Copyright Lloyd Marken. The view of Oakey airfield.


November 21, 2020

At the gym on Friday night I saw on the TV that India became the second country to pass 9 million COVID-19 cases. The only one since the U.S.

Per chance I was about to catch up with my brother from another mother the next day who had family in India. 

It was a scary time but we intended to have a nice day out in each other’s company.

We were driving out west to the small town of Oakey.

Famous for the race horse Bernborough and where I had recently been reminded my grandmother had been born.

As a result I wore a hat that my grandfather had worn in travels when I was a boy. The hat fitted his head better but I wanted to wear it and pose at the statue of Bernborough like he had in a photograph many years ago. 

It’s true.

They live on in us.  

                                Copyright Lloyd Marken. Me with Bernborough.

I was with my wife Karen, her sister and her husband, as we had been a few weeks earlier when we travelled to Capriccios Pizza in Maleny in the wake of his Uncle passing from COVID-19 in India.

I’ve never met a man who didn’t work harder. As we drove along he passed along information of everywhere we went. A ride share worker who had previously driven cabs and worked his way up in trucking to drive semis interstate. He knew when we were coming up to the well known Fernvale Bakery in Ipswich, he told us of businesses off the main track he’d gone to as we started to get out in the country. He quietly advised and offered stories of so many places.

We did stop at the bakery in Fernvale although I went for the sweets rather than their famous and beloved pies. We will have to return and partake properly.

Around people I truly love I relaxed a little and even started to sing songs like Don McLean’s American Pie and Cold Chisel’s Flame Trees. I am not a singer so spare a thought for the poor people in that car who had to conjure their best poker faces as they realised, “Oh man Lloyd’s really going for it!”.

It was a beautiful sunny day,  the Museum is housed in a hangar that is located on the perimeter of the fencing of the defence base. You do not need to enter the base to enter the museum as a result. Very cleverly located. 


Maintained by local volunteers it is a wonderful display of aircraft and stories from Australian Military Aviation. 

I wrote a review which I was lucky enough to have published on Weekend Notes which you can read here Australian Army Flying Museum – Brisbane (


Weekend Notes 20


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We had a late lunch at the Oakey RSL Club.



Having driven north from Ipswich through Fernvale, past Wivenhoe Dam and through Esk I decided on the way back we would drive through Toowoomba.

I was hoping we would find the University of Southern Queensland campus where there is a beautiful Japanese peace garden but we actually googled just a public garden in Toowoomba and ended up there. A callback to simpler times when sometimes you just turned down a road and found you were where you wanted to be.

The Japanese Garden are well known and are quite beautiful and peaceful in these troubled times.

At one point we went over a bridge and looked down at ducks in a pond. In the late afternoon I exclaimed with excitement when I saw a creature underneath the water and realised it was not a fish. I grabbed everybody’s attention and the words escaped me on instinct “Look a platypus!”

A platypus sighting at that time of day with those amount of people would have been very special indeed but alas what became abundantly clear in the next couple of seconds was we were looking at turtle.

Oh well, still pretty special.



As we drove out of Toowoomba my sister-in-law spoke of working as a speech pathologist in the town years ago making long commutes for the job. My wife had also worked around as a speechie. 

In the late spring of Australia, the jacarandas were in full bloom in Toowoomba and so much more beautiful there. 

It was only a 2 hour drive out of Brisbane but it had been years since I had come to Toowoomba and I had no memories of Oakey. Seeing this part of the world buoyed my spirits in the way only getting out and about can. I understood I was becoming older and now came to understand weekend trips as a child where we were packed out and driven out to dams and beaches that held no interest for me then.

As much as I appreciated my freedom which earlier in the year had not been possible and was not currently for so many around the world. 

What I appreciated more was the company I kept. 

It was a good day out.

-Lloyd Marken


                                                             Copyright Lloyd Marken.





    1. I have been to RAF Hendon Museum, the main Zimmerman War Museum and HMS Belfast. But not Duxford. I hope to remedy that. The Australian Army Fying Museum at Oakey does not have the range of aircraft that Hendon does but it was a good day out. It was my first time being that up close to a Chinook or a Blackhawk for that matter. Quite a nice town Oakey is too. I haven’t been able to get out over the past few years so I’ve found these trips to Oakey and Maryborough and my holiday at Tamborine Mountain a real treat. Hence why I think people should be grateful for any reprieve or trip they can take. Best wishes Pete. Did you have a favourite from the post or the article? Have you ever listened to Jimmy Barnes?

      1. I don’t know Jimmy Barnes, but it seems he is a rock singer, so I would be unlikely to have listened to him. I like viisiting military museums, especially ones with tanks and aircraft. I would definitely be up for visiting the one you went to if I was over there.

  1. Quite a trip you took us on Lloyd. Relatives singing American Pie. A big horse. A lot or war planes. A peaceful garden. A big horse…and then back to the harsh reality of today’s world, Thanks for the delightful journey and you and Karen Stay Safe.

    1. Its nice to post something a little nicer but my thoughts are never far from how lucky I am and my hopes that everyone can see better days to come. Is there any news of a vaccine be distributed in your neck of the woods for you and your lovely wife? How was your Christmas?

      1. No news yet on the vaccine for us, We will be in the 1st group after the front liner. Our Christmas was quiet. The boys’ and families came over a period of two days prior. How are you doing? You two got your sleeves rolled up waiting for thr needle? Stay Safe.

      2. I’m going well and happy to hear you’ll get vaccinnated sooner rather than later. I’m more excited about my parents getting vaccinated or my sister and her family in the UK in particular getting vaccinated than concerned for myself. When the time comes i hope that the world will be in a better place. I feel most people had low key Christmas where they were just grateful to connect with loved ones however best they could. That is a nice thing I think. Stay safe and have a good one.

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