August 15th – Wodonga to Echuca
Our 39 days of fine weather came to an abrupt end with heavy showers overnight as we left Albury/Wodonga. Our itinerary took us across the Murray River to our morning tea break at Rutherglen, then on to Yarrawonga where an interview had been arranged – this took place just outside of town before back-tracking a bit to take a look at Lake Mulwala, a man-made lake formed some 80 years ago by flooding an area and creating a dam. The dead trees which remain are a picturesque tourist attraction and paddle boats take trips out to see them each day. The day we visited, the trip was booked out, but we enjoyed watching it wend its way among the skeletons of the long dead trees. This was a very pleasant spot to stop for lunch before heading to Echuca. A brief stop was made at a friend of George’s to see his factory, then it was time to make tracks to meet our 4.00pm appointment with Elders of Echuca where Wayne and his staff awaited us with a very kind donation.
A pleasant surprise was meeting up with Lyn and Nola Matthews and Rob and Sue Tolley, all Chamberlain 9G Club enthusiasts who had made a special effort to some and meet up with the Tail End Charlie group. A special photo was taken of all the 9G Club members present – quite an impressive number.
August 16th – Echuca to Donald
Another wet day was ahead of us as we made a very special visit to the Echuca Port – a picturesque place with lots of history and preserved buildings. Morning tea stop was not far away at the Beechworth Bakery where photos of Charlie and the resident old Chevy delivery van parked outside the shop were taken – two old timers looked good together.
A message came through on Facebook that Jill Ramsgill at Mitiano would love to have us visit. Jill offered free coffee and a donation which was too good an opportunity to miss and the locals there were thrilled to have Charlie in their small community. One small girl named Tia was given a teddy, as was Jill, and these as always brought a smile.
After a quick lunch stop at Boort, we made for Charlton where Elizabeth White of their local Rotary Group had arranged for Lions and Oasis Club members to join us for an afternoon tea at their rotunda on the Avoca River – a wonderful spread in very pretty surroundings. Many thanks to all who assisted and attended. Fortunately the rain held off while we were enjoyed this pleasant interlude.
Back on the road again, we drove through rather damp looking crops which will most likely benefit from the rain after a rather dry start to winter. Our overnight stop had been arranged by our member Jeff Fordham who rejoined us after driving from Darwin with his wife Wendy. Jeff’s friend’s son Gary made us very welcome at his father’s property – his Dad could not attend as he was having a prostate operation that very day – we wish him a very speedy recovery. A great dinner had been prepared for our arrival and despite the wet conditions, we had a pleasant evening.
August 17th – 10k from Donald to Warracknabeal.
Again the day was wet and gloomy as we drove to Warracknabeal, but brightened up enough for photos to be taken of Charlie at the roundabout outside the wonderful Post Office Building. Then it was off to have morning tea in town before finding accommodation for the night. Most members took advantage of the great Museum in town.