On Saturday the 15th October last, the fascinating Steampunk Victoriana Fair returned to Goulburn’s Historic Water Works for the third time.
This year, the Fair’s Special Guest was Ms Tara Moss, the well known author, television celebrity and model.
The fair was well promoted by local shops displaying this comprehensive advertising poster:
As you can see from the poster, there was something for everyone and Ms Tara Moss was the stand out attraction. Not only was Ms Moss dressed for the occasion but she was approachable, friendly and when it came time for her to judge the Steampunkers’ outfits she was particularly attentive to the young competitors, gave encouragement and personally complimented every one of them.
The weather was kind on the day, the crowd became larger as time passed and everyone
appeared to be enjoying themselves, I certainly did.
For the past 16 years or so, when driving between the little villages of Laggan and Taralga in the southern highlands of New South Wales, I’ve been intending to stop and photograph an old Series 2, 88 inch, Landrover utility, looking all alone and forlorn in a paddock beside the road.
For one reason or another, I never did stop, until today.
Taralga, population somewhere between 300 and 400 people has two pubs and a few great little cafes. One of those cafes was the destination for today’s breakfast.
It’s hard to beat a country cafe breakfast. This morning we each enjoyed Earl Gray tea, presented in a heavy Royal Doulton teapot, containing real tea leaves, not tea bags and accompanied by Doulton cups and saucers.
That was followed, for each of us by: two beef sausages, grilled tomato, button mushrooms, a large quantity of crisp bacon, two excellently poached eggs, two slices of buttered toast and an hashbrown.
After eating everything on the plates, we waddled out to our Landrover and decided to take the long way home via Laggan and Crookwell.
Landrovers have been my passion for almost fifty years. In all that time I haven’t owned a car but have owned three Landrovers. My first was an 88 inch Landrover hardtop which I replaced in 1984 with a County 110. We still drive it and in 2001 bought a new 110 Defender to keep it company. We were in the Defender this morning.
As we travelled towards Laggan I was surprised to see, where it had stood, for many many years, on the crest of a hill, the little 88inch Series 2 Landy.
Seeing the old 88inch today brought back many happy memories of the hundreds of thousands of miles we travelled in our old 88.
This time I did stop. The light was right with some cloud base producing a pleasing diffused soft light and there were no no sheep in the paddock.
Luckily I had my little Leica D-lux 6 tucked away in my pocket and it was an ideal tool for the task ahead and I made the images I wanted without any problems at all.
There is a great Harley Davidson T Shirt that carries the words,’ If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand’.
Those eight simple words epitomise the meaning of owning and riding an Harley Davidson motorcycle and also being a member of The Harley Owners Group, put more simply, HOG.
It’s not just the ride, it’s pride of ownership, it’s a feeling of belonging to a responsible group of like minded motorcyclists and, dare I say it, being the envy of non Harley riders.
Non Harley riders might have mechanical marvels but they all have a major missing ingredient and that is, wait for it, Pose Value.
For example, there is absolutely nothing on this earth that gives you the same ego boost than when you see,i n a shop window, the reflection of you and your Harley as you glide effortlessly past.
As I said typed in the heading, Harleys aren’t just for riding,
There’s the buzz you get when you emerge from your Harley dealer armed with boxes of bling to add to your ride as soon as your get home.
Add the Screaming Eagle go fast bits, white wall tyres, forward controls and different shaped handle bars and your pride and joy takes on new look and meaning.
Then, in the privacy of your own home you can browse through your 888 page Harley Davidson Genuine Motor Parts and Accessories catalogue. Of course, there is also the motor clothes catalogue. It’s easier to read and study in bed because it is not as heavy. Both lead to pleasing dreams and a lengthy wish list.
Back to reflections of yourself and your Harley, even when stationary they are a wondrous vehicle for reflections.
Now the beauty of selfies with your Harley is they show off, not only yourself, but the technical excellence, design, quality and visual beauty of your Harley.
It’s not only blokes who admire and ride Harleys, sheilas do too. The female Harley riders are a privileged lot. Not only are they full members of the Harley Owners Group where we are all equals, but they have their own special group too, Ladies of Harley.
She who must be obeyed, reflected here with her back to the camera, after years with Hondas and BMW’s finally saw the light and bought a 100th Anniversary 1200cc Sportster Custom. Goes like a cut cat I can tell you.
So there we are, reflections, and not just in a ‘golden eye’.
As I stared out through the windscreen across the seemingly endless stoney desert I was at a loss to understand why I couldn’t see the bore and its windmill that was supposed to be in sight. I checked the odometer, the compass, the Magellan and the 1:250,000 map. According to my calculations I should be right on the bore or be able to seed it at least.
This is where for outback travellers like myself, the HF radio and the VKS-737 network are essential travelling companions. Quickly running through a few HF channels I noticed that there wasn’t much traffic, probably because it was getting towards late afternoon and sometimes getting a channel on the right frequency can be problematic.
Anyway I decided to make a voice call, not a cell call to the Charters Towers Base Station. After going through the correct voice procedure protocols I gave the operator my location Latitude 28’16” latitude and 132’50” Longitude and asked how far I was from Coober Pedy. The operator had a bit of a laugh and told me I was way off course and should be heading roughly north east towards Latitude 29’01”, Longitude 134’45”.
Suddenly I knew where I’d gone wrong. For years I’ve resisted wearing my reading glasses and when I looked up Coober Pedy in the Gazetteer I’d recorded the coordinates for Coober Peedy in Western Australia and thats where I’d been heading, not for Coober Pedy in South Australia, my wanted destination.
I thanked the operator and felt like a proper fool as I terminated the voice call with the appropriate ‘Out’. At least now I didn’t have to be concerned about locating the bore and its windmill. It was many many miles away. Good I thought, one less thing to worry about.
Under the circumstances, I took the only action appropriate at the time. I boiled the billy and had a cup of nice sweet black tea and a couple of biscuits.
Then after resetting the Magellan with the corrector coordinates I set off slowly in the right direction, pleased that on this occasion I’d asked for directions before I went too much further. Not that I had really needed to. After all, my super accurate sense of direction, always spot on, would have soon switched in and given me a few helpful hints about an adjustment to my travelling direction. Fortunately I wasn’t on a tight schedule and time was on my side. At this point in the trip anyway.
After another hour or so cross country at a reasonably slow rate to conserve my tyres from the rocky ground I came across the remains of this old vehicle and long abandoned stock yards.
A long way ahead I could see a faint tree line and as the shadows were lengthening I decided to make for the tree line and set up camp for the night. On the way, my path was crossed by a reasonably sized Perentie, an Australian Monitor lizard, which lives in our arid regions. They can run quite fast but this bloke was just ambling along so I hopped out and grabbed this image:
These blokes are great climbers too although out here there aren’t many tall trees to climb.
After about another hour I made it to the tree line and found a nice flat spot in the lee of a small sand hill with just enough space off the rocks to set up a comfy camp.
The vertical object with the black base near the blue container on the mudguards is the aerial for the HF radio. It automatically tunes itself, a very handy attribute. The white aerial is for the citizens band radio. Very hand for vehicle to vehicle communications up to a mile or so. The HF radio on the other hand has a range of well over a thousand miles and many more in the right climatic conditions and the time of day.
Anyway, first off, I rigged up my stretcher and swag, pulled out my chair, lit the fire and contacted VKS-737. There were no messages for me and I gave my position according to my Magellan. I’d talked to the operator earlier and we had a bit of a joke about my earlier stuff up. I told him I was never truly lost but I don’t think he believed me.
After a couple of cold beers and a decent bit of tucker, I snuggled down in my swag and gave thought to what the morrow would bring. I was sure that I’d pass through Coober Pedy in the AM and make it through to the old abandoned Ghan Railway line before sunset. If all went according to plan. After all, I knew exactly where i was at the moment, where I was going tomorrow, knowing all along that as I was never, never truly lost, tomorrow would be a piece of cake.
Please stay tuned for Part three and learn how this outback adventure panned out.