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Way Out West

Toowoomba Grammar School likes to ensure a strong connection with our boarding families and has used the recent school holidays as an opportunity to head west and visit some of our families.

Groom Boarding House Master Dan MacDonald spent 11 days travelling through Western Queensland and Northern South Australia visiting boarding families with his five-year-old son Freddy and Groom’s Resident Master Jon Hall.

First stop was Dalby and a spit-roast dinner at “Johno’s Inn” with the Johnston family. Then it was on to Roma where Freddy spent the night playing rugby with the Cameron boys – Hamish (Year 8), Jonty and Declan – and Lachie Martyn (Year 12) on the Cameron’s property “Kilima”.

The Donohoe family’s cattle property “Newstead” outside Morven, was the next stop. After a lick run with Robyn, whose youngest of three boys, Ben, graduates TGS this year, the trio were treated to delicious T-bone steaks. It was an ideal meal ahead of a morning of mustering and drafting weaners.

Farewelling Morven, and having worked up an appetite, the group drove to Charleville where they enjoyed a local lunch with Mitch Schneider (Year 12) and his mother Leanne. Next stop: Eromanga, to call on the Pegler family who run “Monler Station” and “Buckaroola” – 180,000 acres of cattle and sheep grazing lands. Sam (Year 11) ably bounced between taking Freddy on joy rides around the homestead on his motorbike, checking water troughs and dishing out cotton seed to the rams. Week-to-week, his mother Jo splits her time between running the properties with her husband Scott and conducting tours of the Eromanga Natural History Museum, which houses fossils belonging to Australia’s largest discovered dinosaur: Cooper the Titanosaur.

“Durham Downs”, a 2-million acre cattle property abutting Queensland’s border with South Australia, was the next stop. Keegan Cobb (Year 12) gave a tour of the homestead and the property, before cooking a bush BBQ (steaks and snags) and catching about 100 yabbies for the family.

After an indulgent stop at the Innamincka Races, Dan, Freddy and Jon travelled through Cunnamulla to St George, where the Brimblecombes treated them to an afternoon of water-skiing on the Balonne River. Brodie (Year 9) showed his House Master how skiing ought to be done.

The hospitality shown to the MacDonalds and Jon was memorable and huge thanks go to the families who hosted them.