(written by Nancy)
Well, not a happy end to the State of Origin game last night for the Blues – once again a loss to Queensland. We stayed at a pub until half-time, when Dave could no longer take all the hooting and hollering from the Maroon supporters. The game was also on in the common room at the caravan park so he stopped in there to watch the rest of it while I went back to the tent. The game was over by 10pm – a late night for us!
Lovely sleep in today – it was cold again this morning so we did not get up until at about 8:30, when the sun was finally hitting the tent. We made pancakes on the grill with bacon for breakfast – turned out pretty good! We will have to remember that for future rest days – makes a nice change from eggs on toast or oatmeal.
We took advantage of the free wireless to make Skype calls to our mothers – always fun to do that. It was almost 11:30 by the time we wandered out of the caravan park over to the Australian Workers Heritage Centre. Barcaldine is known as the primary location of the Sheep Shearer’s strike in 1891 that is credited as one of the primary reasons for the formation of the Australian Labor Party (similar to Democratic party, for those in the US). A dispute amongst the farmers and the shearers over terms of employment grew into a huge labour dispute, with a massive labour strike forming across Queensland. The main shearers’ camp was nearby Barcaldine and a gum tree in town came to be the meeting spot for the shearers to discuss the state of affairs. That tree was subsequently referred to as the Tree of Knowledge.
The strike was ultimately unsuccessful for the shearers, with the police and other military pulled in to prevent the shearers from interfering with replacement labour brought in and the main committee of shearers receiving 3 years of hard labour. But the strike apparently made the shearers realise that they needed to have their own representation in Parliament to protect workers’ rights. The Australian Workers Heritage Centre has been set up to recognise and celebrate the Australian workers contribution to the development of Australia and the development of the Australian Labor Party. We spent over two hours at the centre going through all the exhibits – it was very interesting and worth the visit.
The Tree of Knowledge was named on the Australian Historic list in early 2006 but it was poisoned by someone in May 2006 and did not recover. They have built a massive wooden structure over the remaining trunk of the tree in an effort to maintain its place in history – it looks a bit odd (oversized) from the street but inside it is quite interesting with lots of wooden ‘branches’ that hang down like an accordion.
We wandered around town a bit, had a pie for lunch (curry for Dave, pepper for me) and then a coffee and cake for afternoon tea and then made our way back to the caravan park to listen to the country western singers (Tom and Patty Routledge) sing a few songs and then have some billy tea and damper. Fun time – and the damper and tea were delicious. The damper is served with a bit of butter and golden syrup for a bit of sweetness.
We are now having dinner and will have an early night tonight, as we have about 108k to reach Longreach tomorrow. It looks like the wind is shifting back to being favourable for us – that should help a bit tomorrow. Then we are looking at another few days off in Longreach – getting slack these days!