This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2007 Travels August 8


About 9.30am, M and John left with JC on his boat, to go across to the other side of the Bay, to find Truscott. They got back about 2pm, after quite a little adventure.

The WW2 Truscott Air Base was built and used in the last couple of years of the war. It housed about 1500 personnel. It was a top secret base at the time – kept that way to try to prevent Japanese attacks. It was used by Australian and American airforce planes, mostly big bombers but also Catalina flying boats.

There were a number of plane crashes there.

Truscott actually played a really significant role in the war against the Japanese, but this was not acknowledged at the time, because if its secret status. Very few people have ever even heard of it.

An oil company was using the old place now, as a base for the transfer of staff to its offshore rigs by helicopter. They are flown in by plane to the old airfield, then transferred to helicopters to go out to the offshore rigs.

It took JC a couple of tries to actually find the barge landing for Truscott. There is a little promontory that he had to go round first, and then a large part of the bay opens up beyond that. The promontory hides the Truscott shore area from direct line of sight or travel from McGowans. It was a fair distance – at night one can’t even see the glow of any lights from the base area.

This looks like it might be the remains of some sort of landing craft, rather than a plane

I think M had originally assumed that the old base would be right by where the boat would land, but it was actually 11kms away. JC thought he had an arrangement for someone to come meet them, and drive them to the base. However, no one met them. It seemed that either someone had forgotten, or they were all too busy.

Having gotten this far, M was determined, so they set out to walk the 11kms! Then, an oil company worker who was fishing near the landing, gave them a ride. He then showed them around the old base.

M got to have a good look around the place, and was also given some printed information about it. She took a lot of photos to show the old relative.

The solemn and the irreverent….

Another worker drove them back to the landing.

By the barge landing. Beaches on low promontory in background

They had a fast, rough, ride back in the boat!

After a late lunch and much talk about their adventure, we did some preliminary packing up.

The neighbouring campers – who had been taking their boat out fishing, every day, gave us a red emperor. Very nice of them.

One last dusk spent admiring the sunset, yet again…….

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2007 Travels August 7


This morning, M and John went fishing, off the beach and rocks. John caught a whiting.

Interesting rock patterns on the headland

A second yacht came into the bay, anchored, and the guy came ashore. He obviously was interested in talking to campers, so we obliged. He was an advisor to the Qld Premier, he said.

He asked if anyone was driving into Kalumburu, who could give him a ride in, for some supplies. We had heard a barge was due around now, and M wanted to take her truck for a drive to charge up the batteries for her fridge, so she decided to give him a ride in and check out the store. She came back with some fruit and vegies. We hadn’t seen it go by out in the Bay, but the barge must have snuck in and out, at some stage recently.

There was no bread, though. We’d long been reduced to having lunches of dried biscuits with cheese and vegemite – or sometimes pikelets or flatbreads, if I could stir myself in the heat to make these.

Early morning – organizing the day ahead…

JC came by. He said he could take M to Truscott tomorrow. John decided he would go too. It was going to cost $100 each. Despite the charge, I think JC really wanted to go check the place out, himself, too. Maybe he was seeing it as a potential tour offering, to add to the fishing trips he already took out. M was really pleased that the Truscott visit was going to happen.

Truscott location in relation to McGowans (Zoom)

McGowans Island – which was not on an island – was named for a little rocky islet just off the shore, nearby. A Father McGowan, from the Mission at some time way back in the past, used to go fishing from it.

Campground amongst the trees. McGowans Island is the low,rocky outcrop in distance, to right.

There were no night time dews here, like there had been at Honeymoon – maybe because this place received more breezes in the night. The Honeymoon dews were a pest because the place was so dusty that, in the mornings, dust would stick to the still damp tents. Our tent had darkened several shades at Honeymoon, and I doubted that would ever come out.


2007 Travels August 5


About 9.30 last night, a group of six men in three vehicles arrived and set up camp just across from us – there went M’s view of the sea! They were a bit close to us, and thus intrusive, but did not seem to be hard drinkers, unlike our Honeymoon neighbours were. They had been made aware that the guys who run the show here, strictly enforced the two fish a day rule. That was soooo good to hear.

New camp pitched where there had been a view to the sea

After breakfast, John and I went for a walk, exploring along the coast to the north. It was a pretty walk, with great coastal scenery and interesting rocks.

We were told there had been a croc on the beach here, yesterday morning.

It was very windy again. A yacht was moored in the bay, sheltering from the strong winds. The people came ashore to get water, periodically. We swapped some books with them – fresh reading material!

The large sandy area to the left was the beach in front of the campground

Late in the afternoon, John tried fishing from the beach and nearby rocks. No luck.

While we were walking, this morning, M sought out JC, who runs fishing trips from here. He thought he might be able to get her across to the old Truscott Air Base, from here. It is across the other side of the Bay, somewhere. M was on a mission for an aging relative, who was stationed there during WW2, and who asked her to do that for him. JC said he would see if he could get permission to go there from the local person whose traditional land it is on.

JC told us that we could have bought diesel here at McGowans, for about 20cents a litre cheaper than at the Mission in town!

Modern donga style amenity building….

We got chatting to a nearby camper, here on a break from his job as a FIFO worker in the Qld coal mines. Turned out he was a friend of the guy who was the chopper pilot at the Monsoon Cafe, when we were there last year. Small world, yet again.

There was another wonderful sunset.