Annual Ngarkat CP Working Bee – 29-31 March 2019

4 cars met at the lawns in Lameroo in time for a visit to the Bakery and a 1 O’clock’ish departure.  On arrival at Ngarkat, we were met by Daryl from 4WD SA who gave us directions to our campsite at Cox’s Windmill.  The sand was very soft, and when Jim C made a wrong turn he quickly got stuck trying to reverse out.  As it was his birthday, we decided to dig him out and help him back on the right track.

On arrival at our campsite and deciding who was camping where, some of the ladies discovered a very friendly echidna called Ernie while the rest of the crew focussed on trailer reversing.

Our group was joined by Phil and Dave from the Southern 4×4 Club who were invited to join us for happy hour which started right on the stroke of beer O’clock.  We then broke for dinner and re-convened at Jim and Lea’s camper for Jim’s birthday celebration drinks and cake (fire bans preventing us having the right number of candles!).

Overnight was very cold for this time of year, getting down to 4°C, but we were all up at 7’ish in time for an 8.15 departure to the main area to be given our jobs and gear for the day’s work.  This briefing by Darryl and Senior Ranger Rebecca was conducted very well, and they stressed the importance of returning to base by 5pm for the dinner that was being provided.

Our work included repairing some of the fence and posts, erecting signs and track maintenance.  We had brought a range of tools including shovels, post hole diggers, power tools and hand tools, which along with some of the National Parks equipment got the job done.  Overall, the work was not too hard and with good company the day flew by until it was knock-off time.

The Border Track is strictly one-way, so most of the rougher parts were on the northern side of the hills, but there was a couple of exceptions.  Knowing that we would have troubles getting all the cars up one particular hill on the return, we decided to do some work on this section before catching up with the rest of the group.  The biggest bumps were trimmed down and the worst of the holes filled in, but the sand was very soft and always going to be difficult. As our reward, we got to try it out first which all worked out fine.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t so good for Trevor and Barb who got half way up and couldn’t get any further.  On trying to reverse down, the car decided to choose its own route and finished up hanging off the track with its bum in Victoria and the rest in SA.  Trevor had to winch himself back up the track with no obvious damage although it turned out he had broken an upper control arm on his front end.  By this time, Jim was getting worried that if we had to drag the other 6 cars up the hill we might miss out on dinner, so an urgent reminder was sent to all to make sure tyre pressures were around 16-18psi.  This seemed to work and we had no more mishaps on the journey back to dinner.

We were promised a nice dinner on our return, and the Lions Club of Pinnaroo turned it on in style.  We had the choice of chicken or beef schnitzels, potatoes, gravy and coleslaw.  There was enough for some to have seconds, and they even had desert for us.  Back to camp for a night cap – and an early night for all who had put in a good shift.

On Sunday morning we split into 2 groups to finish off the last of our jobs, most of us finally leaving around 1pm after a wet pack up.  Trip leader Greg would like to thank all the crew for their hard work and good company: Trevor & Barb, Jim & Lea, Steve & Maria, Jim & Michele, Greg & Maria, Gavin & Jonty.  A special thanks goes out to Senior Ranger Rebecca and Daryl from 4WD SA for organising such a well-run event.  All the job sheets were very clear and the materials were exactly as needed so we could do the work without any problems.  I know I’ll be putting my hand up to go again next year.

Jim & Michele