Dale Langley, Wondai QLD
“Where are you from and where are you going to?”.
New Wondai site volunteer manager Dale Langley loves to meet travellers and chat about their journey.
Motorists who pause at the site usually tell volunteers they’ve come from somewhere in Queensland, often from New South Wales and occasionally Melbourne in Victoria.
The retired train driver recently took over management of the site from Fred Law who had run it for more than three decades.
Located on the Bunya Highway, the site is about an hour’s drive from Gympie and a couple of hours from Toowoomba, the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg.
During a usual weekend, Wondai site welcomes 30 to 40 people, although recently it saw 148 come through over a week, keeping their 40 volunteers very busy.
“We serve the community,” Dale says.
“We even put a water bowl out there for dogs. If the dog likes you, you know you're in business.”
As for the drivers: “You can tell the ones that have been driving for hours: they get out of their cars and look exhausted.
Then they go and use the restrooms and have a coffee and a chat, and you know they feel a lot better because they don’t look like they’re on the edge of fatigue anymore.”
The site prides itself on its cleanliness, especially the toilets which are cleaned twice every open day.
“We keep a bit of a record of how many adults and children go through the place. We don't ask their names, just where they come from and where they’re going.
I like seeing truckies pull over because you don’t know how long some of them have driven.
Accidents can be avoided by taking the right steps. It’s so simple: drive, revive and then drive again.”
With one free and another low-cost caravan site nearby, there are many activities in and around Wondai to encourage passing visitors to stay longer in the town, Dale says.
When not volunteering with Driver Reviver, Dale dedicates his time to other Lions Club projects such as markets, the Wondai Garden Expo, Gemfest and the Wondai Races.
“I’ve picked up a lot of skills doing this. You learn how to manage people a bit better and how to talk to total strangers.”