Charters Towers

Left Corella Dam Sunday 22nd making for Julie Creek. Had a great time at Corella Dam, it was a rally good camp, cooked all our meals on a wood fire. Around 60 kilometres after Corella Dam was Cloncurry. We spent over an hour in the John Flynn Museum. This was a great little museum with sections devoted to Alf Traeger (developer of the pedal radio) and Fred Mackay (Flynn’s successor). Cloncurry had the first Flying Doctor base and whilst there is no longer an RFDS base at Cloncurry it still has a Frontier Patrol. This is the successor to the original service started by John Flynn to provide for the spiritual needs of isolated people.

Didn’t stay in Cloncurry, everywhere you turned there where “no camping” signs. Probably the caravan park was owned by a local councillor.

137 Kilometres east of Cloncurry we came to Julie Creek. This had an “RV Friendly” sign as we entered so we knew we would find free camping close by. Camped about 2 kilometres outside town on the Julie Creek. Great campsite which will be even better in a few years when all the trees that have been planted mature. The town of Julie Creek was only small but was very neat and tidy with a very informative information centre. The centre of the main street had covered parking which was great seeing as we had been having days of 36C.

Julie Creek was only about ten metres wide and you could camp on both sides. We got to know Geoff and Sue who were camped opposite us. Geoff caught a nice yellow belly. We as usual didn’t catch anything. 

P8240029 Tuesday 22nd we set off for Prairie via Richmond and Hughenden. Unbelievably Richmond had a lake that you could swim in and it didn’t take much discussion for us to go for a swim. It was a great place, whilst the lake was only 1.2 kilometres in circumference (according to the sign) it was right behind the town and obviously formed an important recreational asset for the town.  Richmond, Hughenden and Winton form a triangle in which many prehistoric fossils have been found and they each have a fossil museum. Now if you were a palaeontologist I’m sure each and every one of these fossils would be fascinating but for us there was only so many rocks we could look at so we gave most of the museum a miss.    P8240028

I’m not sure how they decided on the blue and white colour scheme for this little beauty outside the Richmond Visitor Centre and Museum but it looked pretty impressive anyway.

Hughenden was next. However whilst Richmond and Julie Creek looked vibrant and alive Hughenden looked like a dying town.

The town had obviously once been prosperous as it had a magnificent and large hotel but not many other buildings of note.P8240036

It was then on to Prairie for the night. Not much at Prairie in fact the whole town only numbers 50 people but there is free camping behind the hotel. The only condition is that you have to have a beer in the bar. Not hard to do when the temperature in the car has been near 40C!

A pub, police station and school ( 9 pupils)makes up the town. The publican and his wife were interesting to talk to as we had a few cold beers. They had a llama and water buffalo in paddocks behind the pub.P8240039 The buffalo was 30 years old and had been hand reared so was friendly. He came over to the fence to have his nose scratched but you had to be careful of the horns if he flicked his head.

In the morning as we were about to set off Geoff and Sue whom we had met at Julie Creek came by so we said we would probably meet up at Macrossan Park outside Charters Towers that evening.

It was a leisurely drive 200 kilometres to Charters Towers on Wednesday 25th.

Macrossan Park is 23 kilometres east of Charters Towers and is fee camping on the  bank of the Burdekin River. The park proved to be a bit overgrown but there is plenty of space with toilets and rubbish bins provided. Wednesday was very hot so P8270064 whilst we couldn’t find any shade to camp under we camped on high ground to catch any breeze. Geoff and Sue showed up just after we made camp.

Thursday proved to be a bit cooler so we moved camp closer to the river. Its a good camp, only about 5 metres from the river and we can have a cooking fire so we will stay here a couple of days whilst we explore Charters Towers.

P8270054 Last night Geoff put six red claw traps in the river. Unfortunately they didn’t yield any red claw but they did catch one edible sleepy cod and some small cat fish that we are using as barra bait.

The weather has really changed. Last night we needed the fire to keep warm and this morning it is only 20C. Still it is nice to have a bit of cool weather after weeks of 30C+.

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