Lake Tooliorook is approximately 5 km
out of Lismore, a small town located in an agricultural-pastoral area 165 km
west of Melbourne on the Hamilton Highway.
I arrived Thursday lunchtime to check the lakeside site,
thinking I would be first, but not so. A large area overlooking the lake had
already been roped off for us as promised. Not too far away were the amenities
and solar showers, and a further third area as backup in case we filled up.
More members and friends had arrived by Thursday afternoon,
and by Friday evening the campsite was just about full (spread over three
areas). More people turned up on Saturday. There were 66 of us in all from all
age groups age staying in a variety of camper trailers, caravans, pop tops,
A-vans and tents. I must admit the get together was twice as large as I
expected, and it would appear it was the largest ever held by the Group in
It was great to catch up with friends I had made from
previous get togethers & also to meet new friends face to face who were
previously only known from posts on the website.
The weather (for me anyway where I camped in the back stalls)
wasn’t too bad. It ranged from sunny and very hot to heavy winds and cloudy
periods, and a few drizzles. The strength of the wind was clearly determined
by the location where one had set up. I certainly came home with bad sun and
wind burn. Can’t say I noticed any smell from the lake (maybe I was having a
drink). Anyway, who was that banging in tent pegs in the bloody wind at 12.30
am Rick? Maybe I was also lucky with the solar showers – beautifully hot every
It was good to realize just how much we all had in common &
yet still have interests other than camper trailers. Everyone was friendly,
and the newer members and guests were made welcome. Many of us learnt some
interesting things to try and buy, as we all seem to do at these get togethers.
Everyone who attended would probably agree that Lake Tooliorook was a
magnificent location, and judging from the feedback from the questionnaires,
most would be happy to attend another one there. As someone remarked – “ fab
weekend, great spot, great people”.
After attending ten of these get togethers in four states, as
well as now hosting my second, I still find that most members prefer to sit
around camp chatting & looking over the various set ups, gadgets, and the
modifications that others have done to their camper trailers, with short
excursions into the surrounding countryside.
Because of Australia Day, and a long weekend, and the
unexpectedly large number of people attending (66 in all), a few activities
One of the highlights was the ascent to the summit of
Mt.Elephant, staring at us all inquisitively across Lake Tooliorook. Over 30
of us, the youngest being 8 month old Tayah, slowly climbed up and around the
rim of this volcanic crater rising 240 metres above the surrounding plain.
Magnificent views as far as the Grampians and Ballarat (both at least 60 km
away). Interpretative signage helped us to understand the past present and
future of this extinct volcano. At the very top a directional sign showed the
features in surrounding districts. Mount Elephant is a site of National
Significance and listed on the Register of the National Estate. Everyone
agreed the climb was well worth the effort. Why Mt. Elephant? Viewing it from
the south it looks like a kneeling elephant. My thanks go to the Mt. Elephant
Community Management and Peter Davis for specially opening the Mount for us
all to climb.
A convoy of vehicles led by Paul went to view a crashed World
War II aircraft that was discovered in early June 2005 in nearby Lake
Corangamite. This plane is believed to be an RAAF Wirraway Serial No. A20-405
that is recorded as having ditched 400 meters from shore on 17 March 1943. The
wreck was recently exposed by receding water levels in the Lake and reported
by Parks Victoria officers to Heritage Victoria. The site appears intact and
remains mostly submerged, but the fuselage is quite clear to see through
binoculars. Further on, we looked at the swirling grey dust bowl where Lakes
Corangamite and Gnarpurt meet. Thanks Paul.
There were other memorable moments for all of us - in no
particular order, they were:
• MCNAUGHT’S COMET. For budding stargazers, the clear skies over
southwest Victoria at night gave some of the best views yet of a comet heading
across the sky. Using binoculars made it even brighter and clearer. It is the
brightest comet in 40 years and was named after the Australian National
University astronomer who discovered it last year. It is not widely known that
dogs can gaze more clearly at such phenomena, because their pupils dilate to
four times the size of humans. Was that Rex the Wonder Dog transfixed by the
• AUSTRALIA DAY QUIZ – aaah – so it was Vegemite that was created in
1923 by Chemist C.P Callister. And Skippy did live in Waratah National Park.
And it was famous artist Brett Whitelyr– who died in 1992 - who provided the
cover artwork for the Dire Straits album Brothers in Arms.
• SHOW AND TELL (around the campfire).
Out came those handiest gadgets when going camping – among them a tent peg
puller, wind up radios, fruit toolbox, torches shaken (not stirred). Then came
the Canola Kid – Rick and his amazing remedy for creaks, squeaks and things
that go bump in the night. And then there was Kevin’s riveting live demo of a
laptop with Telstra Next G card (but who forgot the wash-up liquid?) Robert
(host) showed his Internet alternative – a 1998 Mac Powerbook & Bluetooth
mobile phone. A short informal first aid discussion occurred, which revealed
amongst other things, that there are at least 115 species of venomous snakes
• AFTERNOON TEA of iconic Aussie food – lamingtons, vanilla slices,
carrot cake, Jaffas, Freddo frogs, crisps, beer and much more.
• ADRIAN’S TALK. Adrian, a member of the Group, worked at Lismore,
Cressy, Beeac, Derrinallum and Mortlake Post Offices in a previous life. An
interesting historical overview of the area that a lot of us knew little
about. Thanks Adrian & Esther.
• WALKABOUT The traditional informative walkabout visiting each
camper trailer. Each owner gave a short talk about their camper and their
set-up, including the cost. Certainly better than going to a camper show!
• the proud sea of Australian flags visible throughout the campsite
• the wafting aroma of bacon & eggs and fresh coffee
• sipping champagne and beer as the sun went down across the lake
• the kids playing cricket, and the adults bocce
• sleeping in until 8am with a windy lake view, but 10 am in the back stalls
• the variety of solar panels in use showed how they can no longer be
considered a gadget
• the technology that dared not speak its name - 12v
• the revolutionary easy erect Black Wolf Turbo 210 tent owned by “Cuffs”
• 3 way fridges on gas – a few people now more than ever taking an interest.
My Repco performed brilliantly
• chatting and laughing around the various campfires
• the prolific bird life on the lake & flights of ibis, and a kangaroo hopping
along in the lake water
• reporter Don from the “Mortlake Dispatch” conducting an interview for an
article about our Group and the get together
• Lorraine, who is writing a book about Lake Tooliorook, who spoke to a number
of us about her project
• the sound of hammer against steel drum as a wake up and rallying call.
Coupled with the whiteboard at the host’s green “wine bar” annexe, it was
sometimes like a scene from that old British TV series “Hi-De-Hi” (“Good
morning campers – how are we all on this windy morning?"). Be careful Ina –
next time I might camp right next to you - you won't sleep through the drum
The last of the 66 people who attended the get together left
Thanks to everyone who attended for a great time, especially
considering in some cases the long distances travelled from interstate. And
special thanks to Craig Skene and Geoff Campbell from the Lake Tooliorook
Committee for making our large group welcome, and logistically possible.
As host, I enjoyed your company enormously and I’m looking
forward to the next one!
Attendees (66 members, friends, day visitors) over the
• Karen & Dale & Emily (15) Nick (12) & Jeremy (7) in a Dingo & tent &
• Rob & Eve & Ann in an Avan Aliner & tent & 2004 Mazda Tribute V6
• Rick & Cindy in a Campomatic & Nissan Navara
• Rusty & Helen & Rex the Wonder Dog in an Aussie Swag & Mitsubishi Pajero
• Robyn & David in a CUB Drover off road Spacematic & Toyota Prado
• Dave & Lucy & dog Rocky in a Kimberley Kamper & Nissan GU Patrol
• Ian & Marie in a Kimberley Kamper & Nissan GQ
• Tony & Tracy, and Kai (6) Jaelee (3) Tayah (8 months) in a Kimberley Kamper
& tent & Suzuki XL7
• Robert & Julie in a Viscount Ultralight Poptop & Nissan Navara ute
• Lindsay & Sandra (& 2 visitors) in a Sundowner (& Nissan patrol GQ
• Kevin, Jeff & Cassandra (13) Hayley (10) Riley (10) Courtney (3) in a
Southern Cross & tents & 2001 Prada
• Adrian & Esther in an Australian Outback & Nissan Patrol GQ
• Jayne & David & Ryan (14) & Serena (10) & Avi (dog) in a Tru Blu Hawk & a
• Ron & Shirley in a Goldstream RV Poptop caravan
• Ina & Ron in a Trackabout & X-Trail
• Paul & Leanne in a Southern Cross & Nissan Navara
• Roy & Anne in a Roadstar off-road caravan & Pajero
• Rolande & Holly & dog in a Dingo off-road & GU Patrol
• “Cuffs” & German Shepherd Duke in a box trailer & Black Wolf Turbo tent
• Linton in an Avan & Landrover Discovery
• Dale, Bernadette & Nicholas, Tim & Dawn, Mick, Lynda, Alexander, Liam, &
Ethan in Aussie Swag off road & 2 tents & Landrover Discovery & Kia Carnival
• Neville & Vicki in a Tvan & Toyota L/C
• Robert in a CUB Kamparoo & Ford LTD sedan