14/08/18 While at our Flaggy Rock camp, the cellar ran dry. Aaagh! The plan was to take on refreshments at Dululu, our next destination west of Rockhampton near Biloela but as often happens with plans they went awry. We arrived in Dululu to find the tiny community’s only pub boarded up, undergoing a major rebuild following a fire. Damn! I was once told that pub fires are often caused by “friction” – in the filing cabinet, “friction” between the loan statements and the ledgers. Can’t say for sure that’s the case, just something I heard.
After a dry overnight camp, we headed on the next morning through more very parched country to Monto and checked into the caravan park to deal with the sizable pile of laundry and top up the dwindling on-board water. Pantry and, of course, cellar were restocked as well.
We spent a great day at Cania Gorge, a short drive north of Monto. The walking track in to Dragon Cave and Bloodwood Cave was enjoyable apart from the many, many, MANY steps up to the lookout at the top that challenged Di’s knee. Both caves at the base of the imposing gorge walls had been sites of aboriginal habitation and would have provided protection from the elements. Nine other caves in the area aren’t open to the public, being presently surveyed by archaeologists. On the way back from the caves, we were extremely lucky to have a close encounter with a pair of Whipbirds feeding on the forest floor just off the walking path. They’re generally very hard birds to see as they populate thick rainforest but here they were, a pair, cavorting around just metres from us, seemingly unconcerned by our presence. We finished off the day with a bush picnic beside Three Moon Creek, and a look around Lake Cania. We liked Monto. It’s a pleasant little town, and our intended two-day stay extended out to four as we settled in for a relax.
Some of the country we’ve been through west of the Great Divide is just heartbreaking. People are doing it tough out here and all around the country with the worst drought in generations. We’re continually seeing hay being moved by road trains, trucks and utes to feed livestock, and have noticed many properties have turned land over to the growing of leucaena, a bushy crop that we’re told is good quality fodder for cattle particularly in drought times like these. We spoke to one local who appreciated the donations but reckoned the best way to help was cash, as it could be used to buy food, produce, and so forth in the towns to keep the local traders in business as well. Makes good sense.
It was a bitterly cold -1 degree morning when we left Monto; a crisp biting cold where you didn’t want to get out of the warm bed even to turn on the diesel heater. We arrived at Boondooma Homestead, between Munduberra and Dalby, to hear they’d had a big frost that morning; everything was white. And the forecast was for the cold weather to continue…wonderful. Tell me again why we’ve come back south?
Boondooma Homestead is a heritage-listed property settled by two Scottish brothers in 1846. It’s now owned by the South Burnett Regional Council and operated as a museum and heritage complex, and a farm stay as well. The timber homestead and outbuildings are still original and intact and offer a good impression of what a homestead must have looked like in the late 1800s. We got to meet the small group of enthusiastic Boondooma Museum & Heritage Association members who were busy preparing for the annual “Scots in the Bush” festival that was happening in ten days’ time. We blended right in, being McFarlane’s and Mackay’s, and it turned out one of the ladies had a McFarlane grandfather…huh! Everyone around the fire seemed to have a Scottish heritage. “Tha fios agam, tha e doirbh a chreidsinn!” (Look it up on Google Translate). As much as we’d have liked to have stayed on for the festival, it clashed with our service booking back home. Something to look forward to next year. We stayed five days in all, joined the Association and did some volunteer work helping to tidy up around the homestead and gardens in readiness for the festival. It was good fun.
Our last camp before home was at Linville, a pleasant little village in the hills out from Moore, on the site of the old railway station.
This trip has been shorter in duration than what we usually do but it’s been long enough to travel with good friends, call in on some good friends, make new great friends along the way, visit with close relatives and those separated by distance and time. And all the while, seeing some wonderful places – a couple we’d easily relocate to in a heartbeat – and some places suffering hard through a heartbreaking drought. As ever, we’re glad to be back home, and equally looking forward to heading off again. Tasmania’s next in October…woohoo!
Signs like these are seen hanging behind the bar at some outback pubs. So you don’t have to pay for your curiosity, here’s what the acronyms mean:
“WYBMABIITY ” – stands for “Will you buy me a beer if I tell you?”
“YCWCYAGCFTRFDS” – stands for “Your curiosity will cost you a gold coin for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.”