Now the Music’s Over

Chaffey Dam – Australia Day
From Kootingal Caravan park we took a day trip of about 60km to Chaffy’s Dam to catch up with Kerry and Don (Tony Nelson’s sister who lives in Quirindi). We certainly were not expecting the great volume of water. There were people camping, water skiing, jet boating and others like us on canoes and kayaks. The difference being the long canoe we had also had a motor. It was a ‘you beaut’ design of Don’s now going in for more modifications of some side balance things with a shade cloth roof to make it more useable in the heat. We had a magical day chatting and looking at this picturesque sight. Next time we are out this way it will be a definite camp spot with the van.
What a great way to end the Australia Day holiday.

 The Caravaner’s Curse – enroute to Armidale

Towing a van brings moments – a lazy tow of 100km from Kootingal to Armidale – interesting – the Moonbi Hills sorted out the car and the van – crawled up and when reaching the top by sheer luck a car with a couple of young guys got my attention, the bike rack and bikes were about to depart the van. We were at the only pull off bay designed for trucks before the decent. Luckily the bikes survived – mine minus a few bit and pieces – a reminder that attention to detail is so important – need some running repairs in Armidale.


The name “Uralla” was taken by European settlers from the dialect of the local Anaiwan people, and means “meeting place”.  It is a classic Australian country town made famous for its connection with bushranger Fred Ward, alias Captain Thunderbolt. The buildings in the street are steeped in heritage.



  1. Car Modifications
  2. Martins Levins TAS – The Armidale School
  3. Guided Heritage Tour of Armidale

We are now camped up in the highlands – temperatures certainly a little different with a coat at night. Armidale is known for its spectacular waterfalls but the 25000 strong town survives on Education and The Arts with the University of New England also in town – Australia’s first rural university. So Trevor and Julie have had a little look at both. The area contains a number of areas of outstanding natural beauty and scientific interest, and there are several World Heritage national parks in the area including the New England National Park and the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

The car is also in for an auxiliary fuel tank – I actually arranged this from Perth – fuel capacity increased from 80 litres to 140 so just safeguarding and covering outback QLD and NSW in the coming months – turned up – the tank is built – was at the shop – but after a day I still have no car – no matter we will jump on the bikes and take a bus tour and a few walks – need it plus its good to slow down for the first time – we have been go go go and this is the most luxurious caravan park that we are likely to find in summer. Green as green – with cool breezes – so why not just chill for a day or two before tackling waterfalls that obviously have no water because Armidale so far has missed its January rainfall which makes them flow – good time Trevor – apparently they are still spectacular as they simply drop off the tablelands.

Martin Levins is an educational colleague from The Armidale School in town. I have always gained gold from Martin’s talks – presentations and online contributions over many years. To sit and dine with Martin and his partner and Julie at the school (Martin lives on premises) reminded me what I’ve been searching for in 30 plus years of teaching – a school where everyone is committed – this place was close – great tradition – facilities and educational  commitment – say no more. Over a few West Australian Reds and one or two from NSW and some great food and sharing of life’s experiences Martin summarised his misgivings in the use of ICT in Education at a stunningly successful school in two simple statements:

  • We don’t allow kids to play
  • Teachers have to be able to say do this …


The Armidale School

Check Martin out – great educator

Today Wednesday January 29 we did a free bus tour that was a Guided Heritage Tour of Armidale. Value for money brilliant. Including great country hospitality and informed comment. Armidale is one of the few towns in Australia to offer a free guided heritage tour of the town’s attractions. The three hour guided tour includes stops at the New England Regional Art Museum, the Railway Museum, Aboriginal Cultural Centre & Keeping Place and the University of New England. Yep I could live here and I’ve found a school that has a culture of excellence and overwhelmingly friendly.


Until we next meet enjoy life and stay safe.



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