Biographical Non-Fiction posted September 21, 2016 Chapters:  ...42 43 -44- 45... 

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Family discussions & disagreements Part 2.

A chapter in the book The Little Dog That Wouldn't Let Go

More on Trips etc

by Sankey

A year or two after this time, we really HAD to do some other trips but they were more stretched with more stops due to the above problems.

Chapter 44 (Word)
Adding to the other trips we took in 2008, we also had a gathering with our family up in Grawin in the North West of the state. We have written about my visits with my Dad many years before in this area. This was to be a final family gathering in Grawin, prior to the eventual sale of the Opal Mining Lease and effects and buildings.

Between ourselves, we had battled with the idea of attending this gathering. Reason being, in our situation we felt the facilities would not be suitable for Louise, especially. We knew there was no way we could stay there overnight, and it was to be a 2-Day affair. This meant driving 40 miles each way, 2 times, a total of 160 miles.

We initially stayed at "Nolan's On The Barwon", a kind of holiday accommodation set up, rather primitive - not completely back in Walgett, the nearest town. A picture included is an older one. This place was formerly known as “Leisure world Motel.”  We decided to go there again as we found it ok the first time. This time, it was a disaster. Firstly, the battery had worn down in the smoke alarm. There was a light shining in it, and a sound coming from it. Result: Very little sleep.
After we settled in, I took my wife with me, to go down to the office about some things. I made the very bad mistake of us entering the reception area through a side door. This led to a dining area that was all set up for some kind of function later that day.  The owner abused the hell out of me for going in the wrong door. It got even worse from members of his family, who treated us like we had the plague or something.  All this, in front of my wife in her wheelchair. The host of this place was an arrogant old man and there is no way he should have been in the hospitality industry
I have a feeling they were affronted by our disability. I took Louise back to our room, and after a short chat, we decided we would just stay one night. I approached the Hostess and requested a refund of the next night's money and to be checked out for the following morning. She was a lot more obliging than her useless husband. We arose very early next morning and packed the car up to leave at first light. We had found alternate accommodation in Walgett for the next night and returned to the family gathering for the second day.

I stated earlier about the battle, deciding whether to come to Grawin or not. My sister-in-law, my other brother's wife was so insistent that her daughter-in-law from Queensland was really keen to meet us. This would be the first (and last, as it turned out) time for meeting my Nephew's wife, Kelly. It was a very short meeting and a total waste of time our coming to the gathering. In 2 days we only saw the new acquaintance for a complete 10 minutes.

We had probably, we thought - a last big trip to Queensland, in 2009, -- all the way up to Rockhampton, then out to Longreach and Winton where Banjo (A.B.) Patterson's fame was established (Waltzing Matilda, and so on.) This was our fourth time up to the Sunshine State. After this big one, we told ourselves, then; NO MORE BIG TRIPS. We were going to limit ourselves, we said; to Woy Woy in the North, about an hour or two drive from home. Or Mollymook and Moruya in the South, about 5 hours from home. My elder brother and his wife were a little south of Moruya.

Sometime after my eldest brother, Richard's passing, we had a discussion with my sister. We talked about how Richard wanted to take our mother on some coach trips. He had even asked us to go on a camping trip with him. By now, readers know this would have been an impossibility.

When he broached the subject with us of taking the trip with him, I asked him the following...
"Richard, are you going to come and lift Louise up off the ground every morning?" We never heard any more from him on that subject.

We knew for a long time the extreme distance between my eldest brother and my sister (the eldest sibling in our family.) So it was no surprise when she expressed to us her absolute horror and disappointment that Richard never asked her to go on any trips. The fact was: we all knew it too  - my sister was a "control freak" and to ask her along on a trip with our brother would have been a disaster.

He had intimated that to us on a number of occasions particularly one time when we were visiting our Mother in a hospital later in her life. We had taken some lunch together after our visit with our Mum.

Early in 2013, after Louise got "up to her neck" in Family History Research, we decided we just HAD TO GO VISIT her Great Great Grandfather's grave at Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane. Yes, I know; we said no more big trips. As it turned out, my favourite Aunty was having a 90th birthday celebration at her daughter's place a surprise gathering for her. It gave us another excuse to make the big trip to Queensland again.

My Uncle Jim, (Aunty's husband) had died a year or so before, and seeing we had cut the long drives, we could not attend. No - we couldn't fly, for reasons outlined earlier. We decided to stretch out the drive to Queensland by stopping more often, overnight, at more motels. It cost us a fortune, of course.

As already stated, we could not do any night driving, due to my eyes (a kind of night blindness) and we didn't want to meet any kangaroos flying across highways neither. There were another couple of bonuses for this trip. It turned out Louise's cousin lived in the same street at which we were attending the 90th birthday party so we got a visit with Margaret, (her cousin on her father's side), and Michael, Margaret's husband whom we had not seen for probably more than ten years.

We also got a personal visit to our Motel in Spring Hill out of Brisbane, Queensland, by Louise's cousin Michael and his family, from her Mum's side of the family. We had never met their boys and they were glad to meet us too.

Unfortunately, Louise's Great Great Grandfather's gravesite had been ripped out by Clem Jones, (a Brisbane Mayor in the seventies), who cleaned out hundreds of derelict gravesites in the old Toowong Cemetery back then. All we got to see was a green verge of grass which we duly photographed.

All in all, a bit of a disappointing trip but there were some highlights and great reunions with some of the alive family members.


If any readers are interested, here are some extra links into more detail in a poem I wrote about "Nolan's" mentioned in this chapter.
In my poem at the following link:

"Hospitality From Hell."

and now...Pictures:Top left: Louise and her Colt she had back in our early days at the formerly 'Leisure World Motel' Later known as "Nolans on the Barwon."
Top Right: The final family gathering at Grawin
Second Left: My Mum on the left and brother Richard with a Sunliner Coach. (sorry not good photo)
Second Right: My wife's Great, Great Grandfather's absent grave site at Toowong Cemetery, Queensland. The late Thomas Draper was the first of Louise's Dad's side to come to Australia, in the 1800's.
Bottom: An earlier picture of the late Uncle Jim and Aunty Mim.

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