Thursday, 3 May 2007



Kev and I slept in the bus which was very comfortable and self contained. We awoke to birds chirping, galahs and sulphur-crested cockatoos screeching. There had been a slight dew but it was quite warm. Everyone gets up early because the roo needs his early feed so they take him back to bed for feeding.

Just after breakfast Sam brought Isabella over. It was so nice to see Sam again. We hadn’t seen her since they left Perth just after their wedding and that was over 7 years ago. Mick and her have since separated but remain friends and co-operate in the raising of Ella. We were both so overwhelmed we clung to each other and cried. And there was little Ella! So small and so beautiful. Of course, we had seen numerous photos of her over the years but to see her in real life was awesome! Her beautiful smile and those eyes!

Kev took himself to the airfield. He had planned to fly to Bundaberg to have Microair try to repair the transponder fault – once again. Unfortunately nobody was able to go with him for the fly. He departed about 8.30 and I acted as his SAR to ensure his safe arrival.

The day’s plans unfolded to attend the Kilkivan markets and view the parade of horse riders. The Kilkivan annual ride is for any rider and horse who wishes to do between 40-80 km ride through rough bush country. After the ride they congregate at the end of the main street and ride en-mass through the street. I have never seen 900 + ridden down a street at one time. It was awe inspiring. So many different sized horses, ages and breeds, colours and types. All of them hot and sweaty. The riders ranged between authentic stockmen, both aboriginal and white, riding groups, families and even some riders representing the light horsemen.

We browsed up and down the roadside market stalls viewing the variety of crafts, horse oriented goods, assorted local foods. One stand also offered outdoor solid wooden benches – for only $300.00.

We returned home with such good feelings from such a unique event. Dinner was a combined effort of cold meats and salads with Sam and Cathi preparing and me supervising! Great evening of togetherness.

The next day’s plan was to drive to the coast for a picnic lunch and see Rainbow Beach – a sight I had fond memories from 25 years ago when Mick and I traveled Queensland.
Sarah and Isabella


The previous evening’s discussions resulted in Kevin wanting to wash Lady Bird before we arrived at Echuca air show the following weekend. Coffs seemed the ideal place to stay for the day especially as I had cold symptoms, once again, and didn’t want to fly with ear ache and a sniffly nose.

Prior to breakfast Sarah and I took a walk/run along the beautiful beach in an effort to regain some lost fitness. Back at the unit and after Sarah investigated the motels aviary and found quail babies out of the nest and being attacked by ants. A call to the owner and we rescued 3 babies – de-anted them and breathed life back into the weak ones. One baby was too weak and was quickly and quietly disposed of.

After breakfast all three of us walked into town via the beach. Into a small shopping centre we had lunch at a cafĂ© – mmm the best quiche (spinach and ricotta) I had had in ages. Then we walked to the Pet Porpoise Pool. We arrived there in time for their 1pm dolphin show.

Sarah getting a kiss Rolling the Barrel Through the Hoop

When the commentator called for volunteers I offered – I thought why not? I wouldn’t get another chance. So I got to hold a fish up on the end of a pole and the dolphin leapt up and got it! The dolphins and seals kept us spellbound for nearly 1 hour. Then Kevin took off for the cleaning job at the airport. Sarah and I stayed at the Centre patted the dolphins and seals, fed the penguins and watched a reptile show.

We wandered home tired and happy by late afternoon and Kev arrived home soon after. We then freshened up and took the 100 metre walk toward the beach and had our dinner at the local Bowls Club restaurant. Once again a lovely meal in clean surroundings for a reasonable price kept us very happy. Back to our apartment and a good nights sleep = my head and earache were clearing.



The morning dawned bright and clear but tinged with sadness as the two cousins who had just met each other had to leave.

Up on the hill at Lady Bird we packed the luggage with the usual efficiency required while photographs were snapped in the dozens. At final time for departure the two girls clung to each other. Ella not realizing the occasion remained all smiles, as did Sarah on the outside until we finally roared into the morning air and she broke down and cried. I could do little to comfort her.

We flew down over the valley passing Tony Green’s very impressive property with it’s private airstrip, pools and multiple storied houses. We did an orbit over the place just for a good look and then continued out to the coast. Our next port of call was to be Caboulture to meet Colin and Lyn Newlove and to see their Stinson Reliant SR9E.
Stinson Reliant SR9E & 8C Colin & Lyn Newlove

Flying around Noosa Heads and along the beaches and then into Caboulture airfield. We taxied in around the end buildings to see the Stinson proudly parked out in the sunshine. Wow it was awesome to see another Reliant. She was painted red and cream in the reverse of our scheme. We parked Lady Bird along side and piled out to meet Colin and Lyn. They took us off to the local pub where we enjoyed a seafood platter and chatted long about flying and restoration.

Their Stinson has a USA history, having been brought into Australia some time ago and they purchased it from Rob Black. It was great to compare the differences being wrap around windscreen, wind down quarter window and minor differences in seat types etc. She was undergoing some repairs on belly and undercarriage skins therefore not flying. They have it up for sale however as both Newloves consider themselves the “custodians” of their aircraft and feel it should go to another home who feel the same. They gave us a block mounted aerial photo of VH-UXL in her CWM days. It was great – the first flying shot we have of her from her past.
Gold Coast

Back past the Gold Coast again – this time in full sun shine – certainly looked more impressive. The Seaworld centre looked very inviting and all the water-ways were very blue and tropical. We tracked for Coffs Harbour airfield and made an arrival over the beaches onto the short strip. Upon arrival we were surprised to see the Hempel unknown aircraft type parked on the grass. We had just missed an airshow that weekend and were advised that quite a number of aircraft had made it successful. Our attendance would have been very welcome. We parked in front of the local helicopter joy ride business and tied her down. Tracey took us into town and found us a motel to stay in for the night.

The Sheridans on Prince was a great motel – our apartment had two separate bedrooms, kitchen/lounge area with separate bathroom and even a laundry only for $95.00 per night. As I wasn’t feeling very well I went to bed early whilst Kev and Sarah made themselves a light dinner.



The day’s plan was to all go for a picnic on Tin Can Bay and to see Rainbow Beach. A huge picnic lunch bag was packed by Cathi. Kev, myself & Sam traveled in one car. Mick Cath, Sarah and Ella in the other car.

The morning at Gympie was warm and humid however as we drove through rainforest type country side it became overcast and it rained as we arrived in Tin Can Bay. We parked on the grass in the shelter of trees. Sarah, Ella, self and Bridie chased crabs on the beach with the outgoing tide and jumped puddles whilst Bridie chased her Frisbee.

We ate well of chicken, ham, coleslaw etc followed by apple pie and easter eggs (donated by Ella from her stash).

We drove onto Rainbow Beach and initially walked down onto the beach to check out the sand for driving along. The cliffs were badly eroded and there was nothing in place to protect them from vandalizing humans. Ella and Sar had a great time playing in the dripping water run offs, investigating caves and generally having fun. Ribbons of coloured sands were no longer evident as I had seen back 20 odd years ago. We drove about one third the length of the beach and saw some examples of coloured sands and turned around as the tide was turning. We drove up to the local shops and after an enjoyable icecream we bought sand mementos.
Sarah and Ella in Cave
Rainbow Beach

After leaving the beach we stopped at Stears Creek for a swim in the clear fresh waters. Ella wanted to show us how she could swim but the water was very cold. She did eventually get brave and swim for a short distance sticking close to Sarah. Sam, Sarah and Ella did a lovely short walk down the creek together.
Sam Sar and Ella at Sears Creek

On the trip home we took Sam to see the Stinson then Sam back to her home as Ella was staying with us and Sam had work next morning. A very sad moment for all of us as we didn’t know when we would see her again. Then back to Micks. They had taken Sarah to meet Sonya the animal rehab ghuru for their area. Sarah was totally in awe of this tiny aged woman who has 6 plus joeys in pouches at any one time and 30+ wallabies and roos come in daily for feeding.

We ate pizzas for dinner and retired early ready for our departure next morning.
It had been a great experience to spend such quality time with Mick, Cath, Ella and Sam.

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL

Stinson Reliant SR8C VH-UXL
over Perth city (Photo: Greg Hill)

About Us

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Flying farming couple who live on 135 acres. Kev is obsessed by aeroplanes. Vicki is devoted to horses and White Swiss Shepherds.