This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

2000 Travels July 1

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SATURDAY 1 JULY     KUNUNURRA

There was still some cloud about, today. Therefore, it became increasingly humid as the day wore on.

After breakfast, we walked to the shops and bought the papers, and had a bit of a browse in some of the shops.

After lunch, set out for a drive. We took the Ivanhoe Road, that goes past the caravan park, out to the Ivanhoe Crossing. This is where the main road, such as it was, once forded the Ord River – as that river was before the construction of the Ord River Scheme. In the 1950’s, a concrete causeway was built where there was an early ford and a rocky section of the river, as part of the construction of a road from the NT to the port at Wyndham.

The Ord River Scheme resulted in the construction of the Diversion Dam at Kununurra, in the 1960’s, and the main road was moved to cross the top of this.

Of course, back before the irrigation scheme began, the Ord would have been like the other big rivers in these parts – very seasonal in its flow – and the Crossing would have been very low for some of the year, and impassable for some of it.

These days, the river level here is regulated by the two upstream dams – and the release of water through the hydro plant at Lake Argyle. It is still subject to big floods in the Wet Season, but there are supposed to be times of the year when vehicles can cross on the ford.

Right now, the river was quite high – up into the carpark area. Water was racing over the ford. There was surely no way that anyone in their right mind would attempt to drive on it.

07-01-2000 ivanhoe crossing.jpg

The Ivanhoe Crossing ford was the large ripple crossing the centre of the photo!

There was a tour bus at the Crossing, and also some people, fishing. One can catch barramundi here. It is also a haunt of saltwater crocodiles. Not a place to go paddling!

From there, we drove back to town and across the top of the Diversion Dam to its far side, where there was a track going to the river, downstream of the dam, from where there was a view back to the dam. There was a sort of park here, with roofed picnic tables – flooded due to the river levels!

07-01-2000 flooded picnic area below dam

Flooded picnic area below the Kununurra Diversion Dam

There was a lot of water coming out of the Diversion Dam. It really is a pity that some way cannot be found of diverting all this surplus water to the dry parts of the interior, and south.

07-01-2000 diversion dam.jpg

The Kununurra Diversion Dam with raised gates letting water out, down the Ord River. The gantry raises and lowers these gates. The highway crosses the top.

There were many people fishing along the river side, here. This was another place on the Ord where one needs to be crocodile aware.

It was quite late in the afternoon by now, so we did not stay long.

Tea was salads and tinned fish.

From today, most things will cost 10% more, although many foods are exempt. Supposedly, the whole convoluted range of State taxes are to be phased out, to be replaced by GST money. We shall see! I have little faith in State Governments doing their bit.

I do know that our accommodation rate rose. The nightly rate was $18, now it is $22, which is a lot more than a 10% rise. I suspect this sort of price hike, on the excuse of the GST,  will be common across lots of things. The cost of living just got costlier!

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