While events on a day-by-day basis are now unfolding swiftly, the Search for the Motel of our Dreams was by no means a quick process; nor was it an easy one.
When the thing was decided, the right motel having been found, we had a week to quickly reorganise and tip upside down the more-than-substantial lives and identities we had carved as a family at Warwick, our home of 20 years.
Warwick is a nice little town, and a nice little community. It is home to the oldest regional Public school in Queensland and one of the oldest grand country homesteads, lately restored but still in original condition, Glengallan Homestead. Warwick was originally intended as the main southern inland settlement from Brisbane. It was first settled from the south, the ranges to the east being too rugged to negotiate. But Toowoomba overtook it, due to location and climate considerations. But not before Warwick had constructed a great deal of its public self in substantial stone, with aplomb and grandeur and high hopes, and lasting beauty.
Warwick nurtured us well for 20 years. It helped us to raise our family, welcomed us to its bosom, provided us with nourishment and friendship and identity as only a small community can do.
It was not the dream location for our motel, however. We were looking at the mining boom and its contingent ‘certainties’, such as they are; we were looking for the excitement that is happening in the Surat Basin where coal and gas have turned to gold, and the rush is on. We were looking for the real Bush, too, where Robert belongs, hence the Muckadilla portion of this tale.
We looked at the Surat Basin and the coalfields from the north, the west, the middle, and the south. It took months and months, and miles and miles of driving, mostly by Arthur & Irene & Robert while I stayed home with my job. And in the end, they found what we were looking for much closer to home than we had hoped (home being, for me, proximity to my aging mama, and strangely and coincidentally, close to the very Bowenville air that begat and nurtured me for Stage 1 of my life) – at Dalby. Good old Dalby. Once – when I was young, eons ago, Dalby was a ragged little country town subsisting on farming and the Western Railway Line. Now, she is a sophisticated and cultured Lady, thrumming with life wrought by wealthy cotton farmers, Government agencies, and – the Surat Basin’s mining activities.
And – an hour by road from my Mama. Perfect.
So, Dalby it is. The Best Western Country Pathfinder. A small motel but just what we were looking for – a neat and tidy motel with neat and tidy rooms that serve their purpose honourably and with comfort and distinction.
© Jane Grieve – www.janegrieve.com.au