Our final day starts with the repairing of the campground water tap and patching of my front bumper to the car. I’ll probably need a new bumper because the bolt holders are broken so, for now, cloth tape will suffice.
We stop in town to support the local economy with some random purchases from Target Country, a sports store and a supermarket. The old bloke in the sports store wants a yarn so we have a short one before setting off back east.
Most of the cotton out here has been harvested already. This small patch still remains between the dusty grey-brown paddocks. Last time we were here the cotton was growing in abundance. The change is dramatic and a reminder of the way the seasons affect farming communities.
A sign on the highway announces the presence of the Jondaryan Woolshed. It’s advertised as a working museum so we pull off the road and drive the 4km (2.5 miles) to check it out. The entry fee is $13 per person, which is too high for what this place is. There’s still a section of the old woolshed and some randomly located signs telling the story of the old shearing days. But most of the focus in the buildings is now on functions, not history.
The impressive tractor collection is stored behind a fence. There are signs inside the tractor shed to tell visitors about the vehicle but the shed itself is locked so you can’t read the signs. You can only peer in at the back of the tractors. Mind you, these knobbly wheels are pretty interesting to look at.
All in all the museum is not worth the stop but it still has some interesting items and buildings, particularly if you’ve not been to a country Australian museum before. And, truth be told, we were probably spoiled by the Pioneer Park Museum in Dalby yesterday afternoon.
We continue our travels eastward towards the Great Dividing Range. It’s all farmland until we reach Toowoomba. The city’s size always catches me off guard after driving through “blink and you’ll miss it” towns and townships. The city isn’t huge like the major capitals but with 113,000 people living on its perch straddling the Divide, it is a broad spread out city that takes a while to drive through.
But through we go and down the range we drop to enter the Lockyer Valley. This is our food bowl. Fertile soils, relatively regular rainfall patterns and close proximity to Brisbane coincide to create lots of fruit and vegetable farming communities.
We follow the Cobb & Co Tourist Drive instead of racing along the highway. The tourist drive takes us to the little towns now bypassed by the highway. There’s Grantham with its tragic modern story of flood that has caused many homes to be moved to a nearby hill. Gatton with its famous university grounds. Laidley where the sun was perfectly positioned for this photo of St Patrick’s Catholic Church, erected in 1919. Grandchester and Rosewood then round out our drive.
Sadly, it all has to come to an end. The highway and Brisbane’s network of tunnels takes us back to our side of town where we join the building peak hour traffic to get home. I can’t wait for our next mini road trip to explore some more.