On arrival in Longreach we went and visited the ABC radio station, and long time friend Tom Harwood who is the manager and has been tracking our progress along the way with regular interviews. Carl made contact with the local Royal Flying Doctor Service and spoke with Ron and Kate .Kate is an art therapist and uses her skills to engage people in remote areas and Ron is the Service Development Manager helping to co-ordinate services in the community. It has been really interesting for us to learn about the diversity of skills that the RFDS employ here in the outback.
I visited the North and West Queensland Primary Health Care office and spoke to the staff who have this year have set up a mobile men’s health service called HERB (Health Education Reaching Blokes). They are able to do testing on diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, bowel cancer, emotional wellbeing, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, smoking, diet exercise alcohol abuse. Longreach is the main centre for many services in the SW area of Queensland.
Carl and I managed a visit to the QANTAS Founders Museum but none of us had the time to see anything but the outside of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame.
We left Longreach early to make sure we got through to Barcaldine as the previous day the roads had been under water and there was more heavy rain overnight. 108 km later we arrived mid morning after a good run and only shallow water over the road in two places.
We parked Willy outside the news agency and up the road from the gigantic cube that houses the Tree of knowledge. This appears to be where everyone gathers on a Saturday morning, even though there was no paper delivery because the road to Rockhampton was closed .
In the afternoon we had Willy on display at the Barcaldine Christmas Race Meeting. Some of the horses and jockeys were unable to make the meeting because of flooded roads but it was still a very colourful and enjoyable afternoon. They had five races and of course the fashions in the field were part of the proceedings. Carl as you can see has taken some great photos of the action.
Towards late afternoon we again decided to try to beat the rising waters and drive the 107 km to Blackall where we will spend the next two nights, with lots more activities planned.