Di takes the scenic route for a 500km trek to Barellan
RETIRED station cook and fruit picker Di Looker has battled her way through flood water to make a two and a half month trip from Bendigo to Barellan in a horse drawn drover’s cart.
Di, of Lockwood, Victoria, with her Blue Heeler Rhonda and Jack Russell cross, China, has made the trip in an old drover’s cart pulled by her nine-year-old Clydesdale Harry.
The destination was the Good Old Days Festival on October 1-2 at Barellan showgrounds where Di spent the weekend surrounded by a heap of firewood and friends.
Originally from Corryong, Di has made many trips in her drover’s wagon including a six month journey in 2002 to Queensland, to Port Fairy and Corryong.
For the journey to Barellan she crossed the flooded Broken Creek and Murray River at Barmah.
“I travelled dirt roads where possible and followed the railway line to Mathoura and crossed the flooded Edwards River near Deniliquin, then on to Conargo and camped at “Steam Plains” which was looking absolutely beautiful,” Di said.
She then travelled to Coleambally, Darlington Point crossing the flooded Murrumbidgee River and on to Whitton and Leeton.
Di has had Harry since he was 13 months old and he was broken in by master horseman Steve Johnson, Lake Cargelligo.
“Harry is a good horse but he has attitude which was needed in the steep country and sandy hills,” Di said.
Along the way she has been on the end of incredible kindness and generosity from people giving her 10kg of popping corn, walnuts, four dozen eggs and bales of hay.
“One bloke pulled up at my camp and gave me one litre of milk, buns, apples, pears and a kebab, then hopped in his car and drove off.
“I have had so many older people stop to talk about the horse, harness and cart, sparking their memories of their younger days.
“While camping between Leeton and Barellan people told me to be careful of the Colinroobie Runner.
“I wondered if it was a snake but one night there was a storm and the water ran out of the hills. Emil and Heather White came out with ropes to drag the cart out of the water.”
After the big trip, Di is planning her next one but needs to repair the bearings and springs in the wagon first.
“You only live once. I don’t want to sit around waiting to die – I just want to jam in as much as I can.”
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