This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2003 Travels June 12

THURSDAY 12 JUNE     ADELS GROVE

I was on reception/shop. John was to potter about doing yard stuff.

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Staff attempt to deter tourists from wandering through to have a look at the staff camp

The helicopters group left. To date, this year, we’d had 140 fly-in guests. We had to keep separate records of flights, so I was rapidly learning my plane makes. A big surprise had been just how many visitors did arrive by plane.

Still issues with the phone and EFTPOS. B was still reporting the issue daily to Telstra.

The supply truck came in at lunchtime. Boss had a number of new mattresses, for the extra accommodation, on order, and these were supposed to be on this week’s truck. They had been off loaded in Doomadgee. After a phone call, the company boss promised to bring them, personally, tomorrow. That was going to involve him driving from Mt Isa to Doomadgee, then here, then back home – a round trip of 1100-1200 kms. I suspected that truck driver was going to receive a good bollocking.


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2003 Travels June 11

WEDNESDAY 11 JUNE     ADELS GROVE

Day off.

We just sat around our camp for much of the day. John’s knee was stiff and sore today, so he needed to rest it.

I cleaned the van. It really needed it! On working days, I had neither the time nor the inclination to do much in the way of tidying or cleaning.

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What the van looked like after a long run of working days

After the mail plane came, I read our mail, and the paper. I was actually surprised to get the paper. Perhaps my comments to them after the last long weekend, made an impact!

A party of nine arrived in little helicopters – they were booked into the DBB tents.

Bosses got back in late afternoon.


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2003 Travels June 10

TUESDAY 10 JUNE     ADELS GROVE

The bosses left this morning to drive to Mt Isa, for a specialist appointment for the baby.

From these parts, at this time of the year, everyone goes to Mt Isa via Riversleigh – the direct route. The Gregory River ford was low enough to drive through, and the O’Shaughnessy crossing was dry. It was the most direct route.

This would provide a welcome break for the cook! As the bosses only have a bedsit room (with ensuite), off the loading dock, the main kitchen doubled as prep area for all the baby’s food too. If there were nappies soaking in the big wash trough that is on the dock, then boss had been known to bath the baby in the kitchen sinks, too. There was always baby stuff lying around the kitchen – one had to dodge around the high chair, walker, toys. It could get really annoying for cook, in particular.

Today, I was “floating” – which meant I helped out wherever it was needed. John was on rubbish/donkey fires – jobs he could manage with the bandaged knee.

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Fetching mulch for the vegie garden


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2003 Travels June 9

MONDAY 9 JUNE     ADELS GROVE

This had been the Queens Birthday long weekend.

I was on tents today, John on rubbish and donkey fire care, which left him with some time for other work.

John and D were working on converting the old office donga into three more accommodation rooms. They had framed up partition walls and were putting some sheets of veneer/ply that boss had around the place, onto the new walls. They needed liquid nails to do this and did not have much left.

While they were glueing a sheet into place, D braced himself against what was behind him – a window, which broke. D felt a piece of glass in his back. John held the large piece of glass, while D worked himself free from it, then the glass broke and fell and a piece sliced down the front of John’s kneecap.

The men finished the sheet they had been fixing – so as not to waste the precious liquid nails – and only then went to find the boss for wound inspection! There was much blood.

B in particular, was amazed and horrified at their priorities!

D was alright – there was only a small cut in his back. The boss was not so sure about John – thought  he might need  a Flying Doctor evacuation to Mt Isa. She rang them. They said to take him over to the Century Mine, for the paramedics there to assess him.

Boss R had to drive John there, because he had the security clearance to drive there – and knew the way!

I was oblivious to all the drama that was happening. I came up from my duties in the laundry, with a basket of the boss’ washing, to find John sitting on the step of the loading dock, looking rather pale. As it was late in the day, and knock off time for me, I got to go to the Mine, too. There was a lot of security rigmarole at the gated entrance.

When it was cleaned up a bit, there was a big flap of skin hanging off the front of the kneecap, that would not be able to be stitched, so there was much bandaging instead.

There was a great deal of teasing of the guys over the incident, for days afterwards.

I think D was grateful to John, for ensuring that his back injury was not much worse.

John would be on “light duties” for a while. He had to wrap the knee in a garbag, to shower.

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Off to shower with knee wrapped up!


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2003 Travels June 8

SUNDAY 8 JUNE     ADELS GROVE

I was on shop/kitchen hand. John on amenities/rubbish.

Still having problems with the phone and EFTPOS. B had been reporting it daily to Telstra. Having the EFTPOS out was a real pain, because we then had to use the old manual swipe machine, with the multiple carbon copies.

We acquired a rather surly German backpacker today, to be kitchen hand. She was in the WOOFER scheme, where people work a few hours each day, theoretically in organic/green establishments, in return for keep.

She had been working up at Pungalina – a very remote, fairly new, safari camp tourist venture, in the NT Gulf country. The manager there flew her in here this morning, in his ultra light plane. I wasn’t sure how long she would last. She was not exactly brimming with enthusiasm for anything.

John was growing vegies for the kitchen – zucchinis, tomatoes, spinach. He was incorporating work in the garden with his other jobs about the place. There were already pumpkins that had grown from the kitchen compost dumping, and bananas and pawpaws from plantings left from the days of the Frenchman.

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The vegie garden not long after John started working on it

The men had been seeing a number of baby brown snakes around – maybe 18 inches long. Boss thought there might be a nest near the workshop or vegie garden. Comforting thought!  I gave some thought to whether mother snakes stuck around, after laying their eggs, or left their offspring to their fate?


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2003 Travels June 7

SATURDAY 7 JUNE     ADELS GROVE

I was on tents, John on amenities/rubbish.

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A scavenging Great Bower Bird beat John to this rubbish

John asked D to fix the brakes on the old truck used for the rubbish run. Its brakes had been almost non-existent since last year, but now something major had broken. D said it would be u/s for a week.

It had been a risky job, dumping the camp rubbish in the distant five metre deep rubbish pit, with no brakes to speak of. The theory was to back the truck up to a small log laid at the edge of the pit, then tip the rubbish out of the tip truck. Then the driver would go down into the pit, to set fire to the day’s offerings. Burning it deterred some of the wild pig scavengers, as well as reducing the size of the accumulation.

Last year, F miscalculated, and managed to dump the truck, as well as the rubbish!

Because the nature of the rubbish was largely unknown, and could be volatile, the men had gotten a competition going amongst themselves, to see who “set off” an object that flew the furthest from the pit. So far, John was winning – a camper put a discarded gas strut in the rubbish, and it nearly took John’s  head off, as it flew off a great distance, like a rocket.

To save themselves the unsavoury trek down into the pit, this year the guys had taken to lighting the rubbish fire in the truck, before it was tipped – potentially a risky practice!


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2003 Travels June 6

FRIDAY 6 JUNE     ADELS GROVE

The truck had to be unloaded early, which cut into my supposed late start, because I was on shop. I got called up early because of the unloading. I was cursing.

John was on canoes again, and took a camera with him, to record some of his day.

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Water monitor visiting John at the canoe hire area

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Quite a friendly fellow!

With a very quiet afternoon here, and no DBB guests booked in, boss decided everyone could go the Gregory Hotel for a night “out”. Except us – who volunteered to stay here and mind the place.

It felt quite strange, being alone here, and in charge, until the others got back, about 11pm. I admit to hoping hard that there was no medical emergency amongst the few guests in the campground!

I cooked our tea in the van, for a change – pasta with tuna, caper, olive sauce.

We had to turn off the genny at 9.30pm.

From that, I presumed the bosses thought we were trustworthy!