We watched a dark sky form over the little lake area on Thursday evening bringing thunder, fork lightning and a strong wind. We even got a few splashes of rain but the storm circled around us and the only effect we experienced was a very welcome drop in temperature making a pleasant, cool evening.
We sat outside by the light of a couple of candles after Kerrie made a delicious evening meal.
I got to bed early and left Kerrie sitting up watching TV as I needed to get up for a webinar from the United States at 1:00am. It was dead still at 1:00am except for the night sounds of crickets and various other animals. The moon lit up our little area and the sky was ablaze with stars.
I could not sleep after the webinar and ended up listening to Chuck Missler on the iPod for a couple of hours. He’s been doing an in depth study of the Book of Luke for a few weeks on his radio show and this last week’s climax I’ve found provocative and fascinating.
We had breakfast as the sun rose through the trees and the myriad of birdlife started the daily ritual of finding food.
We were a bit reluctant to leave this wonderful spot and it’s hard to come up with something that could have made the stay here more perfect – except maybe the arrival of an old, white Ford Ranger with a Trayon camper on the back, its beloved owners to share in the beauty of the place.
In fact sharing this special spot with any of the family or friends would have been the only improvement to this experience.
Skippy and Leslie are currently picking up their new van from Melbourne – very similar to ours – and I’m sure they would find the same peacefulness and tranquillity here as we have.
We decided it was time to ditch the bikes as we’ve rarely used them and the mounting is worryingly unstable. I get horrible visions of the mess that could be caused if the bolts sheer off again leaving the bikes to embed themselves into the back of the van or worse cause a serious accident at speed on the highway.
I stripped the bikes down to make it easier to carry in the Ute to a dump spot while Kerrie made ready for moving on.
We hit the highway again heading to Barcaldine as the heat came back into the day.
The long straight road unfolded before us and the country became more harsh and unforgiving in appearance, yet still beautiful.
In 80 kilometres we passed just one old house, the only sign any one lived in this part of the world. Of course there are many homesteads along this route but none are visible from the road giving a feeling of remoteness.
We pulled into Barcaldine, took a drive around the town and then parked and walked around to explore this historical old place.
Barcaldine is the birthplace of the Australian Labour Party which was formed out of wild conflict between the local shearers and landowners over wages and conditions.
The centre of the town is dominated by The Tree of Knowledge memorial.
This is a unique structure set upon the site of a massive Ghost Gum tree known as the Tree of Knowledge. The tree started dying, poisoned in an act of vandalism with Roundup 2006. An arborist declared the tree dead on 3 October 2006. The ALP offered a reward of $10,000 for any information that will help identify those responsible.
The remains of the tree were removed on 29 July 2007. The tree has undergoing a process of wood preservation and now sits as the centrepiece of the monument. The tree was successfully cloned in 2008 by workers at the former Queensland Department of Primary Industries.
We explored the town’s six pubs and marvelled that such a small town could support them all. There were 11 pubs but a fire in 1909 claimed most of them. Some were rebuilt only to experience another fire in 1966 and these 6 were the survivors.
After topping up with a few groceries, a very nice coffee and fresh bread from the bakery we headed for the Lloyd Jones Weir about 15km out of town situated on the banks of the Alice River.
It is perhaps even more peaceful as even the highway and town are a long distance away.
There’s no TV but there is phone and internet coverage.
Thick stands of Ghost Gum trees line the banks of the river and there’s a rich diversity of birdlife.
Kangaroos come down to the river to drink and although we have not sighted one yet Wombats are frequent visitors.
We cooked dinner on the portable BBQ outside and enjoyed the tranquillity as night fell .
The early evening was very hot with not much change from the day temperature until about 8:00pm when a cool breeze sprang up making it easier to sleep.
Rising early again before sunrise I decided to rig the rod and try some early morning fishing.
I soon had a just legal Silver Perch and a Catfish after landing and returning a host of small ones and some undersize Yellowbelly.
After sunrise we surprised to see a couple of locals in small alloy punt with an electric motor drifting by.
Every few minutes they would haul in a Yellow belly that they needed a landing net for.
They drifted over to us for a chat and explained that it was quite rare to catch Yellowbelly from the bank and that prior to the heavy January to August rains this area had not fished well.
Since the rain they were able to get their quota of ten almost every time.
I continued to try for a while with a lure after they left but came up empty handed.
Later as we sitting in the van working the same two blokes pulled up beside us in their car with the boat on the back and asked if would like some fish.
They gave us two beautiful Yellowbellys and told us how to fillet them being sure to remove the bands of fat round the gills and along the dorsal fin.
If this is not done they said they taste like s*&t.
If this IS done they taste as good as or better than any saltwater fish.
We shared these lovely fish with Warwick and Anne our next door neighbours who are from Cairns.
It’s amazing; every spot we stop at we are in awe of the place. In most of these places nobody seems to care in the slightest how long you stay, in fact quite the contrary we are constantly being asked to stay longer.