WEDNESDAY 14 JULY MILLSTREAM NATIONAL PARK
As we were getting ourselves organized, this morning, two Rangers drove in – indigines. The lady one was quite aggressive in the way she addressed us and without asking for any input from us, stated she was going to issue us with fines for being in a closed campground!
I could actually understand her attitude. There are travellers who disregard all sorts of signs and instructions, and then become quite threatening when challenged.
We explained that permission had been given. Obviously, though, no-one had notified anyone else about this. Eventually, she agreed to radio in to base and check our story. Then, everything was alright, and we breathed great sighs of relief.
The Rangers mellowed up then. She told us there was a little olive python living around our camp area! We hadn’t seen it at all, but I imagined that any sensible reptile was well snuggled up somewhere dry.
She told us she had lots of qualifications and was embarking on a PhD on campground management. That was a subject I would find fascinating.
After that little drama, we drove to the Millstream Homestead, located by the Millstream Creek.
As with many of our National Parks, this area was originally a pastoral lease, dating from the 1860’s. The Homestead we were visiting was built in the 1920’s, as a family home and the hub of the very large property. CALM acquired the place in the 1980’s and turned it into the Visitor Centre and headquarters for the National Park.
On the way there, we passed the overflow camp area and thought it very open and ordinary, away from the river. But it was not muddy!
We also visited the lookout that gave views across the Fortescue River and was also a bit of a vantage point across the surrounding country.
The old homestead area was so interesting. I loved the wide verandas around the house – so necessary for coolness in the high summer temperatures of these parts.
There was a separate kitchen building – also quite typical of that pioneering period. Made of corrugated iron – less prone to catching fire – it had a high roof and ventilation to help remove accumulated heat.
At the Visitor Centre, we bought a T-shirt each, with a nice design on the front.
From the Homestead, we did the short walk around the place. There was still evidence of cyclone damage around. We were invaded by the contents of a large tourist bus and so set off to do the 750 metre walk to Chinderwarriner Pool.
The walk was pleasant, but some interpretative signage at the end would have been of benefit.
Drove to the lookout over the river and across to Crossing Pool, then did the Snappy Gum Drive around to Crossing Pool, on the other side of the river. Had our lunch there.
Went back the way we’d come, past the Homestead, and back to camp.
It was a very enjoyable day’s outing – much variety.
At our camp now, it was dry enough the walk along the river bank and look out across its breadth – but carefully! It would still be too wet for tents.
In the late afternoon, there was a ruckus in the reeds near the van. Maybe the olive python hunting dinner?
Throughout our time here, we could hear, faintly, the ore trains in the far distance. We were probably about ten kms from the nearest point of the railway, but the hills and valleys seemed to funnel sound.
The sunsets were very pretty.