Thursday 17th August was a monumental day for Yourka Reserve. It was the day that the much anticipated staff housing arrived.
Three trucks, a crane and a house (in two pieces) arrived. Watching the arrival of the Yourka house was a little boy’s dream come true and seven-year-old Seeley Hales was front and centre from the second it left the bitumen near Innot Hot Springs to the moment it pulled on to the reserve five hours later.
For the 'big boys' it was a painstakingly slow and nerve-racking affair as the two semis transporting the house navigated 40km of dirt roads, two bridges, five creek crossings and five narrow gateways on their way in to the property.
Incredibly, no trees needed to be trimmed and the house snuck it’s way under and between hanging boughs with thanks to some precision driving and masterful directions. Even the low, curved bridge and causeway over Blunder Creek posed no problems for the highly-skilled delivery team.
During the weeks leading up to the delivery Paul had carefully prepared the road in to provide the smoothest ride possible, but the tractor still had to fire up at the last minute to smooth down a few of the sharpest 'whoa-boys'.
Whoa-boys are essential for directing water off tracks during heavy rainfall, protecting the roads from scouring and erosion but they're public enemy number one for a 16.5m trailer.
Knocking these down, to be rebuilt later, was a small price to pay to ensure the buildings didn’t twist or crack during the journey in.
Our hearts were in our mouths as the trucks pulled up out of the last, sharp creek crossing, with wheels spinning slightly and dust billowing. Slowly, slowly… then a honk of the horn from the second triumphant truck driver as he pulled up on to the home straight was met with excited cheers from the small crowd of onlookers.
The crane truck arrived just before 7am the next day. With short blasts on his whistle cutting through the chilly, morning fog, the man on the ground was able to direct the crane operator to lift, hold, swing and lower his precious cargo. They managed to position the first half of the house in just 4 minutes and 23 seconds. The second half took just under 8 minutes to touch down deftly behind the first, leaving a lovely “breezeway” of about two foot in between. Once the front half of the building was bolted down, the second half was then winched forward on skids until the two parts butted neatly together. Stage one complete. The house had arrived.
The whole process was incredible to witness and we feel very privileged that our family got to see something like this first hand. How many times have you passed a demountable building on the highway and wondered where it was off to? Well, this time it was coming to us!
Needless to say the kids have managed some pretty impressive show-and-tell recounts back at school this week!
There’s a little more work to be done before we finally move in. This week the join will be plastered and painted. Then there’s the veranda roof to go on, plus steps, guttering, power and plumbing. It’ll take a bit to hose off the red dust from the drive in and the inside will need a thorough clean up too.
On Sunday morning the kids and I packed up our shed beds for the very last time, knowing that next time we head out to the reserve we’ll be shifting straight in to the house.
I can’t begin to tell you how drastically this new accommodation will change our lives for the better, as well as open up even more visitor and volunteer opportunities on the reserve.
We'd like to thank Oly Homes for their patience and support throughout the project, the McMahon brothers who managed the difficult task of delivery without a hitch. Also thanks to the blokes from Dempsey’s Crane Hire who provided the best breakfast entertainment you could hope for and our mate from Malanda Rob Clarkson (from Jade Creations) who dug the trench for the power cable.
Thanks also to our builders, Kieran and Adam who've worked through the heat, the dust and the local lurgy (sorry about that!) to turn the two halves in to a home. They even made time to train up a new little apprentice.
Most of all, we would like to thank Bush Heritage and our supporters for making this significant investment to secure the management of Yourka in to the future.
Comfortable and functional accommodation is critical to attracting and retaining good land managers in remote locations.
This accommodation will ensure that Yourka will always find custodians to live-in and love her as she deserves.
The arrival of the house seems a fitting milestone in the same year that Yourka celebrates a decade under Bush Heritage care. Happy 10th anniversary Yourka, your future looks bright indeed!