Friday 31 May 2019

Richmond to Charters Towers

We have actually arrived back home yesterday and it is time to catch up on our travels.  You see, I seem to always have some drama or other in posting while we are away.  This time, to avoid the hassles of trying to blog on my ipad, we took Mick's laptop with us.  The only problem was that when I went to download photos from my phone, it wouldn't sync with his laptop and kept throwing up an error message.  Therefore, I was emailing each photo that I used on my blog to his email address, then added it to the photos file and finally got to the blog post.  Very, very time consuming, and not what you want to be doing when you are on holidays.

To continue the drama, once we returned home, the storage on my desktop showed that it was full when I went to download the photos there.  After moving many photo folders to an external hard drive I think I am ready to actually make a start.  Phew.....what an effort.....

Anyway, after our lazy day in Richmond it was time to get back on the road and continue our exploring.

The countryside was still flat and showing a little of the flooding back in February, but not too much considering how devastating it had been.

This would have to have been the shortest windmill we have ever seen.

These huge ones really are impressive and show how important ground water is in the area.

We were told by a few people that we have to visit Porcupine Gorge, north of Hughendon.  "You have to camp out there and spend a few days", we were told.  Well, we didn't have a few days, but we could take a quick drive out there and have a look.  Yes, the gorge was impressive.  Until  you get there, you would have no inkling of its existence.

The main campground was another 11kms further in, so we didn't have time to go and have a look on this trip.  Apparently, it is a really nice spot and has "Pyramid Rock", which is an impressive formation.  That is something we can visit next time we are up that way.

Hughendon was the fourth site on our Dinosaur multi ticket.  The featured dinosaur here is a Muttaburrasaurus.  The recreation in the main street is affectionately known as "Mutt".

The museum was the least impressive of the ones that we had visited.  The fossils of Muttaburrasaurus, found at Muttaburra were incomplete and are held elsewhere.  This is a replica and recreation of what they think it was like.

The main street of Hughendon features quite a few windmill related things, the main one being this shelter area.

The library is nice and bright with photos of wildflowers found in the area.  

We did see the one of the flowers featured the Flinders Poppy, but weren't able to stop for a photo.  It is rather stunning.

There are also several dinosaur related sculptures throughout the town.

However, compared to Richmond the town felt rather sad.  It has obviously been a larger centre with more shops, but most of them were empty, or not all that well presented.    On a positive note, there is a dam, similar to the one at Richmond, currently under construction.  Hopefully, that will give the town a more positive outlook and encourage tourists to stop there, as I'm pretty sure it is now overlooked for the better presented Richmond.

Just out of Hughendon there is a brand new Energy Farm, featuring 55,000 solar panels and a dozen wind generators.  It is supposed to supply power for 38,000 homes.  They definitely have lots of sun and wind, so a perfect place for it.

As we travelled east, we knew we had to stop for a cuppa at the rest area at the tiny village of Homestead.  This was rather bitter sweet, as it marks the most westerly point we had travelled to previously.  

This is the rest area where, back in 2017, we discovered the mechanical problem with Snubby the Silver Sidecar, which ended our trip around Australia.  You can read about it here.

Charters Towers was our destination for the day and we had a nice wander around town the following morning.

I know I've shared them before, but there really are some stunning buildings in the town.  One day, we will have a proper look around, not just a quick visit on our way day.

We had morning tea in a nice little coffee shop, which made nice and happy coffee.  Of course, Mick had to put on a silly grumpy face.

There were even a couple of murals.  There are so many murals as you drive around.  They certainly brighten up some blank walls.

This really completed the outback section of our trip.  It was a bit sad, as we really enjoyed the wide open spaces and small towns.  It's funny, but the trip seemed to have definite sections.  Now we were looking forward to the coastal section.

Monday 27 May 2019

One Monthly Goal for May

I didn't expect to achieve much stitching this month considering we would be on the road for pretty much the whole month.  However, I do have a little bit to show.  Most importantly, I achieved my One Monthly Goal for May.  

I wondered at one stage if I would get it finished, as the wording took simply ages to stitch, but once I got going on the cup and saucer things speeded up and I am happy to have it finished.

You can see the original goal back here, together with my early stitching results of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks and my bowl cosies.

My other finish for the month was my crocheted scarf, which I finished in just a couple of days.  That really was a bonus.  I didn't expect to have three finishes to record for Kris' One Project a Month.  I'm trying to have something every month this year.

Now I am looking forward to getting back into my sewing room when we get home and keep working on The Splendid Sampler blocks, finding out the colour for Rainbow Scrap Challenge for June and deciding what other project to work on so that I have at least one finish for One Project a Month.  I can't wait.

I'm linking up over at Elm Street Quilts.  Go and see what the other girls have completed this month.

Sunday 26 May 2019


Finally, I'm getting back to progress on our travels.

We stayed at Richmond for two reasons - there is another dinosaur museum and because we had been told the caravan park is really nice.

The caravan park certainly is nice.  It is run by the council and is on the shore of Lake Fred Tritton.

The lake sits on the site of what was an unattractive part of town, being all rough gullies.  They started digging, using local contractors, in November 2003 and filled it using flood waters from the local river in February and March 2004.  They certainly didn't muck around.

There is a pathway all the way around, going for 1.2 km.  

It is stocked with 18 varieties of fish and red claw crayfish.  You can swim, sail, ski, jetski, kayak, etc.  Mick decided to try his luck, but ended up just having a nice paddle around the lake.

In 2004 it won a state wide award for improving the lifestyle and health options of a rural town.  Well deserved.  On the shore there is also a bush tucker garden, which was really interesting.

Up the other end of the lake to the caravan park there is a water park.  It would be so much fun.  I just don't think I would want to be standing under that water as it was coming out of the big bucket.

We were treated to some lovely rain on the second night that we were there, which was well received.  This was followed by a beautiful sunrise the next morning.

We intended to stay for two nights, but as it was such a lovely location we checked our very rough schedule and decided we could stay a third.  The best part of that was that on Thursday nights there is a community dinner at the caravan park.  Each week a different community group hosts a dinner as a fund raiser.  When we were there it was the Junior Rugby League club.  These ladies treated us to a delicious meal.  The local council gives each group $100 towards the ingredients.  Being a relatively small community, some of the ladies are there assisting with several different groups they are involved in.  I suppose it is the rural version of the Bunnings sausage sizzle.  A great initiative, and lovely bonus for us travellers.

So what is in Richmond?

The old water tower is a feature of the skyline, although it is not used for its original purpose any more.  If you look at the other side, you can see that it is the tower for all communications.  A great re-use.

In the main street there is a free museum, housed in a reconstruction of one of the original homesteads of the district, using local flag stones.

There was a beautifully restored Cobb and Co coach out the back.

There was also a rather intriguing, heavy metal, boat.  Unfortunately, there was no explanation.

The Anzac memorial was fairly new and Mick had to have a play on one of the guns on display.  It's a boy thing.

The town caters well for travellers, providing an RV park as well.  I don't think it is free, but would be  a very low cost alternative to the caravan park.

We visited the local coffee shop a couple of times.  It was always quite busy and had delicious home made cakes.  Ice coffees were also the order of the day, as it was quite warm.  Across the road was the op shop, which only opens on Thursday and Saturday, so Mick was able to get a couple of books.

There aren't a real lot of old buildings in town, this being the only original pub.  There are historical interpretive signs along the street.  We ended up having a bit of a joke about them.   Nearly every building has been burnt down at some stage.  Some rebuilt, but many not. It wasn't as though a fire raged along the whole street, they range over many years.  One poor drapers shop was burnt down, moved to another site and burnt down a second time.

Unfortunately, the few remaining old shop buildings were empty or for sale.  There are a few shops, but not much at all.

Having said that, there is a lovely new council building and the town as a whole has a fresh, tidy, cared for air about it.

Out the front of the council chambers is a wonderful sculpture.

The artist really captured the stockman and his horse.

The dinosaur side of things is based at "Kronosaurus Korner". 

I thought the labeling on the toilets was rather creative.

The museum is exceptionally well set out and the audio guide, narrated by the owner of the property on which many of the fossils were found, was really interesting and easy to understand.

While the dinosaurs at Winton were land based, the ones found in this area are marine fossils.  Kronosaurus is the main one.  He was a very large predator.   They think he had a bite twice as powerful as a salt water crocodile.  The first one was found in the 1920s, but most of these have only been found in the last 20 or so years.

There are also fossils of Elasmosaurids, which had extremely long necks and fed on crustacians.

The third main species found is Ichthyosaur.  There have been several baby fossils found, so they think the area may have been a nursery site for them.

This little chappy is a Kunbarrasaurus ieversi.  He is the only land based dinosaur fossil found in the district.  This is the most complete one found in the world.  They think he died on land and his carcass was mummified.  Later it was washed into the inland sea, and became a fossil.  The mummified skin kept everything together.

There were also several different molluscs, squids etc.  These are Ammonites.

There is a fossil processing lab within the museum, however no one was working in it on the day we visited.  Do you think they would notice if I took the cabinet home for my sewing room?  I would have it filled in no time flat.

Just a short drive out of Richmond there are two fossicking sites where the general public can go and have a scratch around looking for fossils.  Some people have found significant ones.  Of course we had to go and see if we could find anything.  Mick looks quite content, sitting in the dirt and breaking up rocks.

We found a couple of little things.  A very small shark tooth (on the top left edge of the large piece of rock) and a couple of other teeth.  Mick also found the imprint of a leaf on one bit of rock.  Nothing much, but a bit of fun.

We really enjoyed our time in Richmond and our day of doing nothing very much at all was very relaxing.  It was nice to have a lazy day before the next leg of our journey.  

More soon.