Derek Turner and Hazel Gillies at Downs Steam.
Derek Turner and Hazel Gillies at Downs Steam. nicky.norman

National Seniors' outings gather steam with Drayton visit

GARDEN City National Seniors welcomed the opportunity to get some insights into meeting the challenges of aged care when Celeste Sutton, an Accredited Aged Care Specialist with Retireinvest, addressed our July meeting.

Celeste stressed the importance of making well informed, sensitive and effective decisions that will give each of us and our loved ones peace of mind and security.

There was a lot of discussion around common, but difficult, situations including planning ahead for our own future accommodation, or helping a close relative or carer of another, Situations that arise suddenly and unexpectedly.

We didn't go far for our day trip in July as we repeated one of our more enjoyable outings of last year - an exploration of, and lunch at, Downs Steam in Drayton.

The quantity and quality of the work done by that organisation's volunteers in restoring the engines, carriages and other rolling stock is quite remarkable.

There is a steam loco and a diesel, a Tasmanian rail motor, sleeping cars from the former Sunlander as well as wagons for livestock and freight that have been restored.

One of the more spectacular exhibits is the Dreamtime Carriage, the work of an Aboriginal artist that takes us on a journey from dawn to dusk in the dreamtime. A fascinating and meaningful journey for those who take the time.

Much of the restoration work of this museum takes place in The Shed. This must be the mother of all flat packs, having been brought to Toowoomba in the early 1940s by the American Army.

Because it is all bolted together it can be re-erected in a new spot and in fact has been in several places before reaching its present position, where it was erected by inmates of Westbrook Correctional Centre, before that facility was closed.

Once again we were too many for the dining car this year, but the volunteers at Drayton have a remarkable ability to prepare and serve a sumptuous lunch on the platform.

Our next meeting, on August 17, will be our Annual General Meeting with guest speaker Helen Jentz, chief executive officer of Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce.

As well as a good roll-up of our own members we expect visitors from other branches within Zone 109 and Mark Furness, zone and relationship manager from Head Office.

Wednesday, August 26 will have us travelling to Woodlands of Marburg for a guided history tour and lunch before visiting the nearby Apostolic Church.

For further information on the Garden City branch of National Seniors Australia, call Hazel on 4635 4519.

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