Saturday, 29th September 2012.
Today is the day for which we've all been waiting! The oft-delayed installation of the TV transmitter is happening. At 6:40 a.m. the first Lisaar Electronics vehicle arrived and shortly after came a second. Then the electrician's van arrived and it was all go. By midday the new antennas were mounted on their 30' mast which was erected on the office roof - a last minute change of plan. Aaron, the installation engineer, tested the two receiving antennas, one VHF and the other UHF. They work fine. The electrician has installed two double outlets on the wall of the storeroom to accommodate the new channel processors. By happy hour the system was up and running. There is a minor teething problem which Aaron is rectifying; the output signal needs a little more power. However, in our caravan we have twenty three television stations where, since arriving in June, we had none. And they are coming from from Bell Park's very own transmitter!
Events As They Unfolded.
The change over to digital television transmissions from distant Mount Hopeful all but killed normal television reception in low-lying Bell Park. Park Manager, Jim Waterman, conceived a scheme to download signals from a satellite and rebroadcast those signals to Bell Park - an extension of what is known as Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST). He put it to Rockhampton Regional Council where it was put on hold, probably due to the cost.
June 2012 saw the park fill up with long-stay caravanners escaping the southern winter. They were not happy to find television practically impossible to receive without purchasing a satellite dish and decoder box. One park guest, let's call him Peter, discussed the problem with Jim and they decided to see if television signals of sufficient quality could be obtained from the mast on the roof of the barbecue shelter. Tests were carried out and the answer was yes, but not with the old antennas; new would be required. Research revealed that there was also signal processing equipment available that could change the frequency of the incoming signals and re-transmit them at low power to the park. The system was roughly costed and presented to Council in terms of the relative costs of implementing the scheme versus the greater cost of doing nothing.
Three lady Project Officers were quickly tasked by the Council with investigating both the financial and technical aspects of the suggested project. In Bell Park they were christened the E-Team because each of their names ended in the 'E' sound - Kellie, Courtney and Ashleigh. They visited the park and immediately grasped the financial implications of doing nothing. It didn't take much longer for them to verify that the project was also technically sound and from that moment implementation of the project was taken on by the E-Team.
Courtney was the main contender to drive the scheme and there was no stopping her. She first obtained frequencies and licences from the Australian Communication and Media Authority, a Federal Government department. If that sounds easy, even the application form was eight pages long and full of questions totally unintelligible to a layman. A new mast and three antennas were then required along with signal processing equipment which Courtney sourced from Laceys.tv in Brisbane and Melbourne, along with their technical expertise. These things are far more involved than this text makes them sound and everything takes time. Courtney let nobody rest, she chased everybody relentlessly. Slowly it all came together. More than that, Courtney kept Jim and Peter 'in the loop' at every stage which was marvellous because, as winter wore on, they were able to keep the park's patrons up to date with developments. Jim pinned up printed copies of Courtney's emails until the park notice board was weighed down with them. Peter used this page of Bell Park's website and took every opportunity to corner patrons and explain it all until their eyes glazed over and they started crossing the street when they saw him coming.
The E-Team (E is also for Excellence) became almost fanatically involved in pushing to have this re-transmitter functional before the spring exodus of patrons. One of the five channel processors failed on test and had to be replaced from the USA. Also there were delays in manufacturing the transmitter antenna. Poor Courtney almost wept with frustration. Today, however, it all finally came together and patrons were able to watch television in their caravans without extra long masts supporting antennas, or satellite dishes. So come back to Bell Park next year. Tell all your friends that Bell Park has great television reception as well as lawn bowls, golf, fishing, mah jong and endless other recreational activities.
Below is a picture of Jim and Peter celebrating with the E-Team.
Left to right: Peter, Ashleigh, Kellie, Courtney and Jim celebrating at Coco's Restaurant.
This button: THE GREAT DAY will take you to photos from installation day.
Bell Park's female Tawny Frogmouth is sitting on a nest. Her tail feathers are circled in yellow.
22nd September, 2012. School Holidays have started.
Help! What's happening? Bell Park is echoing to the sound of children. The path to the door of the ladies toilet is decorated with chalk drawings. High pitched squeals rent the air. Hop scotch has replaced stately lawn bowls. Five thirty in the afternoon and the barbecue area is . . . I can't bring myself to say it! The barbecue area is DESERTED.
Sue! Sue Waterman, where are you? You understand ankle biters. Where are you in our hour of need? Come home, please!
Here is a message from Gleness to all the many craft enthusiasts who visit Bell Park. A new craft shop has just opened in Emu Park (behind Wayne's butcher shop). An added attraction for the village.
Lunch at the Ferns on Sunday 16th September. At the head
of the table sits Jim drinking . . . water!
He was our bus driver for the day and took that role very seriously.
It was a really enjoyable day, especially for those of us
who didn't have to drive. Many thanks, Jim, for making such a great sacrifice.
The company was as good as the food, and that was excellent. The ambience
was exceptional and Marto's music was beautiful. A day we'll all remember.
Jim and Sue, you do an unbelievable job of keeping your guests entertained. It really is appreciated.
Ronnie Monohan, husband of Myrtle, was taken to hospital on
Wednesday, 5th September, suffering abdominal pains. He was discharged next
morning but re-admitted later the following day. Gall stones were diagnosed
and his entire gall bladder was removed on the Sunday.
Being unable to have 'keyhole' surgery, Ronnie had the larger operation which has left him very sore indeed. He is pictured here back in Bell Park and now able to walk well without Myrtle's help.
The RACV came to their rescue, flying their son Geoff from Newcastle to Rocky. Geoff is driving them home; they left last Tuesday. The RACV will fly Geoff back to Newcastle.
Ronnie is so overwhelmed with all the support he and Myrtle have received from the people of Bell Park - what else would you expect, Ron? - that he is threatening to throw a party next year to thank them all.
Awww, c'mon Ron, there's no need to do that. Well, okay, if you insist.
Left-right: Jim, Susie, Di, Amos, Pam, Glennie, Gail and
Behind Glennie is (I think) Terry and behind the camera, yours truly.
Notice the difference in attendance numbers from previous functions? The season is just about over and many of the winter regulars have migrated south for the summer. Empty sites are abundant and it is very quiet in the park. It's been sad to say farewell to many but hopefully they'll all be back in nine months. So, to all who have left, take good care of yourselves and see you next year.
On the evening of Saturday, 18th August, there were again
celebrations in the Bell Park barbecue area - dual celebrations, in fact.
Marty, that larger-than-life character pictured below, threw a three-course barbecue to say farewell to his friends at Bell Park. Marty is an excellent golfer; he knows his way around the local golf courses as well as he knows his way around Ez-go Golf Carts. He is also a bit of a wit and raconteur but he takes jokes and ribbing equally as well as he doles them out.
Susie, the much-loved wife of the Main Man and (some might say) the power behind the throne, was celebrating her birthday the same evening so there was even more reason to make merry. Susie's really yummy chocolate birthday cake added to the evening's calorie count. Happy Birthday, Susie.
See you next year, Marty.
This Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) spent Wednesday
soaring the dunes in search of a bat - sorry, bite - to eat.
Warwick Plunkett and Jim Waterman did a fantastic job of organising
a Bowls Social Day on Thursday 16 August. There was a large turn-out, the
weather was perfect and a great deal of fun was had by all, including many
first time novices. Thank you to all the experts for their patient instruction.
I was very proud of our team for winning 39 to nil, then I discovered I
was on the losing side. I reckon Jerzy 'doctored' the bowls he lent to me
because they curved beautifully for him but went straight as a die for me,
all the way to the gutter. Just joking, Jerz, I'm most grateful.
A scene from the green where it was all go.
In the evening there was a celebratory barbecue back at Bell Park where the Warwick Plunkett Perpetual Shield for the Most Improved Novice was awarded to Theo Graze.
Warwick (left) with Theo holding the Shield.
Many thanks to Warwick and Jim for a fabulous day. Poor Jim was feeling like death all day with the prevalent 'flu' virus that is laying so many low.
Some of those at the Bowls Barbecue caught by the lens.
Amos and Glennie. The cast is now off.
Just couldn't resist adding this photo. A Frogmouth sitting on the headrest of Amos's wheelchair in their annexe on Saturday morning and blending remarkably well with the art on the side of the motor home.
Amos had his cast removed but the bone hasn't healed quite as well as he and Glenness had hoped. It's nothing serious but does mean that Amos will have to wear a large boot for longer than expected. He is, however, spending more time on his crutches and less in the Amobile.
On August 14th Pam turned sixty and a small, evening celebration in the barbecue area developed a life of its own.
Pam was overwhelmed by the cards and gifts she received. Thank you to everybody who came and made the evening a success. The picture shows Pam about to cut the cake.
The trivia afternoon held in the barbecue area on Monday 13th August was great fun. It was organised by Joan and presided over by Michelle who kept good order. Thank you to both ladies and all who brought refreshments.
Bocci is played every Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in Bell Park (just beyond the caravan park).
When the sun rose on the morning of Thursday, 2nd August,
a dead humpback whale was found on the north end of Fisherman's Beach near
Tanby Point. It was a young female and the cause of death was not apparent.
The skin of the creature was quite lacerated but that was thought to have
occurred on the nearby rocks, probably post-mortem.
It's amazing how much credence we give to reports in the media. A television crew visited the beach on Thursday morning. At that time the council workers were intending to bury the whale's carcase above the high water mark. The television crew later reported as fact that the whale had been buried. Many people were willing to swear that the whale had been buried simply because it said so on television. The poor whale was not buried. It was dragged by its tail the full length of Fisherman's Beach to where a council truck was waiting at the boat ramp. A large front end loader was summoned and the whale was lifted onto the truck with the intention of disposing of it at the tip. THAT is fact.
The Humpback Whale's mouth has no teeth, just a comb-like filter called a baleen on its upper jaw.
Of course it was the banana skin that attracted immediate
attention but that was irrelevant; probably deposited by a five year old
boy who was running around and climbing on the whale.
The humpback whale, for all its great size when fully grown, lives on microscopic organisms drifting or floating in the sea consisting chiefly of diatoms, protozoans, small crustaceans, and the eggs and larval stages of larger animals. To feed, the whale opens its mouth wide under water and the sea, along with any edible particles, rushes in. The whale then closes its mouth and expels the water through the baleen filter, trapping all the food particles inside.
Left: A characteristic of a humpback whale is its two blow-holes.
Right: These two cubes of blubber
had been cut out for forensic examination to try and determine the reason for the whale's death.
Why have I resurrected the whale? Because I was asked to do so. I'm an obliging sort of bloke. For a Pom.
This section of Bell Park's web site is for regular Park visitors to stay in touch with everyone else, to have a say, to pass on opinions about anything you like. Just email your comments to Bell Park Mail Page.
To all our Friends,
Well it is nearly time to “Goodbye”. Thanks so much for your patience and kindness towards us both whilst Amos is recovering. Once again we had a great time (most of the time anyway) and we look forward to seeing you all again some time next year.
Safe travels to everyone,
Gleness and Amos xx
Farewell to all at Bell Park and especially to Sue and Jim.
We are leaving tomorrow (Wednesday, 19th Sept) after a wonderful stay and
just wanted to tell you all how much we're looking forward to seeing you
again in 2013.
Maggie and Sandy.
Thanks Susan and Jim,
You ask how we like Bell Park C/P. Emu Park! Well, time speaks for themself! We missed only one year since 1999. Made a lot of friends, in the park and village. Its like a home from home! So, God willing, we will be back in 2013. to a “Perfect TV Reception”! And of course, see you all in Good Health! Susan and Jim, thanks for your hospitality. And Peter thank you for putting the whale back into the News,
Inge and Christian
Cheers, Chris and Inge. We look forward to seeing you in 2013. Take care of yourselves.
Sorry to read about Ronnie's problem. Please convey to him our best wishes for a speedy recovery and warmest wishes to Myrtle, especially after her ordeal with her leg. We hope she is well!
We are both well, my back is on the mend after a few treatments!
Please keep us posted about the Monohans.
Regards and good wishes from Inge and Christian
P.S. Say hi to Sue and Jim!
Thanks, Chris and Inge, will do.
Hi to all at Emu Park,
We have been coming to Emu Park for 14 years but missed this year because of ill health but, do or die, we'll be back next year. We have just spent the coldest and longest winter in Victoria - never again!
Love the website - had a visit from Susan and Theo with photos and news of Emu Park.
Keep on getting better Ron and we'll see you in about a week.
Pat and Snowy Rhys-Jones
Thanks for contacting us, Pat and Snowy. Looking forward to seeing you in 2013.
Pam and Pete here. We've been at Eden down in the south-east corner of N.S.W. since before Christmas. What a fabulous place it is! We're in the Eden Tourist Park on a sliver of land between the sea and Lake Curalo. The park is circled in the picture. As fires are currently ravaging this State, there can be few safer places.
The only down side is the crowding in the park, it being the middle of the school holidays. No sooner was Christmas over than this lovely, green spacious park was transformed; the population of Melbourne arrived! Since we speak neither Greek nor Italian, we feel quite isolated.
This morning we went down to the fishing harbour for breakfast; we have a favourite café there. On leaving the café who should we bump into but Theo and Susan Graze. Remember them? You'll know them the moment you look at the photo.
It was lovely to see them again and though they had to
rush off for a boat cruise, they made the time to call at the caravan park
in the afternoon.
We're very much looking forward to seeing you all in Emu Park again soon.
Bye for now,
Pam and Pete.
Just two days after Theo and Susan Graze visited us in Eden,
John and Helen Paul called in for an overnight stay.
John and Helen, we had a wonderful Happy Hour with you, it was so good to see you both.
John and Helen were on their way to Melbourne but a night in Eden provided a great excuse for a Happy Hour. It was just a shame their stay wasn't longer. We're leaving on Sunday ourselves so ... roll on June in Emu Park.
Pam and Pete.
Hi, Pete 'n Pam here. We just had a lovely lunch with Lionel
and Noreen Miles at the
Butter Factory Restaurant in Myrtleford,
They are both very well and looking forward to returning
to Bell Park in about four weeks, as indeed are we though perhaps a bit
sooner. (It's May 13 today.)
See you all soon,
Pam and Pete.
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