Monday 26 April 2010

How the west was won

All about history today - real life history, sweat and tears, grit and hope and humour. It started with sitting up front with Richard on a Cobb & Co coach on a gallop along an old trail past a billabong where Banjo Patterson would have boiled a billy, with young Lane shooting the occasional pebble up between the horses with his catapult to bounce off lazy Bess's rump - very Tom Sawyer.

Then to the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame to look at finely plaited bridles, battered hats and saddles, to read and hear drovers' stories, and to sit outside and watch Luke load a log on a wagon with his eight bullocks: easily said, but oh so laborious, slow and frustrating.

Across the road to the Qantas Founders' Museum for the Fysh and McGinnis story of vision, courage and determination, that made such a difference to outback life - and gave birth to a national airline in the process. Oh, and we poked all through a real 747-200 and walked along its wing - you can't do that anywhere else in the world.

And finally a cruise along the Thomson in a paddleboat to watch the sunset, then a campfire dinner watching locusts swoop over the flames, listening to country music and barefoot Scotty, a cowboy-hatted Pam Ayres, recite poems about outback life and tell a few good jokes.

Busy day full of interest and good humour - thanks, Longreach.

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