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THE SENIOR TRAVELLER May, 2010 3
The Senior Traveller is a free liftout
with The Senior, published monthly
in NSW and the ACT, Queensland,
Victoria, Western Australia, South
Australia and Tasmania.
Editorial: Sue Preston, PO Box 212 Northcote, Victoria 3070 Phone 0421-543-622 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising: Michelle Carter phone 1800-001-987; email email@example.com
NEXT month join us for our
annual Great Rail Journeys of
the World special.
And the good news is that you
won't necessarily have to travel far
to enjoy some of them.
We'll take you to the town of
Strahan in western Tasmania for
two special railway journeys -- the
West Coast Wilderness Railway
and the unique Piners and Miners
We'll also climb aboard
Canada's Rocky Mountaineer. This
multi-award winning journey
through the Canadian Rockies has
been around for 20 years now, but
its popularity shows no signs of
We'll bring you news of the
Maharajas' Express, the world's
newest luxury rail experience in
India, which carries just 82 passen-
gers complete with butler service.
And we'll also take you to the
outback NSW opal-mining town of
Lightning Ridge, easily reached by
CountryLink train and coach.
by SUE PRESTON
THE cafe in Gulargambone in outback
NSW, known simply as 2828, has no set
That's because the men and women busy
in the kitchen are all volunteers and they
cook whatever they feel like cooking on the
day.Cafe 2828 is an inspired story about a
small country town not-for-profit business
set up in times of drought.
Gulargambone was like many small
towns across rural Australia -- businesses
were closing, services declining, families
packing up to try their luck elsewhere.
However in 1999 when the locals were
told their Post Office was going to close,
they decided to fight back. They bought the
Post Office and turned it into a thriving
rural transaction centre.
Then they fundraised again and bought
a dilapidated building, the former Majestic
Hall and later Majestic Movie Theatre, in
the main street.
Built in 1910, the hall farewelled local
boys going off to war before it burnt down.
It was rebuilt but, as fate had it, it blew
down in a windstorm.
However, it was rebuilt in time to host
the victory ball at the war's end.
The hall went on to become the district's
social hub with winter balls and debutante
balls. It became a picture theatre with
indoor screenings in winter and outdoor
deck chair screenings in summer.
But largely due to the advent of televi-
sion, it closed its doors in 1968.
The building stood empty until local
plumber Peter Simpson bought it for his
rural plumbing business which he ran for
In 2002, after hearing about the desire to
set up a community cultural and tourism
project which would benefit the struggling
community, Peter offered the hall and
adjoining three acres to the community for
the nominal sum of $5000.
Three major working bees by people
aged from seven to 70 followed.
Tourism development officer and volun-
teer and committee member Steve Baldwin
recalls those days as Backblock Blitz.
So the building had its third resurrec-
tion, this time as Cafe 2828 (the town's post-
Walk into the brightly painted building
and there is a hum of activity and excite-
ment among those who have dropped in to
eat, catch up with neighbours or grab a
book to read.
Cafe 2828 is all things to all people -- a
tourist information centre, a cafe, gallery
and craft shop, function centre and second-
There's a monthly movie night, an annu-
al Dinner under the Stars, and an indige-
nous student traineeship program is
offered. All profits go back into the com-
On the day we visit, local women Jackie,
Jenny and Valma are busy making coffees
and whipping up lunch for travellers head-
ing north to Lightning Ridge or south to
It's pure country comfort inside Cafe
There's an eclectic collection of chairs
and tables, an easel for the young ones to
draw on, shelves of second hand books for
sale, comfy lounge chairs and locally-made
arts and crafts.
Steve Baldwin explains that volunteers
come from miles around to do their regular
shifts at the cafe. One even travels 100km.
The cafe serves great coffee.
In its early days, Vittoria Coffee provid-
ed the cafe with an espresso machine,
grinder, umbrellas and other essential
It also offered to help with establishing a
coffee training centre operating out of the
A barista flew from Sydney to train the
committee members, who then travelled to
Sydney for more training at the Vittoria
Coffee College in Ryde.
Steve Baldwin is confident the town is
destined for better things. Other business-
es, including accommodation outlets, are
opening up and there's an optimistic air.
COUNTRY HOSPITALITY -- Travellers enjoy
a meal at 2828
GULARGAMBONE is one and a
half hours drive north of Dubbo.
Alternatively take the
CountryLink train service to
Dubbo with a connecting coach
Phone 132-829 or visit
The town has made galahs its
symbol and you'll spot the giant-
size birds made of corrugated
iron as you come into town, as
well as in the town itself. The car-
avan park is rated a Five Galah
park, and they reckon that's bet-
ter than five star!
Cafe 2828 is open Wednesday to
Sunday. Phone (02) 6825-1828
For more information visit
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