Friday, 12 September 2014

Murray Darling Tour 1- “What's this Got to Do with the Church ?”

What time do we go? How long do we have and where do I sit? Some of the questions asked daily on our trip. We were also asked to reflect on what we saw, what did we learn and how has it changed us? 

Where do you start when your head is so full of great memories and you just travelled 5000 km over 17 days? The last 8 days are the main story of the next few blogs; there so much to share.

"Sunrise over Lake Hume. What a sight!  Worth getting up so early!" 
We picked up our group in Albury. The first night was worship and a forum, plus yummy soup of all kinds!  Well done Albury!
 But this was not just a holiday tour. We went to hear “the voice of the people of the river land”. We travelled 2296Km -from Albury to Wentworth and back to Albury. We covered many places but you have to follow the blog to find out which ones. Up to 22 people journeyed the river lands, some for the full time, others a part. Enough facts. Time for the view from the front seat.

Miriam Pepper at the Albury forum
  At the stops we had, one of the main questions to us was “What's this got to do with the church?" This came from churched and non- churched people. I hope by the end of these blogs you will see "what it’s got to do with the church.”

The forums where made up of a speaker section of one or more people, followed by a panel made up of the speakers and some of the members of the tours.

In Albury tour member, John Goss, joined Max Finlayson as the speakers and  Paul Creek and I were on a panel with the speakers. This set up a good start with a number of people in attendance, a wonderful service by Christine Moi Moi  and our daily reflection by Geraldine Leonard,  which were a great help. 

Hume Dam 

Next day we were on the road to see sunrise over Lake Hume. What a sight!  Worth getting up so early! 
(Travel tip- Don’t share cabins with farmers.) 
We travelled round the area for the day, visiting the weir wall, then - heart break!  The shop was not making coffee for another hour so we travelled to Corryong, a river town with museum and coffee shops. Yes!! Safety at last!

Pipeline at Murray water transfer station
We then travelled out to “Murray 1 “power station and visitor centre," the giant pipe, bringing water to the complex, followed the slope of the hill down. We spoke of it as a power station but it is a water transfer station. The power was a by- product.  One of our group, Charles, had worked on the scheme many years ago. His joy was to return. Sadly, he could not do the tour as the 45 stairs were seen as too much for him, as he had mobility issues.

After that we were off to see a tree plantation that had been burnt out in a bush fire a few years ago, followed by dinner at the pub -Jingellic Hotel- worth the trip!

 Rain showers made the trip back to camp a little more challenging dodging wombats and roos .(Aarrgh! -flash backs!) Charles kept watch too! 

The next day we moved on from Albury to Finley, stopping for a break at Corowa Chocolate Factory for coffee and chocolate. We dropped off the cars of those who had driven to Albury, then  everyone joined the bus for the rest of the tour.

Rare lichen on Savernake Station
We also called into “Savernake Station” on our way to Finley. The house was built in 1862.We were met by Ann Sloane, the owner of this wonderful place. She and her husband, Alex, have a passion for the land, history and environment.

I could do a whole blog just on the 3/4  hour or so we had there but on we went, leaving the old buildings ,the rediscovered lichen and rare plants in our dust; on to meet, eat with and talk to, the Finley Church.

Next time - Finley forum, the Rice Farmer and dairy farm plus calves, the forest , the Yorta Yorta people run a great Yenbeena Indigenous Training Cultural Centre, river cruises and lots more!

Including .......  

Phill Matthews

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