This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2000 Travels August 28


There was a thick sea fog this morning, hanging over the town. It was quite eerie.

Today we drove north, up the Dampier Peninsula. We had not been up here before, and wanted to get an idea of whether it would be worth bringing the van up for a stay.

The road was unsealed and rough in parts. Some of it was graded well down below the surface of the surrounding land, and there were banks of sands at the sides of where the grader had gone, so passing oncoming vehicles was a challenge. Someone had to drive part way up onto the sand.

The scenery was rather monotonous – all red dirt and sand roads, dry scrub, burnt in parts.

We stopped first at Beagle Bay, where we paid $5 each to enter the community. I wanted to see the Catholic Church. This was completed in 1918, using mud bricks made on site and mortar made from shells gathered by the community. At that time, the Church was run by Palatine monks, though various orders have been involved at Beagle Bay, over the years, from the 1890’s.

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Inside the Beagle Bay Church

The church decorations are unique, made of shells and mother of pearl. Even the floor is “tiled” with shell inlay.

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Floor detail in the Church. Note the stylized creatures

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Intricate detail at the altar

In some ways, we were lucky to be able to view the church at all, because there had just been a collapse of part of the front, under the bell tower. That area was vaguely roped off and we went in through a different door.

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Partial collapse at front of church

The church really was unique – something special. So much painstaking work had gone into its construction. We hoped that any further collapse and damage could be headed off. It would be a real shame to lose something as unusual as this.

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Luminous effect created by use of shells

We continued north, after some way turning to the west, off the main road to Cape Leveque, to go out to Middle Lagoon, where we’d heard there was a campground.

It was about 30kms from the main road to Middle Lagoon. We paid $8 for day entry to the place.

Middle Lagoon was a most attractive spot. It is so called because a reef extends across the bay entrance.

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Beach and bay at Middle Lagoon

 We ate our packed lunch sitting on some rocks, overlooking the lagoon. Then we walked on the beach and found some interesting shells.

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Along the beach

There was a campground there, set up by the aboriginal family whose land it is.

We encountered D and R there – again! Last seen at the King Edward River. They were off to go mud crabbing, so we did not chat for long.

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Creek mouth at Middle Lagoon – home to mud crabs

We decided to bring the van out and stay here, because it looked so lovely. We saw the lady at the “office” and booked one of their powered sites for 6 nights – at $33 a night! Costly, but we hoped it would be worth it. Already felt that it was a pity we could not stay longer, but cannot afford the time, with John’s Games schedule.

We were later leaving there than we should have been. It took us three hours to drive the 190 kms, or so, back to Broome. It was well dark by the time we got back at 6.45pm.

The outing gave Truck a decent run, after the repairs, and all seemed well.

Tea was pasta with my tuna, caper, olive etc sauce.

Watched the football Brownlow Medal count on TV.