This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2006 Travels December 6

WEDNESDAY 6 DECEMBER   NEWMAN TO LEONORA   730kms

Up early, while it was still relatively cool – and we were used to early starts. Quick basic breakfast. Hitching up again did not take too long, and away we went.

This trip was all about getting home, so we were not planning any sight seeing or side tracking. Just long days of driving.

It was soon really hot again, though. Going south was not making much difference. The Truck was not coping with both towing in temperatures well over 40, and having the air con on, so we had to manage with just the windows down and hoping the wind coming in was slightly cooling. Hope being the operative word.

Topped up the fuel at Kumarina Roadhouse. $1.62cpl. Bought cold drinks.

South of Kumarina, we stopped for a break at a Gascoyne River crossing. The river channel here – one of several at the headwaters of this large river system – had some water in it.

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Gascoyne River channel

We had decided to try taking the unsealed Neds Creek road, which went south east from the highway, through to Wiluna. Various tradies from Leonora and Kalgoorlie had told us this was a much better quality way than going via Meekatharra.

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Gravel section of Neds Creek road

We found this way pretty smooth, and could make reasonable speed on the red dirt road. There were few other vehicles on it. There were still wildflowers in bloom, in places –  pretty.

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We stopped part way along its length to stretch legs again and eat the sandwiches I’d made this morning.

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Road was a bit sandier here

Some 40kms north of Wiluna, the Neds Creek road was also the southern part of the legendary Canning Stock Route, so we could now say we had been on this – however briefly – as far as from Wiluna to Well 1. Not that we stopped to look for Well 1.

The Canning – originally pioneered to bring cattle from the Kimberley to southern markets – is the longest stock route in the world, depending on 51 wells sunk along its distance to water the travelling stock.  However, it was not used for any length of time and these days is a difficult 4WD track that takes about three weeks to traverse from Wiluna to Halls Creek. It was on our to-do list, but we had not yet managed to get that expedition off the ground. This was definitely not a trek that it was sensible to do alone and we hadn’t managed to find friends with a suitable rig that they were prepared to chance on it. We still hoped……

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At the small, mostly indigenous settlement of Wiluna, we were back on sealed roads. Topped up the fuel again here – $1.46 cpl.

By the time we reached Leonora, we’d had enough driving for the day. Refuelled truck – $1.45cpl.

Got a powered site at the Leonora Caravan Park – $20. We were able to stay hitched up.

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Leonora Caravan Park

I was a little curious about  Leonora Lodge – the accommodation facility being developed by the company we’d been working for, but this was not the time to be going to see it – we were weary. We had visited Leonora before, a couple of years ago, and seen its main sights then – principally, the Sons of Gwalia mine and historic display.

It was another night much like the last, except the place was much quieter. Shower, tea, early night.

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2006 Travels October 26

THURSDAY 26 OCTOBER    NORTH POINT CAMP

Two new workers for the company started today. John did their inductions. One of them thought it was ok to work in shorts. John had to buy him some long trousers – and a belt – in Hedland, on his trip in there today. Until then, the guy could not actually start work.

That made 18 people altogether working on this site- only 6 of whom were subbies. Fly Camp accommodation very tight.

R’s laptop had acquired a virus and was not working – probably via some stuff his wife emailed him. Not good – all his project management stuff was on there. He went off to RV2 in the afternoon, to check on progress down there.

Four more SPQ’s for RV2 were delivered here. They were really being churned out in Perth.

Kitchen verandas were being put on. The ice room building was being set up. Yes – there was a dedicated room where machines would make ice. Who would have thought? Work on the kitchen fit out and cleaning the Pods continued.

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Would be the diner/mess end of the long kitchen building

There were phone problems in the afternoon. S was trying to send a huge photo file to her friend the boss, and the machine stuck! I turned it off at 6.15 and left, hoping it would fire up alright tomorrow. I wished that S would just stick to doing the work she was assigned, instead of pursuing her social life.

Two subbies who were driving up from Leonora, arrived. Two FMG men came to look around.

Seemed that the FMG boss had said that trucks were to be sent down the BHP road to RV2. I was asked to advise the Perth office if that was ok. As far as I knew, it wasn’t, but I handed that one off to the FMG guy in Hedland to deal with. Definitely outside my job description!

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Willy willy

John took the last of the cementing crew to the afternoon plane – for the time being. Apparently they would later be back for some more work.

When R got back he said that two of the bar fridges from SPQ’s here, were to be taken down to South Point, to go in a couple of the men’s rooms there – to keep their drink cold.

Over tea, I chatted with the two men who had come up from Leonora. I was interested in finding out about the route they took, which cut up from Wiluna intersecting the highway south of Kumarina Roadhouse. It might be a way we could eventually use, when we were going home. They said this Neds Creek track was a good dirt road. Interesting – could cut off quite a few kms.