We took the city train to Sydney’s Central station to catch the regional train to Dubbo. We got seats in first class which means there was plenty of leg room and it was fairly quiet. The scenery out the window of the train was beautiful on our ride to Dubbo. Lots of open land with rolling, green hills. As we left Bathurst, we saw kangaroos hopping along the train. At some of the small towns, those getting off had to be in certain cars of the train because the platform was so small.
When we first arrived we went to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This sample plane shows how each aircraft is a mini hospital inside. The planes are set up like an ambulance with oxygen and all kinds of monitors and stretchers for 2 patients. The women in the bush have to come into Dubbo to have their babies.
Our trip to Dubbo was a little “vacation”, but here you can see Elder Kinghorn on the phone doing a little work. While there, we saw a plane take off for the remote town of Bourke. Only the pilot and a nurse went. Sometimes the doctor advises by phone.
This is an example of the BIG locked box of medications kept in remote towns, like a pharmacy the flying nurses and doctors can use. The planes are quite new and are designed so they can land on dirt runways. The Doctor Service is non profit, mostly running on donations and a little bit of government money. There is no charge to the patients. If a woman in a remote town were pregnant and had an emergency, Flying Doctor Service could bring her into Dubbo to have the baby or get treated.
We stayed in the Green Gables Motel, a nice little place where we parked in front of our room and opened the window to let a breeze in, or sat on the chairs just outside our door. These other views are right by the motel. In Dubbo, the city planners have put trees in the streets!
This is the cute little “Press” restaurant where we had breakfast Saturday morning. It is in a beautiful old cottage with lovely woods, tiles and glass. We joined the line of people waiting for it to open. It was cool enough that we opted to sit inside.
I took this picture on the right so you can see a “roo” bar. If you hit a kangaroo while driving in the bush, it does terrible damage to the car. Elder and Sister Moeller know this personally.
On Saturday, we went to the Taronga Western Plains zoo, which is spread out like a wild animal park. We rented old fashioned bikes and really enjoyed being able to ride right up to the fences. But we soon realized we are not very fit after sitting in an office all day. About half around the big loop the weather was pretty warm. We rode back and got the rental car. It is a great zoo. We especially enjoyed watching families who paid extra feeding the giraffes carrots. It was also fun to watch the meerkats eat their breakfast.
It was amazing to see how the hippos had been trained. One of them has some dental issues and over 5 months he has been trained to keep his mouth open while his tooth is filed! Both the hippos opened their mouths wide on command and were rewarded with a big pile of fresh hay thrown in their mouth.
The mom and dad of the Siamang monkeys sing to each other every morning. They stay together for life. What a great idea! Maybe we should try it.
In the afternoon we went to the old Dubbo Gaol. There were men from countries such as Ireland, Scotland, and China that had been incarcerated in the jail’s early days. An actor told us the stories of some escape attempts. The solitary confinement cells were completely dark. That would indeed be punishment! It is right in the center of town, so was not used as jail too long before citizens demanded another location be found.
The main street in Dubbo is really pretty with wide sidewalks, lots of trees, bushes and flowers, benches and well kept older buildings. There is a Woolies grocery store right in the middle of town tucked back in a small mall. So there are trolleys (shopping carts) many places on the sidewalks. Here you can also see restaurant tables.
Elders Macgregor, McAteer, Beazer and Johnson just outside their flat. The building they live in was just around the corner from our motel. We took Elder Johnson and Elder Beazer out to dinner to a Chinese restaurant Saturday night, then sent enough home with them so the other 2 could enjoy a bit when they arrived home later. Elder Johnson is the one who accompanied me for the Christmas Conference and is a really good musician.
He plays the organ for the Branch on Sundays and Elder McAteer leads the music. Elder McAteer is also very musical, having led some school orchestras before leaving Scotland for his mission. They are all a blessing to the Branch. Elder McAteer gave an excellent talk and Elders Beazer and Johnson taught the Sunday School lesson. We also were asked to share our testimonies in Sacrament Meeting, which was a nice blessing.
President Francis and his wife and youngest are on the right.
Everyone was very welcoming, in fact the Branch President’s wife invited us to come for dinner. It was lovely to be in their home and see their 3 cute kids. They also invited some friends and their 2 boys. We talked a lot about about differences between America, Australia and New Zealand, where President Francis is from. We also talked about the church. Their friend studies religions and had a lot of questions.
We also went to the Japanese garden on Sunday. It was very quiet with only the sound of the birds and a few other people there. There were beautiful orange koi in the pond, water lilies and a large stork. A mom and her son were at one of the tables playing checkers.
On Monday, we were in Parkes to see the huge radio telescope right next to a paddock of sheep. It was used by NASA back in 1969 to televise the first moon walk and is still in service listening to radio signals from deep space. It is enormous and is literally on the other side of the world from the US.
There is a small visitor center and a nice cafe. Everything on the menu was named after something to do with astronomy or space. Here is my tasty chicken avocado sandwich. The picture below on the right is a spot we stopped to stretch our legs on the one and a half hour drive back to Dubbo. The countryside was pretty flat and somewhat dry. The road was just 2 laned and we saw few other cars.
Here’s the car we rented. Isn’t it an interesting new color. Have you seen that color in the US? Can you guess where Dave is in the picture on the right? The Dubbo airport! They have leather couches and chairs at the airport! We were early, so we relaxed on one.
It was nice to look out the window our entire flight home and see the Blue Mountains. Quantas gave us a snack box, even though it was only an hour flight in a smaller plane. I laughed because it included celery sticks and humus! Dad is not excited about eating that healthy. There was a stunning view as we flew into Sydney tonight. We could see the national park that is south of Mortdale, the bridge we walk across near the Mission Home, Cronulla Beach, Botany Bay coastline, Brighton LeSands where we have walked and CBD (Central Business District) of Sydney.