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.
They poured Billy Tea for us. It is called that because it is usually prepared in a pot called a Billy.
They had also prepared what they called, “Johnny Cakes” in a pan on the coals.
We sat down at the table to be served our treats.
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.
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.
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.
She put the ingredients into a bowl and then formed the 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
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.
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.
I liked the old windmill. Marnie said we will see many of these around Alice Springs when we get there.
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.
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.
I had a have a go at trying to crack a short whip, but was not successful.
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.
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.