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Showing posts from August, 2012

128 wheels

Man it was noisy at the caravan park, big trucks going past day and night.  Between animals and mines there is a lot of stuff being transported to and fro.  But the one that had us must intrigued was this giant mining thing parked in view of our caravan window. It was parked there for a couple of days. I jokingly said they must have a flat tyre and couldn't figure out where it was. It had 8 wheels on each axle and 16 axles! It turned out they couldn't move because of the recent rain.  This made the sides of the road soft and if you meet one of these on Queensland's narrow roads,  you are the one that has to get off in the mud. After a few days of dry weather they moved off at 6am on our last day. Two trucks pulling it, one truck pushing it and an escort of police cars.  Amazing stuff.


Rather than staying at the big town of Roma we settled for couple of days at the small town of Miles.  It's surprising what you find in such places.  They have wonderful heritage display village with a street of shops and buildings rescued from various places in the district.  This display village has one of everything you would expect to find in an old town - railway station, community hall, church, school, police station, CWA, soldiers memorial, general store, pub, cafe, chemist, hospital, garage, blacksmiths shop, cobbler's shop, slab huts and dairy.  And amazing lapidary and shell collections.


We didn't stay long at Roma.  Just enough time to pick up some supplies and eat a pie at the local bakery.  It feels big town.  It's booming with gas mining activity.  It also has a huge cattle sale yard but there were just a few animals there on the day. And oh yes, I spotted a Royal Hotel among the rather nice buildings lining the main street.


I guess being 'thrown from a horse' is the equivalent of a car accident today. Participating in Taphophile Tragics hosted by Julie.

Another crossing

The track starts with this picturesque row of stepping stones.  I cross first, hesitating for quite a while at the little rock covered by water towards the end, I'm worried about slipping.  Ian is following.  Just as I successfully reach the other side there's a splash.  He has slipped into the freezing cold water. His boots are full of water and his trousers are ringing wet.  He's cold and miserable and as we were on a day trip we have no change of clothes!  We make our way back over the stones and that's the end of our trip to Carnarvon Gorge. And some people make it look so easy.


We've reached the end of the road and we've found it ... the oasis.  Who would have imagined palm trees would abound out here.   My camera finger is itching, I am so looking forward to the walk into the gorge.


There are a number of creek crossings on they way.  This makes the national park inaccessible after rain.  People get stuck in the park and others are disappointed to have their plans go awry and not be able to visit.  One of the reasons the caravan park at Injune was so full is because there had been a lot of recent rain and the road to the park was closed, so people were waiting for the road to open again.

Road to the Gorge

The next day we headed off to Carnarvon Gorge.  We nearing the end of the road.  I am excited to see the mountains pop out of the largely flat surrounding land.  It's like an oasis in the desert my brother told me, I'm looking about for the palm trees and with all the rain it is not looking all that desert-like either. Sadly we were not going to be able to stay over because there is no mobile reception in the area and I need it to work in the mornings.  So this was to be an action packed day trip, starting with the 120kms drive to get there.

Injune in June

We were there on the night of the annual  celebration -- Injune in June -- a great excuse for locals and visitors to huddle around a big campfile to ward off the winter chill while being seranaded by the local talent singing country songs. I enjoyed the evening a lot.

A diversion

My brother convinced me that, having gone all this way, we really should take the diversion to go and see Carnarvon Gorge.  So we decided to take the 500 kms round trip to see what all the fuss was about. Our port of call for a couple of nights was the small town of Injune.  Once again the caravan park was chock-a-block.  Here grey nomads were supplemented by that other growing breed of caravaners -- the mining people.  There is gas mining going on here abouts.


We're back at Bourke cemetery to participate in the Tuesday Taphophile Tragics meme. At the cemetery there is an old mosque, transplanted to the cemetery from elsewhere in the town to preserve it.  It is placed near the Afghan graves.  Afghan cameliers played an important part in transportation through the remote arid country in Australia.


As we moved to the east we began to see some cropping again, rather than just grazing.  This crop is milo, not seen down south.  Milo is a grain sorghum grown for cattle fodder. I wish I had got a close up shot but thought we would see more milo fields as me moved closer to the coast.  But on reflection it is not surprising that there we none, most would have been harvested by this time of year. By the way, to save you asking.  Milo the crop has nothing to do with milo the drink.

After the flood

The people at Mitchell were a little sad because they were still recovering from floods that swamped the town a few months earlier.  The river was still a mess of debris.


The painted timber buildings are lovely but their is a downside in Queensland's sunny climate. By the way the nights continued quite cold and frosty but the days were nice rising to 16-17C.  Just our luck for Queensland to be having a cold snap.  Where were the 20C days we were expecting?

Bottle trees

The streets of Mitchell are lined with Queensland Bottle Trees.  Out here in Western Queensland is their native habitat though they will grow in other climates.  It's the first time I've seen them on their home turf.

Road trains

Out this way the railway trains have all but been replaced by road trains.  This one is carrying cattle, probably in the way to Roma where there is big cattle sale yard. And as the puddles show quite a lot of rain has been falling.


At Charleville we saw the Westlander train.  The railway station is a 1950s design as the earlier building burnt down.  This was the fate of many historic buildings in Queensland, which were largely built of timber rather than the brick and stone more frequently seen down south.


These outback towns have a disproportionally large number of hotels from the days when shearers and drovers ruled their economy.  Hot, hard and it seems sometimes dangerous work. Participating in Taphophile Tragics .  Pop over to Julie's blog to see more interesting graves.


Cunnamulla is on the banks of the Warrego River, currently flush with water.  But much of this semi arid land depends on the g reat artesian basin , a huge underground water reserve,  for water supply.  The bore water is fine to drink but the showers in the morning have a rather strange sulphuric smell. We went through an interesting informational exhibit on the artesian basin at the information centre.


Crikey it gets busy out here.  I didn't quite expect such a large crowd of grey nomads on their grand inland tour, hell bent on avoiding the southern winter.  I reckon 40+ caravans pulled in at night and moved on the next morning. The apostle birds are busy little birds too.

Country Music

In the evening as the sun sunk behind the trees we gathered with other caravaners around the campfire listening to country music (that familiar feeling again).  They make much of the Slim Dusty song Cunnamulla Feller out here.


The year before last, floods wiped out parts of the track so the train no longer comes to Cunnamulla. It stops at Charleville. Some 49 years ago, as an 11 year old kid, my husband and his 15 year old brother went on a boys own adventure. They caught the train by themselves from Brisbane to Cunnamulla and back. Ian wandered about checking out the railway station and looking at each wide verandahed hotel trying to figure out where they stayed.


A state border is after all just a line in the dirt so why should it make such a big difference?  The houses grow stilts.  The roads get narrower.  The way towns are laid out have a familiarity to me a country town Queenslander by birth and upbringing.  I have never been to Cunnamulla but I feel strangely comfortable. I find it a little disconcerting.  I didn't expect this trip to be a homecoming.


We have crossed the border into Queensland heading to Cunnamulla.  It's cattle and sheep grazing country but that is an emu you can see grazing in the field. We saw quite a lot of them along this stretch of road.

Killed by a Bushranger

Bourke cemetery has lots of historic graves, a great place to wander around reading the inscriptions. There are several graves for Police Officers killed while on duty.  There is one, I can't remember which was caused by some ruckus at the Royal Hotel.  The Royal Hotel is now a former Royal having been renamed to the Port of Bourke hotel sometime ages ago.  I have posted it in the Royal Collection as a Fergie. We are moving on from Bourke tomorrow but I will pop back to this cemetery each Tuesday so show you more and participate in Taphophile Tragics .


The cotton crop is in for the year and the delivered to the cotton gin where the seeds and other foreign matter are removed from the fibre. I did manage to find one stray plant growing by the roadside so you can see what they look like before they are picked. There is cotton seed buried inside each of those puffs of cotton wool.


Do you know Bourke is a major citrus growing area?  I didn't.  Made possible by irrigation from the Darling River I guess. The irrigation water taken from the river in these upper reaches of the river are contentious, but none so contentious as the water hungry cotton crop.  I will show you that tomorrow.

By the River 2 of 2

The corellas gather en masse in the trees beside the river.  Frequently they all take off, do a curve over the water and return to the tree, making quite a noise as they go. This photo looks like I went a little mad with the photoshop clone tool. They don't always perch in pairs like this.

By the River 1 of 2

We went down to the river in the evening to see what we could spy.  Isn't s/he lovely.

Polygonum Billabong

So much water about and water birds abound.

Black Cockatoo

Bourke is a fascinating place and because it was the weekend I managed to get out and about more than in other towns.  I even managed a little bit of bird spotting.  This one is a red tailed black cockatoo.  This tree was full of them and I tried ever so hard to get a shot of their red tail feathers that fan out when they fly.  I had a similar lack of success in capturing a good image of the eagle that was soaring in the blue sky.