When Burke and Wills were charged with crossing the country from south to north, they had one enormous task ahead of them. As we stood here at their most northerly campsite, we marvelled at the fact that they had walked here (mostly) from Melbourne. All but one of their party died on the walk back from this campsite.
The site has an excellent memorial and some of the trees with their signature blazes are still here. As surveyors, they would carve their marks into the surrounding trees. Many years later, people have been able to find the marks and know where each of the early explorers went. The bronze map with Burke and Wills trails gave us an excellent understanding of just how far they came. We have recently driven from Melbourne to this spot, and it is a VERY long way. Cannot imagine walking it!
Poppy (Daniel’s Dad) joined us for the trip from Kingfisher Campsite back to Townsville, and this was our first night’s camping spot. We were only 2km off the main road and we were the only people in the campsite. It was excellent to enjoy both the peace and quiet, and poppy’s company for the few days he was with us. Although, he did not contribute to the peace and quiet, making the children squeal with delight or feigned torture at a moments notice!
What was immediately noticeable once the sun had set, and with a new moon overhead, the sheer volume of stars visible. The splendour of the entire universe seemed to stretch out before our eyes, and tantalise us with new sights and wonders to explore. I have never seen so many stars in all my life.
Poppy was the star attraction though and all the kids ran him ragged whilst they had him all to themselves. Here is a photo of them all with him standing next to a signature blaze tree at Camp 119. This was a bush campsite though, enhanced by the opportunity for an open air shower and bush toilet. Somehow during this year, none of this bothers any of us anymore. It seems that the more bush camping we do, the more we seem to be able to stretch our previous attitudes. Things that really bothered us in the past, seem to have little or no effect now.
The next day, we headed for Normanton to see a replica of the largest saltwater crocodile ever caught in the world. Reported to be over 6m long (28ft), we didn’t believe it was possible. This model was built from records lost in the 1974 floods. Prior to the records being lost, this animal was verified by the Guiness Book of World Records, so we have come to believe that it’s a true representation.
It is so big it looks comical. But at 8.63m, you can be assured that this is one crocodile that we have no desire to meet, other than as a fibreglass statue.
We refuelled and headed for Georgetown across more of the Savannah Way. From Georgetown we drove south to Forsayth and then east to Einasleigh where we camped in the local caravan park. This drive from Forsayth to Einasleigh was some of the most picturesque scenery we have encountered, and the road was GREAT!
Our final destination was returning poppy to Townsville where grandma was delighted to see us all the following day. The kids immediately plonked themselves into the pool and stayed there for three days. Grandma offered to help Josie with a craft project, and together they manufactured a carry bag for Josie with some appliqué work on the front. Mum also did all of our little sewing repair jobs, while she was at it!
Daniel offered to assist with a Townsville MMM project and disappeared into town for the first couple of days, while Karen decided to finish the school term on time. Upon assessment of the kids work, she discovered that she needed to send all the work to the school for the past TWO terms. This became a very stressful exercise (See another post on that!).
At the end of the week, we drove out to Daniel’s sister’s property. Ruth (with boyfriend Paul) has purchased 66 acres at Majors Creek (just south of Townsville) with a shed, bore and dam on it. Other than some agisted cows, there is plenty to explore, motorbikes to ride, and relaxation to be had in bucketfulls.
Ruth took everyone for a ride on the motorbike, except for Josie. Connor and Rosa were delighted and excited all at the same time and could hardly contain themselves. Leisl was a little more cautious, but she enjoyed the experience. It was decided that Josie was too big for rides, and she should learn to ride the bike herself. So Ruth taught Josie to ride the motorbike! Of course! Like that wouldn’t freak her parents out or anything!
The first we knew of it, was watching Josie ride off down the paddock with Ruth following up the rear shouting more instructions. Josie managed to pick up the skills relatively quickly, and eventually managed to ride around in second gear.
The parents also went for a quick ride, with Daniel taking a second to remember what to do, and almost losing control on take off. Karen was more like a duck to water, and refrained from scaring the pants off the rest of us, by riding casually around before expressing her interest in a bigger bike!
We decided to head for south east Queensland on Monday morning, so naturally on Sunday night it rained. And rained and rained and rained!!! In the morning we were confronted with having to pack up a wet tent, in the rain, with everything soaked in the deluge. Even some of the bedding. Seems as though Ruth and Paul also have a water feature on the property, and we camped in the middle of it.