Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tooralie National Park And the trip that was.

With the weather cooling and an  opportunity  to  head west, I  thought, "why  not encompass a couple of National Parks that I  love, some birding, and time spent in  my  favourite place, Hungerford.

The trip was simple- 7 hour drive to Willandra National Park with an over night stay. A relaxing drive to the Horse and Coach camp site beside the Darling River via Ivanhoe. A leisurely drive through Louth, across to Wandering and up to Hungerford then back to the new national park Tooralie, and finally  Gundabooka.

The idea was to avoid the major towns, spend some time and money  supporting the local businesses, (by paying a lot for fuel! lol!), and simply  relaxing.

It was a journey that had its highs and lows and before I  detail the trip,  I really  need to  get a couple of things off my  chest:-

National Parks NSW needs a better management plan. Advertised in  their blurb is the latest National Park- Tooralie. Described as a place of camp sites, toilets, amenities...

Reality? Some nice signs, some stupid "copper art" thingos, a few park benches but no other facilities what so ever.

Now I  will be clear- I  can  camp in the back of my  land cruiser in a swag, dig a pit toilet and light a fire, however Nat Parks frown upon that  sort of thing. So, when they say they have the facilities and don't, well its a stuff up. Simple.

The second thing is- no mention, what -so - ever, of Tooralies pastoral history. Are we ashamed of it?

Finally- It  should never have become a national park- I have been  to  plenty and this  one is a dud. Its a total contrast to the Horse and Coach which  is in  a beautiful location, the facilities are superb, theres plenty  to  see and soak up.

Tooralie has clearly been a highly  productive cattle and sheep operation...and should have remained so. Its clearly a political purchase. Yes, its on the Darling and Warrago River, nice, but so  what? The Looping drive is a drive to nowhere, and then you are out the back of the park.  There is a small viewing platform on a hill at the south  end of the park with  lots of signs, but really?

We were the only  people in the park, and we did not stay, We pushed on back to  Louth.

Vehicle observations. GX/GXL land cruisers. I  have always had land cruisers and they are best suited for me. This is the first  one I  have had with the Toyota alloy wheels, and I  don't like them.

The wide wheels don't track  on the roads in  Western NSW as well as split rims do, and the amount of rock they  throw up is huge. The V8 Cruisers one point of irritation is the track at the front is wider than  the rear, and combined with a wide wheel pack, well, the front wheels sit well outside the original bodywork. It also exaggerates the "tram lining"effect. Whereby the front wheels struggle to track and the back tries to  follow the front. If you  are not used to  it, it can  be distracting.

I  never had an issue with the previous models, i.e. those with  split rims. So, the result is- the tray and back of cabin has been  sand/rock blasted to the  under coat.

 Toyota convinced me to  fit a genuine winch bar.  Its no good for my  application. The plastic inserts and buffers damage very easily, and the Toyota badges fall off. They are $80.00 each and the plastic inserts are$200-300.00 each. We hit an emu at  Xmas, at moderate speed the bar pushed out of shape.

One thing I did do was  Fit a Water Watch additional filter system to it. Common rail diesels don't cope with  water or sludge and by the time the original filter warning goes off, it can  be too late. The water watch system works a treat, and with  an in cabin buzzer it gives you  plenty  of warning.

So, as a result of these observations  I  have ordered a new Workmate, with a TJM Outback Bar (no plastic bits).  The new vehicle will have a heavy  duty  tray  fitted as well, as the standard Toyota heavy  duty  tray is pretty  ordinary and sits up  too high.
I  want to  stress its "Horses for courses" when it comes to vehicles and everything its a compromise.

Now the trip!  We had a fantastic combination of staying in  managers cottages, tents and the pub.


Arrival under the Pepper trees .

Willandra is looking dry and a bit run down, the bird life was low but we did get a good look at  Mistletoe bird which  was nice. Quite a showy little bird in the afternoon sun. The walks are great as too the pastoral history.


Our Accomodation.

I  wonder if Nat Parks should re -stock with a small number of sheep to  assist the Plains wanderers habitat? just a thought. They are doing it with  success in other parks.  The income off the sheep could go somewhat  to  pay  for infrastructure upgrades, and maintenance.

Evening on the banks of the Darling river

Horse and Coach- On the banks of the Darling River, at a bend, its where the old Horse and Coach  Inn  was, and is a Cobb and Co  stop over. About 50km North  of Wilcannia on the eastern  side of the River, its both beautiful peaceful and a credit to the National Parks. Great  facilities for sure.


Camp site. The Oz tent screened enclosure was all we needed.

Louth- What a top  spot to stop. Clean fuel, good food and cold beer. A good chat to the owners, and we realised they  knew most of the people we know in the district, which  was good. Here we chose to cross the river and head to  Hungerford Via Wanaaring. A good choice albeit the road was rough in  some sections.


Our accomodation at the Hungerford hotel! Quite luxurious in fact!

Hungerford- Population of about 7 and on the banks of the Paroo. The Royal Hotel has good food, cold beer and good company.



Some old vehicles on my  cousins cattle station.

You  can  chat to the locals and I  find it a really  good spot to relax and see life from  a different perspective.

Tooralie- ( not worth  a photo). Save your fuel, time and effort. Its simply  not worth the trip or detour.

Final camp site, and beer keg BBQ in use- clean, efficient.

Gundabooka- We had the park to ourselves, there are good facilities and the walks are fantastic. By this stage we had lost a rear number plate so a beer cartoon and a texta was used to  get us home. I  love the red soils and camping in amongst the mulga. This is one place where you  can  see just  how the aboriginals used various trees for medicine, for food to make flour  or to sleep on, etc. You  will get a fine education if you  put on your walking boots.


So, all up  a fantastic trip.

Birds seen- (  to follow)





Thursday, February 4, 2016

1985 Kenworth W model Blue Circle Southern 179 Continued

Since the last  post, there have been  some considerable in-roads made to the truck. The interest in the truck has been  quite high, and its been  decided that, as a result, we won't be putting the truck into  work, even lightly.

I have joined a local Antique Machinery club, and hopefully they  will allow the Kenworth  to  be put on Club Plates and only  used on club runs.

Since the last  post in the truck we have:-




Rewired a new Diff lock Switch



Taken the Kenworth  to  a truck show where lots of people took lots of photos.



Fitted new hubcaps.



New Mirrors.



New Mudguards to lead drive wheels




Did a wedding!



Fitted new Muffler and pipes


Did a service and replaced dirty  filters. (old on left)

The list continues. The truck is driving well, however the lack of use means its a little grumpy  on  start up  if left alone too long. Trucks are built to  work and pull loads, not sit in a shed.

With  all the work we have done, 179 is looking more and more as it did back in  1985. We want the patina look but with a reliable chassis and running gear.

179's chassis was extended to fit the tipping body, and , as it will not be used for this again, we have decided to return the chassis to its original configuration. This will require some research and skill in the shed.

Stay  tuned  for the next "major" work in progress.

Meanwhile I will leave you  with this picture.



Kenworth W model pulling a McGrath Bogie Trailer.
Australian Made-Australian Pride!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Christmas Adventures

Well,

Its a little late but better late then  never. We decided to  head out to  Hungerford, at short notice, on Boxing Day.

In previous posts we have spent some time there and enjoyed the national parks as well as the cattle stations.



I  am  not sure what it was, but I have to  say I  was a little apprehensive as I  packed the truck on  Christmas day. My  friends and family  put in  an order for Christmas of -10 cases of beer! lol! So by the time I  had finished packing I  had 700kg on the tray.

We left at our customary 3am, and headed out.  On a previous trip I  had my earlier model Landcruiser play  up as we got bad fuel. So since the purchase of the new one I  have been  particularly fussy  with  where I buy fuel from.  To  bore you- The land cruiser has 2 fuel tanks and now when I  travel I  keep the main task full with fuel from a trusted source, preferring to  use the rear, ( sub), tank as we go. I  fuel up  at  BP along the way.

This was a trip to prove even the best laid plans of mice and men.....


The trip was leisurely through Dubbo and onto  Nyngan. I  do  like to  stop  at the the park by the river at Nyngan. the bird life there is really  good. It has always been  a favourite spot for a cuppa, and a spot of birding.



Rain! Welcome sight on the way to  Bourke.

After a short break, we pushed on to  Bourke. 215km boring road. I  reflected that, as I  child I  remember seeing the trains heading to  Bourke, the Abattoir working and what I  though were the largest ploughs working the soil beside the road.

Today- nothing. The rail line is in  ruins, as too the Abattoir, and I  rarely see a tractor working.

We fuelled up  in  Bourke at the BP, and hit the Dowling track. Passing through Fords Bridge, I  recalled how my  Pop would talk about having a few beers there after a hard day on Pirrilie Station

It got me wondering just  how tough the men and women were. My  cousin, Roy Dunk rode his horse the entire length  of the Dowling Track, carrying spare shoes etc.

The road was pleasant and not too rough and as rain began to  fall, I  hoped it would not turn the track into  slush.



The ruins at Yantabulla

Further along we stopped at Yantabulla. There are some swamps there and  is good birding. Brolga particularly  like it.

Sadly,  Yantabulla is like a movie set from  Mad Max.  A ghost  town, and there was no water to be seen.
After a short break we were on our way, Past  our cousins property "Warroo", and onto  Hungerford



Hungerford show ground

The pub was closed for Christmas, so  Dave and I had a Ginger beer on its cool verandah. I  chose to show Dave the Hungerford Showgrounds and Dunk street. I  confess I  do  like Hungerford and its people. They are just  great.

We soon arrived at our destination, and stopped in the Shearers Quarters.  All delightful.

First "Disaster"- I  had not packed enough  food. I  had left half of it at home. David with all his motocross, and gym work is like a termite, and without snacks/drinks/bigbreakfast/lunch/dinner/morning tea/afternoon tea and a midnight snack.. he is just  not himself..  I  thought "mmmmnnn" I will just  push on to  Thargomindah and buy some groceries the following day"...



A welcome sleep was had by all.

The following day Dave and I  drove around to  Lake Wyara and Lake Numalla. After driving in Semi Arid conditions, avoiding boggy sections of track, we arrived at Numalla.

Its was extraordinary! A beautiful blue lake, with  white sand and bird life in abundance. Australia always delights me. Just when you  feel hot and bothered, up  pops something you  don't quite expect.
After walking some distance and spotting quite a few new bird species, it was time to head back.



The Lake! Brilliant!

A welcome evening meal was had on our return to the shed.

The following day, Dave and Greg headed out to  do some fencing using the motorbikes this time for transport.  I  decided to head over and visit my  cousin Frosty for the day, to  have a cup of tea and a nag.

It still fascinates me every time I  look at the fences, Pop always spoke of repairing and building the dingo ( wild dog fences). Sadly,  much  of the old fence lines are in ruins as the change from  sheep to cattle has occurred.



Old dog fence.

After some more birding, I  headed back to the shearing quarters..

Disaster 2.. we were low on  fuel, and discovered that the servo was not open between xmas and new year. Neither were the shops. With the Hungerford Hotel closed (  food/fuel etc) we were left with the prospect of being stuck. So, Dave and I  made the call the head home. Yep.. after 2 days...


Disaster3.. As we headed back, the cruiser went into  limp mode... I  quickly  switched fuel tanks to the main which  still had 1/4 left of city  diesel. I  could tell straight away that the motor had sucked up dirt and sure enough the warning light came on.

Distaster 3...At 90kph, an emu, which  was heading away from the road, decided to turn around and aim straight at us.  I was on a particularly sandy section of track and at this speed had no prospect of slowing without risking a rollover. I hit the bird killing it instantly, but bending the bull bar.. and stoning the windscreen (how, I  don't know).

We limped into  Bourke, and limped back to  Sydney.


Cousins shearing shed

Was the trip  worth  it? 100% yes.. The lakes are a "must see", and I  saw two of my  favourite birds- Brolga and Rainbow Bee Eater.

Lesson learnt?-

1. Must  fit additional fuel filters to the V8 land cruiser, and carry spare ones.

2. The genuine Toyota "bull bar" is almost pointless. The bar now has plastic inserts and buffers. Its too weak and the cost or replacing the broken plastic is hundreds of dollars. The bar is a nice city bar, but a 4 post TUFF bar will be the more suitable. I  don't do "off road" stuff so  approach and departure angle is not important. I  do  spend a lot of time on roads and cattle stations, and even to nudge cattle out of the way, well the toyota bar offers little protection in  fact.

3. Double check when  packing! leaving food at  home is pretty  stupid!

Anyway, its always nice to share time with your son!

Happy  new year all!

Bird list:- Australian  Magpie, Little Crow, Australian Raven, Pee Wee, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah, Little Corella, Dollarbird, Red-rumped Parrot, Eastern Rosella, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, Tree Martin, Willy  Wagtail, Nankeen Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Little Eagle, Straw-necked Ibis, White Faced Heron, PEACOCK! ( on road between Nyngan and Bourke!), Australian Pelican, Australian White Ibis, Silver-backed Gull, Rainbow Bee Eater, White plumed Honeyeater, Australian Pipit, Orange Chat, Gibber bird, Brolga,  Black-tailed Native Hen, Inland Dotterel, Yellow-rumped Hornbill, Black Falcon, Red-winged Parrot, White-Browed Treecreeper, Restless Flycatcher, Diamond Dove,White-winged Chuff, Pied Butcherbird, Yellow throated Honeyeater, White-browed Wood Swallow, Pacific Black Duck, Australian Wood Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Red Kneed Dotterel, Black-winged Stilt, Yellow Billed Spoonbill, Welcome Swallow, Plover, Spotted Bowerbird, Major Mitchell, Crested Pigeon, Black-faced Woodswallow, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Emu.

For me Highlights- Dollar Bird, Brolga, Rainbow Bee Eater. I  note a lack of Wedge-tailed Eagles.






Saturday, November 7, 2015

The work continues

Well, its been  months! With  working 3 jobs, and a truck  to  restore I  have been  flat out with little time to Blog. Twitter too, has become perhaps a preferred way  of keeping in  touch. So, this blog is really a record of events.

The work on 179 continues.




Chassis prepped for painting. Years of road grime and oil made this task difficult.

Electrical work to the cabin completed, and now I have an interior light, a blinker lever that works, and the exterior reverse spot light working. I  am  told this light is rare as most fall apart over time.

The chassis was acid washed and prepared for painting, in its original "cement grey" colour.


Cement grey paint as ordered when  new in 1985








A new battery  box was made, painted and then  scrolled and pin striped in exactly the original way. Old battery  box is sitting on the top of the new. Years and millions of kms reduced the old one, literally!



New mudflaps and tail light rubbers fitted.


179 had an air leak in  one of the valves and, as such, a replacement valve was purchased and installed. This meant it could get air up and hold it much  better.



New steer tyres purchased and fitted.

The condition  of steer tyres is critical, especially with a loss of traction equals a loss of steering and almost  impossible to  recover from, with  potentially  awful results.




A ball race turntable lifted on and installed.

Whilst this is not an original, the original being a "Compensator", it will do  for the purpose of making the truck complete, until a compensator can  be found.




The turntable was painted the same colour as the chassis.




Shiny new hubcaps fitted, as they were in 1985

 I did not think hubcaps were fitted to  fleet trucks in 1985, however I  did meet "Red" who was the mechanic at Blue Circle Southern, and he assured me that 179 was indeed fitted with them, so I  was delighted to buy a set and fit them.


More to come soon. ...Kenworth W900 is an on-going story which is keeping me busy and I  hope to  spend more time here on the blog.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blue Circle Southern 1985 Kenworth W model 179

The next  phase of the work continued as I  removed the mudflaps  ready  for replacements to  go  on., purchased a new blinker switch and labelled the toggle switches on the cab, (mainly  for my  own benefit).


Into the workshop


I  did purchase new rear hubcaps but have decided not to fit them as I  don't think the truck  had these when ordered, and they are a pain to  fit.


So, the list  of things "to do" continues- New clutch pedal rubber, seats re-upholstered, the floor covering replaced, (as it has a hole in  it from  the heel of a boot), Some original fog lights for the front bar. 2x new steer tyres. tacho, and repair fuel gauge.


There are quite a few toggle switches.

All these are relatively  minor items and can  be done over time.
We have replaced the interior light, and the window winders which  were worn simply  from  use, and we need to  grease, oil change and replace the glycol in the radiator.

The new backing plate for interior light


I  am  leaving the body original, as its patina look  keeps the truck  100% original.
The rear of the chassis has been  modified from the dove tail of a prime mover to  re-enforced for the tipper, however I  will  keep that approach as we still have the pump and controls for the tipper and dog trailer.


Some new mudflaps ready  to  be installed

We have done a cold pressure wash just  to  see how the chassis cleaned up and its going to  be very  good.
All in  all a great  hobby (  well, if you  like big sandpits! lol!).

video




Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kenworth 179 work continues




The work continues on  Blue Circle Southern  1985 Kenworth W model fleet number 179.


The lads have removed the Bin, it has been  sold and is heading to QLD. 


We are searching for a tray to suit, and the truck will  go  over the pit to have the chassis steam and acid washed.




This will remove most  of the dirt and any surface rust. Surprisingly the chassis and under carriage is very  good. The rails are all original with no "after market" hole drilled in it.  It was a relief as we bought the truck based on  word of mouth and good will.


Once the chassis is cleaned and dried it will be painted its original colour (which  it already  is)- a 'cement" grey.

My thanks to  Johnson Transport for all the work they are putting in.






Saturday, May 2, 2015

Everyone needs a Kenworth W model.

When I  was a kid I had a real desire to  own a Kenworth  W Model truck. I  would spend hours looking at posters, writing to Kenilworth to get stickers, and stare as they  headed down the Hume Highway.

Picking up the Kenworth in the Hunter Valley (as well as some hay!)

Trucks fascinated me. I  am  lucky that, as an auctioneer and valuer, I  can  spend a lot of time with  them as part of my  job.  However, I  always wanted to "own one".

Well, 4 weeks ago I  got one!  Its another tick on the bucket list.  So, here are the Stats-

1985 built Kenworth W model prime mover. Day cab. Ex Blue Circle Southern Dubbo truck.  Fitted with  Cummins 400 horse power big cam engine, running through a 15 speed Road Ranger Gearbox, and sitting on torsion bar suspension.  Yes, I  know- some will not like that suspension spec, however, it does give you 12 inches of travel, a softer ride and is perfect for rougher road conditions.


Just arrived at the depot. The truck drove faultlessly.


Its described as a "mid wheel base" which  makes it look great  in my  opinion. The interior and the truck overall still has its original features, as well as original fleet paintwork. Its been well looked after too. Being a highway  truck its not worn out or loose.

I am not after a "blingy" hot rod truck, and don't have then money for that. I  prefer the truck to  remain as it was-a "working truck." With  a history of millions of miles...

View from drivers seat

Our plan is- to sell the "bin", (thats the tipper part), off the back and return it to  a prime mover spec.

Paint the chassis the original colour (grey), fit rear guards and do some minor electrical/mechanical work to  ensure its safe and road worthy.



Kenworth W179 in workshop.

Work done so far- Headlights repaired and replaced (as necessary).

Batteries replaced and rewired.
Jakes brake adjusted and rewired.
All clearance lights, roof lights checked for operation.

I  want to  say a big thank you  to  Bert, the previous owner of the truck, for allowing me to  buy it. I  would also  like to  that Ross from Johnson Transport for organising the sale, as well as the delivery.

More to come!