Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

Highfields Pioneer Village Near Toowoomba


Marnie drove us to Highfields Pioneer Village today.  It is a preserved, historical village in Highfields, Toowoomba.  She wanted us to see the volunteers cook Damper and have the chance to taste it.  We arrived just in time for them to be taking the Damper out of the coals.

This is damper in the pan.

They poured Billy Tea for us.  It is called that because it is usually prepared in a pot called a Billy.

The woman is pouring tea.

They had also prepared what they called, “Johnny Cakes” in a pan on the coals.

This man is cooking Johnny Cakes

We sat down at the table to be served our treats.

We were ready to eat Damper.

We all put Golden Syrup on our Damper.  The syrup  is made from processing sugar cane.  It is the second level of processing.  The first level of processing would get molasses.

I am pouring Golden Syrup on my Damper.

We had “Smoko” which is what they call morning or afternoon (Arvo which is short for afternoon) tea with our treats.  They explained that they have shortened ways to say words so that their mouths are not open long enough for the flies to get into them (Ha, Ha).

This woman came over to our table and gave each of us a small teapot cover that she had knitted.  She makes  many of them.  We enjoyed talking with her.  She is the one who told me about shortening their words.

This woman makes teapot covers.

The Damper tasted very good.  We also liked the Johnny Cakes.  They reminded Rose and I of Native American fry bread.

Another woman gave us a demonstration of how to make the Damper.  Here is the recipe.

This is the recipe for Damper

She put the ingredients into a bowl and then formed the Damper.

This woman is preparing Damper

This woman is preparing Damper








The damper is cooked in a camp oven that looked like an iron pot.   They put coals both under and over the camp oven

Version 2

They put hot coals above and below the camper oven.









After eating our treats we wondered around the village and visited the many buildings displaying life from years ago.  Of course I liked going into the old schoolhouse.

These are old school desks with slates on them.

Marnie and I read the rules for teachers which were posted on a wall.  One rule was that male teachers can have 2 free nights to either court a woman or go to church.  If a male got a shave in a barber shop, he had to explain himself to authorities. If a woman was in a relationship or got married, she would be dismissed.

A young retired, handsome fireman in the Fire Brigade Museum taught us about old fire trucks and equipment.  He said that the Workplace Health and Safety people stopped them from sliding down the fire poles which he thought was much safer than running down the stairs.  They also stopped the firemen from being able to put on some of their equipment when they were inside the trucks because the equipment may have been combustible.  They had to put it on after they arrived at the fire which slowed down their progress.  Before GPS equipment, fireman #3 (his position) had to find directions to the fire from a box which contained hundreds of cards giving directions to everyplace in town.  We heard so many interesting facts from him and really enjoyed his talk.  We found it fascinating when he told us that firemen with beards used to shove them into their mouths to help prevent inhaling the smoke.

The fireman on the truck.

I liked the old windmill.  Marnie said we will see many of these around Alice Springs when we get there.

This is an old windmill

In the Transport Museum there was a photo of James MacDonald who died  at age 60 from cancer about 18 months ago.  They built a new section of the museum to display 150 of the 193 old bicycles that he had collected.  Here a re a few of them.

Bicycles in the Transport Museum

It was fun to watch a man demonstrate cracking bullwhips.  We learned that the Australians learned about bullwhips from Americans, but they used shorter whips here because the Australian bulls have shorter horns.

This man is demonstrating bullwhips.

I had a have a go at trying to crack a short whip, but was not successful.

I tried cracking a bullwhip.

After we finished at the village we visited several small shops in the Village Green including a chocolate shop.  Of course I had to purchase a piece of dark chocolate with ginger and an orange dark chocolate ball.

We stopped to see a viewpoint and I took a photo of a Queensland bottle tree.  This is a young one.  We saw several young ones. around town.  They can grow to be 3.5 meters in diameter and 10 to 25 meters high; lose their leaves between September and October; and can produce cream-colored flowers.

This is Bottle Tree

Before returning to Marnie’s house, we visited Queens Park which was filled with beautiful flowers.  We met a woman there who had also walked the Camino.

All in all it was a wonderful, fun-filled day with great friends.  Marnie made fabulous salads and chicken for dinner.  I feel so privileged and blessed to be in Toowoomba with my friends.

Author: Nancy Panitch

Traveling has been a passion of Nancy Panitch's life and she loves seeing how people in other cultures live. Her travels have taken her to many places within the United States, Asia, Europe, South America, and Africa. Being around people inspires her and she has much gratitude for the kindred Souls that are joining together with her in body, mind, and heart. She moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon in 1982. It was one of the best decisions of her life. While in Portland she stays very, VERY busy. She volunteers (Inter-Religious Action Network, Human Rights Council, & ushering for various theaters); attends a Unitarian Universalist church; goes hiking with groups (Cascade Prime Timers & Trails Club of Oregon) and also with individual friends. Book groups, movie group, and bridge groups occupy her time as well. Her quiet activities include yoga, knitting, Sudoku, and reading. She enjoys all of these activities, but making time to see her wonderful 4 grandchildren takes priority over it all. She is happy to share this blog and hopes to encourage others to travel.

4 thoughts on “Highfields Pioneer Village Near Toowoomba

  1. Sounds like a fun and interesting trip.


  2. Fascinating narrative!


  3. Looks like a lot of fun and very interesting.


  4. Loving your entries. Keep it up. Fondly, Ann


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