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A Bush Camp for the Big Rigs .... and the smaller rigs too

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Aerial image of Iron Ridge ParkAerial image of Iron Ridge Park

We purchased the property in January 2007.

 The block is forty acres of open eucalypt bush and various natives which has for years has been selectively cleared leaving large established trees in grassy paddocks.

There was some scrubby regrowth which made the place look generally untidy. The block is also 'gently undulating', meaning good drainage and no flood risk. The soil type varies from ironstone (the top of the property is a stony ridge) to clay loam areas towards the back corner.

There are seven stock and irrigation dams of varying capacity. Town water runs past the front boundary. 

 Paddock which will become camp groundPaddock which will become camp ground


Soil tests were completed in late January and results given to the planners. The site plan was fine tuned, taking into account the various technical and practical requirements which were coming to light. One benefit of a lengthy approval process is that we were able to adjust the plans as we went.

Cleared centre of camp groundCleared centre of camp ground

Overflowing dam after a stormOverflowing dam after a storm 

After a storm in February 2008, we decided that some trees would need to come out as they would be just too dangerous to have in the camp. There was also still a considerable amount of cleaning up to do in the back paddocks. For this, we employed a bulldozer and a man on a chainsaw for a week. We also used the backhoe and truck and managed to keep most of the tree trunks which will be used as garden edging

Clearing tree trunksClearing tree trunks

Fire pile approx. 50 metres longFire pile approx. 50 metres long

Local Rural Fire BrigadeLocal Rural Fire Brigade

Firies controlling the burn offFiries controlling the burn off


 About now we started negotiating many changes to our plans with the hope that we would be able to open our doors at some stage in the future whilst still retaining the essence of what we wish to achieve.

We were also hoping to still have hair, our sense of humour and enough nous to survive the experience. As a wise friend once said - 'persistence beats resistance'


Building internal roadwayBuilding internal roadway

The local Gregory River bridge was being replaced and we were lucky to get some quality fill  from the project.

Some of this was used to raise the causeway to allow all weather access into the camp area, some was stored to be used later for creating level concrete and building pads.

We received 38 truck loads which is about 400 tonnes

Trucks delivering overburden/fillTrucks delivering overburden/fill

Overburden ready to be spread outOverburden ready to be spread out

Newly formed driveway into camp groundNewly formed driveway into camp ground

2009 - 2010

The local Council gave us approval for our Material Change of Use  - with conditions, of course!

Now the fun is beginning.

We finalised the plans and commissioned an engineer and a surveyor to get the upgraded entrance off Goodwood Road designed and underway.

It would take until December 2010 (18 months) before the entrance was completed.

Murra the dog looking at the hole where a large tree used to be. Maybe she thinks such a big hole must have a very big bone...

Murra looking into excavationMurra looking into excavation

Excavation completedExcavation completed


Trees & rocks removed. Just waiting for the contractors to apply the new surfacing

Old boundary fenceOld boundary fence

Completed earth worksCompleted earth works

Applying roadbaseApplying roadbase

Sealed joint access drivewaySealed joint access driveway

Driveway as seen from the roadDriveway as seen from the road

Meanwhile, back at the camp ground...

Our mini "Ayres Rock" from the red soilOur mini "Ayres Rock" from the red soil

Creating the herb garden next to the future BBQ area.Recycled 'pavers' are from the concrete cut from under our house last year - and really heavy

Making the herb gardenMaking the herb garden


By mid May 2011 we have dug about 600 metres of trenches. Each trench has up to 4 conduits buried for electrical cable

Laying electrical conduitLaying electrical conduit

Creating flat area in middle of camp groundCreating flat area in middle of camp ground

Trenching to site 7Trenching to site 7

All trenches go back to the switchboardAll trenches go back to the switchboard

On the 14th December 2011, we started building the amenities block

Footings for amenities blockFootings for amenities block

Last wall frame going upLast wall frame going up

Amenities gardens before rainAmenities gardens before rain

Amenities gardens after rainAmenities gardens after rain


STP tanks arrivingSTP tanks arriving

STP tanks going in the groundSTP tanks going in the ground

Trying to get the truck outTrying to get the truck out

Sewage Treatment Plant ('secondary advanced' for those who may be curious) arriving in the dry weather. All goes smoothly....

Several days later: The STP tanks newly installed.

It has, however, been raining quite a lot...

The transport truck having a few issues getting out of the paddock. He ended up being dragged out backwards by his 10 tonne excavator.

Drilling the bore

The controversial issue of connecting to the local council water supply and the conditions they wished to impose was finally settled when we had a bore drilled and found good water.

The picture on the right shows the different layers, at one metre intervals, of the strata found in the 49 metre bore hole, from red dirt to white clay, yellow clay, then sandstone and finally, coal. The good water was found in the sandstone layer.

Drilling rig looking for waterDrilling rig looking for water

Drill samples at one metre intervalsDrill samples at one metre intervals

Having a bore requires having a storage facility and we were able to source our tank from a local Childers company.


The dry weather also gave us the opportunity to start putting gravel on the road.

Our little 1976 Ford D12 tip truck got quite a workout. It deposited over 1100 Tonnes of gravel - 6 tonnes at a time!

Water tank arrivingWater tank arriving

Putting down road basePutting down road base

While at the local quarry collecting road base, we also took the opportunity to collect some decorative rocks. The idea was to create a garden in the middle of an intersection in the roads. This rock alone weighed four tonnes.

What a 'bugger!' moment looks like....


Rock on truckRock on truck

Rock off truckRock off truck

Temporary reception buildingTemporary reception building

First site slabFirst site slab

All sites have gravel drivewaysAll sites have gravel driveways


We were lucky enough to have some members of the 'Crocodile Wheelers' provide some volunteer labour to help us get the basics finished.

Many electrical cables were pulled and connected, the little concrete mixer provided many barrows full of concrete, power heads were connected at the sites and the water treatment / pump shed was put up. The door locks were put in the toilet block and the privacy screens built. The specially designed bore pump shed was also created.

Mark, Neville & TonyMark, Neville & Tony

Bob & SherylBob & Sheryl

They came, they saw, & then they got stuck in and helped us get ready for the rest of the 'Wheelers' due to visit for the ANZAC weekend of 2013

We owe a great many thanks to Tony & Sue, Neville and Bob & Sheryl from the 'Crocodile Wheelers' chapter of the C.M.C.A.

Creating the "Ashes" for the disc bowls tournamentCreating the "Ashes" for the disc bowls tournament


Bore pump shed - "A bog built by Bob"Bore pump shed - "A bog built by Bob"

Bringing in the tablesBringing in the tables

Iron Ridge Park began trading in December 2013.

Over the next few years we plan to continue to improve our site facilities and become known as...

'The Bush Camp for the Big Rigs... '

and the smaller rigs too'