Sunday, 31 July 2016

Historic Cedar Route

One thing we like to do when we are travelling is to do the historic routes. Of course if one can get a copy of the route one will know what we will see. We were lucky to have lovely Maureen at the Clifton Information Centre who knew where the tourist routes info would be, so with our 'Savour Warwick and Surrounds' booklet off we went.
As the route started in Warwick, and we were leaving from Clifton, we by-passed the highway and Glengallan Homestead and headed along Goomburra Road to Ghost Gate Road. The road is dirt and we travelled about 2-3kms to the metal owl just outside the Ghost Gate. The history is in the photos below.
It is hard to believe that these flat fertile plains were once covered in large red cedar trees. We retraced our steps back to Goomburra Road and continued to Goomburra, This is where we took another detour and traveled into the Goomburra National Park.
Goomburra is mostly farms and many many bush camping areas. It is a Heritage listed area with many tiny streams and tall trees. There are loads of bush walks. We had a look at a few of the campsites and although they were in beautiful settings, the amenities were basic and few and the costs were high. Really don't think we stay there. Goomburra is an Aboriginal word meaning 'shield made from a tree.
As part of the Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival, the Goomburra Town Hall was hosting a Jazz High Tea. The cost was $25 per head, but all tickets were sold out before we even arrived on the Darling Downs.
After travelling as far as we could through the National Park, we went back to Goomburra and continued on the Cedar Route. We passed many farms and traveled along back roads to the Cunningham Highway, and after a few kms turned off again back to the back roads and more farms, ending up in Warwick - where, off course, we had a walk around the main street to listen to the jazz.
Some of the quirky sights we saw along the way - both letterboxes.
 The total Cedar Route from Warwick round trip is 66 km.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Quirkiest Jazz Festival in Queensland

Warwick is known as the Rose and Rodeo city, but I always associate Warwick as the home of Tiddilik and the Jumpers and Jazz Festival in July. It is situated on the Condamine River, part of the longest continuous river system in Australia. Tiddilik is the frog that swallowed all the water causing a drought.
Warwick has a rich and varied history dating back to 1840, which I will write more about another time.
The first Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival was held 2004. I'm not sure when I first heard about the festival, but I have wanted to go for many years, but as it was always the first or second week back to school I was always busy preparing lessons and making resources for the term. So now that I have retired, the first thing to do was to come to the festival. I believe it was originally a weekend event, but this year it is running for 10 days from 21-31 July. It is a festival of visual arts including unique tree art and covered poles.
We even saw displays on ground level.
Most were bold and beautiful, I took so many photos I must apologize for so many in this post. The theme this year was Bohemian and there were many workshops and buskers and bands in the streets and the cafes.
We didn't go to the info centre until the second day and there was an exhibition in the Warwick Art Gallery from the Alice Springs Beanie Festival, but sadly we were unable to take photos. 50 Years of Flower Power @ Art Gallery was on display outside the Gallery. We saw Dezzie D and the Stingrayz at the Downtown Lounge outside the Town Hall in the main street on the first day and again at the Art Gallery.
On the Sunday was the RACQ Grand Historic Auto display, including live jazz in the streets.
The Downtown Lounge had the Memphis Moovers, who were very good.
We spent a total of 6 days out of 7 visiting Warwick and the JJJ festival. We also spent time visiting surrounding areas, some of which I will post about later.
Found this hexie lady :)
This is a pantree.
 Even the statue of Thomas Joseph Byrnes was dressed for the occasion.
Such detail...
There was a 'Yarnbombed Your Pet' Parade.
Loved the covered van.
... and still on the caravan theme...
I took so many photos, it is hard to choose what to include here.
These two would have to be my favourite photos.
There were many streets with decorated trees.
Next year we will come come for the second half of the Festival to see the Jazz in the Park.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Clifton Queensland

We are doing a short three week trip to visit the Warwick Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival. We often stay 2-3 days in Warwick, or drive through Warwick and stay overnight on our caravan trips. Last trip we started at Lake Leslie near Warwick with friends, and did a few day trips. One of those trips we discovered Clifton. Other friends had told us about Clifton and camping at the recreation grounds, and as we drove up the road towards the grounds, people were waving hi to us. Made us think this was a friendly town, and it is. The Recreation Grounds include a racecourse, footie field, inside courts, and polo field. We camped beside the polo fields, and paid $10 a night for power and water. There were a few other vans when we arrived.
Clifton is a small town on the Darling Downs in South East Queensland. It is halfway between Warwick and Toowoomba, just off the New England Highway. The area is predominately dairy and crops such as sunflowers, wheat and oats.
The area was first settled by squatters Joseph King and Charles Sibley in 1840 and Clifton Station, a cattle farm, was established soon after. It is believed Clifton Station was named after the town Clifton in Westmoreland, England where one of the earlier settler lived. The Post Office was established in 1869 when the area was known as Kings Creek. As more settlers came to the area, the village was renamed Clifton in 1875.
The tourist information centre is located in the old railway station, established 1869, and was our first stop on the second day. A lovely lady, Maureen, was so helpful and gave us a lot of local history and ideas of what to do in the area. Maureen gave us a a great brochure - Clifton Heritage Walk.
This house is at the entrance to the Recreation Grounds and was built c1897. It was once the police sergeant's home, and was relocated to this site in 1982.
It is now the Recreation Grounds Caretakers home.
This beautiful home is 'Aldershot' and was originally a Private Hospital. It is now a private home.
This workers cottage c1898, was the home of the Muir Family.
The local newspaper here is 'The Clifton Courier'. It was established in 1906 and still houses the original printing equipment. It is across the road from the info centre.
Clifton had at least 6 hotels at the height of its growth. Today only 3 remain. The Clifton Arms Hotel was constructed in 1875, with the second level added in 1880. It was the first building in town to have power connected.
In 2006 Clifton achieved a Guiness World Record for the longest road train.
The town has been featured in many Australian movies, including 'The Thornbirds'.
Historical Society is located in the old Butter Factory.
Clifton is a lovely town, and we will come back in warmer months to see the sunflowers bloom.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Ye Olde Medieval Times Festival

27 years ago, North of Brisbane in a place called Caboolture, a festival took place to encourage the re-enactment of times gone by. This festival was started in conjunction with the Abbey Museum.
The Abbey Museum has its roots in England in 1934, when Abbey Folk Park was established by Rev. J.S.M. Ward. In 1940, during the London Blitz, the park was forced to close and it never reopened. His collections were sold to pay for his relocation to Cyprus, where he later died in 1949.Members of his community relocated to Australia in 1956 and in 1965 they relocated to Caboolture, Queensland. In 1978 it was decided to put the remaining items on display in a museum, known as the Abbey Museum. 
It is a wonderful event that we have been fortunate to attend four times now. Previous years saw many Elizabethan costumes, mostly by visitors, but this year it was pleasing to see the event more medieval based - except for the Tardis at the entrance!
The festival takes place every year on the second weekend of July, the last weekend of the Queensland school holidays. There is so much to see, the colours, the artefacts, the people....
Visitors often come in costume and ye ladies and lords are seen walking around the paddocks (the event takes place in a farmer's paddock) surrounded by actors re-enacting and explaining how and why things happened. So many artefacts and implements to touch and feel, some even to try.
There are so many sayings that come from medieval times - for example, Xerox, not a new word, but a word to mean a scribe who copied Norman and Saxon history into the language of English, German, or French. The smells as one walked around were initially of smoke from the many village cooking fires. When in the food areas the smells of the many lovely foods made one hungry and eager to try some fare.
The farm paddock becomes Abbeystowe for the weekend, and the actors stay for one or two nights and live the way people did during the times.
One walks around the field visiting different villages along the way. There are performing minstrels and jesters and talking trees walking around the village. There is a jousting tournament, dancing, Turkish Oil Wrestling, archery and many performances in the main arena. The sounds of the performers singing and swords clanging, the meat sizzling on the fires, the fires crackling. The sounds of traders selling their wares and jesters jesting. One is taken back in time.
Food stalls are available with food from olden days. The last place to buy a modern can of coke is outside the ticket sales area. I didn't get photos of the food stalls, not sure why, maybe busy eating. I has a savory Fudalatal - which was pineapple, ham, cheese, and onion on a flat bread. Yes, like pizza. It tasted great, hot, cheesy and sweet. There was also a dessert Fudalatal with apples and cream. Peter tasted some elderberry beer and Jonnie had apple cider. I tried some of Coopers 'red drink', not sure what it was called, but it was cold and refreshing. Cooper also had a toffee apple and Jonnie had some churros. All very yum and reasonably priced.

The festival hosts many educational programs and re-enactments.
 I was particularly drawn to this display :)
My Lady was very informative about the sewing of garments and the olden implements used.
Getting there by car was a nightmare, and it took us almost two hours to travel what would normally take us 40 minutes. At one stage we thought we would forget it and continue to Bribie Island for the day. Leaving at the end of the day was worse, with us sitting for over two hours in the car-park queue that was going nowhere - we moved almost three car spaces in 2 hours. All the traffic was leaving via one road via one exit only, and with thousands of people all heading on the same road it was a joke. I'm not sure what could be done about the traffic, other than allowing the traffic to flow both ways back to the highway, or even some car controllers to allow all cars access to the road out.
We needed to pitch a tent like this for the wait :)
Would we go again? Of course we would, the day is well worth it. Only wish there was a van park attached where we could spend the weekend.