The Wallaby Track: All set-up in Walkamin, Qld, Lionel attempted to get his cracked windscreen repaired…

No prizes for guessing where you are!

Somewhere along the track to Far North Queensland, my windscreen was hit by a stone in the bottom left corner. Each day, the two cracks that it started crept further and further across the windscreen.

My insurance coverage allows one replacement windscreen a year – I’ve had two before this one two years apart so I contacted the windscreen people in Mareeba once I was settled at Walkamin.

Because I’d had bad experiences with windscreen sizes before, I carefully measured the height of my screen and told the lady at the windscreen place the measurement.

The boys came out with a screen a few days later, but it was raining so they said they’d come back another day. Murphy was hiding somewhere but I thought I heard him chuckling. He chuckled some more when they came back a few days later and found that the new screen was the right height but the wrong width!

I made the mistake of telling them that I was in no hurry as I was here for at least two months, so they took their time. Finally, they came with the right screen and had it changed over very quickly.


Quite a bit has happened to improve the Walkamin Van Park since I was here last year, including lots of flowers and shrubs. Mark’s a skilled gardener and his handiwork shows! There was quite a lot of bindi eye weed and Mark’s constant spraying has almost eliminated them.

New flower beds have been installed in Walkamin Van Park.

When I was here last year, they installed an irrigation system throughout the park and there were trenches everywhere where the piping ran and outlets were concreted in. The results show, with sprinklers going lots of the time and green grass in abundance.

A huge new sign at the entrance to the park leaves no doubt which van park you have reached and Mark has plans to have a flowering shrub bed under the sign. The cackle of chickens in a new chicken pen adds to the rustic ambience of the park and the eggs are shared among vanners.


Co-owner of the park Dallas had her 50th birthday in June and I turn 90 in November so we’ve decided to have a combined celebration halfway between the two dates – it’s in August and if I know Dallas it will be a hoot.

We have already had sausage sizzles on quiz nights and for State of Origin matches – I make sure I wear a grey shirt on the Origin night or with my blue shirt I might get mistaken for someone from New South Wales!

When I got a job soon after I arrived in Australia all those years ago, the office manager lady asked me, “What team do you barrack for?”

I’d never heard of ‘barrack’ as it’s not an English term. 

“I mean what football team do you support?” she continued. 

“I don’t support any,” I replied. “Oh, you’ll have to or no one will speak to you in Australia.”

Well, I’ve been an Aussie for more that 50 years not supporting any footy team and people still talk to me!


We have a table in the ‘shed’ where people can leave things they don’t need and other people may find useful. Last night a friend spotted a pyjama bottom on the table and took it to try on. He caused a laugh when he appeared with it on. He didn’t keep it and it finished up back on the table.

Chooks at Walkamin Van Park.

I didn’t laugh at 10.30pm when I discovered my pyjama bottom was missing! I carry my PJs over my arm with my towel on my way back from the shower and the bottom half must have fallen off as I returned to Yemmy. Someone had picked it up and put it on the table!

I quickly put on my dressing gown and hurried across and retrieved the missing garment!


Next year, Apex 40 will be holding its 50th ‘Rort’ next May in Darwin and the 100 places they had reserved were snapped up in no time. They then managed to secure another 25 spots for people, including me, on the waiting list.

Young men’s service club ‘Apex’ as it was back then, had an age limit of 40. I felt the need for continuing the friendships we had made in Apex so I invited five selected and just retired couples to a barbie at our place where we made a few far-reaching decisions and formed a steering committee.

One decision we made was to have our wives as full members – a great move as they had supported us when we were in Apex. The name Apex 40 was chosen and is still used today.

At our first committee meeting we elected office bearers and I was made President – a great honour I’ve always felt.

I want to be there at our 50-year celebration in Darwin seeing that I was the instigator of Apex 40 way back then and it has grown to quite a large, thriving organisation.

As you may remember from last month’s column, I clocked over 5000km to get to FNQ this year so to Darwin and then on east to Walkamin should be okay at 6000km.


Many years ago there was a Willys truck in the Walkamin CP shed and one day I took it for a spin around the park with Billy, the owner’s dog, who thought she owned the vehicle.

Lionel with the dog in the old Willys truck.

We ran out of petrol after half a lap!


I’ve been told not to climb on a step ladder at my age to put my TV antenna up but I’ve ignored it until now. It had become a chore so I bought a 4.5m extending antenna pole from Jaycar. It’s pegged at the bottom and I’ve cable-tied it to the exisiting mount. It’s very stable and will be easy to put up and take down.