Camp Wagon 317 - our first home at Middle Path


Early one crisp winter morning in July 1993 we travelled to Brisbane to witness the departure of Camp Wagon 317 which was to become our temporary home for the next 6 months or so while we worked out something more permanent.

Little did we realize it would be over 7 years before we were able to move into more permanent accommodation at Middle Path.

CW317 was unfortunately loaded on the truck back to front and had to be unloaded and reloaded in the opposite direction half way to Maleny - this was so that we had the doors on the appropriate side of the carriage when it was finally unloaded at Middle Path.

The journey was not uneventful - first obstacle was the Gateway bridge toll gate. We were diligently following the truck so that we could help turn her around when a suitable space was found.

The driver found a space - behind a huge building - and we drove past in the belief we were still behind the truck - after all how could anyone miss a railway carriage on the back of a truck?

We eventually reached Middle Path and had to accept that, somehow, CW317 had eluded us and all we could do was wait at the top of the drive.



As we waited, a hearse passed on the way to Witta cemetery with a few cars following, glancing back towards Maleny, we were astounded to see CW317 in the middle of the funeral procession - and being slowly outdistanced by the hearse!

I don't know what the omen meant and we didn't ever find out just how our new home managed to be escorted to the door by a cortege accompanying someone else to their new home.

Eventually we managed to disentangle the truck from the procession and start it down the drive towards her new berth.

Unfortunately the truck had difficulty negotiating the corner at the bottom of the drive and couldn't go forward or back!



There was nothing we could do but call for help in the form of some heavy earth-moving machinery.

After a 2 hour wait Ron Sommers arrived with his drott and pulled the truck out of the difficult patch and the journey resumed.

Arriving at the prepared section of railway track - we'd built this by hand the day before - the unloading process went without a hitch.

Fortunately we'd built the track the correct width and CW317 rolled smoothly onto the rails and her new home.



Some final adjusting of her position was easily accomplished with the drott which had stayed around to watch the unloading process.

The first job was to clean up the interior - at this point we had only 3 days to make her ready for occupation.

The shower stall (on the left) we removed to give us as much usable space as possible.



The day before we were due to move in it rained.

We arrived to discover the floor awash - this was when we discovered - much to our dismay - that the roof leaked!

We opted for a temporary solution and covered the roof with a layer of waterproof plastic.

The plastic remained in place for the duration of our occupancy (some 7½ years).

2009: it is still there after 16 years and working perfectly.

2010: an extremely prolonged wet summer demonstrated that it might work well in light rain but prolonged deluges were a different matter altogether! The problem of the leaky roof resurfaced!

In 2000 we moved out of CW317 into the temple - our new home.

Since then we have gradually refurbished the grand old lady of the tracks and it is now used as a guest accommodation and a day room for clients doing a one-day detox at the clinic.

She has come a long way since that dreadful day when we discovered the roof leaked.



With the advent of grandchildren the single double bed proved inadequate for overnight stays and we replaced the seating with a sofa bed.

Families of four can now enjoy this remarkable space - a real haven far from the Madding Crowd.

Over the years the roof plastic decomposed and the grape vine started a garden bed of its own on the roof.

The problem of the leaky roof raised its ugly head once more and we once again had to deal with the damp.

In 2012 we fitted a new roof which finally settled the leaky problems.


Features   :||:   7 Apr 20