How it all Began
I had an idea that I would like to retire aged 55 and travel around Australia. During my time with Caboolture Shire Council this was just a vague idea. After I got the job as Chief Health Inspector for Cairns City Council I fell in love with Pamela Maloney and things moved along after that. Pamela and I got married on 1st January 1990 and she was enthusiastic about buying a campervan and travelling around our country. I was concerned that we did not have enough money for auch an ambitious undertaking. Pamela prevailed and we set off on 26th August 1991 (her birthday). I had a year’s leave due and this helped us finance the trip. We did extensive reading on Australian road travel .
There were books on great Australian pubs and even one on Australian outback dunnies, I had an idea – I would write a book on Australian rubbish dumps, after all I was a health inspector and I was familiar with the subject. In order to ensure that our travels (research) would be tax deductable we required a ruling on the matter from the Deputy Commisioner of Taxation. We approached accountant Lloyd MacKenzie in Foster Victoria. We compiled an application letter requesting that approval be granted for our research on waste management and writing travel articles be tax deductable. Approval was granted and the rest was history. The purpose of this web page is to put our travel artices on the web.
We secured an introduction from the Local Government Association of every state and the Northern Territory. We wrote to every local government in Australia about our research. I think we got a responce rate of well over 20 percent. The first tavel story came spontaenously when we camped at Alligator Creek and were invaded py possums during the evening meal and watched by a curious kangaroo. “Possum Siege at Alligator Creek” was typed up and sent to Caravan World. Two and a half months later we found our article in the December edition of Caravan World. Pamela walked on air.
Perhaps a word here about our vehicle, an exrental Toyota High Ace camper. I painted a large red heart and her name, “Sweetie”, on the back door. We carried two type writers (laptops only became available later), two folding chairs and a card table our writing materials were extensive and an entire overhead cupboard had to be reserved for stationery. Each letter and article required a carbon copy. We also required a wardrobe because we had to look respectable when we interviewed state and/or local government officers.
Pamela kept a daily diary and took care of expenses. We felt, and probably acted like a couple of kids on adventure. Our greatest game was finding a free camp spot to camp for the night. Sometimes we camped in places of outstanding beauty, sometimes we camped beside roadside gravel pits. Our record was 21 nights running of free camps. One night we camped in the snow jump tunnel at Falls Creek and another at the Bookies Stalls of a country race track and yet another on the shores of Lake Burley Griffen not from the Governor Generals residence.
We bathed in rivers and creeks and under beachside showers and on one occasion the shower block of a country football grounds while the players were on the field. Some of the main roads free stopovers were incredibly filthy and disgracefully littered. We, at Pamela’s urging, always picked up as much litter as we could and placed it in rubbish bins. We feared the mains roads department would close the free sites if litter removal became too expensive.
The conduct of some fellow campers explained why free camp sites are dissapearing. The worst example was a caravanner who used the meagre resourses of an outback water tank to wash his van. Many city travellers have no idea how precious water is – that is until they get to Cooperpedy where service stations require payment for every litre of water delivery.
We climbed Ayerys Rock and did the Birdsville Track, wandered through Kakadoo we roamed over the Kimberly and swam in the Twilight Cave under the Nullabor. Walking in the pitch darkness of Tunnel Creek was a breath taking adventure. Pamela was terrified of crockadiles, even the freshies. We noodled for saphires and dug for garnets. We wrote about the experiences and were chuffed to see them published. While camping at Asbestos Range (now renamed) National Park in Tasmania we had Tasmanian devils visit the camp site at night. Our article “A Devil on Thongs” relates to a little known fact that Tasmanian devils tend to steal shoes if left outside overnight.
We met some wonderful and interesting fellow travellors and others who are best forgotten. We met a frenchman who was roller skating his way around Australia, another guy was pulling a rickshaw, several cyclists, including an aged pensioner who doing a pub crawl on an ancient pushbike. A favourite was “Joe” who walked the outback roads.
We wrote about some of them others remain in fading memory banks. Like the time we were camped in the back of a truck stop on the Stuart highway when late at night we woke to hear a car load of animated inebriated people pull up for a comfort stop. We heard the car doors slamming as they prepared to leave and then the unmistakable sounds of a worn out battery – we had company for the night unless we got them going. We startled them when we appeared out of no where and asked “would you like a push?” It was pitch dark, So Pam and I and three from the car began pushing the car down the Stuart Highway. It was a hard slog but after several attempts at a clutch start the engine roared into life. It was thanks all round as they opened the car doors to get in. When the interiour light came on we found four people already sitting in the car.
Meanwhile we kept up the waste management research. Son Tony was our mailing address and once a fortnight he forwarded mail on to some post office destination. We visited scores of local governments, nearly all were interested in our research and we have without doubt the largest photographic collection of waste management disposal sites in Australia.
Perhaps a word on how we wrote the stories. Although I did the text for the first story Pamela took over and became very adept at writing about our travels and adventures. I supplied the photographs and helped out with the editing. if we did not enjoy a place we did not write about it. Some places were such favourites that we ended up writing several articles about them. Some times the magazine company would print a copy of our article in another magazine owned by the company.
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