We are Jean and Robin Chalmers. I was born in Australia but spent many years in England. Jean was born in England and has spent many years in Australia. She is now a naturalized Australian while I am still 50% pom.
This is a record of our travels across Australia in The Motley, a 6 tonne motorhome with a little four-wheel drive on a trailer.
I retired at the end of 1997 after over 40 years in the electronics industry. Jean, had retired a couple of years earlier.
While I was still working, we had seen a TV documentary called "Grey Nomads" and we decided that we might enjoy travelling across Australia living in some kind of mobile home. The only mandatory requirement was that it had to be comfortable. We were completely ignorant of anything to do with camping, caravanning or motorhoming and the only research we did was to look up caravans and motorhomes in the Sydney yellow pages. We were incredibly lucky to have, by chance, found just the right vehicle for us.
We are not "doing the Big One", we are not "going round Australia", we are setting out to discover the real Australia by going wherever seems appropriate on the day. The theory is that time is largely irrelevant, plans are almost non-existent, and deadlines are things of the past.
For several years we found ourselves committed to going to CMCA rallies each autumn and spring so there was always an imperative to be in a certain place at a certain time. We have since reorganized our lives so that we can now be wherever we want to be whenever we want to be there.
We have learned a lot about motorhoming and a lot about Australia in the time we have been on the road. We still find the nomad's life to be wonderfully healthy, packed with interesting things to see and to do, full of really nice people, and incredibly enjoyable.
As we have visited towns around the country, we have always wondered if we would like to live there. We had an idea that one day a town would jump out at us and say "You really want to live here don't you?" This hadn't happened until we had been on the road for seven years. We visited some friends in a town called Barraba in the Manilla Valley north of Tamworth. We were so taken with the town that we went looking at houses for sale just to see what was on offer. Most of the houses we were shown didn't interest us. One, however, reminded me so much of my childhood that I fell in love with it. It is a hundred year old brick cottage as strong as the Harbour Bridge and really cool in the heat of summer. Jean wasn't quite so taken with it but she agreed that we should buy it, renovate it, furnish it, and use it as somewhere to stay when we aren't travelling. We certainly haven't given up the grey nomad lifestyle.
The progress of our travels can be seen in the graphic at the top of this page.
We keep what record we can of our travels and post them from time to time on this site in
Over the past few years, I have been hatching a variety of thoughts about life, the universe, and everything and I have posted some of these in
I am a birdwatcher and my lifetime sighting list appears in
Jean started her own chapter of the Red Hat Society
The site also holds all the family records I have been able to accumulate in
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I have put together an autobiography which is said to be very dry but which is a factually accurate record of my life so far.
I am a founding partner in an organisation called "Eco-Camping Australia" which plans to bring the practice of environmentally sensitive camping to all campers in Australia.
This keeps me busy in my retirement.
I am also a practising member of
which keeps me sane in a very insane world.