Bill and Ellie Stanton of Paynesville, Victoria, Austrailia,
visited in Paynesville, Minnesota, USA, last week
on their tour of the western United States.
Stopping at a rest stop near Moorhead, Minn., Bill and Elly Stanton of Paynesville, Victoria, Australia, were surprised to find a vacation brochure on a Minnesota community with the same name, Paynesville.
The couple decided to finish their business in North Dakota and then headed to central Minnesota to check out the other Paynesville.
"We were really surprised to see literature on Paynesville. It even has the same spelling," Elly said.
The Stantons arrived in North America in May with the purpose of visiting a sick friend. From there, they headed to Los Angeles where they purchased a 26-foot motor home on June 15 in which to tour the United States.
Bill and Elly Stanton said their Paynesville had a population of about 3,500 and was located on the beach of Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. The beach on Gippsland Lake is 50 miles long. One time a fresh-water lake, today it is a salt-water lake.
"Our two communities are about the same age and have one big thing in common, mosquitoes!" they said. Their major industries are vegetable gardens, timber and a fish cannery.
According to a vacation brochure on Paynesville, Australia, Paynesville is situated in the center of the Gippsland Lakes and is commonly known as the "Boating Capital of Victoria." Visitors can take a ferry across the channel to Raymond Island. Paynesville is unique in that it has grown around a network of man-made canals.
Paynesville is a three and a half-hour drive from Melbourne and 700 miles from Sydney, Australia. It is located on the southeast corner of Australia.
During World War II, Paynesville, Australia, was the air force crash station. Local women would be in the "spotting tower" watching for downed airplanes. Bill said, three years ago, fishermen pulled a propeller out of the lake, a reminder of the war.
Elly said their Paynesville did not have a high school. The seventh through twelfth graders attended school in Bairnsdale, 11 miles away. The elementary students attend a "state" school in Paynesville.
They have shops on only one side of the street in their business district as the other side consists of a beach. Bairnsdale is the main shopping area for their community.
In the 12 years since retiring as a transport driver, Bill and Elly Stanton have been traveling/camping across Australia and the United States. On an earlier trip to the United States, they came across Stanton, Neb. so they purchased postcards to mail from Stanton to the Stantons in Australia.
On this trip, they spent two weeks camping at Cotton Lake near Detroit Lakes and saw their first loons. They also enjoyed seeing the pelicans on Lake Koronis as they have many pelicans at home, but they are black pelicans.
While in Paynesville, Marleen Theel, chamber secretary, gave them a tour of the local museum, and other sights. Learning Stanton was a car buff, Theel took him to see old cars preserved by local residents: Allen and Warren Theel and Dick Johnson. Stanton will even return home with a hat from Vern Johnson Motors.
They also purchased a number of postcards thinking their friends and family would enjoy getting mail from another Paynesville.
From Minnesota they planned on heading to the Peace Gardens in North Dakota, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in Canada, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone.
They have already toured Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, the Oklahoma City bombing memorial, Mount Rushmore and Zion National Park.
"We have met many lovely people across the county," they said. They planned on returning home by the end of September in time to catch a camping caravan of their friends.
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