TUESDAY 8 JULY ADELS GROVE
Today was a day off for us – to be made the most of!
We made sure of a reasonably early start, to take M exploring some of the area. Today would be a drive up to Bowthorn, to meet the sisters there, and to see Kingfisher Camp.
We had to clear out some of the stuff that usually occupied the one back seat in Truck. I sat there – so M got to open all of the many gates en route! Actually, it was because the front seat passenger could see much more than the one in the back seat.
We took some things from the boss, to Cookie at Lawn Hill Station. This gave us a reason to drive right up to the homestead complex on the top of the rise, to show M. She was suitably impressed.
Further north on the station, beyond the creek ford, there was the hill with the white cross on top. We stopped there and did the steep little climb to the top, on foot.
The cross, and a rather eclectic collection of things around its base, are a memorial put there by the Brazilian Sebastiao Maier, who owns the Lawn Hill lease, to his parents, who died in 1963 and 1969, years before he bought the Lawn Hill lease. The monument was put up in 1983 and the inscription suggests that there was a memorial service held here at the time.
The cross certainly stands out for some distance as one travels along the main track.
There were good views out over the surrounding black soil plains, and to the western range, from up there.
At Bowthorn, we had a good chat with the sisters. M had already bought a copy of Kerry’s “Heart Country” book, from the Adels desk, and she had Kerry autograph it. She bought a small bloodwood vase that Judith had made.
The sisters told us that the man who had towed the car back to Doomadgee, had been shot and killed. Clearly, there was some sort of feud going on between groups, there.
We drove on towards Kingfisher Camp. That section of track was really slow.
The current base of the road crew from Mt Isa was at Kingfisher Camp. Its boss was there, fixing machinery – as usual! When we told him that we’d driven up to have a picnic lunch at KFC, and show our friend, he seemed quite perplexed. I guess that, when you have graded the whole damned road, it does seem a long way.
KFC was still as lovely as when we’d camped here, last year. There were quite a few campers scattered about the extensive site. We ate the sandwiches that I’d made this morning, after exploring a little.
On our way back out, we passed the road boss again. He waved us to stop. He said that he’d figured it out – that we were just joking about being here on a day trip, and invited us to have tea with him and the crew at their camp. We said no, because we were on our way back to Adels now. We left him looking quite stunned!
Periodically John would speculate about whether he could get a job driving the grader for him, next year!
It was a really good outing, and a chance for M to see more of the country she’d seen from the air. As well, to meet a couple of genuine Gulf Country pioneers.
We got back about 6.30pm. I was surprised to find that friend P was there – a day earlier than we’d expected him. Someone had directed him to set up his camp in the Grove, near the staff area. He seemed very pleased to be here! He had done a tyre between Roper Bar and Borroloola. He then took a wrong turn, out of Doomadgee, and wandered around the station back tracks, to the east of where he should have been. Luckily, he’d blundered across one of the few viable crossings of Lawn Hill Creek that there are. Eventually, he’d come out at the Lawn Hill cattle yards, more by good luck than good navigation, because he said he didn’t have a clue where he was! A worker had directed him from there. The route actually sounded quite interesting – we should explore up that way, on some future days off.
P had already had his tea, and took himself off for an early night. I guess he’d had a stressful day, and he still suffers the after effects of a bout of Ross River Fever, a few years back.
I cooked tea at the van – pasta with tuna and caper sauce. John picked some zucchini and spinach from “his” vegie garden, to go with the pasta.
After that, we sat outside the van and quietly talked about our day. Like so many who visit this area for the first time, M was amazed by its scale and beauty.