|29th July, 2013.
Today broke with blue sky and sunshine. Hope it lasts and we get a nice day for a change.
Decided to have a walk around Atherton as we like to do in most towns we stop in. We had breakfast at a nice little bakery in the main street and then went to the Crystal Cave.
The gemstones were just beautiful and there is a whole room full of amethyst which is my favourite. I had thought to buy a pair of earrings but they had everything else but. Never mind I will find something somewhere.
We drove out to have a look at the Chinese Temple but it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so instead went to the Apex Park where they have an old steam locomotive and carriages. It is also the place where you can see platypus, we didn’t, and also turtles, we did.
We drove out to Rocky Creek War Memorial and camp ground at Tolga.
There were a lot of vans of all descriptions camped there. It is quite open with very little shade so just perfect for the solar panels.
The site of the War Memorial was originally the WWII Army Hospital and Medical Base from 1942 until 1946.
There was a 200 bed camp hospital, an 1800 bed general hospital for the 2/2 regiment, an 1800 bed general hospital for the 2/6 regiment and a convalescent depot and also the 47th Camp Hospital.
The ambulance train came in here with wounded and sick troops that had been offloaded from the ships in Cairns after they had been on service overseas.
According to the map display it was a very very big area and what are left now are just slabs of concrete with markers to tell you what was there, eg: Kitchen, Latrine, ablution block, mess hall etc.
Right throughout the whole park are numerous sandstone markers and on each rock there is a plaque dedicated to all the company’s, battalions, platoons etc., that were either based here or had some association with the camp during the war.
We seem to think that this is where Rob’s father was brought when they shipped him back from Morotai after falling very ill whilst on active service. He had always said that he was at an army hospital just up the road from Cairns in the mountains and Cairns isn’t all that far down the hill.
We have found the plaque associated with Rob’s father, the 2/2 Heavy Aircraft Regiment and Rob remembers him telling him of all the places listed on the stone.
My uncle Norman McNeilly did his jungle training in the mountains around Atherton before being shipped to New Guinea and I have found the plaque dedicated the 9th Division. He was killed in the jungle outside of Lae in New Guinea and is now buried at Finschhafen Cemetery.
After leaving the War Memorial we took a drive out to Tinaroo dam. It is a man-made dam and in its construction a small village was flooded. At the moment it is nowhere near capacity and they say during the very dry seasons that they get up here from time to time, the village is visible and some of the buildings are still intact.
The capacity of the dam is on a par with Sydney Harbour, so it is a rather large body of water.
We carried on with our sightseeing and headed out to the Gallo Dairy.
We took some of the back roads to get to the dairy and along the way we saw some sheds.
No doubt you have all heard of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach, well Atherton has the “Stockman’s Hall of Hay”. It is retail out let for all sorts of farming necessities and obviously someone has a sense of humour.
We arrived at the dairy where they have award winning cheese and yoghurt and also handmade chocolates.
We decided to share a cheese platter which consisted of five different types of cheese, fresh fruit and crackers. There was certainly enough to eat and we enjoyed all of it.
We had a walk around the dairy but we were too early for the milking and in the cheese room they weren’t in production mode.
And NO, I didn’t sample the chocolates. I was a good girl. LOL.
30th July, 2013
We went into Yungaburra this morning to stock up on prescriptions. Evidently there is no pharmacy in Normanton or anywhere out that way and the advice is to get them before you leave here.
We had breakfast in the Whistle Stop Café while we waited and as with most of these little country towns the service could not be faulted and always given with a smile.
After breakfast we had our usual walk around town and called into the woodwork shop. They had the most beautiful timber furniture, mostly coffee and dining tables, they weren’t cheap but they sure were beautiful.
We had a look inside the Yungaburra Hotel circa 1910, which has the most beautiful wooden stair cases and furniture and you can just imagine how it would have looked in its heyday.
We noticed the Yungaburra Butchery is the oldest registered butcher shop in Queensland dating back to 1914 and still going strong today.
They have nice hanging baskets along the main street all filled with brightly coloured flowers and of course plenty of trees and tropical flora.
The next port of call was The Curtain Fig.
The fig is quite impressive with its roots hanging down in the form of a curtain, hence its name, and it spreads over quite some area. It is easily accessible via a well maintained boardwalk. The peace and quiet just a few metres off the road is quite amazing, all you can hear are the birds and the breeze through the canopy.
We went out to Peeramon where we were to meet Greg and Caz for lunch but when we got out there they only do lunches on the weekend so it was back down the road into Malanda.
We still had our pub lunch, at the Malanda Hotel. Beautiful schnitzel with chips and salad and so much of it that neither Rob nor I could really do it justice.
To walk off lunch we took a tour around the town. It is renowned for its mosaics and there are many and varied ones in a lot of places, footpaths, shop fronts, totem poles, even a love seat in the park. They were done by the local townsfolk and also the children from the local school.
Then it was down to Malanda Falls, while these falls aren’t as big as some of the others we have seen lately they were nice and spilled over into a pool that obviously is used as a swimming hole in the hotter months.
We headed back out to Tinaroo Lake to have a look at the Afghanistan Memorial Walk.
It is the Avenue of Honour and a sign of the times is that since the park opened in June 2013 there has already been some vandalism so they have had to install surveillance cameras, some people just have no respect.
They have planted flame trees down both sides of the pathway and when they mature should be a beautiful walk. They have seats at regular intervals and they have rosemary worked into the ironwork, very fitting I thought.
What I thought particularly touching was that they also have a memorial to all the bomb disposal/sniffer dogs that have served in Afghanistan and have met their demise in the course of their service.
31st July, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DARLING DAUGHTER LORRAINE…….Always my little girl.
We are going to do a “loop” today, Atherton to Heberton then to Ravenshoe and back to Lake Eacham.
We started out in rather coolish conditions and our first stop was Heberton, a tin mining town, which was founded in April 1880 and by December of that year the total population was 300 and of those only 27 were women.
Next stop is Tumoulin which is along the road to Ravenshoe and is the highest road in Queensland.
Tumoulin is where they run steam train trips but due to a blow out in the boiler pipe there will be no trains till further notice. It is also the highest railway station in Queensland coming in at 964 metres above sea level.
They have some carriages at the station which were obviously used to transport the troops during the war as one of the carriages still carries the insignia of the Australian Military Forces.
Don’t know about the air-conditioned first class carriage though. LOL
It was on to Ravenshoe. A nice little town, which incidentally is the highest town in Queensland, with the highest hotel and I suppose everything else in the town would be the highest too. LOL
During our walk around we came across the Traveller’s Rest Camping area. $15 per night for power and water is a good deal. The area is well laid out and well-presented and lovely and clean.
The area is also home to the locomotive workshop and the engine from Tumoulin was there being repaired. I hope it doesn’t take as long as the repairs to the old blitz, think they have been letting the grass grow on that one.
Now it is off to the bakery for lunch. We have been told about the vanilla slices at the Ravenshoe Bakery so of course we will have to check them out.
I can thoroughly recommend the pies, no soggy bottoms here, and the vanilla slices were to die for. Well worth the time to sit and eat them. The café next door has the cheapest fish and chips we have seen since I don’t know when $8.00 fish and chips, how’s that for economy.
It’s time after our walk around town to head onto the next stage of the tour.
We saw our first wind farm of the trip so far, just outside Ravenshoe and there are 20 turbines on the top of a place called “Windy Hill”……. Go figure…. LOL.
They started building them in 1999 and commissioned them in 2000 and the life of the generators in the towers is 25 years. Each tower is capable of supplying electricity for 175 houses and the 20 towers combined will produce enough power for 3500 homes which is equivalent to the little town of Ravenshoe and Atherton and Mareeba.
There has been a lot of opposition to the installations of wind farms, not just here in Queensland but in most parts of Australia. To me it makes sense……clean energy. I find them rather “majestic” and as for being responsible for killing birds as so many claim, I think the birds can fly a lot quicker than these blades can turn. The noise is only equivalent to a propeller at low speed and it’s not as if they are in people’s back yards.
Our next stop is actually just 2 klms down the road from the park and is Lake Eacham. The Lake is 65 metres deep and evolved from a volcanic crater way back before man ever set foot in this part of the world.
One young lady was having a swim and exited the water looking rather blue. She did say it was a tad chilly. You had to laugh.