We had the whole area to ourselves for the last night in Sapphire as all the neighbours moved on early in the day.
It was a peaceful night and a brilliant morning as the sun rose over the sapphire mines all around.
I settled in to a few hours more work before leaving. We had to finish a job in Melbourne and email it through as we weren’t sure if we would have an internet connection in time to meet our promised deadline of that afternoon.
While I worked Kerrie continued with her goal of developing a database application by herself as part of her process of learning the business and I must she is doing so well at it, much better than I ever did when I struggled through about 15 years of self learning.
We were amazed to see the Child care centre with a sizeable number of children in it!
After meeting some lovely people from Brissy who were just one week into their new “on the road” lifestyle , and after filling the van with cool sweet water that cost us 20cents, we got under way at about 11:0am and headed toward Anakie and the Capricorn highway.
We decided not to call in at Anakie but instead head straight to Jericho about 140 km away.
We were amazed to see the landscape changing yet again as we headed up the fairly steep Drummond Ranges in the outer reaches of the Bowen Basin.
All through the ranges the sheer ruggedness and the harshness of the country side made us think of the toughness of the people who initially chose to call this part of Australia home.
We stopped for a cold drink beside a lonely little cemetery seemingly in the middle of nowhere. A sign read “Bogantungan” and a little further up the road we came upon this town of Bogantungan. There were only 3 very old houses and an old railway station. There was an old outhouse with a sign reading “Public Toilet” standing uninvitingly beside the station.
As usual we loved stopping here as we could imagine what this town may have looked like in the early days of the railway coming through the area.
The landscape changed to a less hilly terrain with a distinctly more “outback” appearance of red dirt and sparse vegetation.
We eventually came upon the little town of Alpha where we filled up with diesel at a surprisingly reasonable price for out here and made for Snow’s Bakery in the little main street. We had heard about this place and were told it was a “must stop” place as the bread was supposed to superb.
The bakery has won awards in Brisbane Sydney and Melbourne for its pies and so we sampled one of these award wining delicacies. True to reputation they were delicious and as was the bread.
Alpha is a quaint and thoroughly pleasant little town with all the streets named after poets such as Tennyson, Byron and Shakespeare.
Kerrie went to the Information Centre, as she usually does, and found a lovely elderly lady whose knowledge of the area was vast.
Heading out of Alpha the long, straight highway stretched before us to the horizon and once again the vast, sparsely populated cattle country fascinated us.
Coming upon the town of Jericho we made a quick round the town circuit as we always do and then made for the free camping area beside the Jordon River.
This site is truly wonderful and we’ll stay her for a couple of days at least.
We are right beside the river in this quiet peaceful spot. There are about eight other vans here but it’s like we are alone. The Ghost Gums and Willows line the banks and the place is teeming with bird life.
There is water, toilets and you can start campfires.
We love this place.
The Redclaw traps went in as soon as we were set up and the fishing rod was in the water moments later.
Bites came almost immediately although after sadly catching two turtles we decided to stop fishing.
We had no dinner tonight as we were both still full from the Alpha pies so we sat and languished in the sights and sounds of this wonderful spot till darkness fell.
We arose just before sunrise to a symphony of sound.
A gentle morning breeze rustled the trees, small fish created splashes in the river and the birdlife created a symphony that although it was random, without music sheets or conductor, was like a perfectly integrated orchestra with no off key instruments.
Birds are everywhere and watching them search for food was fascinating.
Some like the white Great Egret would walk stilt like along the edge of the river often stopping dead still for minutes on end patiently awaiting a fish to come close.
Others like the Kestrels and Eagles waited in the surrounding trees and swooped down on the surface of the river to pluck out an unsuspecting surface swimming fish.
Pied Herons waited in the treetops also while a constantly changing variety of finches and other small birds flittered amongst the rushes and trees adding their soprano tweets to the symphony.
Pied Cormorants and unknown dark raven type birds appeared and disappeared constantly and ducks glided seemingly effortlessly on the water’s surface.
Also appearing was what appeared to be a Male Hardhead or White-eyed Duck which is the only Australian member of the worldwide Pochard or Diving Duck family. These little ducks would head for the centre of the river and repeatedly dive under the surface often staying for 30 seconds or so.
This was the idyllic morning scene in which we revelled until we decided to go for a walk into town before the projected 36 degree heat came upon us.
Chris and I took a walk around the town this morning.
We had picked Jericho to stay at because the campsite sounded good in the “Camp6” book.
When you stop at a place you get to know a bit about it and this is why I visit the local information stops.
This Jericho town has residents who know the biblical story of the Battle of Jericho. It doesn’t stop there “Queensland’s little Jericho” is built on the Jordan Creek, south of Lake Galilee.
The local residents with the help of artists have constructed a feature the “Crystal Trumpeters”.
This is a reconstruction based on the Biblical story where the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for 6 days and blew their trumpets on the 7 day, watching as the city walls collapsed.(Joshua 18-22)
Isn’t it wonderful we live in a Christian country where residents can show this wonderful piece of art work. I wonder how long before some Muslim or other religion sues to have the town removed or renamed because it is against their beliefs, and us “laid back Aussie” bends over to meet the request.
Jericho also has one of the smallest Drive-in theatres that holds only 36 cars plus walk-ins. It’s in the middle of town and if you can’t fit your car in, there are canvas seats to use.
It shows once a month and it happens to be this Saturday night. Chris has said “NO” to the request to stay for it. It might have something to do with what is showing. I think both movies would be great to see (again).