hope to be staying in a FREE camp near Dalby.  Then I will set off early the next morning for Roma.  I’d like to have a look around Roma – have been there before, but not had a good look around.

Years ago, on a long weekend (Anzac Day, I recall),  my husband and I set off to look around Roma.  We picked the wrong weekend, as not much was open.  I can’t recall much about it except our disappointment.  I know the town has developed much more since those days.

Did we visit Romavilla Winery?  For some reason, I think that it was closed when we arrived.  Perhaps I can go there this time.

Photo by Roberta Sorge

Red Wine at Romavilla Winery?








Posted in Murtle's Journey, Travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Another Thing Off the Bucket List

While “house sitting” on the Gold Coast for nearly three weeks, minding my son’s apartment, tropical fish and occasionally his children, I had several things on my “bucket list” to achieve.   Previously I have resided up to 100 kms away, so it has been difficult to fit in the things I wanted to do around the GC.

Bucket List – Margaret Olley’s Gallery – Tick!

One was to visit Margaret Olley’s Gallery at Murwillumbah, which I have done, and the other was to go on a Whale Watching Cruise.  I bought a ticket for the latter via Groupon, thus saving quite a few dollars.

Today was the day.  I, and many others, from the four corners of the globe it appeared, I went out into the Pacific Ocean in search of whales, or any other major sea creature.  The cruise was only 2 ½ hours, a fairly short window, in some way.

However, there was success.  There were two whales headed south, which we followed at a safe distance and two headed north later in the cruise.  It was a good day, though the swell once out of the Broadwater was enough to make a few of the travellers reach for the sick bags.

Still in the Broadwater

At the Spit

Luckily, I managed to escape my usual sea sickness, though I did feel seedy for some of the trip.  Not enough to stop me taking photos though.

City by the Sea

The water spout indicates whales – and there were 2

The scenery is spectacular and it was a good day for photography, though a little hazy at times.  There were quite a few other boats out to sea.  The Sea World Whale Watching boat joined us towards the end.

Bucket List – Whale Watching Cruise, Tick.


We “followed” the whales heading north – and they were in quite a playful mood, breaching often and “waving” at us.

Apparently, there are record numbers of whales this season, making their way north and later returning.

So glad I had the opportunity of seeing them, though I would like to have been much closer to them.

Am also lucky I wasn’t seasick!!



Posted in Photography, Travel | Leave a comment

The Adventure is About to Begin

It’s funny, a few days ago I found an article written about me.  I can’t recall seeing it.  It was about my adventure in 2012/2013.   You can read it here.

At the moment I am on the Gold Coast, but by this time next week,I will be in the final stages of my planning for a trip from Brisbane to Alice Springs, in my Toyota Coaster. I am taking the Coaster to Beachmere and Caboolture for a check up and addition of special oils in preparation for the journey.  Then it is back to Brisbane for a few days and final preparations to leave in the afternoon of August 8th.

One of my challenges will be driving the Coaster.  It is several weeks since I have done so.  I have not yet driven any distance.  On the first afternoon, I hope to make it to Dalby – a distance of just over 200 kms.   If I drive at 80 kms an hour, it should take me just over 2 1/2 hours.

I have posted on the Rolling Solo site to see if any other Roller will be in Dalby on that night.  I might need some support at that time.  So far, there are no positive replies.

The Route to Mt Isa

My plan is to stop here:

  • Dalby
  • Roma298 kms
  • Augathella – 269 kns
  • Barcaldine – 384 kms
  • Winton – 287 kms
  • Cloncurry – 346 kms
  • Mt Isa – 121 kms (I’d like to be here by 15th August.)

(I’ve edited distances as RACQ Trip Planner is having problems)

I can’t explain much now, but I have a reason for getting to Mt Isa quickly.  All will be revealed closer to the time.

The van has been my home for a few weeks, so I know much about it, however, I do need to be up to speed with all the power and checking oil and water etc.

Inside Murtle

Murtle before the new curtains

Murtle does look different now.  I have all new curtains, thanks to my family, who gifted the new purple curtains for Mother’s Day.  Granddaugher Zali sewed them for me.  I will take a photo.










Posted in Murtle's Journey | Tagged , , | Leave a comment