The only rest day of the trip was in Oakey. This has caused some consternation from the locals from Toowoomba as they had a very low opinion of Oakey as a desirable destination even for one night. But they were only an hour by car from Toowoomba. As for me I got to sleep in. Normally I was up around 6 AM which was just before the sun rose. But by 7AM it had already been up for some time. It was a cold night and I zipped up my sleeping bag for the first time of the trip. It was great to feel the warmth of the sun on the tent as it rose. Though it only heated the side of the tent nearest the east. Luckily, and by pure chance, that was the end where my head was located.
I got up, had the breakfast and headed off to the meeting point for the bus to Jondaryan. I was impressed by the information on the notice board. There probably had been a board like this each day, and all that had happened was the I had no seen it. After this I made a point of looking at the notice board each morning. There were two groups who left before us. A group going gliding and a group doing a 100 km Audax race.
There were two bus loads of us tourists heading from Oakey to Jondaryan Wool shed but only one bus. So it took over an hour for us all to get there. I have to say, I found it all a bit dull. Which is sad really. I often visit these wool sheds because it reminds me of the times in my Grandfather’s wool shed when I was in primary school, helping with the sheering. But this was a bit big and industrial. After the crash of the 1890’s they switched over the cropping and have never gone back. Hugh said that this wool shed was one of the ones earmarked to be burned down in the great shearers strike. But unlike some others, it was not burned down, apparently becuase the people supposed to do it, never made it there. Sounds a bit like the stories from the cultural revolution in China.
We had morning tea, then wandered around the exhibits. They have done a good job of grabbing old buildings and transporting them to the site so they have quite a collection. I mused that in the end, this will be the biggest town in the Darling Downs if they keep on doing that. The blacksmithing was quite interesting and they showed us how they used the wheel shrinker to shrink the metal tyres for a cart if they were a bit too big.
We then went into the main shearing shed. They even had an old steam motor to drive the shears and we had a display of sheering of two sheep, though I only watched the first.
Then there was a display using a trained dog, and anther of a dog under training to show how they do the training. Then we had lunch of corned beef and salad. I had been looking forward to this, but, alas, the corned beef was disappointing.
After lunch we returned to Oakey by bus. I wandered into town. Here I had another steak sandwich and chocolate milk shake before wandering down to the library. On the way I passed many bikes parked outside the RSL club and the smaller number at the library itself. Before I went into the library I stopped at the art gallery. They were amazed by the bikes in town and I chatted to them for some time. Apparently there had been quite a rush on the Laundromat in town and the machines had been going flat out. They had also had many people come though their gallery. I am a bit disappointed that I do not seem to have taken any photos of the gallery. The library had free internet access which they were giving out in half hour blocks, but it was over 1 1/2 hours before I could get a spot so I did not do this option.
On the way back to the camp there were several men (from our ride) standing on the bridge. They were waiting. So I looked, and luckily a fright train was approaching. So I stopped and took some photos of the train. There had been a train every hour or two all day and night.
This is the original post I made on the day:
They say that oakey is one of those strange towns & that you have to be careful of your belongings because of the theft rate. They also have security guards.
It was cold overnight and for the first tine I had to zip up the sleeping bag. But also for the first time, the sun came up while I was in the tent and the warmth was lovely. I slept in until 7 am!
I headed off on the bus to the Jondaryan woolshed. I was told, before I went that it was one of the sheds to be torched in the strike of 1891, but the sheers never got there. It was quite impressive and brought back many memories of sheering in my grandfathers sheering shed. Over lunch I met the mysterious bill erikson.
Back on town, did some shopping, visited the art gallery, had a good chat there to re locals, and visited the library, though the Internet terminals were booked out for the next few hours.