Blanchetown, 6-8 June 2020

June long weekend, 2020

Four cars joined us on our COVID escape camp to Blanchetown on the June long weekend. The Dean, Butler and Svanborg families arrived at various times over the course of Friday and the “Dalton gang” rode into town on the Saturday morning.


The weather was kind for this time of year; cool and dry but, as usual, morning fog blanketed the river most mornings. Wal and I did a trip to Waikerie for fresh supplies (we had already been camped      elsewhere for a week) and returned with some     oranges for all. The shallow fire bucket was moved to site by Greg so we could cook easily and not    upset the comfort fire.

The morning saw quite a bit of discussion as to whether Maria’s frozen duck would thaw in time to cook for that night’s tea, but fortune favoured us. Wal and Maria, under the watchful eyes of all present, proceeded to cook.  Our patience was    rewarded, and we had a nicely roasted duck with crispy skin and roast vegies for tea. 

We were entertained by watching two whistling kites feeding their young in the nest above camp. Sometimes they returned with fish and sometimes what appeared to be small lizards or snakes. We also watched the squabbles between cockatoo pairs, as to who had ownership of the hollow limb below the kites.

Fishing lines remained slack as no fish seemed to be biting.  Not even the carp and shrimp were to be seen. We gathered around the fire and tried to solve the problems of the world and avoid the lazy breeze. You know what the lazy breeze is – it’s the breeze that doesn’t go around you but rather seeps through you and up your sleeves, freezes your ankles and slides down your collar!


A foggy morning, which quickly cleared by 8.30am. Maria and Caroline went for a walk along the cliff line and told us about the view out over the McBean Pound Lagoon, opposite camp.  Graham (the     property owner) had asked if we could move 3 logs down to a flat area for his workers to cut for his    firewood, so a towing and hitching demonstration ensued.  There were just as many looking on as   participating. We also gathered some wood for our fire buckets.  We are welcome to use some wood, if we bring some wood.

Later that day, some ventured along the flat and found the old abandoned houseboat relic, tucked in amongst the shrubbery. The very slippery mud meant skating skills were required, but the duckweed floating on the top lent a colourful contrast to the vegetation.

Following the success of the previous night’s tea, a few more decided to try their cooking skills. Maria and Caroline produced a cheese damper that tasted as good as it looked.  I made some apple cupcakes which were served to all as dessert, that evening.

Steve cooked a roast while Andrew kept fishing and landed a carp (see photo below). Gavin had different results when, earlier in the day he caught a small carp, but after lunch, when winding in his line, he could feel some weight at the end – but a rusty  spanner was all that was attached to his line!  A unique souvenir of the weekend. Les strung up some tarps to give us some shelter from the cold breeze and later that evening we were rewarded with a large, full moon rising over the water.  Cameras just don’t do justice to seeing the moon with your own eyes. It was like a big yellow torchlight.


Most people had to leave to return home that day. Just as the “Dalton gang” were packing up, Andrew landed a large carp but there were only 7 of us left to witness it as the others had already left camp. Wal went trawling but all to no avail.  The fish weren’t interested in any lures or bait offered. We have had this happen prior in the colder months, but fishers are an optimistic lot – you can’t catch anything without a rod in the water.

Les and Eileen stayed for the extra day as we didn’t have to vacate until the Tuesday.  We discussed the long weekend in October and may put this up as a venue.  I must make some enquiries with Graham, the owner, and check our own calendar, first.

I would like to thank those who attended our trip on short notice. It was a good weekend with great company, and I look forward to catching up with  everyone soon. Many thanks to Maria and Les for the photos.

Kerry Muhleder