This was a day that Peter had been looking forward to since we left home. We had booked into the QANTAS Founders Museum: the Home of QANTAS in Longreach. Peter had a full-day package – Museum Entry and Airpark Tour, that was admission to the Museum all day including a guided tour (1.5 hours long) of the 747, 707, DC3 and Super Constellation. As well, he completed the 747 Wing Walk which was a guided tour for up to 1.25 hours including exclusive entry to Flight Deck, Restricted Areas, Wing Walk and the viewing platform.
He had an incredible day, increasing his knowledge of how QANTAS came into being, the development of aircraft and other associated equipment over the years and experiencing firsthand access to parts of aeroplanes that the public usually doesn’t have. The highlights for him were the wing walk on a 747 and actually sitting in the pilot’s seat in the 747 as well.
So what did I do with my time at the museum? I had a cursory look around the museum, a much longer perusal of the most interesting shop – quite a few bits and pieces made it into my crocheted shopping bag, including a soft lilac Jacaru PU suede ‘Akubra-style’ hat for yours truly. I found some other things for the grandchildren as well, of course.
The rest of the time, I commandeered a corner table in McGinnesses’ restaurant. I had coffee, I had lunch (with Peter), and I had other drinks. I wrote postcards, continued other writing, and generally had a quietly relaxed day in a very convivial place.
By the time he finished his day, he was exhausted physically and mentally but elated as well.
We travelled the short distance to Ilfracombe where there is an outdoor museum called the Ilfracombe Machinery Mile. Peter took his camera and spent the first half-hour after we arrived inspecting quite a few of them closely.
I posted all my snail mail at the local Post Office where I was assured they would receive a postmark, much to my delight. It was one of the most interesting Post Offices I had been in for quite some time. It not only contained what you would expect in a PO but also some local crafts, a secondhand shop with a range of books, kitchenware and clothes, and also the local library.
We stayed in another classic pub for the night – The Wellshot Hotel. For a country pub, our bedroom was well set up, but without any ensuite facilities which required a trip along the long verandah – not ideal in the middle of the night particularly as the weather had become quite cold.
We had an interesting time in a wacky venue! We met five bike-riding blokes who just happened to come from Tea Gardens. Some of them actually visited our café when we had it. The craziest coincidence of all was that two of them actually visited Howard Archbold at his Moonan Brook workshop when Peter was in residence making his chair. It is indeed a very small world!
I commented to Peter as we left that one part of our trip that we both seem to enjoy was not just seeing places and experiencing new things, but also our interaction with people along the way. One good example of this was the fun and games and great conversations we had with the staff and other guests at the Wellshot Hotel – the photos tell part of the story!
To complete our day from Winton to Longreach and on to Ilfracombe the skies again produced a spectacle for us as we drove.