29/04/16 At Bowenville, I noticed that the Landy wasn’t charging the caravan as well as it should when we were travelling. Thinking that the alternator might be the problem, we headed 90kms back to Toowoomba to have it checked out by an auto electrician. Fortunately, it was just a faulty circuit breaker in the car and was quickly fixed. We stayed the night at Highfields with relatives, David and Suellen, and our niece Abby and husband Sam dropped by and shared some top spots from their recent camper trailer trip to WA. These will come in handy when we get over there.
Heading west from Toowoomba the next day, we took the Moonie Highway from Dalby and pushed on to St George. It was a long trip through uninteresting dry country and the final half of the road should be renamed “Pig Root” Highway after all the dips. St George is tucked in against the eastern bank of a sweeping bend in the Balonne River. Despite very dry conditions throughout the area, the river was a long, wide expanse of water, contained by a weir located a short distance downstream.
Adjacent to the weir was the spot where the explorer, Sir Thomas Mitchell, on his expedition into Queensland crossed what he named the Balonne River and made camp on St George’s Day in 1846. He called the natural rock crossing St George Bridge, from which the eventual town derived its name in 1862.
We also located the old Queenslander-style house overlooking the river where Di’s sister Deb and husband Stuart lived for a while.
We stayed for three relaxing days at St George’s Pelican Rest Tourist Park looking around the local points of interest, stocking up the pantry at the IGA, and generally reacquainting ourselves with the Kruiser. A lot gets quickly forgotten in four months. Routines began to be re-established as we settled back into our comfortable caravan life.
St George has a winery, too! We heard they make a bloody good Port, but turns out it’s actually way better than that…
Interesting fact about the Sir Thomas Mitchell: He is the last person in Australia to challenge anyone to a duel. In September 1851 when he was Surveyor General for NSW, Mitchell issued a challenge to Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson because Donaldson had publicly criticised excessive spending by the Surveyor General’s Department. The duel took place in Sydney on 27 September with both duellists missing their marks. The French 50 calibre pistols used in the duel are in the collection of the National Museum of Australia.