Syndia and I took a walk around Blackall this morning. It's the founding place of the Australian Labour Party, so you could say we were in enemy territory. Oh, and the water smells.
Leaving Blackall, we headed to Charleville. When we arrived, we were disappointed (read: Syndia was disappointed, and it was inflicted on me) to discover that the bilby display wasn't being run that week. There was, however, this "Cosmos" thingo openingo so we decided to stick around and check it out.
As per most small-ish country towns, when there's an event the entire town turns out to enjoy it. There was a huge fete (and crikey, all those little old CWA ladies can cook!), a couple of lawnmower-powered miniature space shuttles, music, more food than one could poke a stick at, and of course the opening of their Cosmos Centre. We also ran into Vaughan Johnson and Bruce Scott, who were officiating, and we received the royal treatment when they worked out who I was. Fun for a while, but not when I was wearing crappy clothes and hadn't shaved in the best part of a week.
Incidentally, the Cosmos Centre is an astronomy centre and observatory developed in Charleville to take advantage of the clearer skies. They hope it will bring tourist and research dollars to the town.
Syndia discovered that the bilby display was actually happening as a one-off for the opening of the Cosmos Centre, so we decided to stick around until 3pm when it was supposed to start. The verdict? Bilbies are cool. Got some not-so-good photos and a digital video, but due to the low-light conditions and obviously not being able to use flash photography, the images are almost all red.
Syndia wants a bilby.
We ended up leaving Charleville at about 4pm; not so good, as we had about 700km to go before reaching Brisbane. Charleville was to be our last major stop on the way back as well, as we wanted to reach Brisbane that night. We ran into a huge downpour whilst passing through Roma. It washed the car clean (thankfully!) but nearly washed it entirely off the road, too. Fun. Progress was slowed significantly, and we ended up reaching Brisbane at about 2330. Crashed out at Syndia's parents' place. It's good to be back, even if only for a while.