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16 excited members met at the Port of Sale at 10am on Wednesday, 10 November for a cruise on the historic boat, The Rubeena. Joy had organised for us all to experience this cruise before going to the exhibition of The Archibald Prize portraits in the Sale Gallery.

Our commentator on the cruise had a wealth of historic knowledge about the waterways around Sale and the trade that used to occur on these before roads were built. He also had a love for nature and pointed out the beautiful old River Red Gums, water birds and other wildlife along the river. His knowledge of First Nations people in the area was also amazing.

But what was extra special about this cruise, was the fact that it was on one of the two days of the week when the historic Swing Bridge was opening - the only one of its kind still operating in Australia! Yes there are other swing bridges, but not ones like this one in Sale that can be opened by one person! It was quite amazing to see it in operation.

On returning to the port there was one more excitement before we disembarked. Among our group was the 30,000th passenger for The Rubeena and guess who held that ticket? Marg Waldron was the lucky passenger and was presented officially with a beautiful hamper of local wines and produce by the Mayor of Sale and our cruise leader, with local journalists recording and photographing the occasion.

2021 11 23 30000 Customer Marg

After lunch we had a most enjoyable time viewing the excellent and varied portraits in the Archibald Prize exhibition. We compared notes as to which ones we liked best and it was wonderful to see such amazing talent. The winning portrait was painted by Peter Wegner and it was of 'Guy Warren at 100' who is himself an artist and a past winner of the Archibald Prize. The Packer's Prize was a beautiful portrait of Kate Cebrano with almost a luminous quality. 

That evening Joy had booked the group into the historic Criterion Hotel in Sale. which has been recently renovated, and we all enjoyed our meal together.

Next morning Sheryn, being a local in the area, led us on a great walk around Lake Guyatt and then through parkland to the Sale Botanic Gardens which none of us knew existed. It helps to have that local knowledge! It was a most enjoyable walk and we were all impressed with the lake and the gardens and especially with the resident peacocks who strutted around showing off as only peacocks can.

2021 11 23 Happy Hikers Botanical Gardens Sale

Thanks so much Joy for organising such a wonderful trip which included not only culture and history, but a chance to get to know the further reaches of our Gippsland backyard.

And of course great company to enjoy all of this with!

Attendees:  Sue Marriott, Sue Evans, Sue Mayer, Heather Cruikshank, Val McDonald, Wendy Page, Graham and Yvonne Clements, Judy Speedy, Elizabeth Pearce, Marg Waldron, Jean Jackson, Joy Downes, Gayle McHarg, Sheryn and Cheryl.