Day 19 – 20 Bramwell Junction Roadhouse across the Jardine River and onto Seisia 29.7.2013 – 30.7.2013

David and the Green Machine at Bramwell Junction Roadhouse – dwarfed by termite mounds

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We checked out the Old Telegraph Line Track

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A break at Fruitbat Falls – parking is quite crowded

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The Jardine River Ferry Crossing – Waiting to Cross – We had to wait till the driver had finished lunch – no worries 

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Crossing the River on the Ferry

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There had been an announcement for a bridge to replace the Jardine River Crossing ferry in June 2013.

Postscripts – by late  2015 it emerged that the Feds committed to contributing $10million towards the cost of a bridge over the Jardine River – other sources towards the total cost of the bridge had not been determined Media announcement Jardine River Bridge – Dec 2015. That remained unchanged by late 2016. And by July 19 2018 – the ferry was still in operation, and apparently with 4 km long queues at times during the school holidays and peak season for Grey Nomads heading north to the Tip.

Getting closer to SEISIA

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We made it – at Seisia

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On the Beach at Seisia

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Fishing and Boating at Seisia

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Sunsets at Seisia

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A Trip to Thursday Island (TI)

At least one of my Hicks relatives lived on TI and then was the William Family – some of whom were also descendants of my First Fleet convict ancestors John Small and Mary Parker.

Waiting to Board

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We travelled to TI  with Peddles Ferries and and around the island with Peddles Charters Tours.

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The Church on TI and the Loss of the  “Quetta”

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Around the Town

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The Museum – unfortunately closed on the day we visited TI

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TI & the Military 

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Fear of the Russians in the 19th Century

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TI in WWII – so much changed with the Japanese invasion of PNG &  bombing of mainland Australia and in Torres Strait. Unfortunately we were not able to get to Horne Island.

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Some of the TI men who helped defend Australia in WWII – including from the William family – perhaps some related to one of my Small – Parker First Fleet William cousin ?

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The Political Realm

Postscript – wondering about government’s prioritisation of spending for TI eg water – but there seem to be lots of garbage bins.

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The Sea really dominates on TI

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Day 18 – Weipa to Bramwell Junction Roadhouse – 28.7.2013

Weipa to Bramwell Junction via Batavia Downs – another dry and dusty drive

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Road to Batavia Downs and Wenlock River Crossing 

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Moreton Old Telegraph Station – David shows how high floodwaters reach

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On to Bramwell Junction – dusty 4WD’s and Termite Mounds 

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Warning – last fuel till Jardine River Crossing

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The Green Machine at Bramwell Junction Roadhouse Camping Ground – very little grass here

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Days 16 – 17 Archer River to Weipa – 26.7.2013 – 27.7.2013

Packing up and ready to head off from our Archer River Roadhouse campsite the grass is sparse at Archer River

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Next Overnight stop is Weipa where we booked a site for several days

There are historical markers along the way – we’ll head down to Portland Roads and Chili Beach on the way back south

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A roadside coffee stop – yes that’s a sealed road too

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But it’s soon back to the dirt

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Back to the Bitumen and we’ve made Weipa – and its clearly a mining town

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Weipa beach just goes and goes – many seem to drive or ride along the beach 

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Our Campsite at Weipa Beach – with the usual crocodile warnings – but  there is a little grass 

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Chilling with beautiful Weipa Sunsets

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Our morning view from inside the Green Machine out to Weipa Beach

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Fishing boats at Evans Landing, Weipa & No Fishing From Bridge

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Mission River and the Uningham Nature Reserve on the River – no motorbike riding allowed here

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Tomorrow it’s onto Bramwell Junction

 

 

 

 

 

Day 15 – Laura to Archer River

Continuing northwards – hopping from roadhouse to roadhouse

After Packing up Camp at Laura

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On towards Hann River Roadhouse – dusty roads – another watercourse 

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Next to Musgrave Roadhouse

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Musgrave’s about halfway between Townsville and the Top

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More Ideas for further north

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An hour or so later and we’ve made Coen

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We had a look at the Cape York Heritage House in Coen

– unexpectedly it has good collection of old mining equipment.

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And onto Archer River and roadside ads for Weipa and Bramwell Junction further up the track

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And the road has taken its toll

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Archer River Roadhouse – some say the bridge/causeway over the Archer River has taken the adventure out of the crossing ?

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Our Campsite at Archer River Roadhouse – covers unzipped leaving only insect screens as it gets warmer up north. The annexe is tied down as we don’t use it for overnight stops.

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Day 14 – Cooktown to Laura – a Really Big Day – 24.7.2013

Hard to imagine that this was our 14th day on the road and we are now into the bottom of the Cape York area.

Today our destination was Laura – though after packing up the camper trailer, we had to first drop it off at a Cooktown servo to repair the brakes. That had been a saga – finding a servo in Cooktown that could actually do the repairs, phoning Cub Campers to get the part numbers,  having the parts freighted up, and then the actual work done so we could be on our way to Laura.

It was a big day – getting to Laura, setting up camp and then out to the Quinkan Rock Art  sites at Split Rock – a real highlight of our whole trip.

Cooktown Wharf – after dropping off the Camper Trailer we had a look around the Cooktown Wharf – and it was still windy !

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Relief – the Cooktown Servo that could repair the Camper Trailer’s brakes.

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Repairs done and David has the Camper Trailer hooked up – so we are just about on our way

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First Stop Endeavour River and Isabella Creek Crossing

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Next Crossing at Normanby to Battle Camp

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Laura River Crossing – we’ll find a lot more crossings and termite mounds before we finish our 13,000 km odyssey

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Old Laura Station

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Another Laura River Crossing – Shelley’s Crossing – with flower memorials – but look at the bends – and probably it’s no wonder some people have come to grief here

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Laura Pub – Roadhouse – camping ground out the back and there’s loads of space

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Laura Birdlife

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After lunch an amazing visit out to the Laura Quinkan Aboriginal Cultural Centre

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Next Stop – The Split Rock Quinkan Rock Art Sites – where you can do a self guided tour – there’s supposed to be a more extensive guided tour but that didn’t work out for us .. 

The Australian Heritage Commission’s 1980 national estate entry describes the Quinkan rock art as constituting

“..some of the largest bodies of prehistoric art in the world. The paintings are generally large and well preserved, and engravings of great antiquity occur. The Quinkan art is outstanding both in variety, quantity and quality” … “

From Tropical Queensland website :

“These galleries have been identified as being at least 15000 to 30000 years old and have been included on the Australian Heritage Estate and listed by UNESCO as being among the top 10 rock art sites in the world. People from many countries visit this remote location to view the rock art and gain some understanding of the Aboriginal stories associated with this magnificent sandstone landscape.

The paintings and engravings in the numerous Galleries are a pictorial record of ancestral spirits and through them represent the laws, socialisation, spirituality and cultural practices that are at the core of Aboriginal life and identity and their connection to the land. Rock Art from the region provides an amazing pictorial record of Aboriginal integration with the Australian landscape for a period of at least 27000 years.

People visit these sites to develop an understanding of the Aboriginal stories associated with the sandstone landscape of the region. This landscape features many areas of weathered and eroded rock that has shaped this wondrous landscape into the escarpments, rocky outcrops hills, and the river valleys that are seen today.”

1. Getting around the sites

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2. Interpretative Information for Quinkan Rock Art

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3. Even More Quinkan Rock Art

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Laura Campsite by moonlight

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Days 12 – 13 – Cape Tribulation to Cooktown – 22.7.2013 and 23.7.2013

We’d done a one day 4WD trip up to Cape Trib and Cooktown back in 1997 and, alas, our 2013 overnight stop at Cape Trib this time was all too short. We vowed to return yet again one day. However, David and his workmate Brian still found time to do a little fishing before we headed north towards Cooktown.

There was the Bloomfield River crossing and multilingual Crocodile warning signs beginning to appear. Though Crocodiles have spotted in rivers even as far south as the Mary River near Maryborough. We began to encounter more dirt roads – which were actually not too bad compared to what we would face further north.

Once we had mobile phone reception, we rang ahead to make our pre-booked camp spots were available at Cooktown  – only to find that they had been already allocated to someone else who had turned up on “spec”. They were asked to relocate and we were given our prebooked sites.We were able to stock up on fresh food etc at Cooktown – though up north the area becomes “Dry” – with limits on what alcohol, and how much, can be carried in the area.

It was incredibly windy up in Cooktown – Captain James Cook had noted it during his 1770 Voyage.  However we had more time to look around Cooktown this time unlike back in 1997  – and for a day trip out to Hopevale and Elim Sands.

Cape Tribulation – right near the beach

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Up to Bloomfield River and the Wugal Wugal

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From Bloomfield to Ayton

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The Lions Den at Helensvale 

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Lakeland NP Black Mountain Annan River on the road to Cooktown

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Finally Cooktown and sightseeing around the area 

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Cooktown Lighthouse – and the bride who was being photographed in her wedding dress at various locations

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The Road to Hopevale

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From Hopevale on to the stunning Elim Sands beach – and a very  very rough road in and out – even though it was being graded – then back to Cooktown for the night 

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Day 11 – Cairns to Cape Tribulation – 22.7.2013

Hicks in Cairns

Visited Cairns and Cape Trib in 1997 and always wanted to come back – discovering my Hicks cousin Marilyn and stories of the William Hicks branch of my family – a photograph of her grandfather Joseph Henry Hicks.

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Then catching up with David’s mates Brian and Nina as we travel up to the Tip

Cairns to Port Douglas 

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Port Douglas to Daintree Ferry

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Up to Cape Tribulation

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