Day 52 – Carnavan Gorge to Miles – 31.8.2013

Another walk after camping at Carnavon Gorge we headed off for another walk

and of course, more Echidna’s were on the move.

It was alarming to see the damage done by wild pigs

Our last stop was at the Baloon Cave where we were able to view Rock Art

On the way back towards Roma we passed by Takarakka where there had been plane crash during WWII

We had hoped to stop at Roma for the night but found that one caravan park had closed, another had been converted into Dongha’s for FIFO miners, and there was a show on at the Showground which meant no camping there.

We drove on hoping to find a camping ground and ended up at Miles. David manoeuvred the Green Machine into one of the few sites available – it was over the remains of the foundations of a cabin that had been demolished. The park appeared to be in the process of being redeveloped. And next morning it was a bit of challenge getting the Green Machine hitched up to the Prado but eventually it was done and we were on our way.

Day 51 – Emerald to Carnavon Gorge – 30.8.2013

We hadn’t planned to go to Carnavon Gorge but after listening to Brian’s description we changed our itinerary.

Having left Emerald we passed through the Springsure area, where we encountered drovers on horseback and motorbike, with a large mob of cattle spread out over both sides of the road and along quite a long distance. And you could see the ribs on some of the cattle.

Finally arriving at Carnavon Gorge –  after a water crossing or two and dodging a few more Emu’s, as they decided which side of the road they wished to wander

With the Green Machine set up we headed off to explore the area

It was great to see a Wallaby and we didn’t realise how many we would see at Carnavon Gorge

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We spotted a few Echidna’s – apparently it was the mating season so they were out and about.

We chose one of the nature walks and the Wallabies were quite unperturbed

Late in the afternoon we decided to listen to an Eco talk by one of the Park’s rangers

 

Day 50 – Longreach to Emerald – 29.8.2013

An Emu at Ilfracombe out from Longreach

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We pushed on to Barcaldine at the junction of the Capricorn and Landsborough Highways – there are still some old buildings there. We had a really big afternoon at Barcaldine where a lot of political history was made.

First of all we noticed the Artesian Hotel.

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Then we noticed the Tree of Knowledge site, one of Australia’s National Heritage Places, in front of the Barcaldine Railway Station.  The site, pivotal in the Australian Labour Movement and the ALP, was where many activities took place around the bitter 1891 Shearer’s Strike. Visiting it so soon after the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, which seemed a more romanticised view,  made for interesting contrasts.

And it’s a tragedy that someone poisoned the Tree a while back in 2006. ABC reported back then that about 30 litres of chemicals had been poured around over the tree’s roots.

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The Windmill nearby had its own story as well – being a symbol of the importance of Artesian Borewater to outback Queensland.

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It was sad to see the Globe Hotel which had closed in 2011 – although back in April 2013 there were plans for it to be redeveloped as a Visitors Centre and Art Gallery. We peered through the windows and it looked like there was activity going on inside. Down the track, future plans may also run to a library, theatrette and function centre.

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Dad had an Adams uncle known as Gidge in Boggabilla,  so I was taken by the Gidgee Bug Diner next to the Commercial Hotel and down from the Stock and Realty Building. Gidgee bugs are also known as Stink Bugs in other parts of Australia and there is a  tree called Gidgee aka the Stinking Wattle. So we’ve wondered how he came to be known as Gidge.

Wandering around the corner we found the 1924 Radio Theatre building on what had been the Bank of NSW site.

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Noticing a sign about an Australian Workers Heritage Centre, we wandered further and found a giant tent with a Eureka Flag flying on top. Back in 1988, the tent had been the main tent in the BHP sponsored touring exhibition to commemorate the Bicentenary of European settlement.

But there was so much more than the Big Top – eg extensive displays on the 1891 Shearers Strike. I’m descended from more than a few generations of Shearers, Stationhands and Stockmen and Graziers, and I’ve been of the Labour movement – so, for me this exhibition was fascinating.

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Striking Shearers were gaoled for their stand – and workers’ relationships with the police deteriorated even further.

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However the Shearers Strike was to have long lasting impacts

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More widely, the emergence of Labour extended beyond the Shearers and the emerging Federal Parliament – intoRailways, Indigenous People, Women, Health.

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The Australian Workers Heritage Centre is undeniably a museum with a powerful political message that still resonates.


Alas however, we spent so long in Barcaldine that we arrived much later than planned in Emerald where David had hoped to do some fossicking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Days 48 – 49 – Opalton to Longreach – 27.8.2013 – 28.8.2013

Another long dry drive towards Longreach but at least the road was sealed and for a change and the soil less red – and the rope for the kayak on the roof of the Prado continues to hang down.

Longreach at last – and we’re at the Tropic of Capricorn

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Longreach Railway Station

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Lyceum Hotel Longreach

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Time for Shopping

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Shearers tools from bygone days at the store

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An afternoon ride around Longreach with Cobb & Co ?

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The Green Machine in Longreach Camping Ground – not much grass to be seen

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QANTAS at Longreach

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Out to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame

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The stories at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame included Indigenous Trade

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Even from our part of Australia although they spelled Dharawal as Turawal

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Time for the Stockman’s Show

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That Night the Stockman is out at the Camping Ground

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Day 46 – 47 – Winton to Opalton – 25.8.2013 – 26.8.2013

 

Winton is proud’s of its pinnacle position on the Dinosaur Trail so our first stop was out to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History

 

 

Off to the Waltzing Matilda Museum in Winton

 

And then time to drop off the Prado for its service – and a pit stop at Winton’s Gregory Hotel – maybe fix the plummeting fuel consumption since the NT and the rear door’s dust issue ?

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Many of the camping grounds in Outback Queensland have night time entertainment – music or comedians. Winton had one half of a Comedic Duo in The Shed. There was an option for Dinner and Show but we decided on just the Show.

Checking out the neighbour’s Tvan rig at Winton

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Out to Winton’s Lark Quarry and the Dinosaur Stampede

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So many other places to explore in Queensland Heritage Trails Network !

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Camp at Opalton – the big Shed for the fossickers to gather – the humpy’s have been taken over by semi permanent campers – dinner at last light before sunset – campfire chats

Discovering Opalton by day as David heads off opal fossicking

 

Day 45 Mt Isa – Winton – 24.8.2013

A morning in Mt Isa. We’d last been there in 1975

Shopping for supplies and then a flat battery – after arriving so late in Mt Isa the night before we’d forgotten to unplug the Green Machine from the Prado. A call to RACQ and we were on our way.

A quick look at the local Museum

And off towards Winton – past Crocodile Dundee’s Walkabout Hotel and the Blue Heeler Hotel in Wynuna – and so far the roads are sealed …

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Day 44 – Cape Crawford to Mt Isa – 23.8.2013

I wonder how Cape Crawford was named as it is well away from the coast?

Cape Crawford to Barkley Roadhouse – another long long stretch – though I noticed that the fuel level was plummeting faster than the Prado’s computer had earlier indicated. We had to turn off the air con and drop the Prado’s speed to make it into Barkley – we had maybe 15 -30 kms of fuel left in the tank.

Again it was tempting to turn right instead of left and onto Tennant Creek where we’d camped for 3 weeks back in December 1975 when our car broke down. We’d been trying to do the big lap around Australia back then … one day….

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Not much to see between Barkley Homestead and Camooweal

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Today we planned to stop overnight at Camooweal – but we arrived to find the road blocked off with TV cameras rolling.

Surely there couldn’t be a protest at Camooweal? The place was jumping and crowded with the annual Drovers Camp festival. We tried to find a camping spot from the folks at the Camooweal pub but alas no luck.  

We kept heading east and ended up at Mt Isa – well after dark.So it was  a rare night at a motel in the Isa, instead of the Green Machine.