Well, I am back to tell you more travel tales dear friends! Since I last wrote we travelled from Winton to Cloncurry (pop 3500) and then on to Mt. Isa (pop 13,500) built as a mining town many years ago. We are staying here with my cousin Mick and his wife Tina and just by chance the rodeo is on this weekend! Therefore, we are busy busy so while I have a chance I will leave you this piece from my Travel Journal which updated recently. Enjoy!
Thursday 7th August 2014
What a day it has been! We set off from Winton just after 8.30am to drive the 258 ks on the long lonely highway to Cloncurry where I have relatives. It has been a little difficult as Geoff feels sleepy. Presently he is laying down on a concrete picnic seat having a snooze! As he is the driver I have to look after him.
We’ve had a couple of interesting experiences along the way. We stopped for petrol at Kynuna (pop 20) and a cold drink to keep us going. What a deserted, windy and wild place! One building: a petrol station; a shop, cafe and a hotel to boot. A five year old boy was ensconced at a big table covered in junk. “Home schooling” said the mother serving us.
As I glanced over at the boy who was playing with a large toy tractor, I could see no sign of anything to do with ‘school’ nearby. Too many people coming and going for Mum to do any school work. The boy looked very happy about this fact too! Back now on the road and our next break for lunch at MacKinlay.
As we travel onwards, the countryside is changing and we see an abundance of ant hills. Strangely enough, a lot of them have singlets and other clothing placed on them. Wierd! Soon we come across a sign saying “Crocodile Dundee”. Underneath is written “The Walkabout Creek Hotel.” Of course, the pub from the movie Crocodile Dundee!
We stop and go inside and there is the bar straight out of the movie. This little town MacKinlay (pop 20) has a great picnic area where we have lunch. Again, dry and desolate. The little library next door is classified ‘The smallest Library in Australia; (it is like a little backyard tin shed). We find out that it is the same shed that was used in Crocodile Dundee as Mick’s tour office. We had seen the sign in the pub up the road!
We chatted awhile to the librarian Tarnee who is having a culture shock working here after living on the Sunshine Coast. Only dial-up internet she tells us and if a few people are using it, you have to wait until one hangs up! Oh dear friends, it is the back of beyond it really is! Tarnee’s father is the policeman for the town.
We find out all about MacKinlay from a Centennial Museum on the property so we check it out and discover that John MacKindlay the explorer founded this area in 1862 when he was searching for Burke & Wills who had not returned from the outback. What a story this was … of course he found them alright … evidence of where they had died that is. What men of great adventure they were in those days taking camels and sheep and walking the outback for a year!
We packed up and headed the 100ks to Cloncurry. Nearly there now and Geoff had overcome his sleepiness! When my cousin Ronnie saw us get out of our car, he nearly jumped out of his skin. He had no idea we were coming as we couldn’t contact him on the phone. “It’s Therese!!” he says to his partner Maria in his country twang.
Well, everything at Ronnie’s house happens under the huge mango tree in the backyard so soon we were drinking tea and having a wonderful reunion. He insisted we stay at the house and with a sense of relief we went off to have tea at the local pub and then settle in for the night.
What an adventurous day it has been!
Saturday 9th August 2014
We left Cloncurry with hugs and kisses all round and a map to the house of another cousin (Ronnie’s brother Mick) in Mt Isa only an hour’s drive away. Mt. Isa has a huge mine and a big stack blowing smoke all over the town. I lived here in 1969 for six months and it has grown beyond recognition since then.
Ronnie is sure we will stay here too for a night and not a caravan park but when we arrive Mick is insistent we stay until Sunday because of the Rodeo which is in town!
Oh, so that’s two nights then?
No, says Geoff. We will leave on Monday as we will be so worn out from all the activities planned that we’ll wait until Monday.
Oh, so that’s THREE nights then? Yes, indeed it is!
So the Rodeo weekend is now upon us. We’ve been to Mardi Gras last night and watched the floats as they came along. Just when we were starving – around 7.30pm – a Hari Krishna van serving hot food came along and insisted on feeding us! Battered and deep-fried cauliflower and semolina for dessert washed down with fresh lemonade. It hit the spot I can tell you!
We’ve been to town today and checked out the family dress shop run by wife Tina and daughters plus daughter-in-law. What a lovely shop! Tomorrow is the big (read here ‘huge’) Rodeo breakfast here at Mick and Tina’s at 9am. Afterwards everyone goes to the Rodeo. Can’t wait.
That’s all for now folks. Signing off for now. Keep safe and well. Bye for now!