It has been two days of discovery. The 904 km drive took us through the charming town of Charters Towers with its many historical buildings and on to Hughenden where we visited the Fossil and Dinosaur Museum and were introduced to the world of dinosaurs and palaeontologists. The huge reconstruction of the Muttaburrasaurus takes pride of place in the gallery along with smaller replicas of flying creatures, underwater dinosaurs and lots of ammonites.
Next stop was Richmond where we called into the Kronosaurus Korner which is reputed to be Australia’s premier marine fossil museum. This is an unforgettable prehistoric adventure and a very realistic movie showed us how the great inland sea which covered this area 100 million years ago has left behind an intriguing story of the creatures of the Earth’s Evolution. I have to say this was a surprise in this tiny outback town and whereas I am not overjoyed with looking at a large number of rocks, the whole story was presented in such a wonderful way that I left totally converted and feeling so intrigued about all this prehistoric history that I pondered about it for the rest of the day!
The drive to Julia Creek was uninteresting – flat, open country with few trees and very straight roads. Now I understand why – this was an inland sea!
We have come across a couple of hundred Road Trains over the past two days, all heading for Townsville and the port and carrying massive loads of copper and iron ore. I am in total awe of the drivers of these huge vehicles and spent quite some time chatting to a young man who spends his time driving from Townsville to Darwin and back. This is his truck – and the bullbar was taller than I am!
We spent the night in Julia Creek which is such a quiet little town totally inhabited by millions of bushflies. They are horrendous. We walked to the pub where we decided to have a meal. The place was buzzing, not with flies but mostly with workers all dressed in their Hi-Viz shirts and enjoying a beer after a hard day repairing both the roads and the railway lines after the floods.
Leaving Julia Creek and heading for Cloncurry the landscape changed – gently rolling hills and granite outcrops, massive gum trees overlooking creeks and riverbeds and lush feed for the cattle everywhere. More discoveries awaited us. The Mary Kathleen Uranium Mine was located near here and is now closed but a very well presented museum tells the story and there is a wonderful display of gemstones. Here we also found out a lot more about the ill fated Burke and Wills, found some fascinating history about the Pioneers of the area and learned that Cloncurry is the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This fabulous little museum tells about the history of outback aviation, medicine and radio as well as the School of the Air.
All this information was almost to overload level and so I decided to have a little break and wandered over to the garden where the Rest Rooms are located. Imagine my surprise to see this:
Once inside I found this:
This is life in the Outback !
And now here we are in the mining town of Mt Isa – tomorrow we are crossing into the Northern Territory and I am sure more surprises await. Stay tuned!