September 23, 2020

Syd’s Escape Diary 15.01.2009

We’ve left Fairbridge for the final time with a few tearful farewells to new found friends.

Arrived back at Fremantle YHA at lunchtime and 3 choices for afternoon activities – the train into Perth, free time in Freo or simply catch up on some sleep at YHA.

Syd’s Escape Diary 14.01.2009

The last full day at Fairbridge and more Venturers on site all day as many of the off site activities finished yesterday.

Another warm day and most just took things fairly easy during the day – the Tasmanians all took tents down as off at 3.15 am tomorrow while UK depart at 11.30.

In the evening the closing ceremony including 2 bands and a DJ until 1am – also the State v State results and a win for our Commonwealth team, international entertainment including an ‘English Haka’ that the Aussies liked but drew mixed response from the Kiwis and the final flag down.

Syd’s Escape Diary 13.01.2009

The penultimate full day at Fairbridge and the majority of the Unit didn’t have any major offsite activities booked today.

Many of the Unit took the Escape from Escape shuttle bus into nearby Mandurah.

Syd spotted Joe & Kieron changing some more dollars at the shopping centre. Meanwhile James was down by the foreshore with some of his tall ships unit.

Syd also heard that Helen had been allowed offsite as her foot continues to improve and as she went off with Charlotte, Jasmine and Jess would guess that some retail theorapy was prescribed.

After almost a week onsite most of us feel as though there is a residual layer of sunblock, dust and sand left even after taking a shower.

However, Moose found the perfect remedy for this at the golf shop in Mandurah ;0)

In the evening the UK Leaders went offsite to the Clansmen restaurant for a Contingent meal of steak and chips – it is a Venture tradition that the leaders from each State Contingent do this on one evening of the 2nd phase of the Venture.

Meanwhile there was a State v State competition organised with various events such as a triathlon, earth football, frozen t-shirt and dodge ball which was so fiercely competitive that a halt was called before the finale tug of war.

We entered a Commonwealth team of us and New Zealand plus the 2 Canadian Venturers – our team did really well and we await the final results at the closing ceremony with great expectation but a little fear that New South Wales may ‘fix’ the results.

Syd’s Escape Diary 11.01.2009

The hottest day of the trip so far with temperatures close to 40C for Visitors Day at Fairbridge.

Also the 1st day of offsite activities – Ross and Alex went karting, Jasmine to Adventure World, Luke surfing, James to Fremantle, Martin to the movies and Moose to the pool while the others either caught the shuttle bus to nearby Mandurah, enjoyed the onsite activities including water slides, wood turning, jelly wrestling, craft, camel rides or simply staying out of the red hot sun.

Syd’s Escape Diary 10.01.2009

The first full day back at Fairbridge and everybody onsite as no offsite activities today.

A whole host of activities for the Venturers to do including the onsite swimming pool, high and low ropes courses, video games in the Roverscope section, jelly wrestling and a bucking bronco amongst others.

Another hot and sunny day so may were simply happy to sit and chat in the shade for part of the afternoon.

In the evening we had a short welcome for all of the international Venturers and leaders at Escape – 102 in total of which the UK are the largest at 38.

A brief address by camp chief Scott Sargant and a chance to chat with those from New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia and smaller contingents from elsewhere.

Then off to dinner before the DJs kicked off the evening entertainment on the main stage.

Syd’s Escape Diary 09.01.2009

The expeditions finished and struck camp on Friday morning before returning back to Fairbridge from around 3pm onwards.

All that we’ve seen have had an ‘awesome’ time on their major expedition and have made plenty of new Aussie friends. Martin has just used a different adjective for his 4 x 4 expedition describing it as ‘immense’ and was elected his expedition chairman.

The line leaders we’ve seen have also been really complimentary about their ‘Pommie’ Venturers!!

Each expedition unit then had to pitch their tents back on the footy oval plus a shelter to keep out of the sun.

After dinner was the opening ceremony – a welcome from an Aborigine elder, a parade of state plus international contingent flags, a few brief words from the Camp Chief, Scott Sargant and then a few bands playing until 1am.

Weather update – forecast 35C tomorrow and 38C on Sunday so a case of slip, slop, slap and drinking plenty of water.

Syd’s Escape Diary 08.01.2009

Syd explored Northcliffe in the morning – a town settled in 1924 by UK ex-servicemen promised a new life in paradise after the First World War.

The reality was somewhat different as they had to clear forest to make space for the dairy farms that would provide them with a living.

The town has only a couple of shops – 1 sold everything from milk to CDs, motor spares to magazines while the other opened for 1 morning and 2 afternoons a week.

We then drove a couple of hours North, again barely seeing another car and arrived at Sun, Sand & Fun in Bussleton where we met up with several of the Alverton Explorers plus 3 UK service leaders.

The site was great and right next to the beach and clear blue Indian Ocean – the only downside the huge amount of flies around the site.

As it was the last night for all expeditions before returning to Fairbridge tomorrow we were treated to a barbecue by the beach and Beach Bums Ball.

Syd’s Escape Diary 07.01.2009

Syd spent the morning in Margaret River buying a few bits for the contingent HQ back at Fairbridge – including some British sweets (or lollies as they call them here) Black Jacks and Fruit Salads ready for Sunday’s visitors day.

We then drove 2 hours through forests, seeing no more than 20 cars in the 2 hours it took to arrive at Northcliffe.

We met up with Jess and the Bikers expedition shortly after arriving and they had just completed a 40km ride.

The campsite was on the edge of town and semi wild kangaroos and alpacas roam the site.

A little later Alex and Martin arrived with their 4 x 4 groups – as with all of the others Syd has seen all 3 said they were really enjoying camp.

In the evening a couple of the UK service leaders arrived with the South West Tour expedition for an overnight stay, bringing news of seeing rain in Albany the previous day.

Syd’s Escape Diary 06.01.2009

This morning Syd left Fairbridge bright and early for the 2 hour drive to the South West and Margaret River area where a few of the expeditions are staying.

After 5 days in WA we saw a rare sight – the first cloud we’ve seen in the sky since we landed at Perth airport!!

Unfortunately we couldn’t catch up with Helen as she was down a cave but we went to the Wharncliffe Mill campsite where John and Charlotte are based with Coastal Crusaders.

A really nice campsite with kitchen and covered dining area plus a shower block that puts some of the UK sites to shame.

They had just returned from a morning’s surf lessons plus a coastal ‘marine interpretation’ walk and were looking forward to a film after dinner.

The previous evening they had been on a walk through the bush around the site to see if they could spot any wildlife – the wildlife had taken one look at 60 Venturers and made a hasty exit so nothing spotted though plenty heard!!

After that Syd travelled onto Contos campsite by the coast where several of the Alverton explorers are staying with the Adrenalin Junkies units – all also having a great time.

We hear you have snow in London – forecast for Perth is 39C tomorrow rising to 42C on Sunday so looks like Syd’s desk in the air conditioned contingent HQ will be a popular place with both Venturers and the visitors to the Open Day alike!

Syd’s Escape Diary 05.01.2009

Last night’s opening pool party went off well – unfortunately Syd was at a meeting so missed this – but was reliably informed that the swimming pool crammed with 800 Venturers was a sight to behold.

The water resembled milk when everyone got out due to the large quantities of sunblock required under the fierce WA sun – Jason, our International Escape leader said it was 39C down here and we can well believe this.

A couple of bands then played in the main arena back on the site – units then off to Expeditions this morning.

James and tall ships first out at 7am, Luke waiting to go off to Rottnest when Syd wandered round the main camping oval and all will be gone by 10am until Friday.

Syd then spent the early part of the morning finding out a little about the history of Fairbridge Village – thousands of British children were sent here from 1912 for a new life and education and this continued until 1982!!

We then drove a couple of hours North to Hillarys and visited Ian, Jasmine and Ross at their Adventure Tour campsite for lunch.

After lunch all 3 units walked along the beach from the site to Hillarys Harbour and went to the Great Escape park with several water chutes which were welcome on such a sunny day.

Syd left shortly after this but all were enjoying themselves and then looking forward to dinner at one of the local takeaways around the harbour.