This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2006 Travels November 30


Low 40’s. I was dreaming now about cool things – green grass, rain, even cold. Was starting to look forward to being home – green grass, a shower of comfortable temperature, an absence of red dust.

The men from the SPQ building company agreed – very reluctantly – to stay and fix the showers properly this time. It was a very messy job and they got fibreglass gunk all over them, so I could understand their attitude. The ones at RV2 were checked again too, and 24 there were found to still be defective. Guess those guys were going to be around for a while yet!

John went to Hedland in the morning – to the plane and to buy oddments needed for work on the punch list.

I was notified that the roller door for the wet mess was ready and would be sent here from SA via one of the transport firms that had been bringing buildings.

John put up safety mesh around the sports court and around holes that had been dug for light poles in the car park. When he was walking across the car park area, his eye was caught by a glint on the ground, and he picked up a large piece of clear stone. He brought it in to show me, convinced that it was a chunk of topaz – it certainly looked like it to me. We put it aside to keep. (A couple of years later, a jeweller confirmed it was indeed topaz – good quality – and I had it made into a ring. My permanent piece of RV1)

Resize of 11-29-2006 RV1 aerial 24

There were still faults happening with the smoke alarms. I was not sure that problem was going to be fixable! Just too hot.

I was working now on a stock take of everything that was in the office – divided into what would stay with the leased office (not much) and what would be sent to RV2 or on down to Leonora. I was also trying to track down all the bed linen that John had purchased, weeks ago, for the company rooms at Fly Camp. Although I had kept it in a separate store area at Fly Camp, it had got disorganized because we had people in both places for a while, then some of that bedding was used here when we first moved in – before Spotless took over upkeeping the rooms. So I had to go right through the linen store at Fly Camp, and here. Spotless reckoned our stuff was all separated and stored, here, but I could only find some of it. Some could have gone to RV2, of course. I was not going to be able to tidily account for it all and that annoyed me.

At night there was a very bad smell coming our way from the poo plant!

12-01-2006 Sewer Farm.

The sewage treatment plant


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1998 Travels October 9


We had to be up much earlier than usual for our trip out to O’Briens Creek. This “official”  topaz fossicking area is about 40kms to the NW of Mt Surprise, along a reasonable gravel road.

We had arranged for a lesson on fossicking for topaz, from Sam, at Elsie’s Place, on the fields.  He does the instructing on her leasehold. We had to be there by 8.30am. Starting at this hour made sense on a hot day. The lesson cost $10 each. We had no trouble finding the place, following the instructions given at the PO yesterday, by the lady who booked for us.

The fossicking is easy enough – just dig up the gravelly dirt, sieve it, and look. The hard part is figuring out where to dig, when you are on your own! Sam is an interesting old guy. He and John got on really well. After he had showed us the basics – and we had found a few little pieces – he showed us where he is currently digging at Tourmaline Gully, up O’Briens Creek. We had to drive there, following him, but it was not far. Glad he showed us though, as the area is rather a maze of tracks.

10-09-1998 02 Sam and Wendy Mining Topaz OBriens Ck.jpg

Sam and Wendy digging for topaz at Tourmaline Gully

We finished with him about midday – by which time it was pretty hot.

On the way back, we called in at Diggers Rest, the main establishment out there. They hire out digging equipment and sell topaz. The owner has sold up and is going back to Cairns. He lent us a sieve. He has lots of fairly tame birds at the place, which is a bit of an oasis. He showed us the bower of a bowerbird that lives in the garden – most intricate and attractive, with an entry “pathway” of white stones. Apparently, every so often the bird finds some topaz and puts it there, so the owner exchanges that for a different white stone! We noted that there were oddments of other coloured things, discarded beside the bower. Some trial and error perhaps? There were also apostle birds around, out there.

10-09-1998 03 great bower bird bower diggers rest.jpg

The bower of the Great Bower Bird at Diggers Rest

Back in the township, we bought a fossicker’s  licence, for $7.50 a month, for both of us. That will allow us to go looking for topaz, on our own, out there.

Fuelled up Truck – 76cpl. The price is dearer inland!

We went for a lovely long swim.

There were several people from the Savannahlander train, now on its return journey to Cairns, overnighting here, in the new cabins. They went over to the hotel for a counter tea. This is the first time this has happened – people usually stay at the hotel – and we hope this is the start of some extra business for Jo and Joe, whose enterprise we admire. I think the Savannahlander would be an interesting little trip for people to do; it certainly covers a range of dramatic country.

Tea was sweet and sour fish. I used a recipe for sweet and sour chicken to get the sauce and it was excellent.