This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2005 Travels September 12


We were up early, in order to get a good start to what would be a long day.

We had to manoeuvre Truck and van about a bit, after hitching up, in order to get facing the right way.

Resize of 09-12-2005 03 Van leaving Cane Toad Clearing

Leaving Cane Toad Clearing – lot easier than coming in was!

The little track from our clearing to the camp track was a lot wider, smoother and easier to negotiate, than when we arrived.

Resize of 09-12-2005 05 path to safari camp well worn

Our well worn path to the safari camp

It was really sad, pulling out of our clearing, and seeing it all empty again.

Resize of 09-12-2005 04 Empty Cane Toad Clearing

Little saplings had begun to grow under the van!

Resize of 09-12-2005 06 last view Cane Toad Clearing

We drove to the house so O would know we were on our way.

Truck pulled the very heavy van through the sandy stretch with no problems at all. So we did not need any help from O. We said our goodbyes to him there, by the track, and continued on.

And sometimes the drive way got a little sandy

We made quite good time to the Gulf Track, and then east along it. There were some corrugated sections, as one would expect at this end of the dry season, but it was not too bad.

Again, as we wended through the Redbank Gorge, I regretted that we had not had time to stop and explore it.

About half way between the border and Hells Gate Roadhouse, we pulled off the road for a short way, down a little track that led to a small lagoon. Eight Mile Creek? Had an early-ish lunch there.

Drove past the turnoff that led into the Doomadgee community, with no inclination to go in there at all. Not great memories for us! And on over the long cement ford across the Nicholson channels.

Took the Doomadgee to Lawn Hill track, which was in pretty reasonable condition, considering the time of year. Didn’t try to use the short cut route, but stuck to the way we knew best – along to the T intersection, with Bowthorn straight ahead, turn left and follow the track south.

The Elizabeth Creek ford was now almost dry. But that of Lawn Hill Creek, by the homestead, was running, as always – but shallow.

Resize of 08-02-2002 05 fording Lawn Hill Ck

Reached Adels Grove mid afternoon, and received a warm welcome.

Resize of 3-30-2005 Adels entrance

We were charged to stay – but only $8 a night – and were allowed to park in our old area of the staff compound down in the Grove. We were able to run a lead to the shed for power – too many trees in the Grove for the solar to work.

We cooked our own evening meal in the van tonight. For the remaining nights we would be here, we would go eat with the staff, as in past times, and in return would help with the dishes.

It was good to be footloose again!

We decided to stay a couple of days here, partly to just relax, partly to ease gradually into being around other people!

Resize of 09-16-2005 parked at Adels Grove

Relative solitude in the empty staff compound – and a pleasantly green contrast to Cane Toad Clearing


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2005 Travels September 11


We took today as a day off, although technically, we were in charge of the place!

John did a final fill of Truck from one of the diesel drums. We’d done 359kms since last time. With both of the camp runabout vehicles out of action, our Truck was getting quite a lot of use, back and forth from house to camp.

I gave a last cuddle to the female dingo pup. O had been trying to find homes for the two of them in a sanctuary or appropriate place for them, especially the little male. I hoped he would keep the female. She was beautiful. I would so loved to have had the sort of property where she could have come with us – beautiful little lady.

Resize of 09-09-2005 09 Little Dings

We spent the bulk of the day packing up our camp and the van, to be ready for an early departure tomorrow, provided O returned as he said he would.

It was quite a mammoth job.

Resize of 09-11-2005 01 Pack Up

John was rather sad to be leaving his maturing corn crop by the van.

Resize of 09-11-2005 02 Pack Up 2

The lengths of milled ironwood were going to have to go in the van! Down the centre of the floor. They would have to be taken out each night, when we parked up. It was not the most satisfactory of arrangements, but John could see no alternative. They were too heavy to go on the roof rack of Truck, and too long to go inside it.

O returned late in the day. John asked him to escort us, tomorrow, as far as the really sandy section of the track out, because he had doubts about us getting through without bogging.

Tonight was our last happy hour in Cane Toad Clearing. We said farewell to our friendly fantail, who usually came to the big tree we sat under, to watch us in the evenings.

I had really mixed feelings about leaving here, after nearly six months.

Earlier in the season, O had made regular references to our returning to run the camp in 2006. But he had not mentioned that in recent times, and we did not raise the matter. At this stage, we could not feel very enthusiastic about coming back, brilliant though this year had been. Time for new adventures?

Resize of 08-27-2005 13 August Sunset 9

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2005 Travels September 10


I did some more camp finalizing and John worked on a last tidy up of the vegie garden. O would have a good supply of fresh produce for some time to come!  Provided he took the time to water it, of course.

Resize of 09-10-2005 16 Best Stew Pot

Stew pot left out for the dingo dishwashers to clean up

For the vegie garden to be properly productive for the height of the camp season, as A had hoped, it needed to be sown quite early – earlier than it was this year. John had concluded that the shadecloth of the roof shut out a bit too much light. It was all that O had available at the time, but really should have been a lighter grade. It was makeshift and would have been better delayed and done properly – like ordering the right grade of shade cloth to come on the supply truck. It would have cost more, but would have been a better result for all the time and effort put into it.

It was quite a cloudy day today. With the heat, clouds and some humidity, we could see signs of the start of the build up to the wet season. We reckoned it would not have been all that pleasant here in October, anyway! I seemed to remember that, when we visited in 2003, it was mid-September and it was stinking hot and quite uncomfortable.

Resize of 09-10-2005 23 Sink Hole Sept 2

Late Dry Season, with clouds building again

This was a good time to go!

Not too far away from the house there was a fallen ironwood tree that John was able to cut some pieces off, to take home for wood working. O had already said that he could take a couple of lengths of the milled ironwood timber. I was not sure how John was planning to transport these – ironwood is really heavy stuff.

Resize of 09-10-2005 20 Bowl Material 2

Fallen ironwood

We drove out a little way to take a photo of the sink hole/cave entrance that O had pointed out earlier in the season that we had to be careful of, because it was on dead flat ground, not the usual limestone ridges, and there were no indicators it was there. Not a good thing to drive or walk into. Quite scary, really. O had no idea what was down under there – it had not been explored.

I dropped a rock into the hole – from a prudent distance – but could hear no sound of it landing. Either there was a very soft base down there, or it was very deep.

Resize of 09-10-2005 22 Sink Hole Sept

That’s a hole going deep down to the unknown

Back when O had originally pointed it out, the hole had been well hidden in the long grass. Now that had all dried out, the hole was a bit more obvious.

Resize of 09-10-2005 24 Sink Hole Sept 3

Cave entrance hole lying in wait for the unwary….


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2005 Travels September 4


Worked 8 am to 10.30pm.

It was a misty morning again.

Resize of 09-04-2005 01 Spider Web

Resize of 09-04-2005 04 Misty Sept Morning 2

John was finding the camp cleaning up work really hard – mowing and raking. Ever since the trip back from the coast with the Daihatsu, his back had been really sore.

He refuelled Truck. Had only done 248kms, but he was starting to feel concerned that the drums of diesel may be running low – so it was wise to keep our vehicle fairly full.

I cleaned the showers and toilets and checked the tents the men would be using.

Cooked Cornies biscuits, a tiramisu, spicy pikelets. Brought a fish from the house to defrost. Made a pineapple salad.

The guests arrived mid afternoon. O brought them down to camp in the Troopy. They had brought their own beer with them – lots of it! They actually seemed quite under the weather – I think they had been refreshing themselves in flight. The one who was piloting seemed more sober though – as I would hope!

I fed them spicy pikelets for afternoon tea, got them settled in. After their flight – and after their time at Birdsville – they just wanted to laze about for the rest of the day. That suited O, who returned to his work at the house as soon as he had deposited them at camp.

I served the usual pre dinner nibbles, which they actually collected and took back to their tents.

Dinner was threadfin salmon, cooked Asian style, with rice to  which I added peas, spring onion and corn kernels; green salad, pineapple salad, with tiramisu for dessert.

The men had brightened up with their afternoon rest and spent a while sitting round the camp fire after tea. They were nice enough guys, maybe in their 30’s.

After dinner clean up, I hard boiled eggs for tomorrow. Asked O to get out from the house freezer some “fillet” steaks to defrost. Sometimes he remembered such requests, sometimes not. One of the reasons I was missing A’s presence at the house! It was just one of the hiccups to deal with because of the way the fridges and freezers were split between house and camp.

O left the camp fire fairly early and left us to chat with the visitors until they were ready for bed. I thought O really wanted to get back to his house wall building.

Resize of 09-10-2005 07 The Wall

Wall was cement, faced with stone gathered about the property


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2005 Travels August 31


Was an early start today, because we took our guests down the Calvert and as far as the Stinking Lagoons. I packed a picnic sandwich lunch to go.

We had set up a makeshift seat in the back of our Truck, where – in travel mode – we only have three seats. but with some extra padding put on top of the tents we carry in the seat space, it was quite adequate.

Stopped at Mystery Shovel Water Hole, briefly, to stretch legs and admire its beauty.

Resize of 08-31-2005 01 Mystery Shovel August

Had a second stop – again brief – at the Calvert Crossing, then it was the slow and bumpy stretch to the lower river.

Went first to the Stinking Lagoons, where we walked around for a bit, while John described the trip done with the Japanese to the coast itself. There were some horses at the far end of the big lagoon – presumably station horses from Seven Emu, turned out.

Resize of 08-31-2005 11 Stinking Lagoon August

Drove to the end of the cleared track at the lower Calvert and looked at the river there, from the vantage points on top of the high cliff-like banks.

Resize of 05-14-2005 28 Calvert Tidal Section 3

Resize of 05-14-2005 33 Calvert Tidal Section 8

Then back tracked to the fishing access point on the river, where John and F attempted to catch something – anything, with no luck. It looked like the tide was out at this time.

Resize of 08-31-2005 06 Calvert Tidal Area 3

Resize of 08-31-2005 08 Calvert Tidal Area 5

Fishing – and keeping watch for crocodiles!

The drive back to camp seemed a long one to me – a sign that I had become very familiar with that route, I think.

Resize of 08-31-2005 02 Mystery Shovel August 2

Back at Mystery Shovel Water Hole

When we got back to camp, found that a ding – probably Lachy – had torn through the fly mesh door of F’s new tent, which they had left zipped up. F’s clothes, which had been folded up in the tent, were strewn around the clearing – with the exception of John’s long trousers. He had lent F these, to keep off insects at night. These were still neatly folded on their camp bed! We decided that was a ding sign that John “belongs” here and F did not! Male territoriality…….

We felt really bad that the tent had been damaged. But I was just grateful that there had not been more damage. It was not a great ending to what had otherwise been a very enjoyable day.

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2005 Travels August 30


We did not rush around to get too early a start. John still had to do his garden watering, and V and F went with him to be part of that.

Took V and F driving, out to the Dragons Breath Cave – the nearest one.

On the way there we saw a couple of euros in the bush. As with much of the wild life on the place, they were more curious about us than scared.

Resize of 08-30-2005 01 Euro X 2

John took V and F down the cave. I think they were a bit apprehensive, especially when they saw the narrow opening they had to go down, but trusted that John knew what he was doing.

Resize of 08-30-2005 03 Cave Explorer

Quite a narrow opening to the cave!

John took the camera down with him. Getting decent photos in the caves was difficult, because they were always very warm and humid, and condensation soon formed on the camera lens.

Resize of 08-30-2005 06 Dragon's Head

Resize of 08-30-2005 13 Cave Shot 8

While they were exploring the cave, I pottered about up top, exploring the area around the cave, with its fossilized limestone outcrops and stromatolites.

Resize of 08-30-2005 18 Cave Roof Outside 2

Big cave system under here

Resize of 08-30-2005 20 Stromatolites 2


We then drove on to Croc Hole, on Karns Creek, where John took our guests out in the boat there, for the experience of puttering down the long water hole there.

Resize of 08-30-2005 22 Croc Hole

Resize of 08-30-2005 29 Croc Hole 8

Resize of 08-30-2005 35 Croc Hole14

They saw a couple of nankeen night herons perched on a dead tree – were able to get the boat surprisingly close to them.

Resize of 08-30-2005 32 Croc Hole 11

I waited back at the big fig tree that was such a feature there.

Resize of 08-30-2005 21 Croc Hole Fig Tree

Then it was back to camp for lunch.

We finished up the day with a drive out to the wetlands, to see Lake Crocodyllus, continuing on around the circuit track past Jabiru Billabong. By this time, V and F were totally disoriented – the network of tracks all seemed similar to them. I could remember feeling like that the first time we visited here, in 2003!

Resize of 08-30-2005 46 Jabiru 3

Again, we did happy hour in the clearing, then I cooked tea at the camp and brought it back to the clearing.

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2005 Travels August 27


We took a day off today, to have a rest after the recent burst of activity.

When John came back from the daily watering up at the house, he reported that O had begun work on the new house foundations. This involved clearing the surface of a large area to the back and one side of the existing dwelling, then building a very long retaining wall – some ninety metres long – just at the edge where the drop down to the river started. Quite a massive task and one that would take some time. He was expecting a young couple he knew to come in and camp near the house to help him with the building works, in October.

Resize of 09-10-2005 05 Owen's House 5

Site for the new house

The house, when built, would have a brilliant view across the river. It would be a high set style, allowing for cooling breezes under it, storage, and also raising it (hopefully) well above any flood level.

Resize of 09-10-2005 06 Owen's House 6

The house would have this view over the Calvert valley

John had slung a net in the creek and came back with what we thought was a cherabin – a sort of fresh water prawn. There was only one, so we let it go again.

Resize of 08-27-2005 01 Cherabiun

We were expecting friends V and F to stay, arriving Monday. They had just finished the season’s work at Adels Grove. So John tidied up the area beyond our van where we had previously put M’s tent, a couple of months ago. We were looking forward to having some friends here, and showing them the place. They could be future workers here too. A couple of months ago, O was talking of maybe setting up a rough camp area down at the Gulf Track end of the old track to Borroloola. If he were to do so, V and F would be ideal people to run that for a season.

When we first came here, we had hoped that my son and his family would be able to come and visit. The plan was that they would fly in to Mt Isa, hire a 4WD and drive here, via Adels and Kingfisher Camp. We had brought our big tent all this way, in case. Anyway, it had not eventuated. I think son’s wife had found the prospect of being so remote, with a three year old, too daunting. Pity.

It was lovely to have a peaceful happy hour again, in our clearing, with time to relax and watch the sunset.

Resize of 08-27-2005 04 August Sunset