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Lightning Ridge Police Bush Safari in Gayndah

BUSH SAFARI: From Lightning Ridge, the land of the black opal, to Gayndah and beyond came the Lightning Ridge Police Bush Safari, a two-week adventure for the family. 2014 participants soaking up the Gayndah sun included, from left, Malcolm Read, Jack Arnold, Lilly and Shane Hawkins, Mitch and Levi McCabe, Jessica Arnold, Charli McCabe. Photo Shirley Way / Central & North Burnett Times
BUSH SAFARI: From Lightning Ridge, the land of the black opal, to Gayndah and beyond came the Lightning Ridge Police Bush Safari, a two-week adventure for the family. 2014 participants soaking up the Gayndah sun included, from left, Malcolm Read, Jack Arnold, Lilly and Shane Hawkins, Mitch and Levi McCabe, Jessica Arnold, Charli McCabe. Photo Shirley Way / Central & North Burnett Times Shirley Way

FROM the black opal capital Lightning Ridge, 70 people joined the tag-along two-week 4WD bush safari to Carnarvon Gorge, Taroom and Gayndah.

Soaking up the Gayndah sun, Lawrie Cree said the Lightning Ridge Police Bush Safari was on its 24th trip to raise funds for local (Lightning Ridge) community groups.

"Every September we take out hundreds of people, but this year only about 50 adults and 20 kids, to somewhere west of the ridge," Mr Cree said.

Gavin Arnold and his family joined the safari four years ago, with their first trip a trek to the Gulf of Carpentaria and through western Queensland.

Son Eric, 4, said he enjoyed sleeping in a swag and eating chocolate, while his twin Jack was delighted to see camels in a paddock.

Each day, one child and one adult will wear a 'silly hat', awarded on funny stories from the day before.

Charli McCabe said she loved learning about the outback, but it was her love of fresh air that won her the award.

"I always put my head out the window and pretend to be a puppy dog," Charli said.

The safari was started in 1990 by former police sergeant Stan Single to honour work done by the SES, Mr Cree said.

"Back in those days, there was a boom in Lightning Ridge," he said.

"The SES had that much work, it was incredible. They called on the police for help."

Funds raised from the first event enabled the committee to buy a new SES rescue truck and a 22-seater bus for the Lightning Ridge Central School. 

Current SES controller Brett Gaie said he learnt about the annual trek from SES New South Wales, and became so hooked on the safari that he's now the committee's vice president.

"I love camping and four-wheel driving... so they'll have trouble getting rid of me now," Mr Gaie laughed. 

Topics:  4wd, central and north burnett times, gayndah, lightning ridge police bush safari, outdoor-living


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