On the morning of the 26th November, I was awoken by galah’s over the road attacking the golf club fairways, the wind was blowing, and I thought to myself, what a wonderful day’s outing this will be for our “Lakes Run” if this weather continues all day. However run coordinators for the days outing, Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge ( ACCMB ) members, Joy and Des Ayres had more positive thoughts by continuing on with the clubs planned outing by meeting at the ACCMB clubrooms, to welcome and distribute directions as to where we were going to travel. By 9am it was all systems go, with members starting their vehicles and moving off to Point Malcolm Lighthouse, via the 1839 historic Poltalloch Station road to Narrung. With 11 cars parked and 18 members now alighted from their vehicles in windy conditions, it was off up the freshly mown grassy track to the historic lighthouse situated on the rocky shoreline of Lake Alexandrina, with a great view of “The Narrows” and the township of Narrung. Following the viewing from the lighthouse clifftop, it was off across the ferry to the Narrung Reserve, for a history lesson and morning tea by run hosts Joy and Des Ayres. With the aid of old photos and newspaper cuttings, Joy related stories of her Great Grandfather, the late Fred Gardner who was the 3rd lighthouse keeper from 1889 – 1904, along with the trials and tribulations of isolated family life. During a Diphtheria epidemic one of the children died, and Mrs. Gardner had to take the body via a Steamer to Milang for burial, only to find on her return 2 days later, another child had died from the same disease. Following morning tea it was off to the next attraction for the day, Raukkan Aboriginal Community settlement, home of the old Methodist Church and David Unaipon, who is featured on the Australian $50 bank note. Members of the ACCMB gathered in front of the general store and were greeted by Raukkan Council member, Mr. Sean Weetra, who delivered the group with a most comprehensive talk on the history of Point McLeay, founded as a community for aboriginal people in 1859, later in 1974 was handed over to the Ngarrindjeri people, and in 1982 was renamed Raukkan. Mr. Weetra also described the work being carried out to ensure the younger generations received life counselling and employment assistance, before giving members a guided tour of the Gallery and Church. Thanks for a great talk and tour by Mr. Weetra were expressed by ACCMB members, before departing for a BYO lunch at the Raukkan reserve in the middle of the community. This was followed by a visit to the neat, tidy cemetery overlooking the lake.
The next stop after a short drive around Lake Albert, was the “Old Narrung Station” area ( later Narrung Stud ) where Des described his early life at the Ayres homestead, overlooking Lake Albert. After a short drive from the old homestead, the convoy arrived at historic “Campbell House”, the home of Fischer’s Dairy. Members of the ACCMB were given a guided tour by Mr. Brad Fischer who told of the day to day operations of the dairy. Interesting facts include, 300 cows milked three times a day, from a herd of 600. They are milked on a rotating milking machine which measures the flow of milk from each individual cow. The herd is then fed and rested under a large climate controlled shelter between milking, ensuring a contented and relaxed group of cows. Fischer’s breed their own calves, scientifically testing each at birth to ensure continuous improvements in herd quality. Mr. Fisher’s love of his work and desire to keep building a great asset to the area was appreciated by all, with ACCMB members saying a big thank you to the Fischer’s and the Ayres for another informative outing. Members dispersed and returned to Murray Bridge via Meningie, and for some, the coffee shop in the main street was too tempting to pass up, thus helping the Meningie economy to grow. Photos = Graham Edwards