This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2000 Travels October 18


We were up early and managed an efficient final pack and departure, getting away at 8am.

It was a fairly tedious drive, back over to the highway, then south. John is missing trees! There were not many around Onslow. The prevailing vegetation in the country we drove through today was low scrub. There was a section of jump up country beside the highway, for a while, for a bit of interest.

We stopped at the Ashburton River, near Nanutarra Roadhouse, for a coffee break.

10-18-2000 Ashburton R at Nanutarra RH.jpg

The Ashburton River again – near Nanutarra Roadhouse

The section of WA that we have covered from Port Hedland to Nanutarra has been new to us. In 1993, going north, we turned off at Nanutarra and went inland through the Pilbara, not returning to the coastal regions until Port Hedland. So that gap has been filled in.

I drove for a while.

We ate lunch as we drove. John was anxious to get to Exmouth to try to sort out the phone situation. We have become dependent on it!

We took a gravel road short cut, from the highway to the Exmouth road, via “Giralia”. It was a reasonable road and easy enough to drive.

We passed the airfield and RAAF base at Learmonth. Not long after that, reached the Kailis prawn factory just before their closing time of 1pm. I bought 2kg of Endeavour prawns for $13 a kilo. I was pleased with that.

We parked the rig near the shopping centre at Exmouth and went to Betta Electricals. Putting in a new sim card did not make the phone work. The young assistant was mystified. We found out that we could get a new phone, at no cost, as long as we renewed our contract for a year. We did not really have much choice, so acquired a new CDMA phone. Changed the plan to one for $35 a month that gave us a cheaper call rate. We could possibly save more by combining our bill with the one at home – but K is paying that, so it would be complicated. But will investigate that further.

Refuelled Truck – $1.22cpl.

We did a quick shop and then went on out to the Lighthouse Caravan Park – “around the corner”, 19kms from town. The park was a bit rustic, but adequate. It was near enough to the sea for us to hear it, even if we couldn’t see it. There was a pool and we had a fair sized site. We paid $121 for a week.

After setting up, I peeled the prawns, which took some time. I froze half. We had the rest for tea, with lettuce and bread. They were delectable.

The TV here was pretty limited – WIN and GWN only – but the picture quality was good.

John phoned K and had a chat, after tea. All is well there. The mail was sent yesterday.

10-18-2000 exmouth

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2000 Travels October 17


Had another conversation on the public phone this morning with the sharebroker. They cannot seem to get the figures right on the latest brokerage. As they had already paid proceeds into our share account, he said he will deduct $45 from the fees for  my next transaction – whenever that may be!

We took lunch back out to the Four Mile.

We both fished – no bites.

John caught some crabs.

We spent several hours out there – it was really pleasant.

Refuelled Truck in town – $1.24cpl.

Back at the van, I cooked the crabs and we did some packing up.

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The pieces of masking tape stuck on the wall are used to hold the stove lid down, and oven door closed  when travelling on rough roads!

The crabs gave a small amount of meat – over rated critters! John had that as a crab cocktail.

Tea was sausages and coleslaw.

We had enjoyed the Onslow stay.

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2000 Travels October 16


It was a pleasant day. Hot, but nowhere near Karratha levels.

John tried unsuccessfully to fix the van jockey wheel, which has been going flat. The tube has perished. There was no replacement available at the local shops.

After lunch, we drove out to the Four Mile Creek – back in the direction of the Ashburton River mouth. It was interesting to go past the salt works plant, over the conveyor belt and be where we could see the new loading jetty. It is a big development.

The Four Mile was pleasant – a big creek inlet, with a few mangroves. It was a bit windy out there. John had a fish for a little while. He decided to stay on here an extra day and fish out there again tomorrow. I don’t think either of us was in a mood for packing up!

I went and extended our stay by a day.

For tea I made garlic bread rolls. John had yesterday’s fish. I had some coleslaw.

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2000 Travels October 15


Today was hot, but with some breeze to relieve the heat.

I walked to the shops a couple of times – once for bread, and the other time to get the papers – yesterday’s. It was pleasant enough walking. I am not too keen on walking far along the beach itself, because of the aboriginal settlement along there, that backs onto the beach. Though these locals seem reasonably ok when one sees them sitting around outside the shops.

I read the papers, and sewed.

John went fishing at the groyne. He caught one something – it had stripes. He brought it back already filleted.

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John fishing right behind the van!

Tea was steak and mushrooms.

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2000 Travels October 14


It was hot this morning.

After breakfast, we went to the Museum and Visitor Centre.

The Museum held some interest. There were some photos of both Onslows, and old records.

There used to be a huge jetty here but it fell into disuse, got cyclone damaged and was taken down because it was dangerous. There are still a few remnants of pylons that can be seen.

We find interest in sitting out under the awning and watching the cruisers and fishing boats come and go from the bay. And also in the tides – the rock shelves and mudflats are really exposed at low tide.

We can see four offshore turrets – presumably gas rigs? And storage tanks on a distant island.

We both have sandfly bites. John has lots – I presume he got them when fishing.

It became very windy this afternoon and whipped up big waves.

For tea, John had yesterday’s fish. I had a tin of tuna and some salad.

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2000 Travels October 13


It was quite hot again.

I packed a picnic lunch and we drove out to Old Onslow. Had to go back out the road we came in on, for about 20kms, then take a gravel road that went west towards the Ashburton River.

It was initially a fairly uninteresting drive, past salt flats and creeks, through scrub. It got more interesting once the track started to run alongside the Ashburton River, where there were trees and some big pools. It was a sizeable river. As it originates way inland, near Newman, the catchment area is large and when there is cyclonic rainfall and similar in these parts, a huge volume of water comes this way. That is true also of the Fortescue River, where we stopped briefly the other day.

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Ashburton River on the way to Old Onslow

It looked like there was some pretty good bush camping places out there, with no facilities, of course.

We found the old town ruins – they were definitely worth coming out to see. There were parts of some old stone buildings that once would have been quite substantial – no roofs left on them now, though

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10-13-2000 Old Onslow police station & jail ruins.jpg

Remains of once substantial buildings at Old Onslow

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Broken glass set on top of wall at old Jail

The old cemetery was a very bleak, remote place.

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Life out here would have been rough, and it looks like many settlers died young.

After walking around and exploring the ruins and the cemetery for a while, we tried to find the sea – and ended up in mangrove mud flats.

We eventually found a likely fishing spot by a wide stretch of the lower river, but John was soon attacked by sandflies, so the fishing was abandoned and we left there.

10-13-2000 Ashburton River near mouth

The lower reaches of the Ashburton River, near its mouth


We drove back along the river to where it was crossed by a causeway that went to Urala Station and the Tubridgi Gas Plant, and had lunch by the river there. It was a pleasant, peaceful place. There were lots of little fish feeding in the water, so John fished there for a couple of hours. He caught one fish – which was more snagged than caught, but it was a good size.

It was a hot drive back to Onslow. We drove 112kms today.

Tea was chilli con carne. I rather overdid the chilli, but John enjoyed it.

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2000 Travels October 12


It was fairly hot today, but there was quite a strong wind blowing.

I phoned Melbourne and sold some shares at a good profit. Bought some more Telstra ones, which I think are on the rise again. The leftover profit will pay the coming instalment due on the original Telstra purchases. However, I realized later that I will have to follow up with the sharebroker again – they have taken out too much brokerage.

The main outing for today was down to the wharf/groyne area at the creek entrance. John fished. Because the wind was blowing a lot of sand and grit about, I sat in Truck and knitted.

After  lunch, John had a sleep and I went for a walk around town. At least here I feel secure walking about the place.

The Visitors Centre was an old stone building that was moved here from the old town.

The initial township in these parts began in the 1880’s, when a port was established at the mouth of the Ashburton River, to export wool from the local pastoral properties. The town was called Onslow. It was not well located, having to be a few kms inland from the actual coast, due to the clay flats close to the coast. The river mouth tended to silt up, especially when there were cyclones, so, in the 1920’s a new wharf was built a bit further along the coast, at Beadon Creek. The, the town of Onslow was moved there, and Old Onslow was abandoned.

Onslow was the most southerly place in Australia to be bombed by the Japanese, in WW2 – a single plane that dropped three bombs. It was a refuelling base, in the war, for Navy ships.

I enjoyed my little history lesson.

We had tried the old trick of upending and shaking the Chescold fridge, and it is working better on gas. So we can cool drinks easily again.

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Site by the sea at Onslow

The phone was still not working! Seemed to be a problem with the unit itself, not just the unpaid bill.

For tea, I cooked John’s long toms for him. I had some salad and a tin of tuna.