Days 13, 14 - Bladensburg NP to Camooweal (Lake Francis, Georgina River).

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 at 17:57

Member - Ossiejs (Qld)

Day 13 - Bladensburg NP to Corella Dam, Cloncurry

Left Bladensburg NP after most of the morning reading all the manuals again. Rechecked my 12v electrics again, and cleaned then re-tightened the battery terminals. They were a tad loose so here's hoping.

Also had another go at the gas stove in the Camper. Finally, managed to get it going after checking all the fittings - some relief I tell you. No more butane meals and coffee but butane is a reliable emergency cooking aid.

Constant and heavy road train traffic at 110kph going East saw one of my towing mirrors fly off. With nowhere to pull to the side of the road, I reckon it's a write off. Will change my left one over, so all is not lost.

The scenery of the past week or so changed dramatically just before Cloncurry. No more flat open plains - now there was some dramatic and ancient structural features. With the late start, I didn't take any photos,this time. After a quick check of a Camping Store, it was off to Clem Walton Park & Corella Dam some 53k West of the 'Curry.

Scoped out a few sparse campsites, and settled on one overlooking the Corella Dam. Nice and high and dry. Did get a few spots of rain on the road to the 'Curry, but not enough to raise concerns about being flooded in, or out.

There were some shady sites away from the water's edge.

It was only after I had returned home that I read in a caravanner's blog somewhere that there are freshwater crocs in the Dam! I can tell you that I can identify the difference between a "saltie" and a "freshie" from the many documentaries I had seen over the years, but... To see one unexpectedly in or on the edge of the Dam would have given me a "Crocodile Dundee" experience I can tell you. You remember the scene, eh? Especially after a "Jurasic Park" experience (sort of) at Winton! And in late August 2013, a "freshie" was caught in the Diamantia at Birdsville. Aghhhhh! I was heading to Birdsville.

On setting up camp at Corella Dam, lo and behold, my 12v electrics were working again. Reckon it was a simple thing like loose battery terminals! The charge was not getting through. Will double check the obvious first next time.

USB stick music again. So my evening meal was pleasant - gas hot plates and 12v. Ah, bliss. A warm shower outdoors, a hot meal with Kasey Chambers, Melody Gardot and Norah Jones (singing of course) for company. I'm in heaven.

I plan a quick stop in the Isa tomorrow for fuel, etc. This may the last chance to buy "cheaper" diesel before I head further West to Camooweal tomorrow for a day or two. Then, I'm Southward bound.

The morning brought with it an abundance of colourful bird life foraging on the ground, but I couldn't get close enough for a decent photograph. Too many "freshies" perhaps?

Day 14 - Clem Walton Park & Corella Dam, Cloncurry to Camooweal.

After a pleasant night at Corella Dam, I drove to the Isa; calling in to a camping store to buy a back-up gas cylinder. Hate to run out of gas now, especially not knowing consumption rate. The Isa really is an unfriendly Camper or Caravan town! After driving around for half an hour unsuccessfully to find a spot for car and camper to go shopping, I ended up hoofing it for a good long walk. I've never liked the Isa, and didn't hang around after doing my business.

Camooweal hadn't changed at all. I called in to the Drovers Camp and spoke to Daryl and Irene Horkins, the President and his wife.

I also met the Association's Patron - Outback personality Pic Willets. I became a member last year to support the valuable work done to ensure Outback history is not forgotten, especially assisting anyone chasing up their ancestry - particularly drovers. There are just too many unmarked and unidentified graves in the Outback.

A visit to the Drover's Camp is well worth the visit. It is well marked, located on the Northern side of the Barkly Highway, just East of Camooweal. Check with staff at the Grocery Store/Post Office in Camooweal to arrange a visit.

My twin Uncles were born in the Camooweal Hospital - long since demolished - many years ago. I could grow to like this area except maybe in the wet season!

Then, it was off to another Outback surprise - the Camooweal Billabong Camp area - Lake Francis on the Georgina River.

So this is the Georgina River. It must be spectacular in flood. The Billabong Camp seems to be a favourite with Caravan and Camper travellers, with numerous shady campsites along the Western side of Georgina River. With literally miles of camping spots,

I can't understand why a caravanner chose to set up less than 15m from my position!

There are no facilities, so one needs to be totally self-sufficient - just like our Outback forebears. I imagined past drovers, with herds of cattle, setting up camp while the cattle filled their bellies with water.

There is an amazing variety of bird life and bird song around Lake Francis, and purple and white lilies add to the imagery. I could easily spend a few days here, with a good telephoto lens and a reliable book of Australian birds. Next time eh Kimbo.
To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root -- Chinese Proverb
John & Marie
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