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A Group from the Probus Club of Currimundi left Peachester about 11.30am on the 31st August for "The Birdsville Races".


After travelling west and Dinner at Charleville they travelled  into the night with a pit stop at Windorah where the mosquitoes were large enough to carry you away.  Travelled the Diamentina Development (dirt)  Road when the rain started about 8.00 pm. and continued all night.

Thursday: Arrived Birdsville about 9.30am. The weather was fine enough for us to make camp and erect tents and get our stretchers , mattress and luggage stowed .  It then started to rain heavily again and continued into the night.  There was so much water and mud in the tents it was difficult to get in and out of them.  After Happy Hour at 5.30 pm. and dinner in the camp kitchen most of us were ready for bed, but it was so uncomfortable some of us decided to spend the night in the coach.

During the night all that could be seen and heard were torches, and the sound of hammering, putting pegs back into the ground where they had come out and tents collapsed.  Some who were only sleeping on mattresses were floating as there was so much water in their tents. One of the bus drivers set up his swag in the luggage bay of the coach so he could be on hand to help those whose tents had fallen in.  Morning found us wet and all the tents with water and mud inside.
By this time the mud was almost ankle deep, everyone set to mopping and cleaning out their tents and trying to dry wet gear.

Once the rain stopped at about 1.00am it  began to  blow severely and continued through the night and next day. With the wind, the water slowly began to dry up, leaving muddy areas slowly drying out very rough where people had walked and vehicles had travelled.  The camp was cleaned up by about lunch time and everyone set out to check out the town and the "BIRDSVILLE PUB and Attractions".

The coach driver took those who wanted, down to the race track to see how it was. Happy hour each night was welcomed with free champagne and wine or beer or B.Y.O. drinks. The evening meal and breakfast were served each day from the camp kitchen and although not gourmet, was pleasantly surprising.

Saturday was supposed to be Race Day, but the races had to be postponed until Sunday. The races have been running for 128 years and this year was only the second time they had ever been cancelled. We all travelled out to the race track where a Phantom meeting was held and the tractors endeavoured to get the track to a state where the horses could run on it safely. Once again happy hour was enjoyed by all, and dinner was served. Some went to the Birdsville Pub for the evening’s entertainment while others, still tired from the previous night, spent some time around a camp fire enjoying each other’s company and the entertainment provided by some of our fellow campers.

During the afternoon, we went on a ½ hours charter flight from the airport, which was not affected by the flooding. It was very interesting to see the amount of flooding from the air and we saw some 4 wheel drive vehicles attempting to negotiate the flooded roads. Don’t know if they got through or not.

The roads out of Birdsville were all closed to traffic and no one could leave so the Races were run on Sunday, with 11 races run on the day . We all took our chairs to the racetrack and set up in a shaded area where we could see the races and had a most enjoyable day. Back to the campsite and once again happy hour and dinner, by this time the champagne was running out so we had to be content with wine, beer or soft drinks,    so after dinner the campers went slowly to bed except for the revellers that went to the pub.

Monday morning we broke camp and packed the coach waiting for the all clear for us to be able to leave. This did not come through until the drivers were notified to be at the race track at 1.00pm as the police were allowing the “coaches only” to leave at 1.30pm. The four wheel drives would not be allowed through until 2.30pm. There was a line up of about 4 – 5 Klms. of vehicles waiting to leave as we drove past them to the police check point.

On the road, which was still very muddy and water still over the road in some places, we travelled for about 2 hours  when driving out of a particularly slippery and watery stretch of road a loud banging noise emanated from under the coach.  We soon discovered that a differential had failed. We were in the middle of nowhere, 3 of the other coaches drove straight past  without stopping to see if we were O.K.

Fortunately 2 coaches from the Surfers Paradise Coach Company stopped, and seeing our plight, were able to accommodate all of our passengers onto their coaches. Once all the luggage was transferred from our coach we were on our way again, leaving one of our drivers with our coach.  ( He was there for 3 days before parts arrived and repairs were made.) We travelled with our rescuers to Mitchell where a coach from the Gold Coast had been arranged to travel up and meet us. It was about 1.00am when we transferred our luggage onto the new coach and thanked our new friends.

Even though it was an eventful and unusual holiday, and one that we all shall not easily forget, Everyone joined in and helped each other and there was no grumbling or antagonism about the conditions. There was nothing that could be done about it any way, and we all returned home safe and sound. Even if some had to reschedule flights to get home. The coach dropped the passengers from our Probus Club off at Peachester and continued onto Brisbane and the Gold Coast with the rest of the passengers. All in all an eventful and memorable holiday!