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The Finish Line

She made it (we all knew she would).  Glad made it all the way across the country. 4786km in total. What a machine. She’s a credit to Ford and she’s a credit to Graham Wilson for the amazing  job he has done on her restoration. It’s also very much a credit to Brett for having the foresight and courage to attempt this journey for such a worthwhile cause. Glad arrived at the Jandakot R.F.D.S base at 2pm today.

Brett arrived with a convoy of  10 other A-Model fords from the  West Australian A-Model Restorers club – thanks guys. After a warm welcome  into Perth,  Brett had to complete one more  TV Interview with Channel 9 and the job was done. A successful journey and there were no real problems. Well, apart from the support vehicle requiring a  couple of jump starts. Glad was more than happy to help out. What a gal. Oh and there was that pesky Queensland kangaroo. Glad is now safely tucked up in her new home (Brett’s garage). Awaiting her next challenge. I’m sure she would be successful at anything asked of her. Well done Glad! Please support the Royal Flying Doctors, Glad’s earned it.

100 meters from the finish line.

100 meters from the finish line.

Over the line.

Over the line.

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Brett Being interviewed by the channel 9 reporter.

Brett being interviewed by the Channel 9 reporter.

Glads new home (Brett's Garage) have a bit of a rest old girl, you've earned it.

Glad's new home. Have a bit of a rest old girl. You've earned it.

Many Thanks

Brett wishes to thank everyone that has contributed to the Slow Drive and there have been many. In no particular order we would like to thank:

The crew that came on the drive with me; Timothy Pollock from Melbourne, Christopher Graham from Northhampton, Anthony Baggs from Perth (who has been on the road for 28 days as he has driven the support vehicle accross australia and back again; well done Baggsy). I would like to thank our families for their support and backing on the drive.

Bret Treasure of freebeer.com  for designing the website and providing constant backroom advice and I.T. support. He has corrected all our errors daily.

I’d like to thank Graham Wilson for restoring Glad superbly and allowing us the pleasure of her company for many years to come.

Thanks to the W.A. A-Model Restorers Club and their network across Australia, especially the club presiedent Evan Gobby, who was always there to give technical advice for Glad’s on-going health.

.Also thanks to Keith Eastwood, T&A Auto spares (formely Henry’s Auto Spares). He was on standby 24/7 to supply parts if required. Thank God we didn’t require his services. Thanks to R.A.C.W.A for giving Glad their road side assistance package and Shannons Insurance for covering the trip. Our claim for the infamous Queensland kangaroo will be in the mail soon.

The last day on the road (Day 14)

Brett started early with an interview on Eoin Cameron’s ABC brekky show. His 21st interview with the media on this trip so far. We plan to complete the Slow Drive at Jandakot Royal Flying Doctor base at 2pm, where we will be meeting the press and Glad will meet some of her new friends from the West Australian  A-Model  Restorers Club.

We hope our message about accessability of the outback and the ease of communications will encourage Australian’s to visit the magnificent outback regions of Australia. With the aid of bitumen roads, Telstra’s NEXT G COUNTRYWIDE network and the back-up of the Royal Flying Doctors Service , it is very easy and safe to visit the outback. (Refer to Australia’s Golden Outback annual planner for more details). We look forward to seeing you in the bush, especially at Wooleen Station Stay (www.wooleen.com.au).

Today the crew were taken on tour around Merredin and then to the Cummins’  Theatre, still a much – used venue for live theatre. The building boasts magnificent turn of the century architecture; a must see.

We are now on the final leg of our journey. This morning Brett has an interview with the West Australian deputy premier and the leader of the National party Brendan Grills, in Northam. The support crew decided to take a visit around Cunderdin. They raved about the museum at Pump Station no. 3, full of old farming machinery (every type of old tractor known to man).  It even has one of the original pumps that provided critical water supplies to this region. Everything in this museum was beautifully restored, not to be missed.

After Northam we are off for the last 90km of this journey the first stop the R.F.D.S. headquarters in Jandacot. This is the official end to our journey but I’m sure Brett would feel that when Glad is tucked away in his garage the trip would be complete.

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Debbie Treasure, Avril Parker, Jocyelyn Treasure, Tim and Margarita Pollock.

Debbie Treasure, Avril Parker, Jocelyn Treasure, Tim & Margarita Pollock.

Old projector equipment.

Old projector equipment.

Then there were seven (Day 13)

The three new lovely additions to the glad team. Debbie and Jocelyn Treasure and Margarita Pollock.
The lovely additions to the Glad team.  Debbie & Jocelyn Treasure, Margarita Pollock.

The Glad team now has three new members. Just between you and me, they are a lot more beautiful than than the original motley crew. Jocelyn Treasure, her daughter Debbie Treasure and Margarita Pollock have joined us for the final legs between Kalgoorlie and Perth.  Today however our goal is to reach Merredin.

First up, Brett had an interview with the WIN Television Network. Afterwards we decided that we would show the lovely ladies some of the sites along the way. Our first stop was once again Coolgardie. This entire region has so much interesting history, with amazing museums and parks that display old machinery, antiques and tools that were used long ago. From  buildings made from stone to road graders that where pulled by horses and  man-powered ore grinders. It really highlights the harshness of yesteryear in these mining towns. The machinery is bulky, heavy and doesn’t seem to have any safety guards. It seems that safety wasn’t the first priority back then.  The people that used these tools must have been tough as the conditions where harsh to live in let alone work in. I guess the draw of that golden metal was powerful enough to make it all seem worthwhile.

We found another old car that looks as if it came from the same era as Glad. We weren’t quite sure of  her make and model. Looking at this old car it really hits home on what a fantastic job Glad’s restorer Graham Wilson has done. If Glad was in the same state when he first found her, it is nothing short of a miracle that he managed to get her looking and running as beautiful as she does today.

After having a good look around Coolgardie we headed for Southern Cross. We stopped off at the local pub for a counter lunch and whilst there we found out that this is the famous hotel that Slim Dusty sang about: “The Pub with no beer”. Although that’s certainly not the case nowadays.

Upon arriving in Merredin we were welcomed by signs  on the highway saying “Merredin welcomes Glad and her team.” We pulled into the centre of town outside the Merredin Visitor Centre  and people came to have a look at Glad and make their contributions to the R.F.D.S.. In this hard financial time the people of Merredin seemed very generous with their donations. Again the Aussie spirit reveals itself. “We heard you on Macca’s ABC talkback show; we saw you on television or did you know that you were on the front cover of the Kalgoorlie Miner”, they said to Brett. It seems both Glad and Brett have built up quite a following.

Tonight we are staying at the Merredin Bed and Breakfast, This Bed and Breakfast is located opposite the old Cummins Theatre, which is a very old Play House that was moved from Kalgoorlie to here. A must-see whilst in Merredin. Avril’s establishment was once a bank and in later years a doctor’s surgery. It has 5 bedrooms and lovely gardens. We enjoyed Avril’s hospitality and had our our first home-cooked meal since leaving home. The Bed and Breakfast is of the highest standard – a credit to the Wheatbelt region and Australia’s Golden Outback. We went to bed looking forward to a tour of Merredin and our last day on the road.

An old dentist chair found in Coolgardie.
An old dentist chair found in Coolgardie.

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some of the equipment used in the good old days.
Some of the equipment used in the good old days.
The Old Gaol.
The Old Gaol.

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Does anyone know what make and model this car is?
Does anyone know what make and model this car is?
The Lovely Debbie Treasure and Ned.
The lovely Debbie Treasure and Ned.
The man and women (in this case) powered Grinder.
The man and women (in this case)-powered Grinder.
An old horse drawn cart.
An old horse drawn cart.
A collection of historical equipment.
A collection of historical equipment.
A horse drawn road grader.
A horse drawn road grader.
The old heavy jack hammer
The old heavy jack hammer
Brett and his Telstra Country Wide Provided equipment.
Brett and his Telstra Country Wide provided equipment.

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Even the cleared land out here is beautiful.
Even the cleared land out here is beautiful.
The Palace Hotel In Southern Cross, the pub that once had no beer.
The Palace Hotel In Southern Cross, the pub that once had no beer.

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How nice is this.
How nice is this?
The sexy beast, it goes without saying im talking about Glad.
The sexy beast. I’m talking about Glad.
The original crew,Brett and Tim Pollock, Glad, Anthony Baggs and Chris Graham.
The original crew: Brett & Tim Pollock, Glad, Anthony Baggs, Chris Graham.
There where about twelve loveley courses to this meal provide by Avril at the Merriden Bed And Breakfast.
About 12 lovely courses provided by Avril at the Merredin B&B.

Touring Kalgoorlie and surrounds (Day 12)

The day started off with Brett and Glad having a interview with GWN and the Kalgoorlie Miner. Then we were off for a visit to the Kalgoorlie Super Pit. This enormous pit stretches 3.5km long, 1.4km wide and will soon reach a depth of 600 meters. This region is the largest gold producing area in Australia and has been called the Golden Mile, for obvious reasons.

Gold was first discovered in Kalgoorlie in 1883 by an Irishman called Paddy Hannan. Since then over 50 million ounces of gold have been found here. This landscape surrounding Kalgoorlie is known as The Great Western Woodlands. It certainly is a beautiful part of Australia. In this landscape studies have found 101 species of mammals, birds and reptiles, 19 of which are recognised as threatened. Therefore, it’s an important part of the country in terms of conservation as well as being rich in gold.
We headed north towards Menzies and stopped off at the Ora Banda hotel, for a nice lunch. We had a look around Menzies (also an old gold mining town). Yet another town with a colourful past. The staff at the Visitor Centre were very helpful – thanks ladies. Time was a factor and we also wanted to have a look at Lake Ballard and the Gormley Statues. These are amazing figures of art that are scattered about on the dry Lake Ballard. We could have stayed in Kalgoorlie for weeks just looking around; the region is full of colourful heritage and magnificent scenery.
After returning to our lovely rooms at the Rydges Hotel we had a delicious dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. Here you can get an amazing fillet of barramundi or a juicy steak without mentioning the array of scrumptious desserts and cakes that are on offer.
If you would like more information on this region check out the Golden Outback website. The site is very informative and full of things to see and do in the area. You will certainly need longer than a day or two to see the sights. We would recommend that you stay for a week at the very least.

The Super Pit in Kalgoorlie (note the trucks at the bottom)

The Super Pit in Kalgoorlie (note the trucks at the bottom)

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The bucket on the loader.

"What the heck is that" says chris (Lake Ballard and the Gormley statues)

"What the heck is that" says Chris (Lake Ballard and the Gormley statues)

Still a bit unsure

Still a bit unsure

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If you .look at the top of the hill you can make out the shape of Chris

If you look at the top of the hill you can make out the shape of Chris

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Which ones Brett.

Which one's Brett?

Glad’s Now A West Australian (Day 11)

This morning we had to get Glad registered in W.A. so we took her to the local Norseman Doc for a check up (over the pits), she passed with ease. It’s good to know she’s a good healthy girl. Now Glad is officially a West Aussie and has her very own Western Australian number plates.

 After we got the thumbs up from the Doc we dressed Glad in her new numbers and we set off for Kalgoorlie via Coolgardie (just for a bit of a look).  Tomorrow Glad is having a well earned rest and the support vehicle will be used for transportation. The crew and their partners are going to have a bit of a look around the Kalgoorlie region, including the Super Pit and then to Lake Ballard and the Gormley statues near Menzies.

 It is awesome how many friends we have made on the way. People wave and honk as they go past and everyone wants to have a yarn and find out about Glad and what she is doing out in the middle of the Australian outback. We have had kind hearted people help us out with information, trailer repairs and generally anything we need as well as generous donations for the R.F.D.S. The Aussie spirit is well and truly still alive in the outback. We would like to thank Graham Wilson (not Glad’s previous owner but another Graham Wilson) and his son Glenn for their help in Norseman; cheers fellas.

 We stopped off at Coolgardie to have a bit of a look around. There is a lot of historic interest here and the view from the lookout was beautiful. We had lunch and headed off once again.

Arrived at Kalgoorlie at 2pm, staying at the Rydges Hotel for a couple of nights. It will be nice to have a bit of luxury for a change, shower or even a bath, laundry, mini bar and a t.v. with Fox. We can watch the football game that we missed over the weekend (Brett and Baggsy both support the West Coast Eagles passionately).   Even if our team unfortunately lost last weekend, we can at the very least see why. We are all very pleased with the size, layout, features, cleanliness and the general standard of the Rydges Hotel rooms. You may think that we have been roughing it for so long that anything would please us but that is not the case, our rooms are terrific by anyone’s standards. We also would like to thank Australia’s Golden Outback and Rydges Hotel for organising and helping to fund our accommodation.

 Brett has a photo shoot with the Kalgoorlie Minor newspaper at 4pm.  After that we will be picking up the ladies from the airport and the heading out for a nice dinner.  Time to re-coupe and prepare for the last leg of our journey.

 

 

Glad, Tim Pollock, Chris Graham and Brett Pollock

Glad, Tim Pollock, Chris Graham and Brett Pollock

 

 

 

The bush around the camp at Norseman

The bush around the camp at Norseman

Glad with her brand new number plate.

Glad with her brand new number plate.

Glad having a look at the Gorge near Coolgardie.

Glad having a look at the Gorge near Coolgardie.

Glad at the Coolgardie lookout.

Glad at the Coolgardie lookout.

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The Burning Landscape (Day 10)

The sunrise this morning created the hallucination that the landscape was on fire. The open outback country boasts the most amazing sunsets and sunrises. Day 10 camp was located 5km west of Cocklebiddy, out on a plain with a small collection of eucalypt trees that look almost like massive Japanese bonsai trees. These small trees (approximately 15ft tall at most) have long winding branches with a flat horizontal layer of leaves, found only right at the tip of each branch. It is crazy how diverse and amazing this country really is. Each different landscape has its only unique beauty. It makes me wonder how many people actually realise how lucky us Australians really are. How many people overlook these landscapes and have spent their entire lives taking the amazing Australian outback for granted. The A model ford crew don’t fall into this category and are fully aware of how fortunate we all really are.

Last night we used the satellite phone (provided so kindly by Telstra Country Wide) to communicate with our partners. The overall quality of this service was excellent but there was a slight delay which created a slight slur to each word said. Our partners all accused us of having a few too many whiskeys, but it certainly wasn’t the case. After all we were all in bed by 7.30pm and we only stopped driving by 5pm. After lighting a fire , setting camp and cooking our dinner, we only had time for one bevy each.

Due to the distance from the coast and the light breeze blowing overnight, the camp was completely dry and dew free this morning. We had breakfast that consisted of bacon, eggs and toast, without once again failing to mention a hot cup of billy tea. This is really living. The boys did the daily Ford pre-checks, packed up camp and we were on the road by 7.30am.

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The sunsets out here are breathe taking.

The sunsets out here are breath-taking.

The boys cooking breakfast.

The boys cooking breakfast.

Morning views.

Good morning Glad!

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If we didnt know better we would think the landscape was on fire.

If we didn't know better we would think the landscape was on fire.

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A rare sight to see Baggsy at sunrise.

A rare sight to see Baggsy at sunrise.

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Up comes the sun.

Up comes the sun.

Glad having a greasy and oily breakfast and a bit of a scrub up.

Glad having a greasy and oily breakfast and a bit of a scrub up.

Old Meets New

Old Meets New

Glad outside the Balladonia road house.

Glad outside the Balladonia road house.

Proof that the Nullabor Nymph exists.

Proof that the Nullabor Nymph exists.

 The following photos where all taken at the day 10 campsite on the edge of a salt lake outside Noresman.

 

Day 10 camp.

Day 10 camp.

The salt pan in Noresman.

The salt pan in Noresman.

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Across the last border (Day 9)

 

After packing up camp we headed off to the Nullarbor roadhouse to refuel. As it was Sunday morning it was time for Brett to update Macca( from the ABC radio morning talkback show) of our progress. We had driven over 3300km since our previous update. I’m sure many of the listeners where curious of how the old girl was doing. It was great to be able to inform them on how well she was travelling. They built them well back then, that is for sure.

A couple of hours later we reached Border Village. We were in Western Australia once again. It was nice to be in our home state. We all felt a sense of pride reaching this far but we also didn’t want to speak too soon, as we still have a long way to travel before reaching our destination and Glads new home.  However if the old girl keeps cruising the way she has been through the last 3 states, we were all quietly confident that she would reach the finish line

The windmill man (Chris Graham) proved his worth today. He worked out why glad was leaking a little oil. With a few turns of a spanner the problem was solved. We all work well as a team and help each other with each of our duties when needed. I guess that is what mateship is all about.

Approaching the Nullarbor we saw a sign that claimed there is woman who lives with the local wildlife, i guess its Australia’s version of Tarzan in an attractive female form. She’s known as the Nullarbor Nymph. As the only single bloke on the trip I (Baggsy) kept my eyes peeled. Unfortunately  she was nowhere to be seen.

When we crossed the border into W.A. we entered the Australian Golden Outback Tourism Region. This is Brett’s home turf. For a free brochure go to  www.australiasgoldenoutback.com . This region runs from Esperance in the south to Mt Augustus in the north. Brett owns a station stay in the Gascoyne Murchison region called Wooleen station (www.wooleen.com).  A very diverse region with all types of outback accommodation, station stays, farm stays, pubs and resorts. On this trip we will visit Kalgoorlie, Lake Ballard (Gormley statues) Near Menzies and Merredin. Australia’s Golden Outback is a magic place to visit. You can visit in your family car even an 80 year old ford. We look forward to seeing you in region.

The Eucla coastline.

The Eucla coastline. The Nullabor plain coastline.

The crew around the campfire.

The crew around the campfire.

The sunset.

The sunset.

The camp again.

The camp again.

More sunset pics.

More sunset pics.

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Tim preparing his swag for a good nights rest.

Tim preparing his swag for a good nights rest.

The nights bush dinner.

The nights bush dinner.

Off We Go Again (Day 8)

We packed up and headed of from Streaky Bay and stopped off in Ceduna for some much needed supplies.  We stopped for a dinner camp on the old gravel highway which runs parallel to the new sealed road.  It’s hard to imagine that this once was the only way Western Australians could get to any other capital cities (the rest of the crew travelled down this very road in the 70s). The track is rough and full of pot holes. I imagine that the going would have once been slow and rough;  this was confirmed by the  other fellas.

About an hour down the track we came across a sign that stated that we were on the Nullabor Plain. The country here is flat and the vegetation scarcely grows above two feet off the ground. Mainly old man salt bush here. Seeing this country reinforces the fact that we are in  remote  country. With the NEXT G country wireless coverage our trip is made a lot safer since we have means of contact to the outside world. We can see for kilometres:  the only thing blocking our view is the horizon due to the flatness of the Nullabor. It’s an awesome sight.

We stopped off to have a look at the head of the Bight; apparently the 30-meter cliffs stretch for at least 200km. I’d hate to fall in as there would be no way up the steep cliff faces.  The caretaker of the tourist  facility informed us of an old station homestead nearby that would make a perfect camp location.

We set up for camp right next door to an old wrought iron homestead with nearby sheep yards and an old well and stone tank. It’s easy to imagine this place bustling with activity; we estimated that station may have been active at the turn of the century and may have been abandoned in the late 40s. We assume this because of the state of the sheep yards and the homestead. It’s also easy to imagine life out on this country – it would have been filled with trials and tribulations . For example, fresh water may have been a scarce  and valuable commodity, and the sheer remoteness would have been hard to overcome. Maybe that’s why the station was abandoned.  It’s also easy to imagine the beauty of living somewhere like this, life would have been simple with no hustle and bustle and the words “peak hour” traffic non-existent. It makes one wonder why we humans surround ourselves with concrete. Sure, modern day society has benefits such as extending the length of our lives and  creating more comforts, but are we truly living? Our crew really enjoy the outback and really appreciate its silence and beauty. During the middle of night we can hear foxes calling to each other and later on a pack of dingoes begin to howl. We put in a set of rabbit snares in hope that a rabbit stew would provide tomorrow night’s nourishment.  Two of the snares had been bitten through – even the rabbits are tough out here. But unfortunately none of our snares managed to hold any of the tasty little critters.

The ford at sunrise.

The ford at sunrise.

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The old homestead.

The old homestead.

Station ruins.

Station ruins.

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The Big Catch (Day 7)

We woke this morning to a view of the Flinders Ranges. The Pollock brothers are always the first out of bed, usually before the sun is even up. The rest of the crew seem to like the warmth of their swags too much. The Flinders Ranges boast a view that would usually cost hundreds of dollars a night. One of the great things about swagging across the outback is the campsites are free and usually well set up for overnight stops and many of them have these kind of views. Once again we packed up camp and set off.

 It’s amazing how even out here I’m able to update this web site. Telstra’s Next G Country Wide is well named. The remoteness of some of these locations that I have internet coverage in is nothing short of amazing.

 

We had our first touch of bad weather today and had to cover the trailer with a tarp. The Ford does have windscreen wipers but its not very good, but luckily the boys knew a old bush remedy for this problem. A spud cut in half and wiped on the windscreen will make the rain run straight off. So luckily the rain didn’t slow us down too much and was short lived.

We arrived in Streaky Bay at about 3pm so we decided to have a coffee on the foreshore overlooking the massive bay. The waitress informed us of a good camping spot about 10km out of town. We arrived to find about 20 caravans in the camp spot but we managed to find a place for our camp. This camp was directly on the beach of the Great Australian Bight, so we decided to throw a line out to try and catch a feed of fresh fish for breakfast. This created a bit of brotherly banter between Brett and Tim. Tim claimed that the odds of Brett catching anything edible where 20 to 1, so the bet was on. After about 20 minutes Brett had his first fish. It was a Tommy Rough (called a Herring in WA). As you can see from the picture below this fish was certainly no monster and wouldn’t feed a child let alone four hungry fellas. There was some contention between the two brothers whether this mere fish could be considered edible. After about 35minutes Brett was onto something big. He pulled in a massive Flathead that was about 2.5 feet long and weighed about 4.5 pound. Brett won, so Tim agreed to buy a bottle of Galway Pipe port to settle the bet.

Brett received his minutes for the Sydney meeting on the 24th march for Desert Knowledge, Our Outback Tourism Program and was able to amend and approve the draft minutes for circulation whilst sitting on the beach. This is business and working at its best for outback Australia.

What a Monster!

What a Monster!

That is a little better Brett. A 2.5 feet long 4.5 pound flathead.

That is a little better Brett. A 2.5 feet long 4.5 pound flathead.

some indication of our location.

some indication of our location.

The sunset at our camp in Streaky Bay.

The sunset at our camp in Streaky Bay.

 

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Our lunch camp along the old nullabor highway (gravel track).

Our lunch camp along the old nullabor highway (gravel track).

 

Tim doing his job as the head mechanic and checking over the old girl.

Tim doing his job as the head mechanic and checking over the old girl.

 

Mechanic and windmill man.

Mechanic and windmill man.

 

Baggsy making a brew.

Baggsy making a brew.

 

We are about to enter into Australia's Golden Outback in WA.

We are about to enter into Australia's Golden Outback in WA.

 

Glads resting spot for the evening and the surounds of our camp.

Glads resting spot for the evening and the surounds of our camp.

 

Glad along side of the old homestead on the Nullabor.

Glad along side of the old homestead on the Nullabor.