We carried our chairs and a cool drink over to the centre of the little community where there’s a sizeable motor home parked under a huge tree. Around the tree is a pile of cut logs, the camp fire made from a dissected gas bottle, (the favourite method of cooking for thousands of Grey Nomads), and some chairs arranged in a circle.
Melodious voices and some musical instruments can be heard from this little corral at various times during the day and this time we were invited.
We were met with a friendly bunch of about thirteen people, one with a Guitar, another with a Ukulele, a lady with a set of Gidgee sticks and another lady with a Lagerphone or Murrumbidgee River Rattler, (An upright pole on which are screwed beer bottle tops. The sound is made by hitting the instrument on the floor, at the same time striking the middle section with a solid piece of wood.
The main character amidst the melody makers was Greg who played the guitar and sang most of the songs, a collection of bush ballads of which many were written by Greg himself.
In the words of his songs, Greg’s personal experiences and emotions were exposed and the way that he turned those experiences and emotions into musical stories was a delightful demonstration of how he interprets his life and the lives of those around him.
From a song called “Black Soil Road” we could easily envisage the truckie driving a Two Decker stock truck trying to get home before the rain turned the black soil road into an impassable swamp.
The melancholy song written for an Aboriginal who told Greg about losing his wife of 35 years to cancer was very moving.
The next day after talking to Greg I discovered he was also an ex commercial fisherman starting out on Cray fishing boats out of Tasmania and eventually owning his own Moreton Bay prawn trawler.
Although he hasn’t written any songs about the sea, he’s penned many poems which he’s promised to let me read. I eagerly await this opportunity.
We also met Ted and Kim who are living in a bus which they converted themselves.
Like Norm who we wrote about yeaterday, Ted also sports a spectacular, long white beard easily reaching his lower chest. Ted and Kim are avid bird photographers. They have a deep knowledge of, and an obvious passion for, Australian bird life and they maintain a Flicker site for their photos.
I had to include this link to their site and a couple of samples as these photos are simply awesome.