This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2006 Travels April 8


The radio news at 8.30am said that the highway was open, so we decided to go for Mt Isa.

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The caravan park in the morning

Around McKinley, we could see where water had been over the road. There were some sections where the road surface was damaged, too.

We were in light rain for most of the day.

Refuelled in Cloncurry, on the way through, after 365kms. $1.29cpl. It seemed anomalous that, the further we were away from the populated areas, the cheaper the fuel was. Usually, it is the other way round.

At Isa, booked into the Argylla Caravan Park. $22.50 after discount. Told them we were not sure how long we would need to be here. We had stayed there last year, too.

The park was on the eastern edge of town, so it was a bit rural in feel and outlook, and was away from some of the noise that could occur right in town. The permanent dwellers here were tucked away in their own separate area.

Phoned Adels. The roads to there were still closed. They had two guests who were stuck there until the roads opened.

At this rate, we might not be getting there to start work before Easter. But neither would any guests, so it would not matter. But, having exerted ourselves to get here quickly, it would be boring to have to wait around for too long in Mt Isa, not to mention costing us money, instead of earning any.

Such are the vagaries of travel while the Wet Season is still on. We remarked that it had been fortunate that such a rain event had not happened this time last year. It could be ages before the roads to Pungalina are open, this year.

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We had travelled this route in just six days!

We enjoyed a bought fish and chip tea.

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2005 Travels March 17


It was a hot and cloudy day.

Uneventful drive through country that was a bit better grassed and greener than when we usually travel through here.

Went into the Gilbert Park Caravan Park – $18 after Top Tourist discount.

Unhitched Truck from van, for only the second time this week, to drive to the shops.

We bought some emergency (as in, I haven’t a clue what I will find there) supplies for Pungalina – packets, tins and items that would keep. Got some more wine and beer, for us.

John had decided he needed sweatbands for his head, after experiencing the heat of the past few days. We had to hunt a bit to find a store that sold same, and they were very expensive.

Refuelled Truck – $1.15cpl.

Truck was now packed really tightly!

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2003 Travels September 23


I was quite sad to be leaving here after so many months. It was such a beautiful place. But, given the staffing situation, it was – from our viewpoint – a good time to go. I suspected  we would  be back.

Took the usual route via Gregory Downs and Burke and Wills Roadhouse. Reached Cloncurry after a long, hot and dusty drive.

Went back into the Gilbert Park Caravan Park – $17.10 a night, after discount.

We unhitched Truck and went to the supermarket for some food supplies. It felt really alien to be in such a place again, and was quite hard to adjust to. Such choice!

Refuelled Truck – 89cpl. That was a big difference – back under the dollar.

The other aspect that was really noticeable to us was the general background noise of the town – vehicle traffic, train noise, and just having people around, in general.

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2003 Travels April 25


Another early start that saw us departing at 7.20am.

Barcaldine marked the point where we turned west. This was a town we’d never stopped to explore and yet again, would not have time to do so.

Refuelled at Longreach – 96cpl – and again at Kynuna – $1.02cpl.

Our lunch stop was near Winton.

Today was Anzac Day and as we passed through some of the towns, saw some of the Anzac commemorations going on.

As we’d travelled further north and west, over the past couple of days, the amount of tree cover on the land had dwindled, to be replaced by vast open grasslands, where trees were confined to the lines of watercourses. It had also become noticeably hotter.

Reached Cloncurry at 5pm and booked into the Gilbert Park Caravan park – $17.10, after discount. Set up – minimally – on a site where we were able to stay hitched up.

Phoned Adels to let them know we would be arriving tomorrow or Sunday. Spoke to V – who we knew from last year. A few minutes later, received a phone call back from the boss, who asked whether we could pick up some beer and casks of wine for her.

So, we had to unhitch from the van and drive quickly to the shopping area. Bought the requested supplies. John found they had Regal beer, a brand unknown to us before last year, when he found it at Ayr. So he bought a slab of that for us – an extra replenishment of our stock.

Phoned daughter to let her know our progress, left a message, and later received a mobile phone text message acknowledgement. That was the first text message we’d ever had.

It was a very early night for us – long days of driving are surprisingly tiring.

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2000 Travels June 7


We slept in.

As soon as I got up, it was off to the laundry, where I did two loads of washing.

A lady also doing her washing recognized me as having taught her at Hamilton High – about 1970! I was amazed to still be recognizable, thirty years later! L and her family were doing an extended trip and heading for Lawn Hill and then east to the Cape.

It was a late breakfast for me, and then I sat in the sun and sewed for a while.

John went down the street, to check out the bowls club and came back with the news we were going to social bowls tomorrow night.

There did not seem to be as much to see and do in Cloncurry as I had anticipated.

After lunch, we walked up the hill near the park and looked out over the area. There were many hills on the horizon, to the south and south west especially. We chatted for a while with a Qld Rail man who was up there too.

The railway is very active in Cloncurry because of mining and cattle. Apart from mines around the town itself, lines come in from Mt Isa and the mining towns to the south west, like Duchess and Dajarra.

From the top of the hill, we could see across to the rail yards in the distance, and see a big train being assembled to go east. We had already noticed, on the way into town yesterday, the big road trucks moving ore from the local mine/s to the rail depot.

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Assembling a big train to go east

Went into town for some food supplies, then visited L’s site and talked with them some more.

Tea was pumpkin soup, beef mince curry and rice.

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2000 Travels June 6


It was cloudy again.

We left the caravan park about 9am – part of the usual morning exodus from Winton.

Refuelled at the Caltex depot – still 83cpl.

Took the highway to the north west, through mostly flat grassland country, broken occasionally by low tree lines that marked a water course, or a shallow depression where water stayed longer. There was one interesting area of low jump ups that we passed to the edge of, maybe 50 or 60kms from Winton.

Not far before Kynuna, we turned onto the dirt track to Combo Waterhole, on the upper reaches of the Diamantina River. This waterhole is supposed to have been the inspiration for Banjo Paterson to write “Waltzing Matilda”, while he was staying at nearby Dagworth Station, and picnicked there. No one knows for sure whether there ever really was a sheep stealing swagman once camped here, but it would be a pleasant spot for a camp, for sure.

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Combo Waterhole on the Diamantina River

We did the Information Walk , finding out about the many channels of the Diamantina River here, and crossing several of them – dry.

An interesting feature that was highlighted was the low stone overshot weirs, built about a hundred years ago using Chinese labour. The technique of using flat stones to build these was a Chinese one – and obviously effective, given how well the weirs have lasted.

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Dry river channel and overshot weir at Combo

We spotted three new birds – a Jacky Winter, a brown songlark and a pratincole.

Ate our lunch by the waterhole – wide, brown, peaceful.

Just as we were finishing lunch, heard a motor and then a vehicle arrived – an official vehicle of the Outback Trek – a 4WD fundraising event. They said the Trekker vehicles were expected within the hour – so we left – hastily! We definitely did not want to get caught up in the noise, dust and general mayhem of that sort of thing.

The rest of the drive to Cloncurry was uneventful, through country with many water channels – mostly dry – and with the occasional hills.

Just beyond Kynuna was where the divide is between the streams that drain into the Lake Eyre Basin, like the Diamantina and those that drain north, to the Gulf, like the Flinders River. I guessed this meant that we had entered the Gulf Country?

There was less grass as we got closer to Cloncurry and we had a few spots of rain.

Booked into the Gilbert Park Caravan Park, on the eastern outskirts of town for three nights – for $13.50 a night, after discount. It seemed alright.

We unhitched and set up, then drove into town, found a Woolworths, bought some supplies, then bought an early fish and chip tea.

By then, it was quite windy and cool.

Phoned and left message for K that we were back in civilization. J phoned his daughters – one had flu and one wasn’t home.

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