Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th October, 2002
the bushfire from across the lake
The Australian CamperTrailers Group
was started as a Yahoo Group in 2001 as a means for camper trailer owners of
different makes & models to exchange ideas, tips & tricks as well as
information on trips that were suited to camper trailers in general.
During online discussion members were very keep to meet the faces behind the
typing, so the first members weekend get together was arranged at the
Casuarina Camping Area in the Watagans State Forest just south of Newcastle
NSW on the weekend of 19th & 20th October 2002.
Two couples, Ron & Shirl and Mal & Lynne, had driven from Melbourne for the
weekend, tying in other plans around the trip. Friday afternoon saw Rob &
Carol, Kim, Ari & Naomi, Ron & Shirl, John & Anne and Kevin setting up camp.
There was a total fire ban in place, but as we sat around Ron & Shirl's camp
light the ice was soon broken & a variety of topics were discussed centred
around camper trailering, camping & travel.
Saturday morning saw us looking at the ideas of how others had set up their
camper trailers while waiting on the arrival of other members. A visit from
the forest ranger informed us of a bushfire started the night before by the
lighting of a stolen car & reassured us we were safe. Des & Judy
arrived just as one of our neighbouring campers came with the news he had
received a phone call from a friend who had heard on the radio that police
were to evacuate the camping areas at the Watagans. We had a vote & decided
to move camp to a safer position outside the forest.
Meanwhile Mal & Lynne had been stopped by a forestry sign from continuing
along the map route because of fire on both sides of the road. Not knowing
the area they were totally lost. They saw Wayne, Pat & family towing a
camper trailer & decided to chase them. This then put them in a `two heads
are better than one' situation. Just as we were about to leave camp they
We drove out of the Watagans in convoy to a safer place to chat. Ron & Shirl
along with John and Anne decided to leave us instead of erecting camp for
Rob & Carol then lead a tour of the western side of Lake Macquarie that will
remain with those who followed for the rest of their lives.
It was necessary to find a caravan park which allowed Wayne & Patís dog. We
soon found a pleasant grassy camp under the shade of trees right on the edge
of the lake at the Chain Valley Bay Caravan Park.
Another pleasant night was had chatting & swapping stories in the glow of
the 12volt fluro lights. It is funny how much we all had in common. Sunday
saw the parting of our ways after a very long breakfast.
John & Anne, along with Mal & Lynne got a valuable insight into camper
trailering with plenty of questions & how we had individually set up our
campers. John & Anne are waiting for the arrival of their Ultimate, while
Mal & Lynne were on their way home via Wodonga to order their new Kanga
Postscript 1. Peter & Janice arrived at the Watagans campsite on the
Saturday afternoon to find us all gone. A couple of campers told them we had
departed around lunch time.
Postscript 2. Peter & Janice had arrived the weekend before the planned
event only to find no one around.
From that first weekend meet we learnt that it would be a good idea to have
the phone numbers of those attending, just in case.
Rob & Carol