Moon Eclipse 8 November

It was not easy to take photos as the light was low and the camera would not focus..

I thought camera was faulty and changed cameras…

Black Mountain Rosstown Queensland

 Kalkajaka National Park (CYPAL) contains an imposing mountain range of black granite boulders. These formidable boulders, some the size of houses, stack precariously on one another—appearing to defy both gravity and logic.The wet tropics and drier savanna/woodland regions meet in this park, making it a refuge for wildlife. The extraordinary combination of flora and geomorphology provides a habitat for an unusual range of wildlife, including species that are endemic (entirely confined) to this boulder-jumbled mountain. Kalkajaka (meaning ‘place of spear’), is an important meeting place for the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people and is the source of many Dreaming stories. The mountain is also a feature of local non-Aboriginal folklore.

Read more about the nature, culture and history of Kalkajaka National Park (CYPAL)

The name Kalkajaka literally means ‘the place of the spear’ and was the site of bloody battles between warring ancestral clans and the spirits of the Dreamtime. It’s been dubbed the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of Queensland, with stories dating from the late 1800s to 1930s of early explorers, horses and whole mobs of cattle disappearing into the labyrinth of rocks, never to be seen again.

There are many sites of cultural Significance on the mountain. These include Kambi, a large rock with a cave where flying-foxes are found; Julbanu, a big grey kangaroo-shaped rock looking toward Cooktown; and Birmba, a stone facing toward Helenvale where sulphur-crested cockatoos are seen. There are places that are taboo at the foot of the mountain range

Marguerite Carstairs

Kalkajaka is known for making loud, explosive noises, which can happen without warning. “You can hear big cracks and explosions. That is the granite, it peels like an onion,” Mr Dear said. “The black colour, which is actually algae covering it, gets very hot and it expands and contracts with the heat of the night and day as well as with thunderstorms and rain and things like that. “So you get these rapid episodes of weathering and ‘pow’, the skin just falls off.”

The granite rock is actually a light grey colour and composed of mineral such as feldspar, mica and hornblende. Kalkajaka’s distinctive dark appearance is due to a film of microscopic blue-green algae growing on the exposed surfaces. Grey patches and boulder fractures indicate ongoing rock disintegration—a process accelerated dramatically when cold rain hits rock, sometimes with explosive results.

The topography of the mountain, with its boulders sitting on top of each other with large gaps in between, could make it a perilous place, Mr Dear said, and may have contributed to disappearances of unlucky explorers in years gone by. “Some of those boulders are actually balanced. You can leap on a boulder the size of a car, and occasionally you can actually feel that boulder move, it’s very unsettling,” he said. “There are big boulders in odd shapes sitting on top of each other. There is a lot of open space to fall down and keep falling, basically.” Adding to the mountain’s unusual features are three endemic species – a skink, gecko and bright yellow frog – found nowhere else in the world. Unique flora also appeared to flourish on Black Mountain…

Despite being a man of science, Mr Dear said he still believed there was something supernatural about Kalkajaka that could not be explained. “I still have a belief that it’s a very powerful place and I can see why some Indigenous people hold it in deep fear, and always in respect,” he said. “I sort of have a rule that I do not upset the mountain. There is something very karmic about that mountain. You need to keep on its good side.”

The blend of rainforest and open forest in the park supports rich birdlife. Overhead, look for black kites Milvus migrans flying leisurely with slow wing-beats and glides.  Above the boulders look for near threatened (rare) Australian swiftlets Aerodramus terraereginae. When in dark caves and crevices these birds use echo-location, emitting sharp clicks and using the echo that bounces back to navigate. In flight they utter shrill cheeping and squealing notes. Australian swiftlets are endemic to Queensland.

Around the base of the mountain are a number of plants normally found in rainforest. Self-mulching ferns, umbrella trees and stinging trees have adapted to these very different conditions. Monsoon forest, technically known as semi-deciduous mesophyll vine forest, grows around the edges of the rock masses. This vegetation is a haven for animals that venture from or to the rocky shelter of the mountain.

Homestead Laura Queensland

Information Board at Lakefield National Park

Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) is renowned for its vast river systems and spectacular wetlands. In the wet season, the Normanby, Morehead and North Kennedy rivers and their tributaries join to flood vast areas, eventually draining north into Princess Charlotte Bay. During the dry season, rivers and creeks shrink, leaving large permanent waterholes, lakes and lagoons that attract an array of animals, particularly waterbirds. To the north, the park features impenetrable mangroves along the estuaries and coastline of Princess Charlotte Bay. Behind the coast are extensive salt flats and marine plains that give way to inland tracts of eucalypt and paperbark woodlands. Fringing many of the river banks and streams are magnificent, tall paperbark trees and patches of gallery rainforest. The landscape of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) is of significant Aboriginal cultural significance. 

We drove down to the Old Laura Homestead and looked around the homestead, which is enclosed by fencing so we could not enter the building. The outlying farm buildings were open and there was an information board with the history of the Homestead and many photos. We realised the hard life living here would have been for the women and the families.

Wander through the Old Laura Homestead and read about Fergus O’Beirne, a young Irish immigrant who bought the Laura Station lease (12,800ha) in 1879 for just over £8. By 1894 he had over 8000 head of cattle—the success due largely to the contribution of the Aboriginal workers.

When Patrick Bernard and David Grogan took over the lease in 1925, they improved and added to the homestead and outbuildings. The Lakefield Cattle Company purchased the Laura and Lakefield properties in 1966, but abandoned Old Laura Homestead in favour of New Laura, 24km north. The homestead fell into disrepair.

In 1978, the Queensland Government purchased both stations and volunteers restored the homestead and the outbuildings, which are now recognised on the Queensland Heritage Register.

Peninsula Developmental Road

Peninsula Developmental Road

The Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR) runs 571 km (355 mi) from Lakeland to Weipa.  It is the main road transport link within Cape York Peninsula and to the rest of the Australian mainland. The segment from Lakeland to the Rio Tinto boundary is 466 km (290 mi) and is under Transport and Main Roads control. 200 km (120 mi) of 571 km (355 mi) from Lakeland to Weipa is currently unsealed road (as of April 2022).The condition of the unsealed road is highly variable. Mud, sand, dust, gravel and dirt corrugations are some of the road conditions subject to change of weather conditions.

Cattle stations edge the highway.. Olive Vale Pastoral has 3 properties… Olive Vale is on the Laura River, 200km northwest of Cairns North Queensland and 90km west of Cooktown with mains power and sealed (bitumen) road access to all southern markets and Abattoirs. Olive Vale covers approximately 136,000 hectares .With major improvements to waters and fencing carrying capacity is estimated at 25,000 head with plans to increase to 40,000. Low key tourism (farm stay accommodation, camping) is also available at Fairview and Jackass out station…

The stations have Brahmin Cattle.

Hann River Roadhouse Queensland

Peninsula Development Road to Han River Roadhouse

We drove from Laura to Hanns River Roadhouse, a distance of 87 kms from Fairview. The road is sealed most of the way with only a couple of gravel patches. We drove over two rivers that currently are just sand. There was water in Hann River near the roadhouse. Its a beautiful tropical oasis in the outback with bromeliads and Mandela flowers and lots of greenery. We had a sandwich that was delicious and Marg had a small salad bowl. It was pleasant sitting in the open area looking at the Brahmin calf lowing in a small enclosure.

A Tow truck pulled in with a road train that had overturned…the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. You can purchase fuel here. Camping is $15 a night and you need to book if you want a powered site. The toilets were meticulously clean and there were washing machines lined up outside the toilet facilities. It looks a great place to camp at and the staff were friendly and happy.

Laura River Queensland

We are at Laura River in Queensland

We drove down past Little Laura to Laura River, the turnoff to the Rodeo, and drove down a dusty gravel road fifteen kms to where Laura River met the Gravel Road and where there was a river crossing for a 4WD. We drove over the river and parked on the rocks and went walking down the rocky outcrops to the river which was flowing over rocky patches and was crystal clear. It is a very beautiful spot.

Panning for Gold at Little Laura River

Looking for Gold

We drove down to Little Laura River, parked the vehicle outside Olive Vale next to the bridge and walked down to the river where there was water and hopefully no crocodiles. There was no gold either but we sat on the bank under the bridge in the shade and searched the sandy banks under us. It was a beautiful river

The Little Laura River in north Queensland starts near Red Bluff at an elevation of 175m and ends at an elevation of 69m merging with the Laura River. The Little Laura River drops around 106m over its 54.8km length. 6 creeks and rivers flow into the Little Laura River. The five longest tributaries are: Sandy CreekPine Tree CreekShepherd CreekYellowwood Creek and Flying Fox Creek – click here for a full list of all 6 tributaries of the Little Laura River.

War Memorial at Yeppoon Queensland

War Memorial at Yeppoon

Yeppoon War Memorial is a heritage-listed memorial avenue of trees in Normanby Street, James Street and Anzac Parade, Yeppoon, Shire of Livingstone, Queensland, Australia. It was built in 1921 and 1984. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 23 July 1999.

The monument, erected in 1952, commemorates those from the Yeppoon district who have served in the various conflicts in which Australia has been involved.

In 2010 the Yeppoon War Memorial was restored and cleaned due to a partnership between Yeppoon RSL and the Queensland Government, with a Community Memorials Restoration grant assisting to finance the restoration of the memorial. The restored Yeppoon War Memorial was unveiled in September 2010.

Dedicated To Those Members Of The Australian Armed Services
Who Served In The Vietnam Conflict 1962 – 1973
“Never Forgotten”

There are many ANZAC walk memorials around Australia, but Emu Parks is unique as it wraps around the coast, offering fantastic views of the area. The coastal boardwalk meanders from the central sandstone historical pictographs up towards The Gatehouse, a moving floor-to-ceiling First World War storyboards including portraits of locals. Wander further up past silhouettes and Battle Markers towards a stunning coastal lookout then wraps around and ends at the Singing Ship.

The memorial pays tribute to the ANZAC’s in a way that offers visitors the chance to learn more about an important piece of history and remember those who have given their lives for us.

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