Pioneer Village, Highfields

Monday, 5 December 2022

On this occasion we had a small roll up of twenty-nine (29) for this event (31 for lunch) which included one (1) invited guest Father Hal Ranger – welcome Fr. Hal. Also, our fellow member & inaugural first aid officer Phil Cash was able to join us for lunch as well – welcome Phil.

The day started off with a bit of music & dancing by a lady’s exercise group in the hall- we overlapped with the ladies in the hall for fifteen or twenty minutes or so- I can report none of our members joined in with the ladies – possibly fitness levels may have been a bit low to keep up!!

When we arrived at the Pioneer Village we were met by Nina who welcomed & provided us with a tailored program that she had mapped out for us. After our warm welcome we were handed over to our guide Peter who gave us a tour of the horse & carriage (including harness) collection & finished of with a commentary on whip making followed by a whip cracking demonstration – His dexterity with the whip would indicate that he is no stranger to a whip.

Our next stop was the Smoko building to partake of generous amounts of billy tea &damper with butter & golden syrup (affectionately called in the bush fly bog).

Following Smoko the original owner of the property, Ray, gave us a talk on the history of the village & how he started it off etc. I found the story of how he established a project with funding from Clive Berghofer to relocate the Big Cow Statue from Yandina to Highfields quite interesting- Quite an achievement by Ray & his three mates when you consider the statue is made of concrete & steel, weighs twelve (12) ton, & all the engineering advice was that it would not stand up to a move & should be demolished on site.

However, undaunted Ray & his team set out to reinforce the sides of the cow & cut it in half horizontally for transport. The statue where it is now located behind the information office in the village is a testament to their determination & nothing is impossible attitude – well done Ray & team.

Following Ray’s talk, we linked up once again with Peter who provided us with a running commentary as we toured through the transport & fire brigade museums. We then finished off with a self-paced walk around the various historic buildings & the Big Cow.

The classic of the day for me was when Nina recounted the visit of a group of school children, when one child asked her, after he had walked in &out of the big cow, Where is its guts?

On completion of our visit to the village we travelled on to the Farmers Arms Hotel, Cabarlah for lunch.

Following lunch, members’ birthdays falling in December were acknowledged & celebrated in our usual way Viz. Carl Betros, Pat Dwan, Ron Lewis, Dick Neal, Rob Rimmer, Rod Webb & Ted Wormwell.

To cap off the day we had a short meeting to discuss & prioritise suggestions for events put forward for inclusion in our 2023 Calendar of Events.

Special thanks to all who contributed to making this another safe & enjoyable event for all attendees, including Peter Taylor for organizing this event; Nina, Peter, Ray & Marg for our great welcome, smoko, guided tour, whip cracking demonstration & talk on the village history etc., – very well done; Michael Bourke & Doug Meiklejohn for looking after our finances & name badges; Peter Thompson for ensuring we were able to get on & off the coach safely at each stop; Warwick Dingle for looking after our public address system & ensuring we were all accounted for before the coach departed again after each stop; Ron Lewis for loading & unloading the coach; Howard Gregson for looking after our hydration needs; Bob Whittaker & Tony Wind for their joint gig as our first aid officers; Bob Whittaker for delivery of our safety briefing; Mark Tranter & Bob Whittaker for carrying out the counting roles during our meeting; Thor & his team for the timely delivery of our great lunch; Jan Neal for making our much appreciated birthday cake; &, last but not least, Ray (our coach driver) for transporting us to & from Cabarlah safely.

8 December 22