tortoise logo

Blatherskite Park, Alice Springs, NT

S 23°44'16" E 133°51'43

Mon 25 Sep - 7 Oct 2000

[Previous] [Next] [Top of Page] [Bottom of Page] [Index] [Home]
[Back to Zoo Index]

15th National CMCA Rally

Monday 25th Sep

We arrived in Alice Springs early, completed the necessary shopping , had lunch, searched unsuccessfully for the Apple Centre and found that the dump station the club had arranged for us to use at McCafferty's was out of action.

Having nothing else we could usefully do, we drove to the rally site to see if they had cleared the queue of first day vehicles. There were only a couple of motorhomes waiting so we registered and set up on the second last site in a little pocket near to everything. This will save Jean any extensive walking which is good as her ankle is not fully recovered.

We found several friends and joined a small happy hour nearby.

Tuesday 26th Sep

We went to the communal morning tea and found some first timers looking a little out of it so we spent some time with them before catching the bus into town.

We investigated some of the shopping centre which we had not seen yesterday and bought new fly veils. Around here the bush flies are particularly irritating and many people resort to these but Jean had found that the ones we bought in Sydney from Australian Geographic were too stiff to be effective.

I found the company who now run the Apple Centre here, having taken over from the people listed in the Apple documentation when they closed!.

We discussed the return of the iBook to Sydney and they said that the policy now was to return them to the nearest repair centre which in this case would be Adelaide so I said I'd have to find a way of getting it back to Sydney so that Al can get the new memory installed while it is being mended. They offered me an original iBook box to ship it in which was very nice of them.

I needed to download the pictures from the camera, to collect the email, and to upload the latest entries in the website and they were happy to help. We determined that the ethernet port is still working but as I hadn't brought the Kodak software with me we had to defer the transfer of the pictures. I'll go back sometime with the CD and with a zip disk to complete this task.

The new camera is amazing. At 640 x 480 pixels and standard compression, it holds over 100 shots so I am not really embarrassed at having to leave the pictures in the camera, at least for some time.

Meanwhile, Jean went to the Breast Screen place to make an appointment. The lady in charge told her that the films were sent to Darwin for analysis and that it would be some time before the results came back. She also talked to her about the latest guidelines for at risk women and determined that Jean only needs an x-ray every two years. Jean was much relieved and we will find a place somewhere down the track sometime in the next year.

In the evening we went to the pictures. The Travelling Picture Show is run by a CMCA member who make a living, as his predecessors did, by travelling the outback with projector, screen and films setting up wherever he can get an audience. Sadly, he doesn't use an arc lantern machine with big reels of 35mm film. His 21st century set-up is a computer controlled high intensity digital projector using DVD. He carries all the gear and 900 films with him in a corner of a small trailer.

We watched Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, a film Jean had been wanting to see. The last time we went to the pictures was in 1994 in Dublin to see Four Weddings and a Funeral with Hugh Grant et al.

Wednesday 27th Sep

The evening's entertainment was a local act from one of the caravan park taverns. Scotty Dawson is a country singer and Tommy Crow plays the didgeridoo. Part of his act is getting volunteers from the audience to get up on stage and embarrass themselves playing the didgeridoo. I joined in and managed to get some kind of music out of my instrument to the delight of the Highway wanderers in the audience.

Thursday 28th Sep

Ted Egan, a local colourful character, who sings and plays the beer carton performed. We had arrived late and couldn't see very well so we didn't stay for the whole show.

Friday 29th Sep

Hermannsberg Choir and a Hermannsberg Rock Band played in the evening. The ladies of the choir, all first wave immigrants, performed beautifully and the young men we exceptionally good.

Saturday 30th Sep

A stargazing evening laid on by a local amateur astronomer supported by one of our Highway Wanderers was marred by too much cloud.

Sunday 1st Oct

This was the day of the Special General Meeting called to approve a new constitution changing the Association into a Company limited by guarantee.

I had been asked by many people what the central issues were in the proposed new constitution. Clearly people had not had time to digest what they had been given and did not understand the full implications of the change. I, therefore, proposed an adjournment of the decision until the next AGM in 12 months time. This was soundly defeated by an overwhelming body of "if the Board propose this it must be OK and we don't want to be bothered with any discussion" people.

The opening of the AGM, which followed, revealed all to those of us taking any notice when the President announced that the whole Board would have resigned immediately if the changes to the constitution had not been passed and we would not have been able to have the AGM.

After the meeting I spoke to the Secretary. He had earlier in the year sought my help in reviewing the draft of the new constitution, had failed to respond to most of my criticism and had admitted in the course of the debate that there are deficiencies in the document which need to be corrected. I asked him what he planned to do about this and he invited me to join a Rules Committee to look into the matter. I told him I was taking a year off from all things official. His response was "That's OK, we'll do it next year then".

Monday 2nd Oct

The Highway Wanderers AGM was held in the morning. In the absence of both the President and the Secretary the Treasurer and I had to do the honours. Helen stood in for the Secretary and I stood in for the President. A good meeting if a tad long. Since we only meet twice a year, people need to feel that they are able to contribute so it take quite a time to get through General Business. In the event some useful things were agreed and everyone seemed to go away happy.

At the end of the meeting I resigned from my position of NAC explaining that I can't work with anybody who does not have my respect. The Board had shown that they think that their personal positions are superior to the wishes of the members. They had told us that they would have been prepared to let the Association fall into chaos if they didn't get their way.

They have since argued that they we exposed to unreasonable personal liability if the Association was found to be transgressing the Associations law by trading. I have not been able to discover any effort they have made to find alternative ways of rendering themselves, and the Association, free of these liabilities.

Sadly, it's now history and it won't help a bit if I every have to say "I told you so".

This was also Chapter Skit Night.

We had decided not to enter our skit as the stage had a decorated rail along the front and the audience would not have seen the action which was based on Dr Seuss book about feet. Only four chapters had skits and the evening was filled out with volunteers from the audience singing, reciting and whatever, all without preparation, rehearsal or much thought at all.

Wednesday 4th Oct

I had promised Lance, the Banjo player who had enjoyed our curry night in Mt Isa, a repeat performance at the rally. Performance is the word as I ended up feeding about 20 people. They all seemed to enjoy it.

This was the night when talented members of the CMCA entertain the rest of us. The standard is frighteningly high and most people agreed that this was the best nights entertainment of the Rally.

Thursday 5th Oct
photo of a Wedge-tailed Eagle

Some of our friends were going to the Desert Park and invited us to share their trip. It is a fascinating place with grounds which have been set up to show the various types of flora seen in the centre.

There is a free flight display of some native raptors and the keepers have trained some local wild Black Kites to come and join in. Very impressive.

The nocturnal house is particularly good.

Saturday 7th Oct

Henly on Todd. We all made our way into town in the morning, some of us in our motorhomes so we had somewhere to go if it all got too much.

We met up with some friends and went to the pub for a couple of cool ones and to Long John Harry's fish'n'chip place for lunch.

We arrived at the regatta late enough to get in half price and early enough to see the finals and the finale, a battle between three local groups who have ships of the line mounted on vehicles and equipped with fireworks, hoses, flour bombs and so forth. This year the baddies got stuck in the sand and took a right beating from the other two much to the delight of the crowd.

We stayed on a couple of days after the rally at Blatherskite Park to allow the others to leave town before we ventured forth on exploring the sights of the town and the region.

[Previous] [Next] [Top of Page] [Bottom of Page] [Index] [Home] [Back to Zoo Index]
Contact the webmaster
Created by Robin Chalmers on 23.09.2000 and last revised 04.11.2000