Rootes Tour of Australia
Stage 3    May 2003
by Brian Vogt, based on a good story by Neil Yeomans (whose hobby is Happy Hour)

This was an excellent tour around selected parts of South Australia, put together by Ern Broughton.  The tour officially started at Loxton on the River Murray at lunchtime on Sat. 3rd May 2003, but for Neil and Jennifer it started in Elmhurst where they met up with Greg & Elaine and spent Thursday night at their property at Landsborough.  Then onto Loxton on the Friday where they meet the others on tour.

A strange stage number, you might think.  Before Ern got around to advertising this tour, the Rootes Group Car Club had already started advertising a Stage 4 (Rootes to the Rock) for August.  As Ern's tour was before August, I persuaded him to call it "Stage 3."

The participants:
Ern & Elva Broughton Humber Vogue series II (in pole position)
Neil Yeomans & Jennifer Hillman Husky Series I
Greg Stafford & Elaine Duxbury Hillman Gazelle
David Watson 1948 Commer Truck
Brian Vogt Hillman Minx series IIIC ADL

Day one (Saturday 3 May) began with a walk through the Loxton Historical Village museum.  Yinkanie (from where the railway sign was taken) is a semi-desert farming area 3 km south of the River Murray.  It's where the railway line ended.  My Mum went to school there in the mid-1930s.

Loxton Historical Village museum

To the Tree of Knowledge (in a nice picnic park beside the river, showing the previous flood levels), then out to Lock 4 (pictured at right).  A drive across the Berri Bridge (former site of the Berri Ferry).  Under the bridge, on the Berri side is a large painted Aboriginal mural and totem pole collection.  Then back to the Loxton Motel for Happy Hour. Lock 4

Day two (Sunday 4 May) started at the Cobdogla Irrigation and Steam Museum:

Cobdogla Irrigation and Steam Museum
and then on to Kingston-on-Murray morning tea in the park, followed by Banrock Station winery where we sampled some wines and wandered around the Wetland Sanctuary, before heading off to the Monash Adventure Park (site of the former Playground).  In the picture below, Neil demonstrates the fun his grandchildren would have had here:
Monash Adventure Park
A quick blat around Berri where we found a Sunbeam Rapier partly restored (currently for sale).  Then back to the Loxton Motel (Happy Hour). At the end of the evening meal, a man at a nearby table advised us that a 1930s Hillman car had been towed to rest near (but not in) the local rubbish dump.  He turned out to be one of my Mum's cousins.

Day three (Monday 5 May).  Morning tea at Waikerie, where we did the Centenary Clifftop Walk.

Centenary Clifftop Walk in Waikerie  Centenary Clifftop Walk in Waikerie
A visit for some to the Waikerie Bakery.  A ride on the Cadell Ferry.
Cadell Ferry
We tried to get a look at the Morgan-Whyalla no. 1 pumping station, but they don't have public tours, so we continued on. Lunch on the clifftop at Morgan, followed by a walk around the historic wharf below with a good little collection of old railway machinery.  Continuing in the direction of Burra we had a lengthy scenic drive across an interesting outback landscape.  The Cadell Ferry ride was listed on the itinerary as a river cruise?  This was debated at length during Happy Hour where Dave fed salty chips to the ducks by the river at the back of our hotel in Burra.
David feeding the ducks in Burra

Day four (Tuesday 6 May) started with a car-jacking.  Ern tried to drive away from his parking spot at the Burra Motor Inn, but the car wouldn't move.  A brief search under the bonnet revealed nothing amiss.  Then Neil confessed and we all had a good laugh he'd borrowed a jack from Dave, and subtly elevated Ern's rear left wheel from the ground.  The some cruising around Burra, which included a tour through the historic copper mine.

Burra Copper Mine
and a trip out to the old Redruth Gaol where some of the film Breaker Morant was made in 1979.  A visit inside some of the dugout homes in the banks of Burra Burra Creek.  Then on to the Clare Country Club for two nights and Happy Hour.

Day five (Wednesday 7 May) was a drive out to Neagles Rock lookout

Neagles Rock lookout
then onto Martindale Hall (near Mintaro), which is a grand old rural mansion built in 1879.  It was a place of affluent society costing 30,000 pounds that would equate to several million dollars today.
Martindale Hall
Lunch at the Sevenhills Cellars and St. Aloysius Church which was run by the Jesuit Monks who make the altar wine for churches.  Neil felt right at home here.  You guessed it more Happy Hour. 

Day six (Thursday 8 May).  Today was a drive to Port Wakefield and down the eastern side of Yorke Peninsula to Edithburgh stopping along the way to take in the sights (e.g. Wool Bay lime kiln, pictured below)

Wool Bay lime kiln
and do a bit fossicking in the junk shops.  Then happy hour.

Day seven (Friday 9 May) saw us travel down one of the worst roads in SA (according to the soft Victorians who went missing in action).  The first part was ok, as we looked southward out to a group of islands.

rugged bottom end of Yorke Peninsula
In Neil's words: "Our leader was hoodwinked by the locals into believing that the road was good.  I think they wanted to see if a Hillman could negotiate the 4WD tracks.  We did however find an ADL in a barn along this track.  The coastal scenery along was great, very much like the western district of Victoria."
Troubridge Hill lighthouse, then across to Innes National Park Stenhouse Bay jetty, Cape Spencer lighthouse, The Gap, and a brief walk through the Inneston Historic Site (where Bellco chalk was originally made).  Then after a hard day of travel it was back to Edithburgh for Happy Hour.

Day eight (Saturday 10 May).  A brief stop at Port Victoria before moving on to the Moonta Mines Museum and a trip on the tourist railway through to old mine.

Miniature railway at Moonta Mines Museum
We were told about the hundreds of children that died in the mining town, due to disease and poor conditions.  Very sad, but we came to terms with this during Happy Hour.

Day nine (Sunday 11 May).  After spending the night in a motel just out of Kadina, we started with a walk along the grain handling jetty at Wallaroo.

Grain bulk handling jetty at Wallaroo
Then we visited the Moonta Cemetery.  It was unbelievable to see the huge number of unmarked graves that belonged to the children.  Next was a visit to the Wheal Hughes and Poona copper mines.  Wheal Hughes was a trip in a mine carriage down some 65 metres below ground level to the mine tunnel opening then a further walk 55 metres below sea level into the mine cavern.
Wheal Hughes copper mine, Moonta Mines  Wheal Hughes copper mine, Moonta Mines
Alwyn, our tour guide, was a miner down there between 1988-1993.  Very scary stuff when you thought about the amount of dirt on top of you and saw the flimsy pillars that were supporting the tunnel roof.  It was nice to get out of there and back to the motel for Happy Hour.

Day ten (Monday 12 May).  We continued up the west coast of Yorke Peninsula to Port Broughton, where Ern's great grandfather had dug out the boat harbour by hand and wore out 7 shovels doing it.  (That number is different each time Ern composes the story).  We went for a pleasant walk along the T-shaped jetty.

Port Broughton jetty
Heading back towards Adelaide, we stopped for lunch at Balaklava where Dave was conversationally imprisoned by a local man who drove a similar Commer trook for the Highways Dept. in 1949.  Down to Adelaide for the night (the Arkaba Hotel) where we were joined by the 5 Tavs along with Russell and Beverly Gill for dinner.  The last Happy Hour was about to begin.
Evening meal at the Arkaba Hotel  Evening meal at the Arkaba Hotel

Day eleven (Tuesday 13 May) was breakfast together for the last time.  The tour had come to an end.  In the words of Neil: "What a great tour.  Im sure that I speak for all that attended when I say thankyou Ern and Elva for putting together such a marvellous trip."

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