Sometimes, it only takes a casual observation for an ingenious plan to unfold.
Such was the case recently when Geoff Hodgson, Innamincka’s resident coxswain and all-around good bloke, experienced a genius moment while out the front of the pub when a large tanker drove past.
‘Twas the Week Before Christmas…
To set the scene, it was a week before Christmas 2017, and Innamincka was (and still is) in the throes of a prolonged dry spell. Think scorching temperatures of 47°C+ and no water in the Cooper Creek, leaving residents a little dusty and seriously thirsty. The town does have access to a bore some distance away, but it needs a massive pump, an extraordinary amount of hose and, more importantly, permission for the locals to use it.
This dilemma must have played heavily on Geoff’s mind, because when that tanker passed by, he knew exactly what they needed — a water truck!
He surmised that if the pub could buy/hire something that could be driven to the bore, or deeper parts of the Cooper, and brought back to the town, it would a fantastic temporary solution until the Queensland rains bring water back to the picturesque creek.
He ran the idea past Innamincka Hotel’s manager, Nichelle, who thought it was a cracker. Together, they decided that a great place to start looking was Gumtree.
The Right Place at The Right Time
As luck would have it, Kym Thredgold, a farmer at Willunga in South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, happened to be selling his old water truck at a fairly reasonable price. So, with the first of many ducks to fall into a row, they then needed to call the pub’s owner Jo Fort and tell her of their scheme.
Jo was immediately on board and just happened to have a friend who lived in Willunga. A quick call to said friend and outback fan, Dick Jones, and he was on the case — and on his way to give the truck a proper look-see. Dick was impressed, and told Jo, “It’s the job…a beautiful old truck with Innamincka’s name all over it.”
That was enough for Jo, who then rang Nichelle back and advised her that the whole town could benefit and to have a chat with the Innamincka Progress Association president, and the Outback Communities Authority. A big green light from both meant the community would buy the truck, turning a simple idea into reality.
Nichelle rang Kym with the good news, and Kym, after hearing how the truck would have such an impact on the people in Innamincka, generously decided to drop the price even further. Now it was a just matter of organising for the truck to be delivered to the town.
Old-Fashioned Outback Community Spirit
With the generous help of Neil Mansell Transport, who not only picked up the old girl from Willunga, but also carted her up the Strzelecki, she was on her way to start her new life in Innamincka.
And so, in just five days since Geoff’s lightbulb moment, the Innamincka Progress Association had purchased a beautiful, bright yellow classic MAN water truck to haul precious, much-needed water for the entire township. Since then, more than 350,000 litres of water has been carted to the town.
Marvellous how quickly a great idea can come to fruition when everyone is eager to throw their support behind it!