WEDNESDAY 31 MAY OPALTON
There was a lovely blue sky and an unpleasant chilly wind.
Pottered about as usual in the morning.
John was really getting the water clearing process working well now – it is fine for washing hands, dishes.
Last night S and G, the Europeans, put both the yabby nets – theirs and ours – into a waterhole, and got forty yabbies overnight. I took a photo of them, cooked and lined up on M’s table.
Went walking after lunch, all round the old area, as marked by the historic site signs. The old town had at least two hotels! It was hard to visualize what the town layout had been, just from the signs there now. But we know there were at least 600 people here about a hundred years ago.
In the old town area there was lots of broken glass and pieces of broken pottery.
It looked like the new airstrip was bulldozed through the middle of the old town site. Apparently the Flying Doctor – the main reason for building the strip – can’t use it. It is not the dog leg in the middle that is an issue, but the windmill on a rise at the end of the strip. Oops! Mistake on someone’s part!
The old township was established beside the creek, which clearly dries up most years. We walked along the creek, past one big waterhole and a few small ones. I think we were seeing this area after an unusually wet season, judging by the growth we’d seen around Winton, and the waterholes in the creeks out this way.
The creek was really pretty. We saw the Cloncurry variant of the ringneck parrot, very clearly.
Coming back, along a narrow bit of the creek, we came across a place where the creek in a flood, appeared to have broken through down into an old shaft. Very deep and quite scary! Suddenly, the ground did not seem all that solid, especially in the creek beds!
John went very close to walking into a BIG spider, in its web, slung between two close trees. He got a big fright!
M told us that the old claims area, behind the Bush Camp, where we go noodling, is riddled with old shafts that are now full of water. It could be quite dangerous to go wandering too much out there.
We plugged the van to Truck again and ran the engine for half an hour.
B came round and John explained to him about the 4WD Radio Network and showed him the sched routine. Then John went off to show S how to dry sieve for gemstones – they are planning to visit the Rubyvale area next.
L told us he was expecting friends to visit and they arrived this afternoon – an 87 year old, with a much younger American wife. They were installed in one of the huts, with L hovering in attendance. We could hear much talk of opals, mines, leases, a local they all knew who was selling his lease, and so on.
Tea was minestrone, then zucchini slice made in the camp oven.
It was the last day of autumn. In 98 on this day we were at Mission Beach, last year at Erldunda. I wondered about 2001? Probably in the north of WA?