The best party I have ever been to was the one in Meandarra.
Meandarra (pop 351) is situated on the Darling Downs in Queensland. It exists to support the local farmers, so everyone who lives there works either in the school or a shop.
The party, in 2009, was to celebrate their 100th Birthday, as well as the opening of their new military museum .
Invitations were sent far and wide to people to come and help celebrate, and one arrived at the Toowoomba Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Group, where I was a member. After much discussion, it was decided that Joy, Lorraine and I would attend, and take other people’s garments to sell.
Joy did the organizing, as that is her forte. The motel ‘s 3 units being full, she rang the pub. She didn’t really know how to work the sleeping arrangements, whether she wanted 1 twin & 1 single, or what, but the host, Paul, was very helpful and offered her one room with 3 beds. We found out later that they gave us the 3 best beds in the house, as we were working girls and the rest of the mob were on holidays. The room cost us $66 for 3 people for 2 nights. There were no locks on the doors. Bathrooms were originally male and female, and were at either end of the residential floor ( ( ( ie, upstairs.) However, Paul had converted them both to “unisex.” Breakfast was “served” in the residents lounge on a DIY basis – little boxes of cereal, toast with various spreads, and tea or coffee. Dirty dishes were piled on a tray for removal by one of the staff.
The joy of such a small town is that everybody knuckles down and does something. After all, there is no-one else to do it. There was a street parade, art exhibition, cocktail party, carnival, street market , hot air balloon and many other attractions. I stood in a queue for half an hour waiting for a man with an antique ice-cream machine, which is a great way to meet the locals. The machine crushed frozen berries and combined them with vanilla ice-cream into a superb treat, served in a cone.
People in the bush are just so happy that you have come to see them. It is something different. Our woollen garments were very popular, and there was a crowd around us for most of the day. They also asked us if we would come back and “teach something” (anything!) to the craft group. To the best of my knowledge, it has never happened.
Friday evening we went for a walk down the creek and watched the sun set. There was a drought in Toowoomba at the time, and the city was under severe water restrictions .It was so nice to see water flowing, and the odd fish jumping, and so peaceful after the city. We passed the caravan park which was very full and seemed to be having a party of its own.
I found a large bath in the ladies bathroom at the pub. Now, my flat was only equipped with a shower. So Saturday night I asked Paul if it was okay to have a bath, and he said he didn’t think anyone had used it in the four years he had been there, but smiled and told me to enjoy. I filled the bath with nice warm water and relaxed in it with a good book. The main stage was below the window, so I was serenaded by a very good singer (up from the Gold Coast) singing my kind of music. Eventually, I got out, pulling the plug as I did so. The next thing, Paul’s off-sider (whom we called “Friend,” as we never heard his name) was hammering on the door for me to put the plug back in. I turned to do it, just in time to see the last of the water disappear down the drain. It turned out that the drains were rusted, and water was dripping through the ceiling onto the bar downstairs.
I got some really funny looks in the residents lounge the next morning when I asked “Friend” if I had done much damage to the bar the night before. I don’t know what they thought. Friend told me that it wasn’t that bad, they had found a bucket to put under the drip, and they had fixed the problem. They had hung a sign on the door saying “Out of Order!” Apparently, tradesmen are very scare out in the sticks, and they had no idea how long it would be before they could get a plumber.