Freecamping is really about Community and I have long held the opinion that any and all towns worthy of their name should have a rest area, or freecamp, freely available to travellers, as they once historically did in Australia. The history of the evolution of the provision of camps for the traveller goes right back to the very first days of the colony when Governor Phillip set up camp on the shores of Botany Bay… then found a better spot and moved to Sydney Cove. Free camping is not only about the travelling community, but also about the communities the travellers move into. Even Governor Phillip recognised this in his endeavour to build a relationship with the locals. But it is something that today has been lost to the demons of commerce.
In years gone past the Australian Sundowner was a wanderer who arrived at dusk seeking work, usually the promise of work and in turn was given a meal. However when the sun rose the next day the promise of work never eventuated as the bloke had usually moved on during the early dawn. Or… another meaning was for the 5pm happy hour drinks.
These handy zippered bags are the best thing since sliced bread. They are cheap as chips, readily available and great for storage and all manner of things. We store our seasonal clothes (out of season) in these and use them for dirty clothes. We prefer them to plastic when shopping or picnicking and they are great for holding ropes, cables and the like.
With the new year comes the time to organise and reflect on the year past. I’m deep into this now, organising my writing and busy editing past posts. I’ve been blogging and writing publicly now for a few years and I’ve been with WordPress for about 18 months. I must admit I find the WordPress site the easiest to negotiate… even when they occasionally get it pear shaped with the date stamp thing as with one or two past blog. There simply is no better, or easier way to stay in contact with family, friends and my readers, as well as those great adventurers who you meet constantly on the road. Like souls and others who are living the dream and holding life by its horns as they tour the country.
My latest project has been to gather up my postings into some order, mostly for my elderly Mum who is wanting to read these and can’t manage a computer. Hence… I have released a anthology of my blogs in a pricey full colour print and a cheap large e-book both with many full colour pic’s. It has been an interesting exercise for me.
The journey in freecamping has some wonderful adventures. The people on a whole are great and we often find ourselves chatting merrily away as unawares one hour… then two… then sometimes three slip by before you look up and realise you were going to be moving on today but once more … the pleasure of swapping stories with like travellers caught up with you once again. It is a good thing we don’t have a tight timeline.
There are also other joys … slipping along a waterway in the unsinkable ship .. our trusty kayak and simply just enjoying the view and experience. You can find water monitors along the way and the odd snake, as with yesterday, who we disturbed making a meal of a frog. The ducks, water birds and even wild geese can be wonderfully entertaining and I have discovered a new interest in birdlife. Even the pups have learnt not to chase the wildlife unless it gets just that smidge too close to them. The wildlife can be spectacular and the campfires memorable, memories which stay with you to be recalled at later times.
The world of Travelling Stock Routes are a gem in our history and heritage. Not always listed in the freecampers bible – Camps Australia Wide -they are truly special places that we should all fight to protect and maintain. They are also an important part of the public free camping network in Australia. I love freecamping in these very special places as they usually provide sure water and when you are on the road full time freecamping, to enjoy the joys of wild places and the natural delights of our country, they truly are a wonderful public resource throughout Australia. You should also remember when camped at these locations that you must leave area’s free for the wildlife and grazing cattle to reach water as this is their primary purpose. Don’t be surprised if the camp site is suddenly overrun with a grazing mob!
These old routes, known today as TSR’s, are those which the cattle drovers once drove their stock along on the way to market regularly and they are still in use today. They were known and celebrated watering and resting places for the stock and they are also a touch of our history active and valued in this present day.
What perhaps many don’t realize though is that they were also often the routes taken by the old traditional Aboriginal tribal groups of another era. Places where a group would rest and enjoy the same things, these which we enjoy today. Places, often of corroboree and initiations too, places of family and gathering in times of drought and trouble. Continue reading →