Two-way Troopy (Micalong Creek)

Before Christmas, we took a weekend break in the Wee Jasper Valley, about an hour from Yass or Canberra.

We stayed in a lovely cottage on Wee Jasper Station, with long views of the steep valley and the Goodradigbee River. (Photos in coming posts)

But we couldn’t play it soft all weekend with the wine and cheese. So one afternoon we headed out for a fish and, on another, for a picnic.

So, the Troopy is a dual-purpose wonder machine!

At Micalong Reserve, the creek was running very high and fast after the recent rain. We had a chat to the ranger when he came along. He told us the creek has brown trout and 3 weeks before someone had caught one about ‘yea’ long, holding his fingers  about 25 cm apart. But it was too hot, and fast, to catch anything now.

Micalong Creek, near Wee Jasper, New South Wales, Australia

Micalong tumbling along


Well that was ok, we’d ‘prepared one earlier’ and thoroughly enjoyed our picnic of smoked salmon cutlets with cherry tomatoes, mixed leaf salad and aioli.  ¤


The village of Wee Jasper (New South Wales, Australia) is located about an hour from south Canberra via Uriarra Crossing, or an hour from Yass via Wee Jasper Rd. Both roads are tarred.

Billy Grace Reserve and Micalong Creek Reserve are campgrounds in the Wee Jasper valley on Nottingham Rd. For directions and information see the Wee Jasper Reserves Trust website:



I’m dreaming of a white Troopy!

Our Toyota Rav4 in summer grass

Out to pasture

It’s always been on my bucketlist to own a ‘ute’ * or a 4WD where you can sleep in the back with a swag.

So far we’ve had the swags and our trusty, but small, Rav4 ‘Buggy’. Otherwise it’s our camper trailer hailing from the 1970s, complete with dark faux-timber panelling and brown and orange striped canvas!

But since my recovery, the canvas (read mozzies*) plus putting up and down ‘the marriage tester’ camper are a no-go. It’s a 2 person job.

So we were looking around for an Avan camper trailer, which has hard sides. Then that would mean a heavier 4WD to tow it…Before we knew it, we were ringing Queensland to Tasmania!

Long story short…last Friday we bought an old, bare bones Landcruiser Troopy!! Woo hoo!!

A white 1995 Landcruiser Troopcarrier

[Photo credit: Lee on]

We’ll use it for day trips and over-nighters with our camping gear in the back at first. Later on down the track, we’ll kit it out for longer road trips when I’m up to it. But nothing too soft!! Heh heh.

I’ve been scribbling lots of sketches of fit-outs on serviettes* and the backs of beer coasters! Bed here, seat along there, fridge box there. I’ve got that twinkle in my eye!

What’s that about the journey and the destination?….Both are good!!  ♦

Tag along on Daytripper Sippers for our Troopy travels.


*ute – utility or pick-up truck

mozzies – mosquitoes

serviette – paper napkin

Photo 1 taken 17 November 2015 with my old Canon Powershot A550

at Boambolo Rd, off Wee Jasper Rd via Yass, NSW, Australia. It leads down to a tree-lined picnic spot on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.

Off the bench!

Benchseat up the back near the water tank facing the setting sunToday is a big day for me…it’s my 2nd anniversary since What The?! Day. *

Two years ago, something went bung in my brain! I stood frozen still, couldn’t move anything, couldn’t speak. But I could hear everything, although from far away, in a fog of time. They thought I’d had a stroke.

I was very, very lucky, all the scans were clear.

After about two hours my speech was normal, though laboured, and I could walk with support. Huh?!

Now repeat many times. Add alternating wheelchair, wheelie-walker, and walking stick.

Fast forward 2 years…

I’m getting back to normal, only a bit to go. I choose to think of all the gains I’ve made, even the small ones. I’ve learned to adapt and still be me, even if I have to think around obstacles. And I haven’t lost my sense of humour!

But…I’m getting back out there! Yay! You can’t keep a good day tripper down!!

So I’ve put my gumboots near the back door for my goal to bushwalk again. And I have my khaki jacket with pockets for stuff…rocks, camera gear, rubbish, binoculars.

So this afternoon, on the 2nd anniversary, I put on my coat again and we went for a drive as the sun was going down.

Taemas Bridge, Wee Jasper Road, near Yass, New south Wales, Australia

Taemas bridge over the Murrumbidgee

We parked at Taemas Bridge on Wee Jasper Road, with a coffee and a sandwich.

The bridge of steel and concrete crosses mostly a sandy bed and exposed tree trunks. Red clay gullies slash the impossible near-vertical hillside. Wire fences straddle the climb in mid-air. (How did they build those fences?)

In the hazy shadows at the water’s edge, we spotted a white crane wading. It jumped up on a rock ledge to join a blue crane.

Yep, it’s beautiful out there guys, that’s what really counts!  *18 May 2016. I wasn’t able to take new photos so I’ve recycled one that shows how it looked.

For more information on neurological symptom disorders like mine, these are great resources and support and have helped me so much:    and

Bridge to my past (Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned)

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For seven years we lived in Bungendore, New South Wales, a little village about half an hour on the other side of Canberra. We were “blow-ins”, with an unknown surname, not born in the local area. At least we had country credentials but we were still new bloods.

Or so I thought!…

After some family tree discoveries I found I was related to one of the large pioneering families, the Barretts, from a little rural locality just 2o minutes east of our village!!

Boro Creek, Mayfield Road at Lower Boro, New South Wales, Australia

Spanning the generations

My great, great, great grandmother Catherine Doolan and her sister Mary were Irish assisted immigrants and had migrated to Australia together from County Clare in 1841.

On the same ship was a Patrick Barrett. Mary later married Patrick and they took up land on the Boro Creek between the villages of Bungendore and Tarago.

As we do, we had aimlessly driven the crisscrossing dirt roads in the back blocks around our village.

Some of those dirt roads had passed right by the front gates of the Barrett family properties. Boro Creek cut through Barrett land. They held large blocks on either side of the creek between the mid 1840s and the early 1900s.

This is the old disused bridge over Boro Creek, on Mayfield Road at Lower Boro.

I was game and walked its rickety deck – I just had to throw a pebble in the water hole beneath.  


Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Abandoned’

Photos taken 7 November 2009 with my old Canon Powershot A550

* “a blow-in” – a stranger, or someone who comes from somewhere else

Lower Boro, via Tarago, New South Wales, Australia


Holden (‘Aussie icons’ series)

Bailey's Garage, Yass Street, Gunning, New South Wales, AustraliaGrowing up, there were two types of people. Those that loved Ford and those that loved Holden. And ne’er the twain shall meet!

It was a matter of personal and family pride, like a clan war, who was the winner at the Mount Panorama car race held every October long weekend, at Bathurst (New South Wales).

Bailey's Garage, Yass Street, Gunning, New South Wales, Australia

Holden Wall of Fame, Gunning, New South Wales


So here’s my tribute to a great Aussie icon, The Holden, of which everyone has a fond tale to tell, or two …

I remember sliding across the bench seats going around the corners. Holding on to the ‘Jesus strap’. Seatbelts, what seatbelts!

A column-shift, of course! Big steering wheel with finger grooves.

AM Radio… if you were lucky!

Everyone squashed into the back seat to go to The Lake to swim. 

Windows rolled down for the breeze, if you got the door you controlled the ‘free air’.

The solid-sounding, heavy thud of the door. The boot that always had one smelly sports shoe and a football, no matter whose car it was.

Duco colours that you could find in a pencil set, no metallic this, pearl that. Chrome wherever possible and it always gleamed!

Bailey's Garage, Yass Street, Gunning, New South Wales, Australia

A Holden haven

(For a great photo of a line-up of old Holdens out the front of Bailey’s Garage, Gunning, see also

FE-HR Holden Owners Club ACT, Gunning Garage and Picnic run, post 2 Aug 2012)


There was a well-known advertising jingle for Holden in the mid 1970s. (It was apparently based on the Chevrolet jingle, by General Motors.) It went like this:

We love football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars. (Repeat over and over)

There they go together underneath the Southern stars,

Football and meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars.

And just about every kid I knew did sing it … over and over!  ♦


Aussie icons series 

– To mark Australia Day, on January 26, my posts this week feature good old Aussie icons.

Photos taken 11 December 2013 – coincidentally, the day before General Motors announced that Holden, the golden light of the Australian automotive identity, will be closing its car plants in Victoria and South Australia by 2017. A sad day! See the news report at ‘Holden to end car manufacturing in Australia and import cars’, December 12, 2013.

Gunning, New South Wales, Australia

Bailey’s Garage, Yass St, Gunning, New South Wales, Australia,

Established 1/8/1945  – []

‘Opposite the Court House [in Gunning] is Bailey’s Garage, which originated with Frank Bailey during the First World War…  Numerous electrical items were also sold such as radiolas, refrigerators, hecla household appliances as well as Speedwell bicycles. The garage was purchased by Vern Southwell.’  []

‘Baileys Garage Pty Ltd (company name registered 24 April 1950) is a long established Holden dealership and mechanical repair business that has also operated school buses since the 1950s. It has been owned by the [Southwell] family since at least the early-1980s and is currently managed by Craig [Southwell].’  []

Shearers: Blue singlets and boots

'Westbourne', Berremangra Rd via Bookham, New South Wales, Australia

‘Westbourne’ shearers’ quarters


On a back road from Yass to Harden (New South Wales, Australia), heading into a rolling green valley, we drove on tar covered with cow pats.

A rambling old homestead overlooks a dam, a Soldier Settlement property of many decades and many acres.

Down the road the shearers’ quarters waits silently in the sinking gold of the afternoon. Many doors lead to many rooms. Nearby a meat hanging room is empty and well-scrubbed.

The well-worn tar road binds these shearers’ quarters to their purpose, the wool shed.

I wonder how many boots have climbed the stoop, weary from a long hot day bent over wool? How many heads have rested on a ticking mattress, too weary to undress before sleep?

And how many bristled chins have then risen with first light to a plate of eggs and bread? To stride to ‘the boards’ for another day bent over the shears in a blue singlet?

The shearers’ rooms are quiet now – dust motes dancing in the light through the windows – waiting for the next season.  ♦


Aussie icons, ‘One Shot Wonders’ series

– To mark Australia Day on January 26, my ‘One Shot Wonders’ this week will feature good old Aussie icons.

Photo taken 17 November 2013, with Canon PowerShot A550

‘Westbourne’ shearers’ quarters, Berremangra Rd, between Jugiong and Bookham, New South Wales, Australia


Sheep are an important part of Australia’s history. They were brought to Australia with the First Fleet of convicts and soldiers on 26 January 1788.

Yass Valley and nearby Harden Shire of New South Wales are among the important sheep raising areas of Australia, for meat and fine wool production.

That’s not a view…THAT’S a VIEW!

If Mick Dundee, from the movie ‘Crocodile Dundee’, was standing here I bet that’s what he would say.*

Hassans Wall Lookout, The Blue Mountains, Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia

Australian Sphinx?


I’ve been to places that are higher but not many that have the spectacular sheer drop to the valley floor like Hassans Walls. The ‘Walls’ are pillars and buttresses of sandstone rising above the fertile Hartley Valley, in Australia’s Blue Mountains.

Even Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia, didn’t give me quite the same dizzy sense of height, since it’s already on the highest plateau of the Australian Alps and the other peaks and ranges aren’t far below.

‘Hassans Walls Lookout is the highest lookout in the Blue Mountains at approximately 1,100 metres above sea level.’ [Destination New South Wales website]

View from Hassans Walls, New South Wales, Australia

View to Coxs River Valley, I think

The Walls afford a mind-boggling view across the Hartley and Coxs River Valleys. Even on the drizzly, overcast day we were there we could see farms and dams, the smoke plumes from distant power stations, and to the right, the highway twisting away from the escarpment.

Hassans Walls view to Hartley Valley, New South Wales, Australia

View of Hartley Valley


To me, Hassans Walls is just as magnificent as Echo Point at Katoomba, with far fewer tourists so you can get more up-close and personal with the splendour. Bench seats perch on the cliff edge. A fenced walkway leads across the rock platform to a pulpit-like column. And a small natural cave provides a unique bunker to view the panorama.

Hassans Walls towers and cave, Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia

Magnificent rock walls! See that cave at the top middle…


Hassans Walls cave, Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia

…you can go inside!


But the only thing about Hassans Walls is… who was Hassan?  


Photos taken Easter 2009, with my old Canon PowerShot A550

Another of my photos of Hassan Walls Lookout here

* Mick Dundee: “That’s not a knife. [he pulls out a large bowie knife] … THAT’s a knife.”

[Quote from Crocodile Dundee (motion picture). Dir. Peter Faiman. Perf. Paul Hogan, Linda Linda KozlowskiJohn Meillon. Rimfire Films, 1986.]


Hassans Walls Reserve tourist drive, Lithgow Tourism: it’s only 45 minutes to Jenolan Caves from here.

Hassans Walls Reserve in the Blue Mountains, near Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia

145 km from Sydney CBD (2 hours 4 mins)

287 km from Canberra CBD (4 hours 1 min) [Google Maps]