Friday, 3 October 2014

Murray Darling Basin Tour 3 - "It is in the sitting around together..."

Torrumbarry Weir

It was time to hook up the trailer, load the suit cases and head out to see more of this River. We drove out through channels, down the road, through Gunbar and out to Torrumbarry Weir. The weir is an interesting man- made change agent in the river with massive doors holding back the rubbish and debris that flows along, then there is the loch that allows us to climb or drop down, to the river.

Fish ladder at the weir.

Off limits was an old wooden weir across a bridge (maybe next time.) The fish ladder is a wonder that allows the fish to climb over all man’s steel to pursue pathways they always have done.

The Wetlands for a spot of bird watching

As three people were leaving the tour at this point, we took time for a group photo; not by me, as my monopod needs me to hold it. (Thanks Miriam.) We then picked up lunch and went out to The Wetlands for bird watching, mostly Ibis. Salt based plants glistened and tasted salty – interesting (!)

Citrus farm 

Then full steam ahead, stopping for ice cream and fuel at Boundary Bend and then on to Robinvale. Brad showed us around his friend’s citrus farm. Free fruit for all! So much fruit has to be thrown out just because of marks! (When this situation was discovered by the originators of the Waste Not Want Not program, which originated in the Riverina ,a way was found for such produce to be sent to Foodbank for those in need. But that’s another story.)

The fruit, although not accepted by the supermarkets, tasted good, even to this carnivore! I had a good feed. 
At dinner, hearing their stories, this town, with many cultures, was much like housing areas of Southwest Sydney but in the midst was a church filled with hope, working together. Myung Hwa Park and a couple of others went to watch local youth do a rap version of Shakespeare. They loved it! When Ivan thanked them in Tongan and prayed, I was so proud of this group opening to those around us and not just expecting it to always be the other way around.

Our home away from home on the river.

Finally, we arrived at the marina and loaded on to our new homes. 

Up at 7 to find that plans had changed! 
We had the morning off. Some lazed on board, others of us drank coffee from the dockside cafĂ© until it was time to head out to another farm and down to Wentworth or “The Junction.” This is where the Darling River from up round Bourke flows into the Murray.  

Now my co- driver in shotgun seat, Charles, insisted, “No walker thank you.” Next thing he is up top on the viewing tower! A lesson learned - Never tell people what they can’t do. Allow them to work it out.

 A trip past the local gaol, our wonderful local guide answering all questions he could, headed us back to the marina to pick up his car and get ready for dinner on the boats. Without even trying, those on the boat were now in Gol Gol and moored behind the pub- lots of chatter and excitement. Sadly, those driving, missed the boat trip over and the crew missed the time we spent hearing from Bert how, years ahead of his time, he had set his irrigation system and planted gums as a drain. His water filter system was now very good. My attention then turned to parking issues as I found my instructions from my navigator meant I was stuck in the bus as the trees were too close for me to get out. (Had to talk to my co- driver!)  

Next day was the turn round spot for me. The day I was heading away from the river to desert country.  Most of us went and some, who had not been on one before, chose to go down to get a ride on paddle boat while they could.

Good to see the river run again after the drought.

In my blogs have not covered or named everyone who was on the tour or who spoke with us. This is not to say they did not play major part, just that my brain dumps info into my memory in a set way called “random!” 

I also had to write 200 words about this trip for Insights UCA NSW ACT magazine for November. Wow -that took some editing!


Ideas covered in that article and this blog that summed up the purpose of this trip were -Why is the church involved? God so loved the world -Questioning and listening to people from different cultures- Farmers hospitality- Recreational.

MDB vineyard

Also - this trip opened the eyes of those on the bus - those we met have been asked the questions and seen a real concern from City, even Canberra, but mainly church, people. This opened the eyes of some locals to look and listen again. Shaun also stated the need for indigenous and non- indigenous folk to listen to each other too. Listening needs to go both ways- Do you feel “us” and see them as “they“? - Truth is we are all “They” to someone else.

We learned it is in the sitting around together and listening to each other so we can grow that is important.

Why we were there.

Phill Matthews

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