When we stopped doing the upholstery after 30 odd years and started concentrating solely on our Murchison River Swags and bags, it was a bit of a gamble and we weren’t really sure how we would go. How would we get the word out to people in other parts of Australia? We had been selling Swags for so many years in Geraldton that I think most people had one, if fact people who had been given a swag when they were children were now starting to come in and get a swag for their own kids!!! That certainly made us feel old 😊. Anyway, that was back in the day when we paid the local paper big amounts of money each month for somethinglike 3 or 4 lines of advertising ie Murchison River Swags our address and phone number! That was it, and somehow people still managed to find us out in our old tomato packing shed behind our house on the outskirts of town.
Then the internet came along and it was a whole new world. Luckily we had a clever daughter who was up with the times and convinced her dear old ma and pa that this was the way to go and made us a lovely website.
We had to take our swags and bags and Jake our whippet into a photography studio and thanks #karlmonaghanphotography who made our products look pretty darn good!
We still use those photos today (back when all we used was army green canvas) and I had to get Karl to dig one out recently for #countrystylemag when they put one of our Deluxe Double Swags on one of their advertising pages! We had so many Deluxe Double Army green swag orders after that!!! Anyway, then Facebook emerged and we asked ourselves is this something that will help us? No point having a fancy website if no one knows about it.
So, I did a few courses to set up this page with the lovely Gemma from Red Spark Communications. At that first session, we had 42 likes on our page which I thought was pretty awesome!! Today we have nearly 19,000!!! Now that is AWESOME!
So, thank you folks and thanks to Sarah, Gemma and Karl and more recently to #marniehawsonphotography who took some really beautiful photos of us for Country Style magazine and most importantly thank you so much to all of you who helped spread the word!
I recently got back from a trip I’d been planning with my mate Barry for the last 12 months. The short of it was, he would travel from Alice Springs with his daughter, and me from Melbourne with my wife and son, and we’d meet in the outback town of Coober Pedy and drive the old and beaten Anne Beadell track the 900 plus kilometres to Neale Junction in WA, and up the Connie Sue track the 300 plus kilometres to Warburton.
But if you don’t know of either track, that’s okay; I didn’t either until recently, when the mapping company Hema produced its list of the top 5 most remote tracks in Australia. At one time, the Anne Beadell track involved a 1300 km drive with no fuel stops. Now, with the Ilkurlka Roadhouse, that’s been reduced to a still impressive 785 kilometres of rough track with no fuel between it and Coober Pedy.
While I did a lot of research on these tracks before I left, I still struggled to gain a clear understanding of the road conditions of these tracks in advance, which is necessary in order to plan rough distances between campsites for the purpose of applying for travel permits, as well as for knowing how much fuel to take. So, it was a kind of learn as you go trip, and over the next few weeks I'll discuss how it all unfolded.
My wife accompanied me on my recent trip along the Anne Beadell highway, really a bush track, but she wasn't impressed with the idea of sleeping in a bedroll, so we bought an uber comfortable queen sized dome swag from Kulkyne Kampers in Victoria, and paid extra for the deluxe pillow top mattress. I still have my original dome swag from Kulkyne Kampers, but this one with the thick mattress is seriously comfortable.
Headed down to Tasmania.
Camped last night at the Boyd's Bridge Reserve near Kergunyah in Victoria. Just a quick overnighter, so pitched one of the vehicle awnings, laid out a poncho and unrolled the swag upon it. Had a damned good sleep too, thanks for asking ;-)
Enjoying a cup of really bad, 10 year old ration pack coffee, then I'll roll the swag and get going. Destination for today is that big boat ramp down at Melbourne, then a relaxing 11 hour voyage on the boat through 4m swells before de-boating at Devonport in the morning. If there's anything interesting on the boat I'll post some more.
A lovely thing happened this morning!
I was on my way back from exercise class and noticed this chap sitting at the back of a shed in our local park. I was just going to pop into the shop so I thought I might get him a bit of breaky and a voucher for some tucker as he looked like he was homeless and had camped the night there.
I gave him a wave and he came over and introduced himself as Christopher and I asked him if he would like some food. He was most grateful and we chatted for a while. WOW!!! This guy was amazing! Told me his story of a car accident that left him with some damage to his left eye, left ear and the left side of his brain. He is originally from Brisbane, estranged from his family and been on the road for quite a long time over 10 years in fact. He told me some jokes and then said “do you like poetry”. “Yes”, I said. Thinking back on my Dad who could recite the most lovely poems, how he could remember all the words I’ll never know. “Well, what would you like a poem about? Places, history, people, travel???” Yep, travel sounds good and he recited this one for me!
All his own words and I think he could have recited poems all day, but alas I had to go. I asked him what he was sleeping on as it was particularly cold last night. He said he had a piece of old foam (which he will toss out before he heads off) and some bedding. He is going to be moving off soon, not sure whether to head north or south.
Anyway, thought I’d share this with you. (He said he didn’t mind). He also told me a poem about Uluru and when he asked me my name, he said “oh I’ve written a poem about Gabrielle”. Made my day! I left with him waving and waving at me and now I’m trying to work out how to get a Stockmans Swags sorted for him to take on his travels. If anyone wants to help out, give us a shout 0427702606 or message me, be nice to give him a bit of a helping hand if we can make it happen. Cheers Gabrielle 😊#murchisonriverswags#lendahand#campingunderthestars#bushcamp#homelesspeople#homelessman#aussieswag#swagcamping#swags#outbackaustralia#aussiecharacters#aussiebush#australianmadeswags#helpabrotherout
Facebook just messaged me “ 18,754 people who like Murchison River Swags and Bags haven’t heard from you in awhile. Write a post.” Thanks for the reminder Facebook.
I’ve actually been a bit under the weather with a touch of this dreaded flu bug that’s lurking around. I never usually get sick so it’s a bit of a shock to the system. Well, I’m not that sick that I can’t work or anything. My granddaughter said “you sound funny Nan!” Of course we can still converse via emails and messenger etc 🙂
Anyway, things are still very busy in the workshop. Luckily, John hasn’t got “man flu” and keeping things ticking over. Have just about finished off another batch of bags, and a few more Swags nearly ready to be stencilled and posted this week. Seems as soon as we get the whiteboard down a bit it just fills right back up again!
Amazing how people find us tucked away in our little workshop in the back blocks of Geraldton WA. Hannah just ordered her 21st birthday King Brown Swag (a gift from her folks) and apparently she heard about our swags “through my brother who’s best mate purchased one ..... he’s all the way from Tasmania and we go to uni together in Geelong”. That’s awesome Hannah! Happy 21st and we actually send quite a few Swags to Tassie, reckon they know a good quality swag when they see it 👍🏻👍🏻 and of course the Australian made military grade canvas would come in pretty handy when it’s cold !!!! So, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch if you have any questions or just get your order in from the link in the bio for a genuine Australian made swag.#murchisonriverswags#flu#workdoesntstop#swags#swagcamping#swaglife#campingunderthestars#bestaussieswags#aussieswags#aussiebush#canvasswags#outbackaustralia#bushcamp#canvasswags#handmadeswags #
22/6/18 - My swag. This is how I slept for three nights. Basic, and maybe a little lacking in soft pillow and mattress, and definitely lacking in mosquito protection, but an immensely pleasing way to sleep.
We kept setting up after sunset and packing up before dawn, hence the torchlit photo.
So rather than be snowed in for three days or so I moved down the hill to Blowering Dam.
It's raining on and off and there's a remote chance of snow here tonight, but not enough to prevent me from getting out again tomorrow. Brew's on, fire's lit. My swag is all dry and protected inside the pup tent and now I'm just charging drone batteries.
Speaking of which, a quick gallery of drone stills.
With the mountains shrouded with fog it's a very pretty campsite. Healthy population of eastern greys too. They are very skittish around people here but they don't seem to register a drone as a threat so I got some great shots and videos of the mob here without distressing the nursing mothers or their joeys.
*SWAGMEN RATIONS* A popular practice among sheep station owners in the late 19th Century was to offer swagmen rations when they visited. This, according to George Farwell in his book Vanishing Australians (1961), served two useful purposes.
The sheep industry at the time “depended largely upon casual labour – especially at shearing time”. And to ensure those looking for work were willing to visit their isolated stations they “issued them with special rations” if they did. These rations, Farwell writes, “were known as the ‘ten, twelve, two, and a quarter’ [rations, which meant] ten pounds of flour, twelve of meat, two of sugar, and a quarter-pound of tea.” But there was “another good reasons for… these handouts” (p104), he writes, and it is a reason celebrated in Banjo Paterson’s bush ballad Waltzing Matilda. “If no other food was offered the Jolly swagman camping down by a billabong” might just grab himself a free “jumbuck and stow it in his tucker bag”. It was therefore, “cheaper” for the station owner, according to Farwell, "to offer ... free rations than to lose sheep” to passing swagmen (p104). ... #swagcamping#bushcamping#swagmen#swagman#swaggie#swag#tuckerbag#banjopaterson#waltzingmaltilda#jollyswagman
Has anyone done the Gibb? That's the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region of WA. It's about 660km of pretty rough gravel and stretches between Derby and the Kununurra and Wyndham junction. It's actually named after geologist and explorer Andrew Gibb Maitland (never knew that), and often closed due to flooding. It's on a lot of people's bucket lists to do and I've actually ridden it on a push bike a few years back. It was a charity fundraiser for Police Legacy and I was in a team of 5 girls. We had soooo much fun and the scenery was simply stunning. I remember the corrugations very well :) Anyway, Tom emailed me a couple of weeks back as he was doing a trip up that way and his tent had shat itself and as he had always wanted a Murchison River swag, thought this was the perfect opportunity. Luckily we had one in stock and express posted it that day to Broome for him to collect. "Hi Gabrielle and John,
Thanks for the swag and the amazing speed you were able to have it made, it was amazing to sleep on for the rest of my trip around the Kimberley... here’s a few pictures of it in action.
I’ll be sure to share more photos as it travels around Australia with me and with on trips away with the army.
Thanks for that Tom, love the simplicity of your camping set up and the shade cloth under the swag is a good idea too. Keeps the bits from sticking to it when rolling it back up and good to wipe your feet on before you hop into your swag!
You can get your true blue Australian made traditional style swag from the link in the bio#murchisonriverswags#gibbriverroad#gibbriverroadadventure#bestaussieswags#swagcamping#4x4offroad#4x4offroading#bestswags#geraldton#aussieswags#aussiecamping#aussieadventures#outback#outbackwa#bushcamping#swagcamping#offroad4x4#offroading#gibbriverroadadventure
Our swags get to go to some pretty amazing places and we’ve sent a few to be used in the Victorian High Country. I wondered how they would go in sub zero temperatures and apparently they are unreal thanks to good old Australian made military grade canvas!
Mitch from Sydney sent me a couple of great photos of his recent trip with his mates and apparently it was pretty cold at minus 3 degrees with ice on his King Brown swag but warm and cosy inside. “Swag went well, I had the zips open on the feet for a bit of air to come through, no rope holding up the center, I'll try that tonight, also if you get questioned on what the best sleeping bag is for the swag, reccomend a non waterproof breathable bag, a waterproof bag doesnt let heat out it traps it in!
I bought a One Planet bungle sleeping bag -7 with goose down 700loft it works well in the swag”
Cheers Mitch. Looks like an awesome trip!
They swagged it at the iconic TOM GROGGIN HUT aka DOGMAN HUT. It sits beside the beautiful Murray River near the end of Davies Plain track. This hut was built in 1964 by the Lands Department for the dog man who worked in the area trapping feral dogs.
The original Tom Groggin hut built in the 1800’s was a slab hut. There is an association with “The Man from Snowy River”. This place was also visited by Banjo Patterson as well as being the station that Jack Riley worked on. As legend has it, Jack was the inspiration for the Man from Snowy River after Banjo visited on several occasions!
So, there you go a little bit of Australian history right there.
Cheers folks and if you’re keen for an Australian made swag that’s built tough as Jack Riley give us a shout link in the bio#murchisonriverswags#tomgroggin#tomgrogginstation#handmadeswags#canvasswags#campfire#outback#bestaussieswags#swagcamping#swags#bushcraft#bushcamping#4x4offroad#offroading#offroad4x4#highcountryhunting#highcountryvictoria#victorianhighcountry#banjopaterson#themanfromsnowyriver
WHOA!!! Looks like our blue Swags are a winner! Yesterday, we had just one for sale which was snapped up really fast by Jo, but had quite a few enquiries and people wanting to order or layby one or three for Christmas presents!! So, if you want to add your name to the list give us a shout on 0427702606 or email me your order email@example.com and we will make sure your special order arrives in time for Santa !! Re laybying Swags for Christmas, it’s simple, you can just put down a deposit and pay off whatever works for you between now and Christmas (allow plenty of time for postage). Or, just make a deposit and pay the balance before it’s posted or collected.
You can order your Stockmans, King Brown or Deluxe Double swag in Army Green, Antelope Brown or Blue canvas which is made right here in Australia and is military grade, waterproof, rot proof and mildew resistant!
We offer FREE NAME AND NUMBER STENCILLING (add the year 2018 too if you want) and and AMAZING 10 YEAR WARRANTY!
Don’t wait till the last minute as last year we were so busy we had to stop taking Xmas orders!
Cheers and chat soon Gabrielle and John, handmade traditional Swags for over 35 years in Geraldton WA.#murchisonriverswags#laybyforchristmas#swagsforxmas#bestxmasgiftever#aussieswags#4x4offroad#offroading#aussiecamping#aussiexmas#4wding#campingwithkids#swagcamping#bestaussieswags#handmadegifts#handmadeswags#canvasswags#outback#campfire#aussiebush#ringers