Wednesday, August 28, 2013


As we were already at Normanton the decision was made to take the caravan the extra 72 km for a few days at Karumba. The top temperature each day was about 3 deg below that at Normanton because of the breeze off the Gulf.This made for very comfortable days. Everything about Karumba is highly over-rated, in my opinion. Cramped caravan parks charging top dollar for sub standard facilities and high prices for commodities that are far cheaper in Normanton. For example, a 30 can pack of XXXX Bitter is $63 in Karumba while the price is $49.95 at The Central Hotel in Normanton. If you don't fish in Karumba there is nothing much else to do and all the talk was of a very poor fishing season this year. We made a short visit to Karumba 16 years ago, and believe me, nothing much has changed in the interim.

The mouth of The Norman River and The Gulf beyond from Karumba Point. At night you can see the ships lights way out on The Gulf.

The Beer Garden at The Sunset Tavern at Karumba Point, empty now but Friday and Saturday Nights it was difficult to find a table.

The Boat Ramp in Karumba Township. From this point it is about 3 km to The Gulf.

Caravans crammed-in, but we had a little extra space because we had the BBQ and Pool Entry space beside us.

The obligatory sunset photograph from The Sunset Tavern at Karumba Point.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Warm days and warm nights, that about sums up Normanton's climate and we love it! We have walked around the town each morning, afternoons are better spent quietly sitting and reading or having a swim in the camp swimming pool. The 'southerners' come up here and sit in their caravans with the 'aircon' on, seems a waste of fuel getting here. Some lucky Normanton resident won a share of Saturday Lotto 1st Division last Saturday, we haven't received an invitation to the celebrations so far, we are leaving tomorrow morning.

I am only "Snack Size" for Krys the Crocodile.

Most of the businesses in Normanton are Pubs. The middle pub is called The Central.

Is this sign necessary, this pooch only wanted us to give him a scratch.

The Purple Pub is at the southern end of the main street and directly opposite The Tourist Park. We had a good meal here one night.

Some of the gardens in Normanton are quite colourful.

A visitor in The Tourist Park feeding Black Kites.

The Shire of Carpentaria Offices.

The old Burns Philp Stores are now used as the Library and Tourist Information Offices.

Near the north end of town is The Albion Hotel.

The Norman River looking up stream at High Tide from the old single lane bridge.

The old single lane bridge is now set up as a fishing platform. There are shelters, overhead lights, water taps, fish cleaning tables and wood BBQ's to cook your fish.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Leichhardt Lagoon Camping Ground

Only 24 km short of Normanton is a camping ground on private property. The camp ground is beside Leichhardt Lagoon. Although the water level is very low, because of the prevailing drought conditions, the camp ground is in a quite scenic setting, all-be-it a trifle dusty in places. We camped here for two nights before going back into a town environment. With septic toilets and hot showers this is quite luxurious 'Bush Camping'.

We had nothing better to do here other than sit, relax and watch the bird life eke out a survival. We had daily visits from a pair of massive Sea Eagles. On one occasion, an Eagle killed a Catfish but the prey was too heavy for the Eagle to raise it from the water. We also had daily visits from a pair of large grey birds we first thought to be Brolga but on closer inspection, were in fact Sarus Crane. As well as Pelicans and Black Swan we also could see ducks, spoonbills, cormorants and heron.

Looking across the Lagoon to the Station Homestead.

Our camp and our nearest neighbour although in peak times they would have been closer.

We are quite near to the Lagoon, we don't want to be too close though as there is a "Salty" in there.

Not a lot of bird life present but there was a flotilla of Black Swans with Pelicans in the background.

We had a regular visitor to camp, scrounging for easy food. It seems he/she loves the bread and milk we provided.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Historic Croydon

Croydon was one of the largest towns in Northern Queensland during the gold rush times of the 1800's. There are a tremendous number of Mining Relics remaining in the area, probably due to the fact that it was too expensive to transport the machinery to any other site. There are also many preserved buildings from the Gold Rush Era that have been restored and are open to the public at free admission.

The Tourist Information Office entry portal. The history of the area is portrayed inside the building and in an enclosed outdoor area accessible from the Office.

This is a reconstruction of a typical Miners' House of the era. It is quite cool under the large verandah and inside the dwelling.

Another style of dwelling, a little less impressive than the previous photograph but still cool inside.

An old British Bedford truck that was used in the Croydon area by a local identity.

Around Croydon one doesn't have to look very far to locate old rusted mining machinery.

Mobile boilers/steam engines are here.

As are larger Flywheels from an old water pump.

In the 'heydays' of Croydon the town boasted gas street lighting throughout the town.

The Old Town Hall has been restored.

The Old Court House has also been restored.

There is a 'Mock' Court Proceeding inside the Court House. Jude is in The Jury Box intently listening to the testimony of the Defendant, Mrs Brown.

The Magistrate hears testimony of the Witness. Sadly Mrs Brown was recorded as Guilty as Charged and sent to the Lock-Up for Two Months.

There are Old Mining Relics all over town, this is behind The Croydon Shire Offices.

A Ten Head Stamper also behind the Shire Offices.

These Old Wartime Blitz Trucks are on Private Property and are not accessible due to Occupational Health and Safety Concerns, not to mention the uncovered mine shafts on the property.

These Mining Relics are on the same Private Property. The Croydon Caravan Park is in the background.

The same boiler that is in the previous photograph also showing the open and uncovered mine shaft immediately to the right of the boiler. As the depths of these shafts are below the water table it is possible to pump from them to water gardens once a water test has shown the lack of contaminating heavy metals.

The Chinese Community were shunned from the town area and this is the sight of The Chinese Temple and Market Gardens. Even though the Chinese were banned from living in the town, their vegetables from the Market Gardens were readily accepted.

As temperatures in Croydon are very high over the Summer Season, this is the usual attire of the locals. Girls are obviously allowed to wear hats!

Monday, August 19, 2013


Jude and I had been looking forward to revisiting the town of Croydon. It was 16 years ago that we were last in this area and during that visit we only spent one night at Croydon. We both felt that the town had much more to offer.

Before I get too far ahead of myself we also wanted to revisit a roadside stop-over entitled "The Chimney". This Rest Area is only 20 odd km from Georgetown, our previous camp. On our last stop here we were the only campers over several days and the area was very small and dusty. Some things do not change, it still is very dusty but the area is vastly larger and there is space for many campers. Could have been 30 - 35 campers during our one night stay this year.

Now, back to Croydon. We booked into the Caravan Park for a week and then extended for an extra day because of the fun times we were having. The weather was just perfect for our style of slow moving but travelling holiday. Easy sleeping 15 deg over night and low 30's during the day. We managed to latch onto several 'locals' and glean what 'life is' in this town. Life for the Grazier is very tough at the moment. Supplementary feeding of cattle and pumping of water, both these pursuits cost heaps of money and of course the market for cattle has stagnated and consequently the prices are very low. Send a load of cattle to market and receive an account for cartage or keep the cattle on the station and watch their condition decline. Not a great choice either way.

The caravan park was fun to stay in. Park Manager, Rob, who wears many hats in town, from CP Manager to Garbage Truck, Fire Truck and Ambulance driver to mowing council grassed areas, made every visitor feel welcome and wanted. Come to "The Beer and Bullshit" session beginning at 5 PM and might finish by 7 PM, because that was the time the outdoor movie began. A sheet from one of the cabins was strung up in the camp kitchen, a digital projector was set up and 30 or more people brought their camp chairs and formed an arc around the front of the screen.

Rob's contract with the town expires at the end of November and he is leaving to find a better paying job, better than $7.50 per hour.

The Chimney is a relic from the mining days.

The dam behind the Chimney is usually a bird haven but because of the general drought conditions and lack of food there are not too many birds here this year.

Croydon General Store, Fuel and Mechanical Workshop. This business helped us out with a replacement tyre as we travelled through the area 16 years ago.

The General Store is a 'Going Concern' stocked with fresh food and general merchandise but is also a "General Store Museum" and has continually traded since 1894. The products on display in this part of the sore are all 'New', never been sold, still wrapped in the original packaging.

The Club Hotel is the last Pub still in business out of 58 Pubs that were once in business in town.

The workmanship in The Club Hotel staircase is testimony to the competence of the people that were drawn to the area as a consequence of the gold rush.

Croydon Railway Station, the end point for the renowned Gulf Lander Railway that travels from Normanton.

All Aboard. There were no late arrivals for the trip to Normanton.

The masses wave goodbye to The Gulf Lander.

Art work in the town park celebrating the importance of Graziers and Stockman to the area.

Recognising the lives lost from the Shire in all Wars.

Art work recognising The Heritage of the area and including the Croydon Shire Seal.

Another piece of Art work recognising the roll of Chinese people in the Croydon Shire.

About 1.5 km from town towards Lake Belmore is a Look-Out overlooking the town of Croydon.

Lake Belmore is the town water supply and is only 4 km from town. Looking towards the dam wall. The water capacity is down to about 40% as there were little summer rains this year.

The Picnic Pavilion overlooking Lake Belmore.

Kevin and Chris from Horsham. Kevin entertaining us with some guitar playing during The Beer and Bullshit Hour.

Park Manager, Rob, with his two pets, Boots, the dog and Barry, the pet sheep. Boots is friends with everyone who will throw his stick and Barry is friends with everyone who will give him a scratch.

A Bower, under a tree in The Caravan Park. We had a clear view of The Bower and watched the Great Bowerbird strut his stuff throughout the day.

A close-up of the Collection at The Bower.

The Variety Bash called into town for lunch one day during our visit.

Many different types of vehicles were competing.

Full support Services were evident as well. Lunch for the competitors was at the rear of 'The Blue Shed'.

More of the competitors.

Jedd Clampett from The Beverley Hill Billies was in town.