Bendethera – June 2006

Now this was a cold one. We did get -10 Degrees overnight and many things froze, but who cares when you have loads of wood and a roaring fire… I would like to bring you Whitey. Whitey is no longer in the club, but he is fondly remembered. Mostly for his inability to hold his wine and the occasion his landcruiser floated away in the Deua River (but that is a story for another time). This was the occasion with the wine and Whitey chose to immortalise his story in prose… Enjoy.


Angus, Emily, Rachel, Pip, Connor.
Whitey, Ellen, Amelia, Paige
Dave, Danielle, Jesse, Darcy, Zac
Damo, Kylie, Tamika, Josh, Lachy
Les, Kelly, Ashley

There was movement at the petrol station, for the word had passed around
     That the 4wd club from Canberra was going away,
And had joined the other fourbies— love that diesel sound,
     So all the members had gathered to the day.
All the tried and noted drivers from the suburbs near and far
     Had mustered at Bendethra overnight,
For the members love hard driving where the wild kangaroos are,
     And the wombat snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Whitey, who made his bile when red wine flowed from his cup,
     The Crampton-Smiths with alternator that would not go;
But few could drive beside him when his blood was fairly up —
     He would go wherever 4wd and man could go.
And Damo of the Prado came down to lend a hand,
     No better four wheel driver ever held the reins;
For never Toyota could throw him while the recarro seats would stand,
     He learnt to 4wd while driving on the plains.

And one was there, an ex-Air force couple in a small and weedy beast,
     It was something like a Patrol undersized,
With a touch of Nissan Navarra — three parts Japanese at least —
     And such as are by Holden drivers prized.
It was hard and tough and wiry — just the sort that won’t say die —
     There was courage in its quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of Holden in his bright and fiery eye,
     And the no need to use a winch, got front and back lockers instead.

But still so bright and new, one would doubt his power to stay,
     And the club members said, ‘That 4.2 Patrol will never do
For a long and tiring drive — lad, you’d better stop away,
     Those hills are far too rough for such as you.’
So he waited sad and wistful — only Whitey stood his friend —
     ‘I think we ought to let him come,’ he said;
‘I warrant he’ll be with us when he’s wanted at the bend,
     For both his Patrol and winch are TJM bred.

‘He hails from Belconnen, up by Palmerston side,
     Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a Fourbies Mud Terrains firelight from the flint stones every stride,
     The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the ACT All Terrain drivers on the mountains make their home,
     Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many Patrols since I first commenced to roam,
     But nowhere yet such reliable Toyotas have I seen.’

Ah!!! Love a touch of Banjo…Seriously, all personnel as listed, mustered at Spotlight for a quick chat and some decision making on what course to steer. Angus had some inside intel that Bendethra was actually open, so off we steamed on a south easterly course, setting sail at approximately 1030. Weather was reasonable, slightly cloudy and a hint of rain in the air. All arrived safely at the first river crossing about and hour or so later for a spot of food and air down. Had a conversation with a pair of Park Rangers who told us it may be a hard slog in certain areas, especially as we all had trailers. After some humming and harring, and advising the Parkies that we would monitor ch. 27 for any road alerts, we continued on to Bendethra.

First person to get ‘stuck in the mud’ was yours truly. Thank to Dave’s trusty winch it wasn’t long before we were mobile again. Damo had to utilize his winch in the same spot to get up as well. (We both have automatics!!!!!). That put us behind a wee bit, but the day was still young. Not long before we got to the trig, Angus re-developed an old alternator problem that had him asking himself if he should go home while he was still able to. After another kilometer or 2, whilst looking for a turn-around spot, the alternator jumped back to life and began pumping green steam back into his battery. Like a true enthusiast, Angus decided to chance the rest of the journey down the hill to Bendethra.

We arrived in the valley and managed to secure the usual base camp. On arrival, everyone jumped into action to get Camper trailers and tents erect. It wasn’t long before the drizzle started and continued through the night and into the early hours of the morning. As usual, the weather didn’t deter the 12 kids present from going on their walks and ball kicking in the vicinity of the campsite. Some of the adults joined in including Damo, who managed to find a hole to twist his ankle. He was well advised and well looked after by all the nurses present and Kylie, who undoubtedly saved him from any further unnecessary damage to his ligaments.

Next day, we went for an area familiarization in the fourbies, compliments of Angus, and secured some hefty chunks of firewood en-route. We all had some aquatic fun in the fast running river, followed by a winching display on the river bank by Dave.

Night fell, and stories by the fire began, along with responsible alcohol consumption. Around midnight everyone turned in as the coldness of the night began to creep in.

The temperature fell well below minus 10 degrees. I figured this, as I set my WAECO 50 to minus 4 and when I got up at around 0430 in the morning to blow up our deflated air mattress, the WAECO was indicating minus 8; and that was inside the Patrol!!!!

We all woke late at around 10 ish, to a white frosty morning. Wasn’t long before the sun traveled its 150 million kilometers to strike the Bendethra valley and transform the area into a steamy paradise. The heat from the sun soon ensured that most equipment was well dried prior to pack-up.

We set off at around 1400hrs via the Moruya entrance, expecting it to not be as greasy as the way we came in. After one winching we finally arrived in Moruya and the nearest take-away for late lunch. Once all food was received, all members, with the exception of Dave and family (had to get back to Canberra), went over to Kell’s mums place to say goodaye and consume the half a ton of hamburgers and chips that we had just purchased. The visit also proved to be a good opportunity to air-up prior to transit back home via Batemans Bay and Pooh corner.

All in all it was a great weekend and good company. Good to see the kids all getting on together and no arguing. Can’t wait for the next run….


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